Statistics and Lies

OVERCAPACITY OPERATION: THE STATS & THE…DISCREPANCIES…

The problem with North is the problem with Suncrest. Over capacity. Both Suncrest Elementary and North Elementary apparently both operated last school year in violation of facility enrollment capacity. This raises questions of legality, educational integrity, fire hazards, general administrative competence, and much else. Why the crowding? Why the overcrowding?

Well: where else are the students going to go? Mon Schools has dropped from 15 elementary schools in 2005 to 11 today, and a planned 10 by 2012. (In 1998, Monongalia County had 19 or 20 elementary schools. Since then, enrollment has climbed while the number of schools has been cut to 15 by  2005,  to 11 by 2010, to be 10 by 2012.) With Pre-K being newly required to be offered by the public schools to any parent who desires it, this puts added pressure upon the entire school district, especially to send current and future Suncrest and North area students elsewhere. Where do these students go for the next two years?

Suncrest Elementary, a pre-K through 3rd grade school, with a capacity of 230 students, had an enrollment of 257 this past year, according to the WV BOE. That’s 12% over capacity. Nearby North Elementary, a pre-K through 5th grade school, with a capacity of 702 students, had an enrollment of 703, according to the WV BOE – technically over capacity. (Mon Schools lists facility capacity in its 2010 CEFP Executive Summary, page 4.) Where will graduating Suncrest students go for 4th grade, since nearby North is already over capacity? Where will additional North area students go, since it too has surpassed capacity?

“OVERFLOW FROM NORTH”

We have been observing for a long time that Mon Schools likely intends to send North overflow students to the green school at the proposed 705/119 Mileground intersection site if the school district manages to force it onto that horrible location (though the earliest the school could open is 2012. Over capacity violations until then?) And by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, we see the obvious being indirectly confirmed:

“Confidentially, the overflow from North [elementary] and [the entire student body of] Woodburn elementary will be placed in this [new green] school.”

That’s WVU Director of Real Estate Services Shannon Mundell to WVU Vice President Narvel Weese. (WVU intends to sell 7 acres at the 705/119 intersection to Mon Schools for the new green school.) Mon Schools has been claiming to have looked at 19 different sites for placement of the green school, but now, thanks to FOIA, we know they’ve considered at least 20 – almost every site as bad as the other, a great use of tax dollars there.

ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL

So Mon Schools administration was apparently looking to move the impending consolidated Easton and Woodburn school away from these schools’ sites and a long ways toward both Suncrest and especially North elementary, “across from Damon’s” on route 705. In addition to the secrecy, the problem with this is that the school district would be robbing Peter to pay Paul – the Easton/Woodburn children get thrown up onto the high traffic commuter and commercial thruways of the Mileground and 705 for the sake of 705 area sprawl – a shifty maneuver that still has not been admitted to. Hell, Mon Schools intends to throw the kids up there anyway, just not as far down 705.

No matter the stats and realities, North Elementary area parents are not invited to the green school “kickoff” meeting this Tuesday. And Mon Schools continues to insist that the green school is simply an Easton/Woodburn consolidation, and not involving any schools down route 705, say, North, and its “overflow.” Time to send out an All-Points-Bulletin to those who have been led to believe this.

OVERCROWDING AND THEN SOME

What are two of the other most packed elementary schools? You might have guessed it, two schools that sit closest to Woodburn! So Woodburn then is slated to be rebuilt on site and to possibly expand? Don’t be sane. Woodburn is scheduled to close in two years.

Woodburn could readily extend its catchment area toward both Mountainview (96% capacity) and Brookhaven (85% capacity), since both schools are relatively nearby and since Woodburn’s catchment currently extends not far at all in the direction of either of those schools, especially Mountainview. All the more reason to build a combined Easton/Woodburn green school on slightly expanded Woodburn grounds. Some North overflow also could attend the green school at Woodburn, since Woodburn’s school grounds are only a mile from the district’s proposed site on the Mileground.

Of course the most sensible course to take, as we have been advocating for all along, is to build TWO NEW SCHOOLS of modest size (rather than the one large one): a new school at Woodburn, and another at an equally sensible site.

In fact, more than a mere option or alternative, building two new schools is at this point far closer to an imperative, given the maxing out of capacity in the elementary schools.

Unfortunately, it seems that only lawsuits can force the school district to its senses.

At least a couple other elementaries are also approaching capacity: the two consolidated new schools built in 2006: Skyview 88% and Mylan Park 90%. Not to mention that it is a crying shame where these schools were built, as we have begun to document.

THE STATS

From the Monongalia County Schools Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan (CEFP) Executive Summary and Recommendation Facility Statistics January 2010 and from the West Virginia Board of Education statistics:

 

ELEMENTARY….Grades………..ACRES

 

ENROLLMENT ’09-’10
CEFP #SSTATE #S

 

CAPACITY / CEFP / STATE

 

Brookhaven……..PK-5………………4

 

 

454 / 454

 

 

533 / 85% / 85%

 

Cheat Lake………..K-5……………..19

 

 

644 / 644

 

 

>850?/ <76% / <76%

 

 

Easton……………..PK-4………………2

 

 

160 / 176

 

 

211 / 76% / 83%

 

 

Mason Dixon…….PK-5………………6

 

 

349 / 344

 

 

462 / 76% /74%

 

 

Mountainview…..PK-5………………3

 

 

719 / 758

 

791 / 91% / 96%

 

 

Mylan Park……….PK-5………………7

 

 

496 / 491

 

 

550 / 90% / 90%

 

 

North……………….PK-5…………….13

 

 

695 / 703

 

 

702 / 99% / 100% – OVER

 

 

Ridgedale………..PK-5………………3

 

 

366 / 403

 

 

473 / 77% / 85%

 

Skyview…………..PK-5…………….51

 

 

454 / 452

 

 

511 / 89% / 88%

 

 

Suncrest………….PK-3………………1

 

 

210 / 257

 

 

230 / 91% / 112% – OVER

 

 

Woodburn…………K-5……………….4

 

 

207 / 227

 

 

271 / 76% / 84%

If one looks at the figures above closely, some questions arise.
  • First, regarding enrollment, why do the WV BOE’s figures differ from Mon Schools’ CEFP figures? Why do the figures differ so widely? The state Board of Education lists 155 more elementary students enrolled in Mon Schools for 2009-2010 than Mon Schools lists in its CEFP January 2010 Facility Statistics: 155 students is nearly the equivalent of Easton Elementary.
  • Second, why did Mon Schools post the state’s figures during the school year, then subsequently remove them sometime this summer, after we used those figures from Mon Schools’ site to calculate shifts in enrollment? Why take those figures down, replace them with no others, and meanwhile leave up the enrollment figures from the year 2005, a single click off the Mon Schools main page?
  • Third, why did Mon Schools’ posting of the state’s figures (or vice versa) show just one discrepancy? Mon Schools listed North Elementary as having 700 students, 2 under capacity, versus the state figure of 703 students, one over capacity.

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