For the first time in many years, UCPS has posted accurate capacity numbers. Let that sink in for a moment. I’ve been chasing down DPI capacity calculations from UCPS for several years. These are simple calculations based on formulas provided by the NC Department of Public Instruction. It’s basic math. Yet for some reason, UCPS has been unable to provide these numbers FOR YEARS. Melissa Merrell has been the head of the Facilities Committee for a few months and all of a sudden it’s raining data.
Todays post is sponsored by the word “Perjury”
I think it’s worth mentioning here that I reached out to Don Hughes personally as well as filing a FOIA request several years ago, in order to gain access to these capacity numbers. Dr. Ellis, Dr. Webb, and all of the BOE filed sworn affidavits indicating UCPS had no records for Core Capacity. A couple of months ago, Don Hughes admitted that there is a spreadsheet used to calculate Core Capacity for all of the schools and he has had it in his possession since he took the job running the Facilities Department back in 2009. What’s that word that means you intentionally made false statements under oath? Oh yeah, perjury. That’s the word I was looking for. Perjury. Don Hughes already acknowledged that he arbitrarily adjusted the Core Capacity numbers to make redistricting look better. We also have Facilities e-mails confirming that the Core Capacity numbers were changed to make redistricting look better. Now we know Don Hughes is just as dishonest as the rest of the gang. With any luck, Don Hughes will be unemployed by the end of this school year. You shouldn’t get a free pass when you intentionally put children in harms way to fit your personal agenda.
And now we return to your regularly scheduled post…
Back to the topic at hand. Over the last few weeks I’ve asked the BOE (again) to provide documentation on the various types of capacity measurements for our schools. None of it is complicated. All of it is very straightforward. Lo and behold, every single item I requested was provided, usually within a couple of days. Not only did Melissa Merrell provide the information I requested, I double-checked the math, and it appears to be correct. I ran my own Core Capacity numbers a couple of years ago and posted them on this website. The numbers I ran two years ago appear to be an exact match for the numbers Melissa Merrell sent me. Again, it’s not difficult math, so the fact that I had the right answer two years ago isn’t really a big deal. It’s shameful that UCPS was unable to provide such basic information for so long and they chose to resort to perjury to try and hide their manipulations.
UCPS has committed to using a formula to calculate Core Capacity based on 4-seatings of lunch in the cafeteria. DPI offers several different formulas for Core Capacity, this is one of them. I’ve said it before, I don’t care which formula UCPS uses, so long as the same formula is applied across all the schools equally. This Core Capacity formula essentially tells us how many students the school cafeteria can feed.
UCPS is also using a standard DPI formula for calculating Classroom Capacity. Classroom Capacity is based on the quantity of each type of classroom. General purpose classrooms are worth a certain number of students, chemistry classrooms are worth a certain number of students, etc. etc. All of those numbers are added together and you get Classroom Capacity. This Classroom Capacity tells us how many students a school can educate at one time. I’ve been told that for high schools with block schedules, DPI creates a lower number based on 77% attendance. I’m still trying to confirm this. However, the 77% value isn’t used in calculating anything else, so even if we throw that number out, it doesn’t change anything. It should also be noted that the physical size of a classroom doesn’t change the number of students DPI assigns to it for Classroom Capacity. A general purpose classroom that is 900 sqft in an older school counts for the same number of students as a 1,500 sqft general purpose classroom in a newer school.
School Capacity is a new construct that we haven’t seen in UCPS, at least not in the last few years. At first I was confused by adding a 3rd capacity measurement but after seeing all the numbers, this makes sense. If you look at the newer middle schools, their Core Capacity is more than 2,300 students because of their large cafeterias. But their Classroom Capacity is around 1,200. There’s no logical sense to shoving 2,300 students into a school when you can only teach 1,200 of them. Likewise you can’t shove 1,500 students into a school when you can only feed 1,200 of them (Sun Valley HS). This is where School Capacity comes into play. School Capacity is being set by the Facilities Committee and is based on the lower value of the Core or Classroom Capacity. If Core Capacity is too high, then School Capacity is set to match Classroom. If Classroom Capacity is too high, then School Capacity is set to match Core. It’s not arbitrary and so far, it looks like it is being applied equally across all the schools
In the near future, I will be writing up an analysis on what these accurate capacity numbers show with regards to the 2016 bond, as well as what these numbers show us about the redistricting plan. I’ll give you a hint though, we were 100% right about redistricting being a big steaming pile of bullshit. If you want to run the numbers yourself, you are welcome to it. You can find a copy of all these numbers for the schools related to the 2016 bond at the website www.ucpsbond2016.com, under Bond Resources. You can also grab a copy of the PDF file here.
Go, be fruitful, and calculate… or arithmecate… or… something… But take a look at the numbers. We fought long and hard to get access to accurate data. Turns out all we needed to get to the truth was get rid of Kevin Stewart. Raise your hand if this shocks you. This is me, not raising my hand.
-“Giddy As A Geek With Numbers To Crunch” Dad