In recent commentary I claimed that the School Board had erased a projected 4,600 seat classroom deficit by double counting recently added capacity in its May 24, 2016 2017-2026 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) presentation.
Michael Beer, Co-Chair of the CivFed Schools Committee acknowledged that some numbers on page 19 of the document are misleading, but said the real problem is a chart on page 8 showing that the School Board “found” 800 additional Career Center seats by going from a 5/7 to a 6/7 model, which means occupying 6 out of every 7 classrooms throughout the school day instead of 5 out of 7. The question is whether that is actually feasible.
Assuming that the Career Center has a current capacity of 1500 students with 30 students per class occupying 50 classrooms, there must be 20 empty rooms at any time of day. Operating on a 6/7 model, 10 of those empty classrooms will be used to accommodate 300 students, which is 500 short of what the School Board projects.
It is clear that the Career Center can’t find 800 more seats by increasing the number of occupied classrooms, unless APS plans to increase class size and/or go to two shifts.
The School Board owes the County an explanation for how it plans to erase the 4,600 seat deficit projected by the Superintendent earlier this year and specifically how it plans to reprogram the Career Center to accommodate 800 more students.
The 2017-2026 CIP may be a done deal, but the classroom seat deficit cannot be erased by obfuscation and budgetary sleight of hand. County Board needs to do more than rubber stamp the School Board capital budget. It has to look at the numbers to see if they make sense. This is what I will do if elected.