Archive for the ‘Bus/Transportation’ Category

$1.5 Million in Savings

January 17, 2013

From the Sun Post;

Buses transporting students in District 281 are more technologically equipped this year – and, it seems, cheaper to operate. Changing bus service providers has saved District 281 more than $1.5 million dollars, according to information presented during the school board’s Jan. 7 work session. Director of Business Services Jeff Priess said the district’s total transportation budget is forecasted to come in around $7.9 million by June. In comparison, the district spent $9.6 million ($9.5 million, minus the severance payments) on transportation costs last year. The savings is due, Priess said, to the district outsourcing its transportation system services to First Student. The savings could be closer to $1.6 million when the final numbers come in. 

“We had a very expensive model in place (before),”  he said. More than $3 million was spent this year on the First Student contract, which  provides regular transportation to-and-from school, midday Kindergarten transportation, shuttles, late activity buses and summer school special education transportation. Contracted special education transportation services provided by Adams Services and the Metropolitan Transportation Network, come in at around $2 million. Management, operations, leasing, and special education driver and monitor salaries make up the remaining $2.9 million. The district currently runs 71 bus routes per day. Priess said two routes have been eliminated from the midday drives, with 19 routes remaining. More efficiencies like that could be made for next year, he said.Jared Reid, a First Student location manager, outlined some of the technological changes on buses this year allowing buses to be tracked, drivers to be kept accountable and students to be monitored. First Student is leasing the district’s buses, and has provided the technological upgrades for each. Every bus now has GPS in it, allowing First Student to track each bus using software called Ground Traffic Control to within two minutes of its last position. That delay is due to the time it takes for a signal to bounce of the satellite, Reid said. This allows First Student to track each stop the bus makes, down to the exact second. Timing and bus speed reports are also generated.

An electronic “pre-trip” checklist requires drivers to scan 11 inspection zones on the bus before departing for a route. If a repair need is detected, it is routed to maintenance for repair. Prior to this, drivers used a sheet of paper, Reid said, and the new electronic system not only records every inspection but allows for faster repairs. This same scanning device plugs into a cradle on the bus, where it automatically downloads information. Drivers also use the device to punch on and off the clock.Some of the technology, like a dual camera recording system with sound, is meant to record both route driving and the half-hour after a bus has been shut off for the day. To date, more than 115 requests for tape to aid in correcting student behavior have been made since September, Reid said, and video downloads are available the same day.“Some of this footage I will tell you is the most boring video you will ever see,” Reid said.Finally, A Child Check-Mate device requires drivers to go to the back of the bus at the end of a route to press a stop-and-check button. This verifies that the driver has checked the bus for sleeping children. An accompanying device, Theft-Mate, contains a motion detector, which tells anyone not authorized to get on the bus that the authorities have been notified, Reid said.The GPS and cameras fit with no modifications,” Reid told the Sun Post. “I do not know what the cost is per bus, but we expect the technology to last for the useful life of the bus. This is all new technology that First Student added to service the school district. Some of the buses did have cameras, but were not all live. 

Now, every bus has two cameras and (both are) live whenever the bus is operating.” The report also contained information on accidents and incidents recorded between September and December. With the exception of a hit and run incident in October (Reid declined to provide exact details, save to say that the incident was not the driver’s fault as someone had hit the bus and left), the majority of the 11 accidents reported involved side-swiping or tail swinging. An accident was defined as any incident which caused damage in excess of $100.

Full Article

Middle School STEM is Here

November 30, 2012

From the sun post;

The District 281 School Board approved a proposal Nov. 20 to start a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) magnet school next school year at Robbinsdale Middle School. Up to three sections will open for sixth-graders beginning in the 2013 school year. By 2014, the program will include students in grades 6-7, and students in grade 8 will be added by 2015.

Students matriculating from the School for Engineering and Arts at Olson Elementary will have first priority for enrollment in the new magnet. Additional seats will be filled through a lottery if applications exceed available supply. One change was made to the original proposal. An additional $67,300 was requested to remove two walls in the northeast corner of room 030, one of the rooms to be used for the program, and expand the lab space devoted to small electrical tool use. Those requested were made in addition to the $28,800  originally requested to remove a ramp and half-wall and relocate the south door in room 030.

A sample class schedule included with board documents indicates that students in each grade at the new STEM school would spend period seven, the final class of the day, in classes based on the “Gateway to Technology” curriculum. That curriculum, developed by Project Lead the Way, is currently being used in the district’s middle school technology education programs.

The proposed budget for the first year of classes at the new STEM program comes in at $253,100, with $152,100 for classroom improvements and enhancements. Transportation costs could total around $35,000. “I think this plan will work, and we’re pretty excited about it,” said Gayle Walkowiak, the district’s executive director for teaching and learning.

Board Clerk Mark Bomchill explained his reasons before against the proposal. “I will be (voting no) reluctantly,” he said. “I can’t support something that is going to increase transportation costs. I think that as much as I want a program like this, I can’t support this at this time.”

“One of the reasons that I like this is that students across the district have a chance the participate, and the skills … are the life skills in the 21st century,” said Director Helen Bassett. “I share some of the (transportation) reservations (Bomchill) has … (but) I’m interested in providing something that everyone could use.” The board (sans Treasurer Linda Johnson, who was absent) voted to approve the program, with Bomchill casting the sole vote against. The district opened its School for Engineering and Arts at Olson Elementary this past fall.

Bus Service Issue Still in the News

April 20, 2012

Here’s a letter from the Sun Post about the recent decision to contract out the district’s bus service;

Even before March 5, when five of the seven Robbinsdale School Board members voted to outsource bus transportation jobs, the district administration was telling drivers that they will be fine, they can go work for First Student. Parents were assured that there would be no change in service and that they very likely could end up with the same trusted driver.

Well, that remains to be seen. First Student has held meetings with drivers, offering the opportunity to meet First Student administration and apply for jobs. I went to one of those meetings out of curiosity. First Student could not tell us what the wages would be. We were told there will be no sick time, no retirement plan and no bereavement leave. Family health care is completely unaffordable.

So how many of our current trusted drivers will be able to afford to work for First Student?

Something else that I found interesting was what was said about the routes. Our union leadership has long said that the routes are not efficient and that The Center for Efficient School Operations made our routes that way from the beginning (a few years ago when the district hired them to put our routes together).

Part of the conversation we have been having through all of this is exactly the need to make the routes better in order to save money. Center officials were at the First Student meeting and now says that they will not be changing the routes after all. Really?

All along we have been trying to tell the board members that this is not going to be what you think it is. July 1 isn’t even here yet and we already are finding that to be true.

Jean Woznak


Barb Van Heel’s Letter to the Editor

March 20, 2012

In light of the transportation issue being voted on at the March 5 board meeting, RAS chair Barb Van Heel decided to write an article in the Sun Post explaining the decision. Trouble is, it cleared up very little;

At the March 5 board meeting of Robbinsdale Area Schools, a majority of the board voted to contract out our student transportation operation effective July 1, 2012. This decision was made after nearly a year of detailed study comparing our current in-house transportation operation, which includes some contracted services, to the cost and level of service we could receive from contracting out all services.

Yes, we had a committee, then a committee to watch that committee, and then another committee to watch that committee.

Thank you to everyone who worked diligently to provide information needed for the board to make a careful and informed decision. Thank you to everyone who provided valuable opinions and feedback to the board on both sides of the issue. Several articles and letters appeared in this newspaper, and I would like to clarify some information.

It was recently stated that our administrative costs increased 18.75 percent in one year. It is true that administrative costs increased by that amount in 2010-2011, but this was not due to exorbitant increases in salaries or benefits. Administrators received the same 1 percent salary increase as other employees during the 2010-2011 school year. The increase occurred because the school board restructured contracts to decrease the amount of years of service pay that employees could accrue and decided to pay administrators for years of service they had already earned that were over the new threshold.

So then it is true that costs went up 18.75%? Restructuring is probably a good idea and it will hopefully save money in the long run, but still that is a large increase. And notice Van Heel says that the administration employees got a 1% raise but didn’t say what their increases were in benefits.

The restructuring also moved money from nonsalary items, such as expense allowances, to salaries, which increases the transparency in contracts.

So we moved the money from expense allowances to salaries? That may increase transparency but it isn’t a cut. They are simply shifting the money from one thing to another.

This restructuring started with our current superintendent’s first contract, which had more money in salary and less in other areas, including significantly less in severance pay than our prior superintendent’s contract. The restructuring actually saves school district and taxpayer money over the long term.

Again, while paying out less severance is good, that doesn’t do much for us now. With Dr. Sicoli signed on for the next three years, the earliest severance pay would be paid out would be 2015. And we are considering this a savings now?

Information was also recently stated regarding the special education depreciation aid. It is correct that we have not received any depreciation aid since the law was changed in 2005, which allowed districts to receive the aid. Instead, our district uses a cost allocation method to recoup additional aid through the state special education funding formula. This method is allowable under the special education funding formula, and it has been more advantageous to the district, as the district received more aid than would have been realized using the depreciation aid method. A district is not allowed to use both methods in one fiscal year. This aid calculation does not flaw any comparative study that the district has done; we will continue to generate the revenue regardless of the way we operate our transportation system in the future.

Sounds like a wash.

This decision will provide us with an estimated operational savings of more than $5 million during the next four years. These are savings that can and will be used to maintain class sizes and programs and services that directly benefit our students.

$5 million? Pardon us for being skeptical whenever government tells us they’re saving money, but we just voted to contract out busing even though we don’t have a contract to do so yet. How do we know what the savings are going to be exactly?

Budget dollars will be freed up to provide such things as additional staff development, curriculum resources and expanded use of technology, items that have been shown to make positive gains in academic achievement for all students.

It would be nice to actually see a plan and it would probably add more credibility to this decision. The bland statements about putting “money in the classroom” does little for people. How much staff development to we really need to “invest in?” What curriculum resources are we lacking? Expanded use of technology shouldn’t cost that much. It may cost some but technology is cheaper than ever. Think about what $1000 bought in technology 20 years ago versus today in terms of quality and use.

In addition to the operational savings, the planned capital investment dollars set aside for new bus purchases will be redirected into the classroom, as more than $2.6 million had been planned for bus purchases over the next four years. Just as important, this decision will reduce the magnitude of future budget reductions. I am confident that our administration will be diligent in their efforts to ensure that our students are safe and are provided high quality transportation services. No matter the economic environment, the board and administration are committed to good financial stewardship of our resources to deliver the best possible education to our students.

Count us as skeptics.

Barb Van Heel is chairwoman of the Robbinsdale District 281 School Board. She lives in Robbinsdale.

Well, were your questions answered?

Robbinsdale Votes to Contract Out the Bus Service

March 6, 2012

At the March 5 board meeting the district voted 5-2 to contact out the bus service (thank you to Speed Gibson for his live blogging).

The meeting began with presentations by Superintendent Aldo Sicoli and Financial Director Jeff Priess in an attempt to answer some of the questions about contracting out. Priess said the district can save $2.2 million in capital costs and over $1 million in operating costs per year for the next four years.

The board members all then addressed the issue. They largely said the same things; thanking the bus drivers, saying this has been a tough decision, and then, as always, blaming the state for “inadequate funding.”

Voting yes;

Mark Bomchill, Sherry Tyrrell, Linda Johnson, Patsy Green. and Barb Van Heel 

Voting no;

Tom Walsh and Helen Bassett

We think (not 100% sure) the bus drivers are still under contract until June 30. The district will pay $12,500 severance to “any full time driver whose position is eliminated as a result of a decision to contract out.” The part-time drivers will receive $2,000. However, it sounds as though this is still subject to further negotiation with Local 284.

One More Letter to the Editor

February 11, 2012

Here’s a letter to the Sun Post regarding Aldo Sicoli’s contract and the bus driver issue;

To the editor: I am appalled.

Currently dist. 281 is considering contracting out our dedicated bus drivers. The message from the district is that the district could save a lot of money, and that money is needed for the classroom.

The district has told the drivers that the money will be needed as the district faces cuts in the future. If this is true, then why are the superintendent and school board not leading by example? The Board recently approved wage increases of 1.5 percent each year for three years for the superintendent.

This wage for our superintendent places him in the upper brackets of superintendent compensation. Other bargaining units in the district have also negotiated wage and other increases in this round of negotiations.

The district has been asking the drivers to take significant pay cuts at the threat of losing their jobs. The district is only asking transportation to take cuts, while everyone else gets raises. Our drivers are actually paid right in line with area school districts that do their own busing. They are not overcompensated.

If the district leadership wants drivers that play an integral role in our community and schools to take cuts, then be leaders and ask not from others what you will not do yourself. I guess one board member already said what the district thinks about our bus drivers, they are the “low-hanging fruit.”

Howard Wolff


Singing the Bus Service Blues

September 9, 2011

Well as most of you probably know District 281 is considering contracting out their bus service.  A couple of letters to the editor flew in last week critical of the idea;

Letter: Dist. 281 shouldn’t copy private industry

In the (Aug. 18) article (“District 281 could save $1 million a year by contracting for bus service”), Mark Bomchill wonders how a private contractor can provide bus service for so much less. Here is the answer: By paying drivers $12 per hour rather than $20. That will be the main result once a private contractor gets hold of the program.

That $8 saving for the contractor will reward him well enough that he will have no trouble maintaining the other elements of the program. But what happens to the drivers and to the community?

Those $20 jobs will eventually disappear and most of those remaining will pay closer to $12, with few or no benefits. The contractor’s human resources department can be callous regarding personnel issues. And the $1 million the district saves will no longer be in the hands of local drivers who were spending much of it locally. If the District 281 Board of Education were to bash the drivers in the same way the contractor will, the board could operate the buses even more frugally — it does not have to provide for a profit. But the board should not emulate private industry in this case. Such hammering on lower-paid workers is surely contributing to the nation’s race to the bottom.

Bruce Kittilson

Golden Valley

Now, while we respect Mr. Kittilson’s opinion here we have to take issue with this a bit.  Claiming there will be an $8 an hour drop in pay and that private industry pays “little or no benefits” is quite an exaggeration.  We think the schools SHOULD copy private industry by raising the retirement age and switching from unsustainable pensions to 401K plans.  That would probably be a better idea that getting rid of bus drivers.  We do sympathize with Mr. Kittilson on the issue of lower wages, but it’s been happening in the private sector for years now.  How can we ask a shrinking private sector to endlessly fund an ever-growing public sector?  Something has to give.

Here is another letter;

Letter: Not a simple move

I am quite concerned about the Robbinsdale School Board’s looking into contracting out its busing operation, and the annual million dollars it says can be saved. I can think of some reasons why it might not be a simple move. A few years ago Bloomington changed busing from contracted to in-house. That change was supposed to be for cost-savings and better control. I suggest the board investigate that experience in Bloomington. I can’t imagine Bloomington’s operation can be that much different than ours. If their switch indeed saved them money, Robbinsdale needs to know the how and why of it.

I would also hope that part of the projected savings in transportation would not be offset by an additional long-term rise in custodial costs because of the need for more of those staff. The current driver-custodian positions augment the duties of the custodians. I would like to hope this has been included in the estimates.

If the over-all budget of the district can benefit from the change, then I say “go for it.” But if it’s only a benefit in one budget account, and added cost in another one, then I would like to know that. And whatever negative impacts there may be, such as lost jobs for local people, should be considered as well. My biggest problem is who the contractor might be. The two most likely ones are First Student and Laidlaw, both owned by corporations based in other countries. I really don’t like the idea of my tax dollars going to some foreign corporation’s bottom line profits.

Dutch Fischer


Good information Mr. Fischer, especially the custodial portion; are we going to contract the bus service and then hire new custodians?

Overall, we don’t have enough information to form an opinion on this issue.  We’d love to save more money but we’re not sure this is the best way and we need more information on this $1 million savings figure (ie; what are the long-term implications and what will we do with the custodians).

STEM Favored?

May 19, 2011

From the Sun Post on Thursday May 12;

If Robbinsdale District 281 Schools plans to expand its elementary program offerings in the fall of 2012, it’s pretty clear that a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program would be a safe bet.

Public feedback was taken on expansion program preferences in an April 27 meeting at the Education Service Center in New Hope. About 50 people attended the meeting.  73 percent of the people who registered their opinions in a straw poll at the meeting said they agree or strongly agree that a STEM program should be offered.  72 percent of respondents also agreed or strongly agreed that best practices of gifted education should be incorporated into a STEM magnet program, if one is offered.

While stressing that the School Board has not yet decided on whether to expand its elementary magnet programs, Superintendent Aldo Sicoli conceded that “STEM is very hot nationwide and statewide.”  “I want to be clear: I am not recommending this now,” Sicoli said. “It’s one option to put on the table with everything else. We may have a recommendation at some point.” In response to some questions from the audience, Sicoli said the open enrollment feature would have to be included to make a magnet expansion program financially feasible.  “It’s not financially feasible with only resident students,” Sicoli said. “When you open a building, there is an additional cost.”  One of the assumptions for any expanded magnet program would be that a portion of the seats would be reserved for open enrolled students from outside the district, according to Lori Simon, District 281’s executive director of education services.

Assumptions?  The estimate we’ve heard is that anywhere from 17% to 33% of the seats will be reserved for students who are not currently attending a RSD 281 school.

Six budget subcommittees have been studying ways in which the district’s revenue could be enhanced by increasing enrollment or by slowing the rate of decline, Simon said.  “We’re taking a proactive long-term approach,” Simon said. “It gives us an opportunity to bring in and develop magnet specialty programs to increase revenue and provide more choice.” The types of programs under consideration earlier were narrowed to two options deemed most viable: expand the district’s Spanish Immersion program, or create a STEM magnet.  The numbers of students not chosen by lottery to attend Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School have grown, Simon said. In the 2006-07 school year, 126 students were not selected; in 2009-10, 171 students were not selected.  Of the students who are not selected each year, an average of 45 percent leave Robbinsdale Area Schools and enroll in classes elsewhere, Simon said.

So if non-resident students get in ahead of resident students, these families are going to want to stay?

District 281 can either stand by and watch other school districts lure its students away, or “we can try to play the game more aggressively,” Sicoli said.  At a work session Feb. 14, the District 281 School Board indicated that if a new magnet expansion program is offered beginning 18 months from now, Olson School in Golden Valley probably would be the preferred location, rather than the vacant Pilgrim Lane School in Plymouth.  A subcommittee studying expansion possibilities earlier recommended that the district focus on the Olson facility for future expansion, though the decision doesn’t rule out Pilgrim Lane as another site for a program in the future, Simon said. “Olson is in very good condition and is ready for occupancy almost immediately,” Simon said. “Pilgrim Lane needs substantial work to be occupied by students. At this time, Olson is the most financially viable situation.”  Simon said earlier the difference in capital improvement costs between the two buildings is just under $10 million.

Good, now let’s sell the Pilgram Lane property! Anyway, despite the STEM program being “favored” residents were divided on the magnet idea as a whole;

One attendee who identified himself as a district teacher and resident, said he believes people are using the district’s programs in the primary grades and then enrolling their children elsewhere for secondary school.  “What percent of RSIS students leave District 281 after their RSIS experience is done?” he said. “What is our retention rate after grade five?”  Another resident said he believes the choice between Olson and Pilgrim Lane as the potential site for a possible magnet program “pits one group against another.” “This is not a fair and appropriate use of tax dollars,” he said. “Everyone should benefit.”  Another speaker agreed, saying, “I’m scared about the lack of opportunity for everyone’s kids. What can you do for everyone?”  Still another said, “The lottery scares me. We’re creating an elitist program.”

Sicoli said it is not the district’s intent to pit one group against another.  “The key piece is we’re trying to retain and recapture our students,” Boardmember Patsy Green said. “Area districts are doing a great job of capturing our students. There is definite interest from outside the district from people who want to come in. Why not be the district of desire?” One speaker said her son was enrolled at Meadowbrook School in the Hopkins district, and if he hadn’t been accepted for RSIS he would have continued his education in the Hopkins district.  Another speaker talked about a District 281 family that wanted their child to go to Zachary Lane Elementary, but received no guarantee his siblings would be accepted there, so the whole family open-enrolled into the Wayzata district.  “We could be more family-friendly,” Sicoli said. “We have that [sibling preference] at RSIS, but not at other schools. I will do what I can do to get that changed.” “We are in the kid business, and we need to help students,” Sicoli said. “I don’t care about a kid’s zip code. My hope is that every family here wouldn’t want to leave [District 281] for academic reasons. I want us to be so good that it wouldn’t even cross your mind to leave.  “We’re in education, not in the banking business. We have to provide the best education possible for all our kids.” Plymouth resident Aileen White said she believes District 281 needs to market itself better and “change the way people think about us.”  “Once people get into our schools, they love our schools, our PTAS and our staffs,” White said.

Market itself better?  Is that the district’s biggest problem?  And how do we do that?  We respect Ms. White’s opinion but we think the best marketing is to produce GOOD RESULTS, not come up with catchy phrases or mission statements.

Another parent said that it all comes down to parental involvement. Parents who are active in their children’s school generally have children who are successful in school, she said.

There you have it folks; direct your comments, questions, and concerns to the school board.

281’s Boundaries and Segregation

January 23, 2009

It was nice to see the RSD board room overflowing with concerned citizens January 20 (we attended and watched the proceedings live). The board voted 6-1 in favor of the K-5 option (Tom Walsh supported the K-6 option).

Some of the comments reported at the MN SunPost caught our eye:

Two-dozen people spoke during the public hearing preceding the Jan. 20 school board meeting. Many urged the board to disrupt the fewest number of students and schools possible. Others spoke to the needs of special education students, minorities and youngsters who are living in poverty.

Debbie Shapiro of Plymouth said the K-5 plan retains two unrenovated elementary schools (Northport in Brooklyn Center and Lakeview in Robbinsdale) and “further segregates the district” in racial and socio-economic ways.

“Somewhere in the process the vision has been lost,” she said.

We agree that closing schools was necessary, and appreciate the board adding another forum for citizens to speak. However, the segregation issue will need to be addressed with the new boundaries. A concerned staffer sent us this e-mail response from the District:

Demographic balance is not occurring at our schools now, and was not considered a criterion for the facilities study. For example, our elementary schools now range in minority enrollment from approximately 15% to 70%. The district’s current Desegregation Plan uses two strategies to address equity issues: The use of boundaries and busing, and strengthening higher poverty/minority schools through equity initiatives. These strategies would continue to be used in the future.

The staffer wondered if we should take this to mean they don’t really care about the boundaries they have drawn. How can they keep busing as one of their “fixes” if they are cutting the costs of busing across district? We will keep a close watch on this issue and how the board handles it.

Referendum passes, truth comes out about extra class space

December 10, 2008

Even though enrollment is down, we were told that classrooms were crowded. The district (with Yes281’s help) succeeded in grabbing more of our tax dollars to hire 40 more teachers. Now we’re told that we have extra classroom space, and they may close three schools. This from the Star Tribune:

The Robbinsdale School District has enough extra classroom space to consider closing up to three schools, according to district consultants.

The findings, presented to the school board Saturday, don’t necessarily mean three schools will be closed. But consultants Wold Architects and Engineers and demographer Hazel Reinhardt told board members that cutting down on excess space could allow the district to close two elementary schools and one middle school. In part, the extra space is because of lower-than-expected student enrollment.

Initially, the district had planned on saving $800,000, equivalent to closing one elementary school, despite getting voters to approve a levy request last November that gives the district $9.4 million a year over the next seven years.

Board Chairwoman Patsy Green said she was surprised the district had the space available to get by with three fewer schools. “In the past, the most we’ve looked at is one to two school closings,” she said.

Consultants will present cost-saving scenarios to the board next month, said district spokesman Jeff Dehler. Green said she wants to hear those before making any decisions on closing more than one school.

The board considered closing a school last year after coming up short in a 2007 referendum effort, but decided to make other cuts instead.

Public meetings next month will gather input on the cost-cutting scenarios, and the board has tentatively set Jan. 20 as the date when it will decide which and how many schools to close, Dehler said.

The consultants will present their findings at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16, at Plymouth Middle School, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at Robbinsdale Middle School.

Thanks to a dedicated 281Exposed reader for sending the article above. They added in their e-mail:

Also, according to the school lobbyist, more cuts were planned, even with the referendum, so hopefully closing additional schools will prevent that — and another referendum.

Speed Gibson also questions the lower class size benefits myth:

The battle shaping up is again: neighborhood schools vs. lower class sizes. We now know quite a bit more about the former, both operationally and financially. Unfortunately, we know relatively little about the latter. It’s not a level debating field.

Instead, we have little more than supposition that the benefits of lower class sizes are significant. Are they? Which is the better investment of the $800,000 involved: keeping a neighborhood school open or slightly lowering the class sizes in the remaining schools?

To date, District 281 considers the the case closed, that the benefits of smaller class sizes are obvious and axiomatic. Apparently they have to be, because there sure doesn’t seem to be much actual evidence, you now, like a contracted study.

Before the District makes any further decisions, I’d like to see them spend a little more on a study quantifying the benefits of closing still more schools to lower class sizes.

Another paid study will help, since our school board chair Patsy Green was unaware of the extra space actually available in the district she’s making decisions in.