School crowding: District sets meeting to discuss short-term plan

Since it’ll take a few years for the BEX IV levy projects to kick in – providing voters approve the measure next February – Seattle Public Schools is working on a “what to do about school crowding BEFORE then” plan. They’ve just announced a community meeting on the topic for one week from tomorrow, December 11th at district HQ in SODO:

Enrollment is growing at Seattle Public Schools, with almost 50,000 students this year. Projections show continued year-to-year increases in enrollment for the next five years, with an enrollment of more than 57,000 students by the 2021-22 school year, if current trends continue.

While the School Board approved a list of projects that would be funded if the Building Excellence (BEX IV) levy is approved by voters in February, tax payments will not start before 2014.

In the meantime, the District is developing a Short Term Capacity Management Plan, which will outline recommended changes to schools to ensure the District has enough seats to meet enrollment next fall. This plan will likely include some minor renovations and could add portable classrooms for next year.

The District invites the public to learn about the latest recommendations at a community meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions. District leadership continues to meet with school communities in each region.

In addition, the Seattle School Board will hold a Work Session Wednesday, Dec. 5 to study both the Short Term Capacity Management Plan and the New Student Assignment Plan (NSAP) Transition Plan for the 2013-14 school year.

Both issues are scheduled to be introduced at the Jan. 9, 2013 School Board meeting, with board action on both short-term capacity management and NSAP Transition Plan scheduled for the Jan. 23, 2013 board meeting.

The district has two webpages you can check for more information on these topics: BEX IV here, Capacity Management here.

16 Replies to "School crowding: District sets meeting to discuss short-term plan"

  • No on BEX December 3, 2012 (2:05 pm)

    Let neighborhoods break off and have their own district. I hate being part of this huge school district. Seattle is so big. West seattle should create their own district.

  • vote yes on BEX December 3, 2012 (2:44 pm)

    If we don’t approve this BEX IV levy, children in run down schools or over crowded schools, and their teachers, will have no relief. Voting yes on BEX ensures that we will have the room we need, in appropriate learning environments,and be able to finally have room to take care of programs like Special Education and ELL in their own neighborhoods.
    In the meantime, let’s find solutions, rather than criticism, to help schools weather the wait.

  • Anne December 3, 2012 (2:58 pm)

    Vote NO! What makes anyone think SPS will be good stewards of this $$ when they fail time & time again to scrupulously manage what they already have? How do we know voting yes ENSURES anything but more mismanagement & poor judgement?

    • WSB December 3, 2012 (3:16 pm)

      Anybody with ideas on how schools can handle the current crowding will no doubt be welcome at the meeting – or to send to the district now. Regardless of who is mismanaging what and who screwed up where, this is SEPARATE from BEX – this is about what to do at least in the next year or two. And whether you have kids in the district or not, there are thousands in West Seattle alone in overcrowded classrooms. I don’t know yet what they are proposing for West Seattle – we’ll likely get a hint at the work session the district mentions in this news release – TR

  • No on BEX December 3, 2012 (3:28 pm)

    My thoughts exactly Anne!

  • Bonnie December 3, 2012 (3:56 pm)

    I hope they aren’t planning on sending the 5th graders to middle school again.

  • Lisa December 3, 2012 (4:30 pm)

    @ Bonnie – when did SPS send 5th graders to middle school? That is unreal.

  • Betsy December 3, 2012 (5:14 pm)

    I’m in the Highline School District so I likely won’t go to the SPS meeting, but..

    I’m surprised the idea of year round school has not yet been proposed. Schools would gain an immeediate 25% increase in capacity by putting existing buildings to use 100% of the year instead of 75%. My nieces and nephews went to school year round in elementary school in Nevada for the same reason. People objected at first, but after the first year everyone loved it. Traditional holidays breaks were still observed, but the standard schedule was nine weeks on, three weeks off in rotating groups so classrooms were never empty. Siblings of course rotated at the same time.

    Kids forgot less over the shorter breaks.

    Day care providers expanded to provide programs during the off times, just like during summer.

    Just an idea..

  • Bonnie December 3, 2012 (6:42 pm)

    Lisa, they did not do it but last year they talked about the overcrowding and one of the plans was to send 5th graders in the north end to Madison for one year.

  • Use Common Sense December 3, 2012 (7:58 pm)

    Well put Anne, couldn’t agree more.

  • happy December 3, 2012 (8:16 pm)

    Anne, you are correct!

  • NWmama December 3, 2012 (9:02 pm)

    Betsy- you are brilliant. Bring it up at the meeting or send a note to the school board via their site.

  • wsea December 3, 2012 (10:17 pm)

    Last time I checked the BEX levy did not increase the number of schools in west seattle. Sure it will move one and update a couple but it does not reduced student/teacher ratios. Im waiting to understand how my requested tax donation is going to help. Im willing to help but I have not seen the correct solution yet. Keep trying, or is the currect plan there final plan to improve the schools?

  • WS parent December 3, 2012 (11:15 pm)

    Year-round school would be great if teachers did not have to share classrooms– is there enough storage in many of the classrooms for shared storage of teacher materials? When I was in elementary school my district did that for the same reason, and teacher materials/shared rooms was a “hot point” for teachers.
    I love the idea of West Seattle breaking off to form it’s own district. I too, think that SPS’s troubles are because of its size and mismanagement.
    Worried that my 2013 kindergartner will be in a large class with no I.A. assistance… my husband is looking into private schools…. :( What time is the meeting? I will be at the meeting if I can make it!

  • WSB December 3, 2012 (11:18 pm)

    4th paragraph in the (blue) quoted copy – 7 pm.

  • Public School Advocate December 4, 2012 (10:22 am)

    Misconception #1 – Overcrowding. Not ALL schools across the district are overcrowded. Overcrowding tends to be isolated to certain schools/neighborhoods. There are schools that could take on more students.
    Solution: 1) Re-evaluate the grandfathering policies for students (and siblings) not attending their neighborhood school 2) make some boundary adjustments 3) Eliminate the “guarantee” to attend your neighborhood school – if there are too many students in a grade then require some students (via lottery, registration date, etc…) to go to another school with space until space becomes available back at the neighborhood school (this is done in other districts) 4) crack down on families using false addresses to attend certain schools

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