I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In Need of a Re-Balancing

     Our middle schools county-wide appear to be in desperate need of a “re-balancing”.
In looking at the latest pupil membership report for Escambia County Schools (December 2013) here, and adding the data for capacity and satisfactory student stations found in the Florida Inventory of School Houses under the summary data, facilities tab, located here—we appear to have way too much underutilized capacity at several middle schools.
     Bailey middle school is bursting at the seams, and Ransom, Ferry Pass, and Ernest Ward appear to be about right.
     Brown Barge Middle School’s (BBMS)capacity is artificially capped by the District—there is significant pent-up demand from parents to lift the cap at BBMS—but little appetite from the administration to do so.  This is unfortunate.   Therefore, BBMS’s (artificially maintained) excess capacity will remain.
     On the other side of the spectrum, where parents have made the decision to send or not to send their students, we have a significant problem.   Something must be done about Woodham, Warrington, and Bellview Middle Schools, with excess satisfactory student station capacity of 973, 619, and 438 respectively at these three schools.
     Woodham and Warrington have me particularly concerned; between these two schools there is  underutilized capacity of almost 1,600 student stations— a number of vacancies equivalent to the entire

 school population of Pensacola High School!  We have expended $Millions over the last 5 years at Warrington Middle School to make that facility first-rate----and for this investment we are now down to 649 students.  Woodham’s population continues to decline for other reasons—but the facility itself is more than adequate for the purpose so why the precipitous decline in population?
This excess capacity at the Middle Schools is inefficient and expensive; something must be done to correct this.

      I’m going to discuss this issue at the next scheduled school board discussion workshop.  Perhaps it is time to reactivate the School Attendance Zone Advisory Committee (SAZAC)?

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