12.

There are a handful of proven strategies to minimize the impact of overcrowding. They include:

  • implement year-round schools
  • stagger the school day to allow for fewer kids and more time at lunch and recess
  • temporarily repurpose other buildings as schools
  • encourage the formation of charter schools

What can the district do next year to improve learning environments?

Answers: 
Ty Alper

All options should be on the table. I have written about some of the negative effects of overcrowding here: http://tyalper.org/2014/09/10/crowdedschools/. We should also look at all available space in the District, though it is likely unrealistic for repurposed space to be available in time for Fall 2015. The Board received the latest demographic projections in January 2014, about 10 months ago, and is starting to look at options for alleviating overcrowding at its meeting on November 5. We need to move quickly to keep all viable options on the table.

Josh Daniels

As I mentioned in my response to Question #4, the board has begun a 4-meeting plan to address the challenges we face from increasing elementary school enrollment. The first meeting occurred on October 8 and the second meeting will occur on November 5 when we will begin the discussion of options. A number of ideas are likely to be considered, including building a new school, repurposing existing buildings, consolidating transitional kindergarten at one school site, increasing class size, adding portable, and many other proposals submitted by staff, the board, and the community. In addition, we also must consider increased staffing level.

Norma J F Harrison

Everybody works and plays all the time. Everybody visits far off places all the time. Everybody lives rich full lives all the time. These restricted ways to live, these accustoming ourselves to discomfort, - why! Are we to believe the church – that tells us we’re supposed to be miserable?, and the economics professors that tell us the same thing – scarcity! There needn’t be scarcity, if we’re permitted to provide all of us for us all. This system doesn’t permit that.

Next year? ...at the rate we’re going...never telling the truth about school’s role, about our lives lived in service to our Owners, the profiteers, we’ll NEver achieve comfort and security for us all. If we DO begin to work for it, it’ll be a long time coming. Our Owners will continue to beat and kill us as we rise. THEy cannot tolerate us living equitably, all well off.

The reforms – they don’t.

Karen Hemphill

We have to make do with the system that exists while we work to make the huge changes I’m telling you need to be made. But we have to not say that we are able to fix any of these problems using the present configurations permitted us. The battle is to tear down the brutal formation – step by step, and then altogether replace it with the ways we come up with that serve us beautifully.

Julie Sinai

I am one of two Board members on the Capacity and Facilities Board Subcommittee. We have asked the Superintendent to bring the Board every possible scenario we can consider with the property owned by the District. Before I make, or support, any recommendation for a major change, like year-round schools or staggered schedules, I want to exhaust every option available to us. Those options could include repurposing existing school sites that are already permitted for student education (i.e. BTA, Berkeley Adult School, REALM Charter School, Pre- school Centers, etc.). To repurpose a building that is not currently used as a school site is costly and requires lengthy timelines. I have urged the Board to make short-term decisions for school year 2015-16 by December or early January and longer-term solutions by March. Staff will bring the range of options to the November 5.