New BEX IV levy draft: Arbor Heights still scheduled for 2019 replacement

October 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 76 Comments

(Last slide from Arbor Heights deck showing building conditions – see entire deck here)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 1:34 PM: Despite a loud community clamor, Arbor Heights Elementary‘s rebuild is NOT being moved up on the next draft of the BEX IV levy, just announced this afternoon, with a School Board work session coming up tomorrow. Here’s the message Superintendent José Banda just sent out, with the highlights of the latest list – we’ll be checking district documents to look for further details as soon as they are available:

… Today we are writing to update you on our enrollment growth challenges. We have two levies up for renewal in February 2013 – our Operations Levy and our Building Excellence (BEX IV) IV Capital Levy.

Our BEX IV levy will include a list of recommended projects for 2014-2021, which we are presenting to the School Board at a work session on Oct. 10. A final vote by the Board is expected in November.
Below is a summary of currently proposed projects under consideration for BEX IV:

· Arbor Heights Elementary: Replace existing building with new/expanded facility by 2019. The school will be at an interim site starting in 2017. We understand the building is in need of replacement, but we will not have enough cash flow from levy funding to move this project up within BEX. However, we will analyze the pros and cons of other funding options to hopefully start this work sooner.

· Bagley Elementary: Modernize and build an addition by 2020.

· Fairmount Park building: Open this existing building with necessary upgrades, add classrooms and a lunchroom by 2014.

· Jane Addams K-8: Move to Pinehurst K-8 and open Jane Addams building as a middle school by 2015. We will work with the Pinehurst community on next steps for the school.

· Lincoln building: Modernize and open as a new high school by 2019.

· Loyal Heights Elementary: Modernize and build addition by 2018.

· Mann building: Modernize and build addition for NOVA by 2014

· Meany Middle School: Reconfigure for a comprehensive central region middle school by 2017.

· Northeast Seattle elementary school: To meet growing capacity, add K-5 school on Thornton Creek site by 2016.

· Olympic Hills: Replace existing building with a new/expanded facility by 2017.

· Queen Anne Elementary: Build classroom and gym addition to the building by 2019.

· Schmitz Park Elementary: Replace existing Genesee Hill building with a new/expanded facility on the Genesee Hill site; relocate Schmitz Park to the new facility by 2015.

· Wilson-Pacific: Replace building with a new elementary and a new middle school for additional capacity by 2017. We will work with the Cascade Parent Partnership Program and Middle College on determining new locations.

· Wing Luke Elementary: Replace existing building with a new/expanded facility by 2020.

· World School: We are continuing to work on finalizing a location.

These projects were chosen with four criteria in mind: 1) safety and security, 2) meeting capacity needs, 3) building condition and 4) maximizing flexibility for programs and services.

In addition, the BEX IV plan includes:

· Technology improvements: Wireless in every school and needed hardware upgrades.

· Seismic improvements: About 50 schools would receive seismic upgrades.

· Lunchroom and core facilities: New lunchrooms at Green Lake and McGilvra elementary schools.

· Science labs at Aki Kurose, Mercer, McClure and Eckstein middle schools.

· Major preventive maintenance and infrastructure improvements.

· Interim downtown school: Dependent upon external partnership funding.

· Capacity flexibility: Building larger core facilities to provide for expansion and including academic program placement and services close to where families live.
The latest BEX IV list of possible projects totals about $675 million. Additional information is online at http://bit.ly/SPSBEX

We invite families and community members to attend a public meeting to learn more about the BEX projects and to offer public testimony.

· Wednesday, Oct. 10, 4-6 p.m. – Board Work Session, John Stanford Center (information only, no public testimony).

· Wednesday, Oct. 17, 4:15 p.m. – Regular School Board meeting, expected introduction of BEX IV list. Public testimony taken (prior sign-up required).

· Wednesday, Oct. 24, 4-5 p.m. – BEX IV and Operations levies public comment session, John Stanford Center. Public testimony taken.

· Wednesday, Nov. 7, 4:15 p.m. – School Board meeting, expected vote on BEX IV project list.
In the meantime, we continue to collect, record and review all input. Please send comments to capacity@seattleschools.org.

Sincerely,

Jose´ Banda
Superintendent
Seattle Public Schools

More to come.

2:38 PM UPDATE: Just a note to say that we are still trying to find the documentation that goes along with this – it has not been published to the SPS website yet so far as we can tell, but, likely before day’s end, there should be a slide deck at the very least. Will update once we have that link.

5:04 PM UPDATE: The presentation for tomorrow’s work session is now up. Here’s the link. Will add to this story if it contains anything of note NOT reported in the superintendent’s letter.

5:22 PM UPDATE: Of note, in light of the most recent community meetings and other West Seattle discussions – STEM is mentioned as “a program” on page 24, in district-wide context, not WS. However, the same language was in the September version of this slide deck (which you’ll find here). Page 30 of the new slide deck summarizes “most frequent comments” from the last round of community meetings and mentions two from West Seattle: “Arbor Heights Elementary: Build sooner” and “K-5 STEM at Boren: Find permanent home.” (Which the new lineup still doesn’t address.)

76 Comments

  1. Well, they should be ashamed of themselves but I for one am still happy to send my daughter to Arbor Heights. She is happy and thriving. That is all that counts.

    Comment by Bonnie — 1:41 pm October 9, 2012 #

  2. I see the Downtown School’s still there, hidden on the bottom of their graphic.

    Comment by skeptical — 1:43 pm October 9, 2012 #

  3. I could not feel more sad for the AH community. You all are doing a great job advocating for your kids – keep it up and we hope you move up on the timeline.

    As a STEM parent – I’d LOVE an announcement about our schools placement for 2014.

    Comment by WSMama3 — 2:14 pm October 9, 2012 #

  4. Assuming – ASSUMING the voters pass the BEX (remember there’s a charter bill next month… and the new stadium that’s NOT funded by public money but will no doubt cause issues).
    _______

    There are SO many issues that need taken care of district wide, I don’t see how what they’re asking for is enough.

    Comment by objective — 2:32 pm October 9, 2012 #

  5. That’s the price for deferred maintenance and neglect.

    The Charter bill would allow charters to grab their “fair share” of BEX funds, which will only exacerbate the problem.

    Comment by skeptical — 2:43 pm October 9, 2012 #

  6. We live in AH and have 2 little kids. One at AH Elem and one in preschool–one child would never attend in the new AH building, and one would start at the old AH, move to Boren, and move back to the new AH for one year. What are my choices? Cross our fingers and hope they both can get into an option school, apply to every other neighborhood school for choice enrollement, go private (and go broke), move, vote for charter schools? It sounds like 2019 for AH is close to the final word?

    Comment by Exit Strategy — 2:45 pm October 9, 2012 #

  7. Even though I don’t have kids, I’m listening to the parents in the community through WSB. I remember what multiple operational and construction levy failures felt like in early and mid-90s in the Bethel School District growing up. As kids, we couldn’t understand how grown-ups seemingly didn’t want us to learn in classes smaller than 36 for 6th grade (I’m not exaggerating) and why our math homework was printed on newsprint. As a taxpayer and homeowner now, I want the best for the kids in my community (and some day maybe my own too) and what I’m hearing loud and clear from the parents here, is that this BEX levy isn’t doing enough for your kids. Needless to say, the downtown school has sounded bogus from day one. Until I see hard data that there are enough kids downtown to warrant a school there it seems like there are a lot more political and business interests strong arming money desperately needed for all rapidly growing outlying neighborhoods.

    Comment by trickycoolj — 2:47 pm October 9, 2012 #

  8. Send a message loud and clear:: VOTE NO ON BEX

    Comment by Objective — 2:52 pm October 9, 2012 #

  9. I want to puke…not so much because of this news regarding Arbor Heights, but because I accidently drank the water from the drinking fountain, and breathed in to deeply when I dropped my children off at AH this morning.

    Comment by Gawdger — 3:01 pm October 9, 2012 #

  10. Can someone translate into English what this means for someone with a kid that will turn 5 in the March of 2017, living in the Arbor Heights elementary area?

    Comment by Joe — 3:14 pm October 9, 2012 #

  11. As a participant for Arbor Heights at the recent BEX meetings, I’d love to know why Schmitz Park is in such desperate need of a rebuild above AH. Can they claim improper heating/cooling, rodent issues, mold, standing water, contaminated drinking water in fountains on their list of needs? The top priority on Mr. Banda’s BEX levy initiative is SAFETY. What is going on here?!

    Comment by Jessica Pierce — 3:16 pm October 9, 2012 #

  12. To me it’s telling me that the district does not care about our children that go to AH. They are saying that other children are more important. That’s just my take on it. They are saying that the north end West Seattle schools are more important.

    Comment by Another AH Mom — 3:21 pm October 9, 2012 #

  13. Exit Strategy, even if the rebuild was moved way up you’d have to go to Boren so either way it will suck. I say to make the best of it. You can try to get into another school if you so choose. There is always STEM you can go to since you don’t like the thought of going to AH.

    Comment by Bonnie — 3:27 pm October 9, 2012 #

  14. Joe – this means that IF there is no change to this – and IF it is approved by voters – if your child enters kindergarten in 2017, s/he would be attending “Arbor Heights at Boren” until the new school opens in fall 2019. Also assuming there is no boundary change that changes what reference area you’re in (boundary changes are expected at some point in the next few years).

    Comment by WSB — 3:47 pm October 9, 2012 #

  15. Sorry Joe, missed your post. If your child is turning 5 in March of 2017 then you’d go to kindy (assuming you send him/her at age 5, some people hold back a year but not usually with a March birthday) and 1st grade at Boren and then you’d move to the new AH building when your child is in 2nd grade.

    Comment by Bonnie — 3:49 pm October 9, 2012 #

  16. Oops, WSB and I posted at the same time.

    Comment by Bonnie — 3:49 pm October 9, 2012 #

  17. Thanks guys. And as we’re way down here, I’m assuming all these kids will be school bused up to Boren?

    Comment by Joe — 4:08 pm October 9, 2012 #

  18. I would assume that they’d be bused to Boren. My daughter will be at Denny by the time that happens.

    Comment by Bonnie — 4:21 pm October 9, 2012 #

  19. Discussion of the latest news on Save Seattle Schools. Interesting discussion about what’s going on in the north end of the district. Don’t even have a kid in the system yet and I’m already fed up! http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2012/10/bex-iv-update.html

    Comment by ghar72 — 4:27 pm October 9, 2012 #

  20. Why do we waste our time going to dog and pony show BEX “community” meetings when:

    a) they tell us nothing;
    b) they don’t answer questions directly; and
    c) they haven’t heard a word we said.

    Banda needs to get busy telling the downtown folks he’s not their lapdog, telling Michael DeBell to quit being the shadow Supt, and living up to the values Banda talks about.

    Comment by skeptical — 4:55 pm October 9, 2012 #

  21. Shameful. Absolutely shameful. When I see the AH pictures it makes me want to cry.

    Comment by STEM Parent — 5:07 pm October 9, 2012 #

  22. Save Seattle Schools seems to have comments almost exclusively from the north end. Are any WS parents involved on a district level, or just locally? Obviously it shouldn’t take this much effort for AH to get a safe school, but I wonder if others outside of WS even know about the issues.
    There also seem to be similar problems with “program” vs. “school” for other option schools besides STEM. Again, we may be shooting ourselves in the foot to focus only on West Seattle and not the district as a whole. SPS obviously covers the entire district, and isolating ourselves may actually make our situation worse instead of better.

    Comment by Mary — 5:24 pm October 9, 2012 #

  23. Mary – I am a frequent SSS reader (from the start – did you know that site was founded by a then-Pathfinder parent?) and I can tell you that yes, there are at least a few regular commenters from WS/focused on WS issues. Not sure if they are also WSB commenters but certainly they get their share of west-side discussion. And both of the primary current SSS writers drop in here from time to time – TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:32 pm October 9, 2012 #

  24. Mary, I think a big reason so many of the comments are about the NE region is b/c it looks like the Jane Adams change was not on the board/discussion prior to this. I looked at the old slides (TR has them linked above) and compared to the new. No mention of JA going to Pinehurst. Sounds like it was out of the blue.

    Comment by ghar72 — 5:49 pm October 9, 2012 #

  25. It sounds like just a big mess. Back when I was in school in the 80′s SPS bused everybody all over town and a lot of people went to private school. I wonder if that will happen again? Not the busing, but the private school switch up?

    Comment by Bonnie — 6:20 pm October 9, 2012 #

  26. “However, we will analyze the pros and cons of other funding options to hopefully start this work sooner” Anyone know what other available funding this refers to for AH? @Bonnie, it’s not that I dont like the idea of continuing at AH, in fact it’s quite the opposite. I just can’t at this point imagine continuing at AH going in knowing my younger child would have to move school buildings 2 times. That’s a lot of inconsistency for an Elem student and I don’t see the benefit. Im guess Im about done holding out hope that a new AH would be built by 2015 and he would have a nice building to go to school K-5. If there are any last ditch efforts or alternate solutions to waiting until 2019, I’d want to know by the end of this school year. If not I’m afraid my family will need to move on.

    Comment by Exit Strategy — 6:29 pm October 9, 2012 #

  27. Asbestos, insect, rodent, and mold issues…Just to re-name a few of our issues at AH. If they deny us a new building they better figure something out in the interim. I truly need to understand how children are allowed to spend 6 hours a day in these conditions. God bless the amazing staff at the school! My kids love it there!! Come to the Oct 17 board meeting and help support our cause!!!

    Comment by Jessica Pierce — 6:55 pm October 9, 2012 #

  28. I have a 4th grader and 1st grader at AH and am angry and frustrated, but also worried about the well being of our children. This is our 5th year at AH, and I have to say that there has not been ONE year were we didn’t have to worry (possible closure) or rally (just to get a computer lab) or what not.EVERY year, something has been going on!! I don’t feel like we can focus on the education our kids should be getting. Instead the only focus I feel we’ve had in these 5 years is, are we even going to have school next year??? I see families leaving our school, which affects everyone in ways not many think of. Our numbers have dropped so significantly, there is possible lay-offs luring around the corner. We have many wonderful teachers who are willing to work with whatever little resources they get but are still VERY motivated to keep going. I would be devastated to have to see any of them go. Yet, it’s the reality… Only because, apparently, there’s more money and influence in other areas so those get helped first. (Sorry for any possible spelling errors, English is not my primary language)

    Comment by C@AH — 7:04 pm October 9, 2012 #

  29. Well, if it’s rebuilt earlier you’ll still have to move your child. I think it’s something we can’t avoid because the school district ignored the problem for so long. Rebuild earlier or later one of your kids will have to go to Boren. There is no getting around it, unless of course you move, get into an option school or send your kids to private school.

    Comment by Bonnie — 7:04 pm October 9, 2012 #

  30. Wow, those photos of AH look exactly like Genessee Hill did when Pathfinder was there in terms of the crumbling building and infrastructure (we also had holes in the floor and no heat in some classrooms). Frankly, Boren wasn’t much better at the time in terms of the building condition score assigned by district assessment. It is really deplorable how much “deferred maintenance” has gone on over the years to leave these schools in this condition. This whole thing is like a never-ending nightmare, the same issues with different players every few years. Where does it stop???

    Comment by add — 7:16 pm October 9, 2012 #

  31. Did we really think they cared about Arbor Heights because they do not care at all. They only care about the north end West Seattle schools like Lafayette and Schmitz Park. Why would they care about us? They have ignored us, tried to close us down, gave us the worst principal in the district (previous principal, not our new one who is great), and basically told us our kids aren’t as important as Schmitz Park. They made a mistake with drawing boundary lines and now to make up for that they give Schmitz Park a brand new school.

    Comment by Another AH Mom — 7:25 pm October 9, 2012 #

  32. Get me a lawn sign! Vote NO on the BEX IV Levy!

    Comment by Amanda — 8:05 pm October 9, 2012 #

  33. Again, vote no on BEX – yes for charter schools.

    Comment by E — 8:29 pm October 9, 2012 #

  34. Hmmmm…Where will the interim site be for Arbor Heights? (quote from Banda..Arbor Heights Elementary: Replace existing building with new/expanded facility by 2019. The school will be at an interim site starting in 2017).

    Comment by susan — 9:16 pm October 9, 2012 #

  35. Charter schools? Ugh. I’d rather send my kids to Catholic school (having spent twelve years in Catholic school, I don’t say that lightly. I actually liked it, but my kids are getting a better education in SPS)

    Comment by Not born yesterday — 9:45 pm October 9, 2012 #

  36. Susan – Boren (where K-5 STEM is now) is the “interim” site.

    Comment by WSMama3 — 10:05 pm October 9, 2012 #

  37. E. I am also frustrated enough to vote no on the levy. I have never voted against a school levy. However, if the levy does not pass, I fear that our SPS children will pay the price. I am still inclined to vote for that reason. You also do not have to wait to vote for Charter Schools, we already have one in WS.
    I am in my 7th year as parent at AH and I cannot say enough wonderful things about our new principal and the staff. Despite the lack of resources they are working hard and have brought in some really cool grants that signicantly raise the bar on the curriculum. I am astounded every time I hear what new things are being done and brought into our school by our Principal (she must never sleep) and the staff. I cannot imagine sending my Kindergartner anywhere else. As much as I hate the idea of moving to Boren and back, it will be worth it. By the way 300 families enrolled in STEM at Boren so it can’t be awful.

    Comment by WSParent2 — 10:32 pm October 9, 2012 #

  38. I have a question. I keep hearing about this FACMAC (is that right?). Who are they and what is their role with SPS? I keep hearing the name in association with Levy. It seems to me that this organization or group or whatever wield some type of clout with the board decision making.

    Comment by WSParent2 — 10:37 pm October 9, 2012 #

  39. Advisory committee. Explained on this page. http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=229309

    Comment by WSB — 10:49 pm October 9, 2012 #

  40. There is nothing wrong with Boren. The classrooms get a lot of light. The neighborhood feels perfectly safe, and people are now slowing down their speeds in the school zone. I like the building!

    Comment by evergreen — 11:09 pm October 9, 2012 #

  41. @WSParent2, I’d be interested in seeing what schools the FACMAC Advisory Board members draw from and compare that to the schools that are on the current BEX IV proposal. I’m going to guess a high correlation. I know that two West Seattle reps. are from Schmitz Park.

    Comment by Public School Advocate — 11:47 pm October 9, 2012 #

  42. Could West Seattle form its own school district? What would we have to do to begin this process? I’m sure it would take a lot of work…but we could make it happen. SPS is way too big!

    Comment by Brontosaurus — 1:02 am October 10, 2012 #

  43. I certainly wish the upgrade of Arbor Heights would happen sooner. When that happens, the students of Arbor Heights will be beneficiaries of the work SPS and the K-5 STEM employees and parents have completed there. The building is slowly transforming into a nice school with lots of room and a positive place to learn and educate your little ones. Every day the Boren school has a few minor improvements. It has a ways to go but considering what a rathole is was, it is going to be a nice interim school. Although a flashing light for traffic to slow down would be huge, but they are trying. I am for the BEX levy.

    Comment by HMC Rich — 1:30 am October 10, 2012 #

  44. while I am glad the school will be on the list, I can’t hold my breath. It’s so far away and both my kids won’t benefit much from it – one will be out and another only one or two years ‘maybe’ in a new building. So for that I can’t get worked up over it. That said I will support those who do!

    ——-

    I also can’t help but wonder. If our school was such a ‘health factor’ wouldn’t the city or state shut us down? Old buildings are up and running all over the place! I have a relative who works up in Snohomomish County and said two of their staff bathrooms are forever closed due to issues with pluming and water etc.

    ——–

    Lastly, correct me if I am wrong on this, but I heard that there is allotted so much sq ft per child and Schmitz Park is not meeting these standards and is in fact illegal. If this is the case, then yes, this needs to be addressed ASAP.

    Comment by another ah parent — 6:29 am October 10, 2012 #

  45. I know that FACMAC Advisory Board has 2 SP parents on the board and I think that is a conflict of interest. No wonder they are first in line for everything.

    Comment by WSMom3 — 6:40 am October 10, 2012 #

  46. Please cut and paste your comments into an email to capacity@seattleschools.org

    They claim they are still interested (NOT) in what we have to say.

    Comment by skeptical — 6:41 am October 10, 2012 #

  47. What hasn’t been addressed here is the money grab for South Lake Union new school even though there is nearby capacity – every time it is beaten down it magically pops back up thanks to the monied crowd from DSA, Vulcan and Amazon. Call Mayor McGinn and Councilmember Mayor wannabe Burgess and ask them to address what is already here instead of pandering for campaign funds. Even Publicola published a piece about it by a DSA staffer.

    Also write, email the SPS school board members and weigh in on their resolution in exec committee today for NO on Charters – $10 million in favor from Gates, Bezos, Walmart, et al – makes you wonder ……

    Comment by Leslie — 6:44 am October 10, 2012 #

  48. I agree vote no on levy yes on Charter Schools.

    Comment by Anne — 6:45 am October 10, 2012 #

  49. If there are enough grumblings about voting no on the BEX levy, perhaps the district will start to listen?

    Sure, if the BEX doesn’t pass, the kids (and teachers/staff!) will suffer, but aren’t they suffering NOW? And isn’t it time that we stop handing the district money to bail them out, *again*, and make them start to use the money they get from taxes, the feds, and the state? Sort of like most of us…. I don’t have anyone to bail out me if I make a money mistake, so I have learned to be ~careful~ and ~manage well~. (Is it true that the district paid out around $25 million to settle out of court in the last few years? You know, rather than fixing what they’d done wrong? That is what I’ve heard.)

    A no vote on BEX is sounding better and better.

    Comment by happy — 7:34 am October 10, 2012 #

  50. DO you think the district is punishing AH families because they WANTED to close the school a few years back?

    Comment by BMC — 8:05 am October 10, 2012 #

  51. I read somewhere (maybe Save Seattle Schools blog?) that FACMAC said downtown DID NOT need a school built, that the numbers weren’t there. That tells me something about strings…obviously the district could give @#!# about the supposed advisory committee, seeing as how they continue to push ahead with this oh-so-necessary school for alllll the kids in the downtown core.

    Comment by ghar72 — 8:07 am October 10, 2012 #

  52. Big no on charter schools. I can’t help but feel all this bs (while the standard) is to get people to become frustrated and vote “yes” on charter schools. None of this crap is unintentional.

    Comment by JustAnotherMom — 10:00 am October 10, 2012 #

  53. My name is Carl Sweetland and I’m one of the members of FACMAC and a parent of a student at Schmitz Park. I thought I would help clarify some of the thoughts being discussed in this blog. Back in November 2010 I was asked to help look at the enrollment growth and capacity challenges at Schmitz. As I looked at the numbers, I realized that the enrollment growth was going to have a large impact on all of our West Seattle schools. Several of us (from multiple WS schools) helped raise awareness to the capacity issues that we are facing in WS – presented to the board on 3/16/2011. The district realized that having a community advisory committee would help it better understand what was happening in our neighborhoods. They then formed the Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee. A membership request went out to all families in the School District. Two members were selected to represent West Seattle (one from Lafayette and one from Schmitz Park). The committees focus was to look at capacity constraints. We were not charged with looking at facility condition. I was selected to play a technical roll in reviewing numbers and methodologies. All three of us spoke equally on capacity issues facing all West Seattle. Our voice in the FACMAC meetings around BEX IV planning was that WS has two very high priority schools: Arbor Heights (health/safety) and Schmitz Park (capacity constraints). Both schools had very different issues with equal weight of importance. Both need to be addressed as soon as possible.

    ——————————————-
    For those pondering voting NO on BEX IV…please don’t. There would be no funds to rebuild Arbor Heights or to add additional capacity to the other schools. It is important that WE ALL have a unified voice that our West Seattle schools need immediate attention.

    Comment by Carl Sweetland — 11:07 am October 10, 2012 #

  54. BMC, what do you mean they wanted to close the school awhile back? They didn’t want to close down the SCHOOL, they wanted to close the program. Big difference. They wanted to give our school to Pathfinder. Of course Pathfinder didn’t want it if they could have Cooper instead.

    Comment by Bonnie — 11:07 am October 10, 2012 #

  55. Thanks for speaking up, Carl!

    Comment by WSB — 11:21 am October 10, 2012 #

  56. I have a hard time understanding how SPS can do this to AH and save face? It is obvious to me (and I’m not a big intellectual) that SPS is screwing the children and families at AH. They cannot use cash flow as an excuse. If there’s cash flow enough to address all the projects on the timeline prior to 2019, why can’t they just re-prioritize using aging buildings AND capacity as determining factors? I am not sure of the numbers, but I know dozens of assigned students left AH for other schools. Isn’t that contributing to the capacity issues?
    I strongly suggest all concerned AH families and other West Seattle community members email SPS to voice their concern. I just did.
    capacity@seattleschools.org

    Comment by krista — 11:28 am October 10, 2012 #

  57. Bonnie, a clarification: There is AH the builiding and there is AH the school. The school is the families, teachers, students, faculty, and focus. By the School Board’s new definitions, they DID want to close the AH school and house another school in the building. A program is focused on providing services around a special need – be it APP or SpEd. Programs do not fully function on their own but operate within the larger framework of a host school. Programs do not have their own principals, mascots or site-specific PTAs. Programs share PCP resources, share core facilities, etc. As ridiculous as this whole issue of semantics is, the district has made it abundantly clear that the words do matter.

    Comment by StringCheese — 11:30 am October 10, 2012 #

  58. SC – just in case you weren’t immersed in all this then, SPS *has* used the terminology “program” for a school before. That’s how the whole Cooper thing unfolded – they kept insisting they were closing the Cooper “program,” not the Cooper “school.”

    Comment by WSB — 11:33 am October 10, 2012 #

  59. Carl, what was FACMAC’s stance on allowing two WS projects to happen concurrently? Given historical inequity regarding prior levy funding by region, it doesn’t seem a stretch to justify pushing back a North Seattle project to allow for this work to be done.
    .
    And thank you for speaking up!

    Comment by StringCheese — 11:37 am October 10, 2012 #

  60. WSB, I do seem to remember that. This new focus on verbage is related, I believe, to the Policy No 2200 that the Board passed in August – Equitable Access to Programs and Services. This policy required them to define what constituted a program. Hence, the importance for STEM to gain its recognition as a school so as not to be subjected to the mistreatment that follows programs such as APP and SpEd. Not to mention the fact that, no matter how you look at it – principal, PTA, school-wide curricular focus – we are a school. Unfortunately, our interim name seems to foster a sense of cold detachment. Would anyone question the school-ness of a Neil Armstrong Elementary?

    Comment by StringCheese — 11:39 am October 10, 2012 #

  61. This West Seattle article might give some historical perspective about the Pathfinder –> Arbor Heights building questions being asked:
    http://www.westseattleherald.com/2008/12/17/news/new-district-plans-concern-pathfinder-cooper-communities

    A side note to all the AH families, that is my Alma Mater. My heart and voice is there with you.

    Comment by Carl Sweetland — 11:44 am October 10, 2012 #

  62. Thank you WSB because I specifically remember what was going on during during the school closing progress. Thanks SC for the clarification though, but I do remember how it was all worded back then.

    Comment by Bonnie — 12:15 pm October 10, 2012 #

  63. Policy 2200 in part:

    “This policy addresses actions to make changes to existing programs or services, the development of new programs or services, the replication of existing programs or services, as well as the closing and/or relocation of existing programs or services throughout the district, to the extent that those programs or services have an impact on budgets, hiring or placement of staff, or on space within a building.

    Sped is a service, “schools” are programs.

    Comment by skeptical — 12:39 pm October 10, 2012 #

  64. Carl I agree that all in W S need to have a unified voice – but how many times do we pass levies only to see some scandal regarding our money? Is that what we should do keep giving $ after $ just hoping they’ll be responsible & responsive?? I am for giving Charter Schools a chance–something we’ve given SPS too many of.

    Comment by Anne — 1:03 pm October 10, 2012 #

  65. I believe that Charter schools provide SPS lots and lots of new ways to waste our money and that there will be even fewer ways to effectively oversee responsible spending of the already limited funds available to educate the children in Seattle. They are also NOT ON AVERAGE found to be a more effective way to educate the majority of students. Some are exceptional, but some are horrid. (just like everything else)

    Also, Charter Schools notably have been found to be SERIOUSLY LACKING in providing equitable educational opportunities for special student populations (whether they be special ed or students with behavioral issues, or FRL students) Which would mean they would just take gen ed students out of the non-charter schools, and leaving a disproportionately high number of harder students to teach to the regular non-charter schools, which would then be subject to testing that would no longer be appropriate to the student bodies.

    VOTE NO ON CHARTER SCHOOLS!!!

    Comment by Que — 1:32 pm October 10, 2012 #

  66. skeptical, I disagree. SpEd is a program. ELL, OT/PT, Speech therapy, counseling… these are services.

    Comment by StringCheese — 2:34 pm October 10, 2012 #

  67. You might also want to notice that SPS senior staff and the School Board have not stated, “Every school is a program! This is not something you need to worry about.” Far from it, instead, they plan their words carefully and say:
    “Being called a program is not the kiss of death…”
    skeptical, I wish you were right but the district is indeed playing a name game and the education of our children is tied to it.

    Comment by StringCheese — 2:50 pm October 10, 2012 #

  68. SpEd programs were “eliminated” in 2009 and replaced with ICS and service models. EVERY buildings is supposed to provide services for special needs students in their neighborhood. Delivery of specially-designed instruction, whether by a general ed teacher, special ed teacher, couselor SLP is a service.

    Comment by skeptical — 3:04 pm October 10, 2012 #

  69. While I appreciate the arguments from both sides, what keeps going through my mind is this. I live in West Seattle, my child will go to Roxhill (unless we get into STEM or Pathfinder). I find it incomprehensible that any parent needs to send their child to a school that is so subpar on the maintenance scale that you are worried about their health. I will NOT vote to pay any more taxes until schools that are having issues with heat, mold and vermin are at the TOP of the list. Overcrowding is not more important than the health of the kids going to Roxhill and Arbor Heights. A school in South Lake Union is not more important than the health of our kids. It’s not as easy as “our time will come”. The time is now, the time is past.

    Comment by Amanda — 3:11 pm October 10, 2012 #

  70. Vote Yes for Charter and Yes for BEX.

    If you can prove that your school isn’t meeting your needs, you can organize and develop a charter. It is publicly funded. There are a lot of myths about charter schools around here, but they are NOT vouchers or privatization. They are ripe for highly active and organized neighborhoods, such as Arbor Heights.

    Comment by CouncilOfDoom — 3:33 pm October 10, 2012 #

  71. “Save Seattle Schools seems to have comments almost exclusively from the north end.”

    Not true – we have several parents from West Seattle who are regular commenters and we want more. Chime in anytime. saveseattleschools.blogspot.com

    As several people have pointed out, a vote for charters means FEWER capital and operations dollars for our existing schools. Charter schools will get a disproportionate amount of those dollars.

    Conversion charters – a charter school that has a petition signed by the majority of parents OR teachers at ANY existing school, failing or not, that charter then takes over the ENTIRE school, building and all.

    So you will lose levy dollars and school buildings with charters. Check out the FAQs for info.

    No On 1240, http://www.no1240.org

    Comment by westello — 3:53 pm October 10, 2012 #

  72. Sorry, I missed that last comment by Council of Doom.

    Sorry but charters CAN use for-profit companies for management, educational services and a host of other things. Even the authorizers can outsource their work to a for-profit company.

    So yes, there is a profit to be made off of charter schools.

    Also, if you think there will be a lot of “grassroots” charters, think again. The initiative is not structured that way.

    Comment by westello — 3:55 pm October 10, 2012 #

  73. Myths? The greatest myth is that charters do better than your average (decently maintained) public school. I would NEVER vote for the crap I-1240. I WOULD vote against a deliberately manipulative capital projects levy that ignores the input of the prime stakeholders, students and families. Period.

    Comment by skeptical — 4:41 pm October 10, 2012 #

  74. As of this PM meeting, FACMAC (though focused on capacity) recommended advanced replacement schedule for AH! Now to keep the momentum going!!

    Comment by Jessica Pierce — 9:28 pm October 10, 2012 #

  75. Can someone possibly tell me what is a “World School” like the one they state they want to open, and what is the difference between an “international” school and other schools?
    This levy has many drawbacks and I am sure it is not only the WS community who are unhappy with some part of it. It is still better than simply doing nothing to any of the buildings in SPS. I cannot imagine voting no on the School Levy because you don’t like parts of it: you’d rather see nothing done at all? Charter schools are not the answer to the problems in public schools; they will just drain money from our schools and make matters worse.

    Comment by Jawat — 2:17 pm October 12, 2012 #

  76. I am for charter schools b/c it is the only way to introduce truly innovative ways of teaching to this district. The successful charters will attract families, the others won’t. I think parents and teachers together can design a better and more efficiently funded school. I know there is an outpouring against charters in Seattle, but I think SPS is inefficient, incompetent, laden with bureaucracy, and insular. A school that affords more parent oversight and teacher input would work much better than anything SPS can churn out. Also, kids are different & deserve more choices to accommodate diverse learning styles.

    Comment by Evergreen — 1:16 pm October 13, 2012 #

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