Seattle Public Schools closure vote, as it happened (video added)

January 29, 2009 at 5:53 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle school closure, West Seattle schools | 46 Comments

(12:42 am note: Video clips have been added to the coverage below, at the spots relevant to when they were shot. Also: Here’s the official district news release)

8:34 PM UPDATE: It’s all over – including the shouting. Just small groups talking, hugging in the hallway (video clip above, added 8:47). Topline to everything below: The closure plan passes largely as-is, with Cooper Elementary‘s program to close, Cooper’s building to become the new home of Pathfinder K-8, the once-closed building that has housed Pathfinder for more than a decade – Genesee Hill – to be shuttered. All this takes effect as of the next school year, and planning/transitioning/communicating is to begin immediately.

8:02 PM UPDATE: Bass has said she wishes there were more time, to work out a better plan. The final vote is getting closer. Bass says after this, she wants to speak with anyone and everyone about the assignment plan. She says it’s leadership to stand alone sometimes. She says she wanted to give money to Pathfinder over Sealth (and other things), but “it wasn’t popular.” Final closure vote (with no changes to buildings/programs that were to be changed/closed): 2 no 5 yes. Most of the crowd is leaving and heading out into the hallway, chanting – there was some yelling here in the main room too. Police are hovering. People are shouting hey hey, ho ho, school board members have got to go. You will be able to see that part on the TV newscasts – we’re staying put in case something actually happens in here informationally. (Added 9:15 pm – our clip from the departure of most of the crowd members, before those last pieces of the proposal were voted on)

The voting isn’t over yet – there are policy votes that have to be made in order to facilitate the main motion. There are people in the audience in here saying “Honor the 2006 Board member to the SBOC” (photo added above); now cheering in the hallway. Police and security have not all left the main area here. The chanting in the foyer has moved on to “these closures are racist.” The first of the accompanying motions has passed. Now, the motion that merges what will be the former Cooper reference area into the Sanislo reference area. (“Sanislo is full!” came a shout from the audience, which is true.) Motion passes. Meeting over.

7:51 PM UPDATE: Now, to the final vote on the official plan, which, for West Seattle, now remains: Cooper Elementary program closes (autism programs stay in the building), Pathfinder K-8 moves into Cooper’s building, Genesee Hill building closes. West Seattle APP elementary students would be reassigned to Thurgood Marshall, where approximately half the current APP elementary population will move (the other half remaining at Lowell). The board members are now making their final statements, Chow first, “now is the time” for action; must deal with “brutal facts.” Crowd now shouting. Chow is shouting to some degree, too, particularly the phrase “25-million-dollar deficit.” It’s clear she will vote yes. Sundquist has just made a speech, saying he too isn’t happy about Cooper, but that it’s time to finally move on with getting Pathfinder into another building. (here’s the clip – with heckling throughout)

Now Mary Bass is crying – she says she tried not to lose her composure.

7:41 PM UPDATE: Final amendment of the night before the final vote – Maier proposes granting “priority assignment” to students who, because of the eventual vote, will not be able to attend their current schools next year. By the way, if you’re having trouble keeping score, so far the “final recommendations” have not been altered – the only amendments that have passed affect some of the side effects of the potential eventual vote. And again, Martin-Morris and Bass vote no on this. It’s been a 5-2 split on everything.

7:32 PM UPDATE: Martin-Morris reads his amendment to keep Genesee Hill open and cancel closing Cooper. He says “it’s the right thing to do” and says closing it sends the wrong message: (video added 10:19 pm)

Mary Bass seconds. Sundquist says he won’t support it. Amendment fails, again only with Martin-Morris and Bass voting yes. Sundquist now reading his “reassign Cooper” amendment. “TO WORSE SCHOOLS!” shouted from the audience; Sundquist is called “a patronizing S.O.B.” Audience unruly again. People yelling, “Racist!” DeBell trying to quiet them down. Carr says the decision about Cooper was “the hardest” one to make but thinks Sundquist’s amendment will at least keep some of the students together. Vote on the amendment: everyone yes except Martin-Morris and Bass.

7:24 PM UPDATE: Martin-Morris’s update that would break Summit (which otherwise is closing) into K-8 and 9-12 at other sites, is now being considered. Summit families yell “We don’t want it!” It almost went without a second, then Bass seconded it. Martin-Morris’s update to cancel the Cooper program closure will be next (technically it would cancel the Genesee Hill building closure, which then would keep Pathfinder there, and Cooper in its building). By the way, besides us, several others are covering this meeting live via Twitter – twitter.com/phylfletch and twitter.com/sableverity among them. DeBell says he has been sorely frustrated by his inability to “find Summit a home.” From the audience: “Find us a home.” DeBell says Summit is “caring” and has been “pushed out to the edge of the district” but “some of the tough facts we are facing in the district right now fall heavily on Summit K-12 .. the K-12 model is very difficult to fit into a building unless it is a secondary school, and we have very few (of those) now.” He also says the transportation costs are challenging. Summit vote: Martin-Morris and Bass are again the only yes votes, it fails.

7:15 PM UPDATE: Vote on Mary Bass’s amendment for Central Cluster changes to the closure proposal is coming up. Sundquist says he will not support it. Martin-Morris says he will. DeBell says he will not. Shouts from the crowd. DeBell: “There is too much capacity in the Central Cluster.” Bass, Martin-Morris are the only yes votes; amendment fails. Boos from the crowd. This means among other things APP at Lowell will NOT be kept together – West Seattle APP students will be going to Thurgood Marshall (unless the final motion fails). The amendments failure triggers a Carr amendment regarding letting students who live in the Lowell walk zone to attend APP at Lowell. That amendment passes with all yes votes except Martin-Morris and Bass.

7:00 PM UPDATE: Now they are moving to the vote. Sundquist is reading motions. Then each member gets to read his/her amendment. Mary Bass reads hers first and is explaining at length why she proposed changes to the Central Cluster plan. If it goes the way that we’ve been told, each amendment will be voted on individually before a final vote – anything that is approved, becomes a change to the plan in the final vote. Now Cheryl Chow is recounting the history of the African American Academy, which is proposed for closure. “Unfortunately,” she says, “the program is and has been underenrolled .. and the school is not succeeding as all would want. Even if (it is closed),” she says, she believes the “Afrocentric” culture will continue in the building. Chow says the building will still be called the African American Academy unless the board votes to change it; much shouting ensues from the crowd. DeBell now says, please stop interrupting the meeting.

READ THE REST OF OUR AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE

6:55 PM UPDATE: Mary Bass says she was going to comment later but will do so now instead: “I want to make it clear, I am in favor of closures. It has been a sticky wicket about who gets displaced … I hope you realize that I don’t want to let you down … all those who are looking at me to be a voice for a minority viewpoint, it may not have landed as securely as I would have liked, or you. … I hope we will see something joyous on the other side .. and I am asking for all of you to have that belief.” She says she wishes an assignment plan could have come first, but at least “we are finally getting to that .. we will get on with that as well.” She apologizes rather poignantly. “Closing schools has many foes, and few friends,” DeBell says, following her. “We are seeking the best of all children in the district, and acting on behalf of Seattle Public Schools … we have to stay together as a district …” The crowd now shouts, “VOTE NO!” DeBell again says the crowd must be quiet. Now they are beginning to vote.

6:45 PM UPDATE: Carr says it’s important to have a “strong leader, and we are fortunate to have such a leader in Dr. Goodloe-Johnson.” Some in the crowd hoot and boo. Harium Martin-Morris says, “It is time for us to take action to remove the excess capacity in the district” but adds that he doesn’t agree with all the proposals. (He is the one who has proposed an amendment to maintain the status quo for Cooper Elementary and Pathfinder K-8; the amendments will be voted on, we have been told, before the final vote. He says, “Cooper has been working with one of the most difficult populations we have in the city … high level of free/reduced lunch, high level of ELL, highly mobile population, and in spite of all of that, we have seen gains in the performance of our students at Cooper, and an increase in enrollment at the school …and with not a lot of support.” Cooper’s Shelly Wiliams yells “THANK YOU” in response from the audience. Peter Maier says “I believe we must close schools to have a more sustainable system. … Closing any school is painful … (but) We have too many buildings overall.” He also mentions the maintenance backlog and the capital backlog. “With fewer buildings that are nearly empty, we can focus our resources on (the other buildings/schools).”

6:35 PM UPDATE: DeBell is now recapping history, since the superintendent’s overview is done and so are accompanying board questions. “Now we face a challenge of balancing our capacity … this is our response to a challenge of demographics.” He says long-ago closure rounds happened when there weren’t as many families in the north end; now, virtually all the excess capacity, he says, is south of downtown, and he says that’s because many schools in the north closed in prior years – so now there is overcrowding in the north and excess capacity in the south. And this dovetails, he says, with a “trough of economic crisis … that requires us to act.” He mentions there are other cuts such as central staff – “real people with real jobs … None of this is easy … We’ve been trying to listen and respond to the community.” (The crowd has settled down.) “The problem is there for everyone to see – we’re not hiding anything.” West Seattle’s board rep Steve Sundquist also has made a mini-speech saying that one-time financial infusions (such as the much-discussed interest money) are not the solution – “a structural problem … requires a structural solution.” (video of his 4-minute speech added 11:59 pm)

Sherry Carr is now speaking and says that, basically, if action isn’t taken tonight, teachers’ jobs will have to be cut. “As painful as closing schools may be, I can’t live with the alternative.”

6:30 PM UPDATE: Superintendent resumes her overview. Says design teams will start work in February if closures/changes approved tonight. Their initial reports would be posted online by March 2. (Note, it’s been said previously that there would be a Cooper design team, if that program is indeed closed, to help work through the transition both of Pathfinder into the building and current Cooper students to new schools for next year.) Whatever happens tonight, letters will be sent to all district families next week, assignment letters would go to “affected students” next month.

6:24 PM UPDATE: Crowd still chanting in foyer. Sounds like “the school board is racist/these closures outrageous.” Almost all the TV cameras have headed out into the lobby for the protest action. Hope you don’t mind if we stay here for the information. DeBell has just said it’s OK for NAACP director Bible to return to the room but he has to stand against the wall or take a seat, nobody can stand in the aisles, “We’re just trying to maintain an orderly meeting.”

6:16 PM UPDATE: A man has just been escorted out. One person says it was the president of the NAACP. (video clip of the ensuing turmoil added 11:30 pm)

DeBell agrees to find out why he was taken out. The crowd settles down, for now. Staff has resumed answering a question about middle-school capacity. Sounds like unruliness continuing in the foyer outside. West Seattle rep Steve Sundquist is asking if there has been any new studies of how many more students are expected because of growth in the High Point area. District staffer says phase 1 construction complete, phase 2 has 180 units completed, 80 being completed, expect to be completed by April or May (original schedule was June), but says they don’t have statistics on how many families may move in. Hollering outside makes it hard to concentrate on what’s happening in here. Now they’re chanting in the foyer. Based on Phase 1 stats, the staffer continues, could be up to 50 additional elementary-age children coming into Phase 2 development, but says it’s tricky because they don’t know how many might be living somewhere else in West Seattle now.

6:10 PM UPDATE: First slide – excess capacity review. Current recommendations, she says, will result in “West Seattle North excess elementary capacity almost eliminated … still more than 300 seats in West Seattle South.” She says “future consideration of whether to close a high school (somewhere in the city) remains on the table.”

6:06 PM UPDATE: The crowd is rowdy as the superintendent speaks. She says this is the right thing to do. She says to those who will be disappointed by closure votes, she is committed to their children’s education. The crowd jeers. A guy stood up and yelled, “Let’s hear it for the status quo” and momentarily got the crowd riled up. DeBell says the man will be asked to leave if he doesn’t quit disrupting the meeting. The man continues to yell, “Who agrees with me that this is economic fascism?” Security moves toward him. Finally, he stops. The superintendent resumes her presentation. (Video added at 11:14 pm; you can hear some of the heckling about one minute in)

6:00 PM UPDATE: The meeting has begun. Michael DeBell says, “This culminates a process that began in October …” At the end of the Pledge of Allegiance, after “…and justice for all,” a voice from the back calls out, “For some.”

We’re at Seattle Public Schools headquarters, where a rally of school-closure opponents is wrapping up outside and there’s a standing-room only crowd inside. The meeting that will include the closure/change vote will start shortly. We’ll update – with the newest information atop this entry as we add it.

46 Comments

  1. I’m at home hoping to watch this live on TV but channel 26 isn’t showing it. Thanks for updating! It’s helping until I can figure out why it’s not showing on TV…grrrr!

    Comment by JK — 6:16 pm January 29, 2009 #

  2. Oh no, the district TOLD us it would be live on TV. Are you checking the other public access channels? Should be on 26 but you never know.

    Comment by WSB — 6:27 pm January 29, 2009 #

  3. I think it may be because my home is located in Shoreline…. :-(
    I’m bummed. Is it on the radio?

    Comment by JK — 6:37 pm January 29, 2009 #

  4. It is being shown….but they are not showing the audience, just the board.

    Comment by mary — 6:37 pm January 29, 2009 #

  5. Thanks for updating, I really am on the edge of my seat here!

    Comment by Emily — 6:39 pm January 29, 2009 #

  6. JK, that would be the problem. Different municipalities have different public access channels … I think channel 26 for school district stuff is just in Seattle.

    Comment by WSB — 6:45 pm January 29, 2009 #

  7. I’m watching live too -

    We were in SODO earlier and boy, it was crowded. News trucks (with chopper) and picket signs made for an interesting view while pumping gas next door. I’m not surprised to hear that the audience is vocal, as it was pretty loud just in the parking lot!

    Comment by GenHillOne — 6:52 pm January 29, 2009 #

  8. Thank you so much for covering this TR!

    Comment by Eric B — 7:19 pm January 29, 2009 #

  9. I just wanted to mention that the P-I is liveblogging this and providing coverage with far less depth and detail than you are, WSB. Thank you so much for helping to keep us informed!

    Comment by Melissa — 7:20 pm January 29, 2009 #

  10. Just close the damn schools already! Sheesh. Enough is enough people. How many times does Seattle need to discuss-argue-decide-retreat-reconsider-discuss-argue…. I realize this is the problem with Seattle politics (and the reason why NOTHING ever gets accomplished) but it needs to stop.

    It sucks schools have to close. Someone will get screwed. That’s life. Adjust and roll with it already.

    And no, I’m not trolling. I’m just sick and tired of the inept decision making process in this area and the near constant paralyzation of government. Decisions have to be made. Stop the whining already!

    Comment by Rod — 7:35 pm January 29, 2009 #

  11. I can not believe the way the board is voting….if we’re white we vote together…if we’re black we vote together….I am going to be sick

    Comment by youvegottabekiddingme — 7:35 pm January 29, 2009 #

  12. I’m so insulted that our local school board member refuses to look out for the people who most need looking out for. Not surprised, but insulted.

    Comment by Melissa — 7:38 pm January 29, 2009 #

  13. Who are those who need the “most”looking out for? Don’t ALL our children deserve to be looked out for equally????

    Comment by youvegottabekiddingme — 7:43 pm January 29, 2009 #

  14. Channel 26 is airing the meeting!

    Comment by WTF — 7:44 pm January 29, 2009 #

  15. I’m also pretty proud to see/hear that Seattlites are so passionate about schools. Are (we) equally as passionate about *education*?

    Comment by WTF — 7:46 pm January 29, 2009 #

  16. Yes, youvegottabekiddingme (what a name to type!), equally. One of the members mentioned earlier that the closures would keep the district from having to cut 5% from all the schools, 42 teachers in the example given. Presented that way, my first thought was, “then cut the 5%” – if it’s a district-wide deficit, why should it not be dealt with by the entire district?

    Comment by GenHillOne — 7:52 pm January 29, 2009 #

  17. I second Rod! All I can say is for the individuals in the audience screaming out insults you try to sit up front and make these kinds of decisions. I like to see them deal with the pressure.

    Comment by bmi — 7:56 pm January 29, 2009 #

  18. i think it’s easier to make those decisions when they are moving marginalized children with fewer tax paying homeowner parents out of a new school and advantaged children whose parents pay property taxes and vote in…

    why do we have to make those decisions now when the bailout bill will have educational benefits geared towards keeping marginalized children in their schools?

    i think the answer is because they can do so now and wouldn’t be able to justify it later…

    Comment by JoB — 8:12 pm January 29, 2009 #

  19. Thanks for posting the play by play. I’m sorry for all sides-from the decision makers to those most terribly impacted. We can afford multiple wars, but not our schools!

    Comment by cc — 8:25 pm January 29, 2009 #

  20. can we now have a study on the study of the school closures. Maybe another committee to study the committee to close the schools. Maybe we can have a group sue the district, and another to sue the group that is suing the district. Maybe we can study the situation for another 5 years before we can start a new committee to start another study.

    I don’t know, maybe growing up in a military family, having to move multiple times, going to different schools, having to deal with change… part of life for our family. And we did great, education started at home. I just feel sorry for those children that are taught that they can’t succeed unless they are in school X.

    Comment by jamminj — 9:34 pm January 29, 2009 #

  21. a bad decision was made tonight.

    Comment by JoB — 10:12 pm January 29, 2009 #

  22. A strong decision and a good decision was made tonight. It was tough but the school board stood strong. I realy believe our district will be better for it and I applaud our School Board – thank-you for doing what is best for ALL students and not just a select few concerned with their own children. Let’s move forward with a positive attitude!

    Comment by WS pet lover — 10:17 pm January 29, 2009 #

  23. Closing schools that help many low-income children achieve success in life is just wrong. I fail to see how this will impact our community in a positive way. Displacing children to poorer performing schools will not be “what is best for ALL students.” How is that providing Excellence for All?

    Comment by Cari Jones — 10:30 pm January 29, 2009 #

  24. The Cooper student body is currently at 300 and the open seats according to the planning capacity of the buildings are: Highland Park (74), Gatewood (67) and Arbor Hts (131). That totals out to 272. Those equal some JAMPACKED schools in the south cluster.

    Ugh, this is going to be a bumpy road.

    Comment by que — 10:35 pm January 29, 2009 #

  25. que what about pathfinders capacity?cant some of the kids just stay put and enroll in pathfinder??

    Comment by cc — 11:13 pm January 29, 2009 #

  26. Cooper has a planning capacity of 461 and Pathfinder has a population of 391, so yes, there is extra room there and the autism program is staying there and becoming a part of Pathfinder, which is about 25 students. I just think that there is getting rid of extra capacity, and there is removing all flexibility from the schools and shoehorning kids into the schools. It just makes it all very tight.

    I don’t think that a lot of Cooper students are going to choose to join Pathfinder, as they have such divergent school cultures. (That was the problem when the were going to meld the schools in the last plan.)

    Comment by que — 12:19 am January 30, 2009 #

  27. I was there and photographed a lot of it. I’ve put up a set of photos about it at http://flickr.com/photos/gabrielcain/sets/72157613108451351/

    -Gabriel

    Comment by Gabriel Cain — 12:40 am January 30, 2009 #

  28. the way this went down for cooper was horrifying and sickening to watch. of all the schools, i’d say cooper was the one giving the school board the most pause. harium said it well in presenting his amendment: cooper is doing an incredible job with one of the most difficult and at-risk populations in seattle. and mary said it even better: IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

    but steve sundquist, in all his WISDOM, put forth a sham of an amendment that does NOTHING for the cooper community, but gave the school board an out, gave them something to vote for so that they could feel better about closing the cooper program. “oh well, we HAD to close cooper because of the budget, but AT LEAST we sent those kids to LESS FAILING schools.”

    sorry if i’m not bowing down in gratitude.

    were it not for sundquist’s amendment, an amendment that he called SUPERIOR to the amendment to keep cooper open, i think cooper would be open today. given a choice between scrapping cooper and keeping cooper open- the school board would have kept cooper open.

    IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

    sundquist threw us under the bus, and when someone tried to pull us out of the road, he kicked us back under there. for what? to get pathfinder off his to-do list once and for all. to take advantage of a community in terror of this economic crisis, and toss cooper in the recycle bin while he had the chance.

    i am so very stunned and angry. this is a BAD decision. west seattle needs to fight for a school board rep who believe in excellence for ALL of our kids.

    Comment by brittany — 7:00 am January 30, 2009 #

  29. brittany- no one was thrown under the bus. cooper wouldn’t be open today even if the amendment wasn’t proposed. schools had to close. while i feel for the cooper community…
    what do you want the SB to do? pull money from a greater gov who won’t give it to them?

    yes you have an at risk population… so does that mean you get treated with kit golves? no, it means that your at risk population is still taken care of with the move. yes there are pleanty of ELL at your school. well, i hope that their parents use this opportunity to get more involved. if they need help understanding things, then maybe this will be the fire under their butts to learn some english. if they work two jobs (like me) then they can study at home at night into the wee hours… if their kids are as important as they say.. they’ll work to make it easier for their kids to transition.

    it is not the responsibility of the seattle public school district to keep a school open and have the whole district suffer as a whole, just to make it easier for parents who have choosen not to learn english.

    children learn quickly, they adapt better than adults. as parents we ALL know this… they will be just fine- as long as their parents let them know this.

    Comment by WS — 8:09 am January 30, 2009 #

  30. nobody is screaming and crying as all of the smaller business are shutting down… how about everyone pays more taxes to keep the schools open? I have to admit, I am not overly excited about closing the schools, but business is business and there is only so much money to go around. I know that this will be received as negative, but its reality. I just wish we could see this kind of screaming when they want to reduce police, and other government services….

    Comment by P — 8:14 am January 30, 2009 #

  31. P..

    if you think nobody is screaming about the closure of small businesses or the possibility of reducing police… you aren’t listening.

    as for government services… if you worked in social services.. or knew someone who did, you would know that the county’s most vulnerable have already lost a considerable safety net with the budget cuts… and it is expected that there is much more to come.

    what bothers me most is that the most vulnerable are taking the largest hit in all of this… they were barely making it… and i our infinite wisdom.. for the good of all.. we have just made it harder for them… without those who are better able to make accommodations suffering much at all.

    I am proud of our community for standing up for this school…

    Comment by JoB — 8:26 am January 30, 2009 #

  32. “it is not the responsibility of the seattle public school district to keep a school open and have the whole district suffer as a whole, just to make it easier for parents who have choosen not to learn english.” – wow, WS, really?

    Yes, it would have been better, and more fair, to spread the cut around the whole district rather than close programs that are showing success. It is a district budget deficit, not a southern-half-of-the-district budget deficit.

    Comment by GenHillOne — 9:27 am January 30, 2009 #

  33. This is not business. This is kids. This is our future. And yes, a particularly vulnerable population is being displaced and a particularly successful, innovative program is being closed. And I’m furious about it. Keep in mind, my child is not at Cooper. He’s at Arbor Heights. And I’m glad about his good fortune, but heartbroken about what I believe was the the profoundly wrong-headed decision that was made last night.

    Comment by Melissa — 9:31 am January 30, 2009 #

  34. thank you, genhillone, for responding to WS. i couldn’t even form a coherent sentence in response to that….

    Comment by brittany — 9:41 am January 30, 2009 #

  35. does anyone understand how sundquist’s amendment will actually play out? will our kids be assigned to one of those three schools, or do we choose? i guess i’m as confused as i am angry at this point.

    Comment by brittany — 9:43 am January 30, 2009 #

  36. I’ll see what I can find out … am working on an overall “what’s next” story for today – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:48 am January 30, 2009 #

  37. Brittany – from the Sundquist amendment, these key lines:
    “Staff will determine the geographic area that will be assigned to each of the three buildings.
    Students who live in those geographic areas will be assigned to that building.”
    http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/08-09agendas/012909agenda/1a5.pdf
    So it’s too soon to say what your child/ren’s official assignment would be … but they’re still using the “choice” policy for next year so you should be able to at least put in for your top choices … and then the default assignment if you don’t make choices or don’t get into any of your choices, would be whatever the end result of the geographic-area determination is. Question is the timetable on that, which I will ask the district about …

    Comment by WSB — 9:58 am January 30, 2009 #

  38. Brittany, I’m very sad for you and the rest of the Cooper community. I will work and advocate for all displaced students around the city getting the best possible assistance during the transition and through the next academic year, and encourage every one else to do the same.

    In terms of assignment, the combination of Sundquist’s amendment and Maier’s amendment, along with the previous language in the Superintendent’s final recommendations, means the following:

    1) The majority of Cooper students will receive assignment in February to Gatewood, Arbor Heights and Highland Park. District staff will make the assignments depending upon geographic location and academic needs (ELL, etc.). Students who live within the Cooper walk zone will receive assignments to Pathfinder.

    2) Cooper families who do not like the assignment they receive during February can then apply during the Open Enrollment period (March) for a spot at any other West Seattle school and will receive priority for open spots after siblings and children living in the Reference Area for that school.

    Comment by bbakeman — 10:26 am January 30, 2009 #

  39. I definitely do NOT think people should be defending the actions of the five racist, anti-school board members and the superintendent. These aren’t “tough choices”. These are our KIDS. And, in case we haven’t noticed, being silent and “letting the process run” is an utterly FAILED strategy. Where does it get us? Even lower than we were last year. If you don’t fight, you won’t win. It’s that simple. Isn’t that the lesson we try to teach our kids, that if they don’t try, they’ll never succeed? Let’s knot let grown up pessimism ruin these kids’ lives.

    Comment by Lonnie — 12:10 pm January 30, 2009 #

  40. School is not business. It’s the mindset that schools ARE business and that we should operate them as such that is precisely why the educational system in this country is in crisis. Get rid of those ridiculous ideas!

    Comment by Lonnie — 12:11 pm January 30, 2009 #

  41. lonnie- what could we have done differently… we tried saying go to the state for more money, we tried speaking out… we tried beign silent… what should we have done differently????

    Comment by WS — 12:23 pm January 30, 2009 #

  42. Glad the School Board could make a tough decision in the face of resistance to ANY form that decision would take. That’s part of the job, unfortunately (I would never want it…)
    .
    And re the Bass quote: “it’s leadership to stand alone sometimes” – never have six words made me so sure the majority made the right decision. How arrogant.

    Comment by Michael — 12:51 pm January 30, 2009 #

  43. Oh and all the “racist” epithets being thrown around are over the line. Don’t fall back on that as a tactic – use your head next time.

    Comment by Michael — 12:54 pm January 30, 2009 #

  44. Oh, why don’t you all just get over it. They can’t keep schools open just because of sentiments and convenience of a few.

    Comment by Andrew — 1:44 pm January 30, 2009 #

  45. A couple of comments:

    You can call Mary Bass many things but arrogant isn’t one of them. She’s the most quiet, self-effacing person ever. And yes, she stood up against the rest of the Board back in 2001(?)when she said she knew the budget was wrong and voted against it. She got a lot of heat for that and was pooh-poohed by the rest of the Board. Oh yeah, she was right; Olchefske and his team had spent us $22M in the hole. That said, if she had a better plan she should have presented it.

    “Sentiments and convenience of a few”, okay that’s pretty harsh. You don’t pour resources and time and yes, sentiment, into a school for decades and see it close without a fight (I’m thinking here of Summit). And yes, hard decisions have to be made. But do keep in mind, it is worth it to really pay attention to these actions. If more people had paid attention to the last capital levy, Pathfinder might be getting a new building right now and Cooper might still be open. Don’t look away and “hope” the Board and Superintendent will do the right thing.

    Comment by westello — 3:09 pm January 31, 2009 #

  46. WS,
    Do you even know what you’re talking about? Do you know the families at Cooper? How can you say they “choose not to learn English?” The families I know are working their butts off to learn English. Learning another language is not easy for some. It takes years. And how can you say that they are not involved in their children’s education? Do you know them?

    Comment by AJ — 9:06 pm January 31, 2009 #

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