News

School reconfiguration plans become clearer

By PAUL BALCERAK

Staff writer

The murky waters surrounding the Central Kitsap School District’s plans for reconfiguration and another potential school closure are slowly beginning to clear.

In a Wednesday night special session that included board members, Superintendent Greg Lynch and members of his various Task Force Resource committees, five options for reconfiguration were revealed.

The options are not final and were not submitted to the board for consideration; rather, they represented some of the top results of a scoring system put together by the secondary reconfiguration committee.

The options, as presented by secondary reconfiguration committee head Katharine Gleysteen, are:

• Option A: K-6, 7-8, 9-12

• Option B: K-6, 7-12

• Option C: K-5, 6-8, 9-12

• Option D (current configuration): K-6, 7-12 (Klahowya Secondary School only), 7-9, 10-12

• Option E (combination of Options A and B): K-6, 7-8, 9-12 and 7-12

The options only represent the results of a scoring system that identified myriad criteria surrounding secondary configuration across various categories — cost effectiveness, safety, student achievement, etc.

District officials stressed that while some configuration options scored better than others based on the criteria, there’s no “silver bullet” option that would improve everything.

“To pretend that this is pure science and that there is only one (option) ... I think is unrealistic,” CKSD Director of Operations Dirk Gleysteen said.

The options will be presented to the public during an open forum at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Jenne-Wright Administration Building gymnasium. Contrary to a report published in the Jan. 26 edition of the CK Reporter, the public will have an opportunity to provide written comments and questions about the options presented. People also can leave comments on the district’s Task Force Resource Web site, located at www.cksd.wednet.edu/StrategicPlan/tfr.htm.

The process of scoring the options, which was addressed at a Jan. 23 school board meeting, was somewhat complex, but generally used a three-point system; the more points, the more favorable the configuration.

To use school transitions as an example, configuration options with less than two transitions were assigned two points, those with only two transitions were assigned one point and those with more than two transitions were assigned zero points.

There were 16 configuration schemes total scored by the committee.

The first three options scored the highest on the committee’s scoring system, in respective order. Option D, CKSD’s current configuration, scored ninth.

Option E was invented by the committee as a configuration that, while not scored or studied, could be feasible to the district, Katharine Gleysteen said.

“What we want is lots of public input (on the five options) starting Monday,” Lynch said.

Lynch plans to recommend a package of reconfiguration options to the school board at the Feb. 27 board meeting. The options presented at that meeting may or may not be similar to the options presented to the public on Monday night.

The school board would then review the options presented and be able to add more options, eliminate options or do nothing before handing the options over to the school closure committee for discussion.

From there, the district’s timeline for reconfiguration and/or closure again begins to fog.

Ideally, the district would present “a combined secondary reconfiguration/closure option” to the school board in September, Dirk Gleysteen said.

The two issues are inexorably tied together. A decision cannot be made on school closure without first deciding how the district will be configured and the most cost-effective reconfiguration may not be the best in terms of school closure.

“It would not be wise to make a configuration decision ... that would drive us to a closure situation in the future,” because an otherwise ideal reconfiguration could call for the closure of one of the district’s newer schools, for instance, Dirk Gleysteen said.

If a recommendation was to be made in September, a 90-day period of public review would follow. A final decision on reconfiguration and/or closure would not be made by the board till January 2009 at the earliest.

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