Tag Archives: school closures

Seattle School Closures Proposed by Superintendent Goodloe – Johnson

The Seattle School District met for almost 4 hours on Tues night discussing their preliminary Capacity Management & Building Closure Recommendations. After the meeting Superintendent Goodloe – Johnson said her power point presentation and summary of actions and appendices would be posted on the Seattle School Board website but when I got home I could find nothing. I guess it was too much to ask that it be posted right away so that parents and kids concerned about the possible fate of their schools could find out what is being proposed.

So here is the summary list of school closures proposed by the Seattle School District at the 11/25/2008 School Board Workshop.

Genesee Hill
Lowell Elementary – houses APP
TT Minor Elementary
Pinehurst – Alternative School #1
Van Asselt Elementary

Programs proposed to be relocated:

Lowell APP to Hawthorne and Thurgood Marshall
NOVA to Meany
Pathfinder K-8 to Arbor Heights
SBOC to Meany
Summit K-12 to Rainier Beach
Thornton Creek to ADDams
TT MinorK-3 Montessori to Leshi
Thurgood Marshall EBOC to Bailey Gatzert
Van Asselt to AAA

New Programs:

New K-5 at Decatur
Thornton Creek K-5 expands to K-8

Discontinued Programs:

African American Academy
AS #1
Arbor Heights
TT Minor

Click on this link to find the location of the schools mentioned.

The closure of Lowell Elementary which currently houses the APP Program and splitting the students in half and sending them to Hawthorne and Thurgood Marshall does not make a lot of sense when you look at the location of the two schools. Both Hawthorne and Thurgood Marshall are further south than Lowell and not that far apart. Most APP students now come from the north end. So why move the students even further South and make it more difficult for parent involvement?

If the goal is to have a viable APP program at two schools then a geographic split would make sense, with one school in the north end and one in the south end. But that is not what is happening. And there was no talk of expanding the APP program to more kids. Splitting the program in half seems more like a way to weaken a good program than helping meet the needs of gifted students. There is strength in keeping the program intact and concentrating resources with more student interaction and teacher and parent interaction.

Rumors on School Closures

Slog has posted some possible school closings to be announced tonight at a Seattle School Board workshop tonight.

Schools mentioned as possible closures include:
TT Minor Elementary
Alternative School #1
African American Academy
Lowell Elementary

Summit is proposed to be moved to Rainier Beach and Thornton Creek Elementary moved to the Jane Addams Building which has housed Summit. There is a discussion thread on Slog.

You can also track various discussions of what is happening at these websites:

West Seattle Blog which has a post on “Arbor Heights Elementary reportedly on the school closure list” , will be live blogging the meeting tonight.

The Seattle Public School community blog will also be live blogging. They have started discussion of the issue at School Closure/Consolidation Rumors & News.

Seattle School District to Close from 3 to 9 More Schools?

Does it sound to you like the Seattle School District really has this figured out? That’s quite a range – closing 3 schools up to triple that at 9 schools. It doesn’t inspire me to visualize that they are on top of this. One would think the numbers would be a little more precise. Of course a projected $24 million shortfall in their budget doesn’t help to calm anyone’s nerves and maybe they’re having trouble figuring out the numbers. Numbers have something to do with math.

As the Seattle PI notes:

“…the district’s longtime enrollment imbalances — largely a result of the district’s school-choice policy — have led to overcrowded schools in North Seattle and some underenrolled South End schools.
Even with the School Board’s 2006 decision to close seven school buildings, the district has 18 percent more classroom space than it needs for its students, according to a recent audit of the state’s 10 largest school districts.
District officials were already considering whether to close more schools when they learned that the district faces at least a $24 million shortfall in the 2009-10 budget. That deficit could grow to more than $44 million if the state withholds Initiative 728 money or cost-of-living increases because of the economic downturn. The initiative, aimed at reducing class size, was passed in 2000.
As a result, the School Board unanimously voted two weeks ago to authorize Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson to immediately begin the process of closing schools.”

On Tuesday night, November 25, 2008 , the Seattle School District is going to announce their plans. As noted on the Seattle Public Schools website for Tuesday night:

Preliminary recommendations presented by the Superintendent, and discussed by the Board at a School Board workshop at 6:00 p.m., John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, 2445 3rd Avenue South. This workshop will be videotaped for later streaming on our Web site.”

The Seattle School District will then hold two public workshops on the preliminary sites chosen for closure and also will hold public hearings at the schools to be closed.

Thursday, December 4th, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, Auditorium 2445 – 3rd Avenue South, Seattle, Washington

Saturday, December 6th, 9:30 – 11:30 AM Filipino Community Center, Main Ballroom 5740 Martin Luther King Way, Seattle, Washington

Public hearings will be held at buildings proposed for closure on Monday, December 15, Tuesday, December 16 and Thursday, December 18. Times and locations will be advertised and posted on the Seattle School district website. This link also has other dates and meetings that are relevant to the proposed school closures and is the best place to follow the process.

The school district site also notes that “Feedback related to capacity management and building closure is welcome. Comments may be emailed to capacity@seattleschools.org, to schoolboard@seattleschools.org or mailed to School Board, PO Box 34165, MS 11-010, Seattle, WA, 98124-1165. The School Board office phone number is 206 252 0040.”

There is at least one excellent community source to help track public reaction to the proposed closures and voicie your opinion. that is the Seattle Public Schools community blog

Excellent recent commentary includes “The Calm Before the Storm or Not?” by Melissa Westbrook and “Where is the Conversation?” by Charlie Maas.

Another blog that posted information on the proposed school closures is the West Seattle Blog.
As they note “…South and West Seattle have the most likelihood of finding schools on this list, since the north end has been dealing with overcrowding,”

And then there’s this illuminating comment by westello on the West Seattle Blog post that rightly points out:

“…if you look at this schedule, the initial announcements are two days before Thanksgiving. The public hearings for each site are the days before the Winter Break right about the time most elementaries have their holiday concerts.
And the final list is to be announced right after the Winter Break. This is a lot to absorb and carry during Thanksgiving and the holidays. I know the district
didn’t mean to be cruel but the timing is harsh.
I appreciate the West Seattle blog keeping up with this but I think between the timing of the meetings and the economic realities overwhelming many, that this will not be on many people’s radar.”

Why is it again and again that the public seems to be at the tail end of each current crisis in the Seattle School District’s process? Doing all of this during the holiday season seems the least likely time to engage the public. But maybe that’s part of their plan.