The meeting of the PPS Boundary Advisory Committee at Sabin School on Thursday night, Jan. 20th, for all its length, had no surprises. After spending the first two-thirds of the time talking through details of options and plans the BAC had privately considered a day or so ago, ten of the twelve BAC members, with various degrees of reluctance, voted for the so-called “orange” plan with modifications, one voted for the “blue” plan, and one, Alameda representative Scott Rider, declined to vote for either plan on the grounds they were far too rushed for decisions of this scale.
Marshalled to their task by the extremely skilled independent consultant hired (we presume) by the PPS to see the BAC complete their assignment, the BAC members deserve a round of grateful applause for their valiant efforts to do their job. But it was like watching a trial with only a prosecuting attorney serving as judge. It was readily admitted that the statistics used for the demographics were years old, some from the 2000 census, student estimates based on current student enrollment not the number poised to enroll. Undisclosed authorities had declared that some sections on the district provided map of Alameda/Beaumont could not be considered. So the BAC dutifully limited their inquiry to the sections of Alameda (and a piece of Irvington) that were presented for surgery.
Some of the BAC felt more concern for the dicing of the grand old Alameda Neighborhood than others. But all (except one) yielded to the coaching of the consultant who assured them they owed it to the Superintendent to recommend not only one of the two plans, but a basis for cutting a new boundary.
In the final third (plus overtime) of the meeting, the consultant adroitly led the group to consider each of the segments that were helpfully labeled by the district for possible movement to the Sabin School boundary, and to decide the priority the Superintendent should use in determining which segments should be included to obtain the requisite number of students. Much discussion was devoted to deciding where the Tri-Met bus runs through Alameda. Perhaps Tri-Met has information about students-to-be that PPS lacks. The final series of votes were taken by having the BAC members show four fingers if they agreed, three if they agreed reluctantly, two if they had questions, and one finger if they declined to vote. Scott was polite, and it was suggested to him that he voted with the wrong finger.
It was hard to hear which segments were finally chosen for the prioritization, so that information will be posted Friday after consultation with our representative.