Recently members of Wichitans for Effective Education asked USD 259, the Wichita public school district, this question:
How many classrooms (and portables) are there in 2007-08? For 2006-07?
This would seem a fairly simple question for the school district to answer. After all, part of the district’s argument for the proposed bond issue in 2008 is that schools are overcrowded. To make that assessment, the district must have some measure of its capacity.
Here’s the answer that we received from the clerk of the board of USD 259:
The information is available. In order to prepare the information, it will require 40 hours of staff time @ $20.00 and 300 copies @ $.20, for a total cost of $860.00.
The district is telling us that in order to count the number of classrooms it possesses, it will take someone an entire workweek to produce this number. Does it seem like the Wichita public school district is effectively managing its resources when it will take one week to simply count the number of classrooms? It would seem that this number should be readily available, as it is an important measure of the district’s physical plant and capacity.
By the way, the man in charge of these facilities, the district’s chief operations officer, has been named interim superintendent.
If you have been inside any of the USD259 schools, you would see that the reason it may be complicated for the district to complete and the reason it would need someone to do a physical count. If you include all of the spaces, including actual classrooms, portables, offices, closets, etc. that are used for instructional spaces – not just traditional classrooms, the numbers would be skewed. Best practice is reducing class size, especially during intervention, in order to make teaching as explicit and rigorous as possible. One number of classrooms, would not outline needs for the students.