If you go back to the Superintendent's proposal, the savings included:
$232,000 - annual rent, now saved because the alternative programs WILL go into district space at Marquette and Lapham
$119,000 - one principal, now a wash because the assistant principal position at Sherman Middle School was slated for reassignment because enrollments dropped below the level at which Sherman was entitled to a middle school
$90,000 - EXTRA COST of new bus routes to get kids from Marquette side of isthmus to the Lapham side, now a no-cast because there are no new routes
Assorted clerical and other support staff cuts, plus an end to the voluntary small class size at Lapham (not part of consolidation but also cost saving).
The plan that I put forward during the budget deliberations illustrated that it was possible to achieve savings and keep the pair open. Many of those elements were part of the reconsideration decision. E.g., it does NOT cost more to keep these schools open if we restructure how the space is used. We did that in our vote.
As for criticizing Cole and Moss, I would make a plea to cut them some slack. Before they were sworn in, I pleaded - publicly and privately - with other board members to slow down the process because I believed that it put the new board members in an unprecedented no-win situation. For reasons that were not explained, district and board leadership prevailed with a plan to fast track the budget.
As a result, two members of the board with less than one monthly meeting cycle under their belts, were asked to participate and vote accurately in a process that is among the most complicated that the board undertakes in a fiscal year. Regardless of what they did and did not do, They were put in a terrible position from the outset, and it showed in some of the subsequent events.
Yes, the board could have stayed the course. I find it ironic that the same community that criticizes the White House for staying the course on bad policy in Iraq, is so very comfortable criticizing two new board members for recognizing a bad policy decision and having the courage to asking to change course.