3-6-14 Special MOPSC Meeting Minutes

Special MOPSC Meeting on March 6, 2014


Topics - Overcrowding and busing issues at Marcy Open School:


Special Guests:

Michael Thomas - Area Superintendent

Pam Blackemore – Executive Director of Student Services

Steve Crenshaw – Transportation Manager (not our area)

Frank Zeman – Assistant Director of Transportation

Leadriane Roby – Principal at Nellie Stone Johnson/working with Michael Thomas

Sara Dotty – Note Taker

Jean Dudley – Time Keeper

Listening and Sharing Session – Speak your truth with grace


*** Marcy’s 2014/15 school year scheduling meeting is tomorrow morning at 7:30 – 8:15 in Media Center – write ideas for scheduling on a post it notes and we will look at them in the morning meeting.***


Overcrowding in our school –

·      Too many kids in the classroom or student ratios

·      Physical space and not having enough

·      Is there anything happening in the district that will lower our class sizes 

·      We have a variety of ways we talk about capacity, instructional capacity vs. architectural capacity vs. fire capacity

·      Instructional capacity is the issue at hand at Marcy – a better ratio

·      We have long term plans but we need a short time plan bridge

·      This is a zone wide problem – there is a bubble in 4th grade

·      Michael is working to alleviate the problem next year  - We have many families being placed at Marcy and Sheridan in the Northeast

·      We want families to choose Marcy and know what an Open School is and Sheridan is saying the same thing with their Arts focus

·      City View will be open next year preK-2 model

·      Talking with CEO to see if City View could be a K-5 option of families to accommodate the bubble

·      Webster to open in 2015/16 Pre K-2 to then grow to a Pre K-5 school

·      Sheridan could have more room and options if City View was an option

·      We need more schools in this area

·      Staffing flexibility and models  - if you have larger class sizes we might need 2 teachers in those rooms

·      We have the ASD K-8 program here that take space – this is a growing need in Northeast – they are looking for buildings in our area that could take more ASD classrooms

·      What about PODS for classrooms?  Not the districts first option. We don’t own the space around the building

·      Would a staggered building hours for staff and students help?

·      District has looked at extending the school day, it come with a significant cost

·      We, at Marcy, explored a zero hour for band and it was an equity issue for students who are able to get here and those that cannot

·      Is it true that 30 million dollars that is going into Webster?  The Zone might have that much money but not one school.  They are redesigning the building to bring it up to code and make the most of the space.

·      Who determines what site gets what money in each zone?  Look at the needs of each building, there is money to keep buildings running and operational, there is money for bigger projects, and this is out of Michael’s scope and he is not sure of the formula is used to determine this.  The look at the cost benefit.

·      When we have a big classroom and kids leave why are they putting new kids into the classroom?  Is the district that full?  YES, we are that full.

·      Every zone is feeling the effects of the number of students in our school district

·      There is priority with neighborhood schools, if you live in this neighborhood you go to this school

·      The district is looking at managing our enrollment more efficiently

·      The district is looking to fund things differently – if a class is full there might be a licensed classroom teacher and an AE

·      The bigger the school the bigger the budget – yet there is only so much physical/architectural space

·      Could this building be expanded?  Could we go up?

·      We don’t want to lose anyone in our building?  Our families don’t leave.

·      What about a campus approach to Marcy?  Upper? Lower?

·      If the demand for Marcy Open is so great and we don’t want a campus approach, do we look at opening another open school in the area?  Can we replicate some things that are happening at Marcy in another building?

·      There will be another middle school option in NE in 2015/16

·      Parent who volunteers in a classroom of her child sees 40 kids in 3rd grade and there is not enough space and it is impossible to be a good teacher and do a good job with that many kids.  Teach, behavior, testing, and not enough room to do a circle

·      Parent is concerned about her 4th grader, went to Donna with concerns and wants to maybe put kids in a private school since things are so crowded here

·      The district needs to act fast to save all our families

·      It might not be wise to build on when there are other options and buildings available



Busing issues –

·      Bus 6 is chronically late, weather but also just late.  Kids arrive late to school and miss academics

·      Is there a text system for late buses?

·      Email families about late buses?

·      Steve – we are having an old fashioned winter and it is causing lots of issues, there has been some improvement with the better weather

·      We know buses are late if a parent or bus driver calls in

·      There could be a route issue if a bus is chronically late

·      We are in Zone 1 – North buses and Northeast buses

·      Transportation has a GPS that they can check and keep track of routes and stops

·      Parents on bus 6 have to drive their kids to school since the bus is late

·      Buses are supposed to arrive at 8:30, so they are in here prior to school start

·      Transportation has shortages so there are less folks to answer the phones

·      We are not aware that there is an online way to enter late buses and issues

·      When parents leave messages they are not getting return calls

·      Dispatch puts calls in the system

·      They are supposed to put in voicemail calls into the system also and return calls if requested

·      Pam apologized for the transportation issues we have experienced and understands that we need to improve what they do

·      Working on an app so that you can get accurate information on your bus

·      Working on a system where kids have a card and they scan it as they get on the bus, so a child cannot get on the wrong bus.  (Student tracking)

·      Transportation tape records all conversations for accountability, all calls should be answered and addressed

·      GPS is on all District Buses

·      The send and email to site coordinators about buses that are late, this started last week

·      All contract buses have the MPS GPS but they are all not working properly

·      Parent Facebook page that shares all this info and our parents are all not represented at this meeting

·      Bus 1 is always late getting to Marcy in the afternoon

·      We had a bus driver have kids get out and help push/shovel out a stuck bus

·      We need drivers that have social skills to deal with students

·      HHH students could not get a bus to Marcy, it took 3 weeks to get a bus and the family left and went to a charter school

·      The district has had to use cabs to get kids to school

·      Steve is going to work with our school to find out what buses are late and they are going to work to fix it.

·      Call 612-668-2300 to find out in real time where the bus is

·      When parents call they are on hold for over 20 minutes

·      Transportation is increasing their staff so that you don’t have to wait more that 5 minutes

·      Is there an email that we can send information about late buses in our area?

·      You can email Pamela.Blackaoore@mpls.k12.mn.us 612-669-2133 work 612-290-4702 cell

·      Harry is our manager, Steve will get things started and turn it over to Harry when he gets back to work from his vacation

·      Building and Grounds department takes care of the schools (snow mound removal, etc)

·      Can’t the school district work best with the city to get the streets cleaned or made safer for all students?

·      Cities should be more sensitive to schools but we, as a district, have little pull with them


If you have any other concerns or questions feel free to contact Donna Andrews at Donna.Andrews@mpls.k12.mnus and if she cannot answer them, she will direct them to the right person.