Saturday, September 23, 2006

NACS Ignorance and lack of attention to detail

The June 1, 2005 NACS Feasibility Study on page 13 defines Capacity in the following way.

“The 100% student capacity of the current high school 10-12 building is 1,625. This number was calculated by multiplying the number of available classrooms, 69 (as identified by the principals), by 25 (standing for the optimum number of students per classroom at the high school level.) An 85% portion of the total student capacity is 1,381, or otherwise known as the optimal occupancy figure, and was used to calculate a maximum efficiency usage for the building. The current student population of the 10-12 building is 1,145; this is about 70% occupancy. As the occupancy rate exceeds the 85% level, concerns or the pains of overcrowding occur, such as scheduling troubles, crowded lunch lines, traveling teachers, dangerously crowded stairwells and hallways, etc.”

Did you follow that? Now take a look at Table T-9 on page 35. Capacity is identified as 1,700 and optimum capacity as 1,445. The premise is there are 69 classrooms that can accommodate 25 students each. When I multiply 69 by 25 I get 1,725, not the 1,700 listed in Table T-9 nor the 1,625 listed on page 13. I am not sure, but it looks like these numbers come from multiple different studies about different schools or the “experts” are not experts.

Now take a look at the Freshmen Academy.

“The 100% student capacity for the Freshman Campus is 700. This is based on 28 available classrooms multiplied again using 25 as the optimum number of students per teacher ratio, to get a figure of 700. The 85% optimal occupancy figure of 595 was again used as the target goal for maximum building efficiency usage. The current student population of the freshman campus is 447, or 75% occupancy. The conversion of the middle school to a freshman campus has been a very positive solution to the fast-pace growth of the district. It has brought a temporary reprieve to the need for high school growth. These current building occupancy results as applied to the previous demographic data available to the committee shows a definite need to move forward with some form of high school expansion.”

Table T-9 on page 35 identifies the capacity as 700. Ok, this matches the study’s number. They list 28 classrooms that can accommodate 25 students each. The product of these two numbers is 700. They match, this is good.

My question now is with design capacity and optimum capacity. Design capacity is the target value at, which cost effectiveness is most efficient. It is the criteria used to determine the size of a school in terms of cafeteria, class rooms, hallways, administration, library, gyms, shops, utilities and any other aspect that is dependent on the number of bodies envisioned the school is to cope with.

These experts state ”An 85% portion of the total student capacity is 1,381, or otherwise known as the optimal occupancy figure, and was used to calculate a maximum efficiency usage for the building.” This disturbs me in a number of ways.

First, who designed the school to begin with, were they contacted? Did these experts even look at the original design criteria of the school or are they “swag’ing” it? The number 25 just pops out of thin air. We have all been in buildings and they all have an occupancy limit. These are calculated based on a number of variables with one being the number of exits.

Second, they reduce design capacity to 85%. As an engineer, the performance of the process improves as you reach 100%. However, in this case maximum efficiency declines as you approach 100%. My question is why? My first thought is, is the 25 students per classroom not correct?

Third and most important of all, they state they ar”multiplying the number of available classrooms, 69” (as identified by the principals), by 25 (standing for the optimum number of students per classroom at the high school level.)” arrive at design capacity. However, as with any mathematics, chemistry and particularly physics, one must pay careful attention to units. When I multiply (69 classrooms) x (25 optimum-students per classroom) I get 1,725 optimum students. However, this study calculates optimum capacity to begin with and then reduces it by another 85%.

Fourth, in the Academy calculation they use
"25 as the optimum number of students per teacher ratio"
and with the High School they use
"25 (standing for the optimum number of students per classroom at the high school level.)"

What grade would you give this report? Simple math errors, wrong units, mismatched units and more. They want to spend $63.75 million. I would expect a report that warrants an A+ before I support spending this amount.

It is sad to find that optimum is not defined anywhere. What I have identified is the sole basis for this study, enrollment capacity. I have shown that the study’s units are incorrect, values are incorrect and results are incorrect. The entire study is wrong, building size, heating & ventilation, cafeteria, gym, hallways, administration offices and more are based on design capacity and when your criteria is wrong, the entire design will be wrong.

This petition drive is not about two high schools, but is about spending taxpayer’s money wisely. We have years before additional high school capacity is needed. We have years to perform a real study, using real numbers, using good accounting standards and from these create a long-term plan for NACS.

Sign Blue to keep property taxes low through responsible spending and accounting of taxpayers’ money.


At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of a sudden this petition drive isn't about two high schools...who are you trying to kid? Stick to the facts, Mr. Larsen and stop trying to confuse the issue. The taxpayers in this corporation are not stupid and see right through this latest charade!

At 1:47 PM, Blogger William Larsen said...

Since I do not know who you are, let me begin by saying I attended the NACS board hearings when they presented the Renovation proposal. At this meeting I asked several questions that were very relevant to the issue of spending money. Instead of answering the question, they deferred my question to Bill Mallers who then deferred the question to be answered at a later time instead of answering it before the entire public. What were they trying to hide? Did I discover a problem with the report, but did not know it at the time? Let us be very frank now. The NACS board had a feasibility study that could have been posted on the NACS web site. This web site is to inform the school district of important issues. However, that school district chose not to post such important information until just about two weeks ago.

I have always been skeptical of those who present facts, but cannot answer the questions relating to such facts. Now that I have the feasibility study I find numerous errors. Apparently this does not concern you. You ask me to stick to the facts, what are the facts? The fact is Felger at the NACS board meeting stated a new school would cost over $120 million. I have that on tape. The fact is their own feasibility study shows they increased the size of the proposed new school by 38%. They then compared this new school to renovation. On top of this they added $20 million for Carroll's renovation at $65 per sq. ft. but this number is $7 million less than the renovation identified on the same table T-9 just a few rows below. Fact, page 13 identifies optimum students per classroom is 25, but after calculating capacity they lower this optimum capacity value by 15%.

Facts bring me some facts. If my facts, numbers or assumptions are wrong, please identify where I made a mistake, but quit hiding behind false hoods and unsubstantiated claims. Your answer frankly is without basis or substance. You present no facts, but innuendo.

Others may want a new high school, but I want facts and from these facts a good long-term plan developed. What do you want?


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