Is the 2012 voter approved bond program being well managed relative to the voter approved scope of work? I do not think so. Two reports for the 8/16/16 PPS Board meeting highlight a financial problem (here).
PPS is running out of bond funds and may cut back on planned roof and seismic improvement projects. Note that the Bond Accountability Committee report says of improvement projects for 2017 that “the program’s financial ability to accomplish construction next year will be finally determined early in 2017.” The BAC report also says, more generally, “Substantial risks still exist in the program so we remain very concerned about this shrinking level of contingency/reserves.”
I have complained before about PPS recklessly over-building high school enrollment capacity, mostly recently about plans for Benson (here). PPS still, to my knowledge, has not put into the public record a district-wide high school enrollment forecast that exceeds the 15,7344 forecast for 2028-29.
The current memo to the Board from the Office of School Modernization gives the background:
Not only has the PPS Board increased the enrollment capacities of the high schools to be rebuilt well beyond enrollment forecasts but the Board has increased classroom spaces without acknowledging that increased classrooms spaces yield enrollment capacity increases. Part of this problem is that PPS has not been transparent about how “enrollment capacity” is determined. And, making that concept even slipperier, PPS sometimes uses the phrase “design capacity.” Is “capacity” the maximum number of students that could legally fit within a high school or is “capacity” based on some set (what set?) of assumptions that could change over time. I fear that actual future maximum enrollment capacities are far larger than PPS now states.
Of course, the basic problem with over-building high school enrollment capacity is wasting dollars on unneeded space. But now, opportunity costs are becoming clearer. In addition to roofs and seismic upgrades, PPS needs to fix a variety of health related problems and needs to rebuild Kellogg middle school. Every dollar wasted on high school over-building could have been but was not used to deal with these other problems.
One of the top priorities of the interim PPS superintendent should be to get PPS on top of this.