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The new SB options: If I were a Forge parent, I would be furious

Actually, I'm kinda that way now, to be honest. I think we were all under the impression that this "urgent" redistricting initiative was taken on right away to alleviate the over-crowding at Forge. Well, hopefully, at some point that will happen but not anytime in the next two years in either of the two new options. Follow along, dear reader, as we crunch some numbers to see how the SB chickened out.

First, let's look at the new options the SB devised tonight, A and B:

Option A: To Mountain View APU's 117, 124,142, 143, 187 To North - APU 166 Autumn Ridge, Embrey Mill North Capacity percentages CFHS- 90.76, MVHS - 90 NSHS - 93.76

Option B: To Mountain View: APU's 117, 124, 142, 143, 187 To North: APU163 - Arbor Glen and Marshall Estates ONLY, APU 166 Embrey Mill North Capacity Percentages: CFHS - 93, MNHS - 90, NSHS - 91

See the APU's affected below, red arrows to MVHS and blue to NSHS. Autumn Ridge only moves in Option A, APU 163(Arbor Glen, etc.) only moves in Option B.

The good: Almost anyone who reads this blog has got to be happy tonight because the board tossed all of their previous options and came up with ones that move practically none of Rockhill. SB Rockhill Rep Patricia Healy has to be happy with these results, to be sure.

Garrisonville Rep Connelly might be less happy, since one of the options still has Autumn Ridge but that option, Option A, is highly unlikely to be chosen. With the capacity percentages so close in both options and with vocal complaints from that community, the SB will not move this established community. I believe it is safe to say Option B will be selected.

Let's not discount the real perceived victory here: the capacity percentage numbers. They are nice and spread out, in the low 90's for every school. Plus, with all the schools at 90%, we officially trigger the need for and investigation into high school 6. Of course, they are 2020-21 school year percentages but that's ok, right?

This seems like a win-win for everyone: the SB is happy because there aren't going to be a million screaming families in their faces over the next weeks and months. The vast majority of parents are happy because their community is no longer in consideration. Everyone gets to pat themselves on the back, have a drink and reflect on a job well done. What could be bad?

The bad: Brace yourself, here comes the cold water. To see the bad, we have to dig into some different numbers. Let's start with what I consider to be the more likely of the two options, Option B. This option was derived from the prior Option 6, so let's pull the numbers from that option.

Option B is similar to Option 6, with the notable removal of Augustine North and addition of a small section of APU 163 so we have to account for those changes in the tables above. Let's start by crunching some numbers just for next year:

- Students removed from Forge: 65 (we are using the "103" number above, not the 112 number, which is an error.)

- Capacity percentage for Forge for next year: Taking the SCPS number of projected students for 2017-18 from the "Out of Capacity" Table and subtracting the 65 rising 9th grader students removed, you get a 98.4 capacity percentage next year. Considering they are now at 98.9, that is hardly any relief. Add to this the sibling proposal that will allow younger siblings to follow older ones to Forge and we could see the same number or more students at Forge next year than this year!

2018-19 is slightly better, with a capacity percentage of 97%, again not including any siblings that may tag along, so look for that actual number to go up. 2019-20 shows much more progress at 93% plus siblings. However, there is a slight uptick to 93.3% plus siblings in 20-21, the number that the SB referred to at the meeting.

What this means is Forge won't be feeling much, if any relief over the next TWO YEARS if this option is chosen. AND this doesn't include any by-right development that may come to the Forge district over the next few years, which needs no approval from the BoS or any new development that will require BoS approval. The SB even mentioned at the meeting a new 100 home development at Winding Creek, not in these projection numbers, that will generate 30 more HIGH SCHOOL students to the Forge district if the BoS approves the development. This option doesn't even come close to fixing Forge's problems, it is truly a band-aid on a bullet hole.

Just for fun and because I am a glutton for punishment, let's look at Option A. I personally feel that this option is less likely to be chosen only because I have a hard time believing that Garrisonville Rep Connelly will just smile and let his Autumn Ridge constituents be handed over. He has fought and fought to keep his people out of consideration, mostly against Ms. Healy. But now with most of Rockhill's APU's removed from consideration, Ms. Healy has no reason to oppose him as she gets everything she wants from both options.

This option does go further long term to alleviate Forge's issues but short term, the numbers in this option aren't much better.

Option A: To Mountain View APU's 117, 124,142, 143, 187

To North - APU 166 Autumn Ridge, Embrey Mill North

Here, we have to subtract the Augustine numbers from the top table and add the Autumn Ridge numbers from the bottom. Starting with just the next school year:

-Students removed from Forge: 73

-Capacity Percentages: Since 73 is more than 61, so we see a slight decrease in this number to 98% for next year, again not counting siblings. Again, we have a good chance that by allowing siblings, we could see just as many students at Forge next year as this year. Relief felt will be minimal.

In 2018-19, we see the capacity percentage go down a bit more to 96.2%, again without siblings. The next year it plummets to 91.6 and finally lands at the 20-21 school year at the 90.7 number the SB mentioned at the meeting.

Clearly, Option A has the best hope for giving Forge some longer term relief because it seems that there are quite a few younger children in Autumn Ridge who would otherwise attend Forge a few years down the road. That doesn't do much for the short term pain Forge will feel with 98% and 96.2% capacity percentages over the next two years.

And remember, again, there is more development on the way for the Forge district, both to be approved by the BoS and By-right, which requires no approval. These projection numbers are not hard numbers, they will shift and change in ways we may not be able to predict over the next few years.

What's the takeaway? As happy as I am for all of the families who don't have to move their kids, neither of these options truly addresses the current over-crowding at Forge, which I THOUGHT was why we were doing this. Maybe the SB is counting on some families not being able to grandfather their kids because they can't drive them. Considering how far some of these families will now have to drive to get their grandfathered kids to Forge, that may actually free up some real capacity next year.

In any case, with more development unaccounted for in the SCPS projections likely on the way, I wonder if Forge's students will ever get relief as they try to walk the hallways, ride three to a seat on the bus, struggle to get the classes they want due to them already being full and eating lunch at 10am. What a sure would be nice if we had school officials who would, you know, make the hard decisions to do what is best for the kids.....but who am I?

I realize that many of my Rockhill district readers would like to put this all behind them but if you have children at Forge and you are worried at all about over-crowding there for the next couple of years, please reach out to the SB now and tell them these options are complete garbage.