Seattle school-closure-vote countdown: “Amendments” revealed

January 28, 2009 at 1:35 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle school closure, West Seattle schools | 12 Comments

As first reported during the School Board meeting a week ago, board president Michael DeBell asked his fellow members this: If you’re going to propose any changes to the “final recommendation” for school closure/changes, get them in by yesterday, so they can be made public today (and voted on during the special board meeting tomorrow night). Caveat, board members still COULD propose amendments during tomorrow morning’s meeting, but for now, here are the ones just revealed. They include a proposal to take Genesee Hill off the recommendations, keeping Pathfinder K-8 there, and leaving Cooper Elementary as is; that proposal, included in this document, comes from board member Harium Martin-Morris. West Seattle board member Steve Sundquist has an amendment on the agenda too; it would continue with the move-Pathfinder-to-Cooper plan in the original “final recommendations,” but would set conditions on where the majority of current Cooper students would be reassigned – he proposes splitting them among Gatewood, Highland Park, and Arbor Heights. Of interest to APP families citywide, board member Mary Bass proposes keeping the elementary-level program at Lowell, instead of splitting half (including West Seattle APP elementary students) to another school. The amendments will all be voted on during tomorrow night’s special board meeting, 6 pm, district HQ in Sodo. (In addition to discussion here, there’ll be citywide comment ongoing at saveseattleschools.blogspot.com.)

12 Comments

  1. Wow,

    I guess Cooper’s voices were heard. I’m glad Director Martin-Morris is proposing leaving Cooper and Pathfinder as they are.

    What is up with Director Sundquist’s amendment to move current Cooper students as 3 groups to Gatewood, Highland Park, and Arbor Heights? It does nothing to preserve the quality instruction that Cooper now provides. It does keep larger groups together, and one group gets an education equal to what they have at Cooper, but with a 1/2 hour bus ride on each end of the school day.

    Pathfinder does need a better building, but not at the expense of quality education like that provided by Cooper.

    Steve

    Comment by west seattle steve — 2:12 pm January 28, 2009 #

  2. I doubt that director Martin-Morris’ amendment will pass simply because it leaves Pathfinder in the same place. And that place is not just a bad building but also, getting jerked around, once again, by staff and Board members, looking like the bad guys they aren’t. What might be nice if Pathfinder doesn’t get a better home is for ALL the SW/West Seattle schools to speak as one and tell the district to build them one in the next BEX (and be first on the list). The district is building one new school (New School) from teardown to opening in 16 months – it can be done.

    Comment by westello — 2:26 pm January 28, 2009 #

  3. as a pathfinder parent… i am tired….

    Comment by lashanna — 2:53 pm January 28, 2009 #

  4. Wasn’t a new building for Pathfinder proposed last round? And removed from the proposal after the public vote? I can’t find any references to back-up my recollection.
    I think there are a lot of tired parents out there. One of the Cooper parents said she wished we were still at Boron, because they’ve been talking about closing us down ever since we got the new building.

    Comment by west seattle steve — 3:20 pm January 28, 2009 #

  5. my heart goes out to pathfinder, but closing cooper is not the answer. the cooper family did their time, too, in failing temporary digs. and it paid off. imagine, at the end of this ordeal, if you were given a shiny new building, and it was snatched away a few years later?

    cooper needs to stay together, and reference areas need to be redrawn to give us a chance to fill our seats. a reference area that is 60% green belt and industrial area?? and then penalized for not filling to capacity? sickening.

    let us continue with the program that is working for our neighborhood, and let us draw from the NEW families that will be filling empty townhouses and developments in high point, etc. (population decline in west seattle north? please.)

    stimulus money for education is all over the headlines right now. pathfinder deserves a new building – their OWN building – and hopefully the money will be there for it soon.

    Comment by brittany — 3:22 pm January 28, 2009 #

  6. No Pathfinder wasn’t on the list. That’s the point. Sigh.

    It all goes to the point that in the last BEX (capital building) measure, the list was not right. It did NOT contain the buildings in the worst condition and/or most safety issues. Pathfinder should have been there and was not. To make matters worse, New School, which is enhanced by private funds from the New School foundation, did get on the list. (The building they are in, South Shore, had been on Bex II but only for a modest upgrade. By the time New School moved in and got on the BEX III list, it morphed into a total redo. They are now working, overtime, 10-hour days, 6 days a week on it but I couldn’t tell you why. I am trying to find out.)

    The point is parents (and other voters) need to pay attention at levy time especially about buildings and what gets fixed. We would not be having these arguments if Pathfinder had been on the list. As it is, I doubt if Director Martin-Morris’ amendment to stop the move will pass (and interestingly it came from him and not Director Sundquist).

    Comment by westello — 3:39 pm January 28, 2009 #

  7. How many times can they jerk Pathfinder K-8 around? This is now FIVE TIMES IN THE PAST FOUR YEARS! I agree with westello, if Pathfinder is not moving to Cooper, it should 100% be 1st on list in next BEX.

    Comment by head shaker — 3:42 pm January 28, 2009 #

  8. I’d love to see the Genesee Hill building remodeled so that our 6-8 grade students could move out of portables and into a shared building. I’d love to have our building repaired so that the water was drinkable. I’d love to have the furnace repaired so that teachers and kids could take off their coats during the today in the winter.

    I’d love to get a healthy and well-functioning building without displacing another small community. That is what we have been asking for and working towards for years.

    But BEX IV construction, if Pathfinder was put on the list and if it was approved by voters, would BEGIN no earlier than 2013.

    Our 6-8 students have been in portables in a parking lot on the other side of the playground for over a decade.

    Comment by bbakeman — 4:38 pm January 28, 2009 #

  9. TYPO: I meant “…without displacing another school community”

    Comment by bbakeman — 4:56 pm January 28, 2009 #

  10. As sad as it is to lose your school or your program, let’s all look at the bigger picture of the need to close schools and make changes for the betterment of all students – freeing up money to enhance the schools we have. I hope the board makes their decisions and is not swayed by parents who can’t see beyond their own child at their own school. Look at our numbers, our costs, the economy, the lack of state / federal funding and take your concerns to a higher level. I think the Genessee Hill site (Pathfinder) should be turned into a community center.

    Comment by Snow Comments — 8:20 pm January 28, 2009 #

  11. Snow Comments, all due respect, but what “higher level” of concern is there for a parent than their own child? I’m not saying your point about the “big picture” doesn’t have some merit–everyone’s feeling the pinch at every level in this economy. I am fairly certain the closures will have to happen, in one form or another, sad to say. The School District and Board have some tough decisions to make.
    But I take issue with the implication that parents are being selfish when they show passion and concern for their child’s learning environment. I call that good parenting. During this difficult time I think we need to offer the affected families our support and empathy, not judgement.

    Comment by Katy L — 10:52 pm January 28, 2009 #

  12. I guess my question is – a) how do projects get on the BEX list, b) how do projects get on the BTA lists – c) how about some community engagement year round/day in/day out and some community involvement in these crucial issues that drive our community when we arent all in crisis or reactive mode?

    Why is High Point Elementary (cant bring myself to call it WS Elementary) in the sad shape that its in and how can we allow this to continue as a community?

    Why is there no Spectrum program in WS Cluster S?

    Why cant WS Elementary have a language inclusion program that has made JStanford and Beacon Hill schools so effective – perhaps at WS Elementary?

    Was told this week – well theyll be one at Concord – - – geography anyone?

    Tracy – thank you for the consistent great work supporting the schools and PTSA communication efforts for all schools and for all kids – lets please keep it up after this round is done – - The budget crisis and recession isnt going anywhere and the new Student Assignment Plan promises to bring new issues and inequities and imbalance to the table – as well as the current screwed up state funding formulas – -

    We need these students to support us in our old age.

    Pardons for the defunct apostrophe key.

    Comment by Les — 5:49 am January 29, 2009 #

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