We’re at Coffee to a Tea in The Junction, with West Seattle’s School Board rep Steve Sundquist and more than a dozen people who are listening – and talking to – him about the school-closure process that will culminate in a vote a week from tomorrow. While Sundquist opened the meeting by saying he has not made up his mind yet on the closure proposal that’s on the table now, and won’t till late next week, he also has reiterated, he believes “we need to close schools.” He also says, “We are in a financial situation where we have not yet found the bottom.” More to come.
9:28 AM UPDATE: So far, Sundquist has been asked multiple questions about the proposed breakup of APP – the district’s top-level accelerated program – no questions yet about the proposed program closure at Cooper Elementary.
9:51 AM UPDATE: Sundquist has just finished the first discussion about Cooper. He acknowledges district staff and board members are struggling with the fact that closing its program would disperse a program that appears to be doing a good job serving children of color (and those facing economic challenges). He says Boren would not work as a home for Pathfinder K-8 because, for one, it’s not available next year – and the district’s financial challenges are immediate, so they have to have a solution they could implement NOW.
10:57 AM UPDATE: The event wrapped up just after 10:30 am as planned. We’ll add more to this shortly – including a video clip of Sundquist laying out where he believes the “West Seattle situation” stands — one thing to pass around now: Sundquist said he expects the district to do an audit on alternative education soon, like the ones that have been done for APP and other district-wide programs.
ADDED 11:52 AM: Video of Sundquist giving an overview summarizing the “West Seattle situation” — why Cooper is a candidate for closure, why Pathfinder needs a new home, and why the district/board are (as mentioned above) concerned about breaking up a good program at Cooper, plus his view on where the district assignment plan is going, all in about eight unedited minutes:
Tonight is the final regular School Board meeting before next week’s closure vote, 6 pm, district HQ in Sodo, with at least three people scheduled to speak to the board about Cooper; we will be there to cover it (and you can watch live on cable).