West Seattle, Washington
While talking with striking Seattle Education Association members today, we learned that the general plan for Friday, if it’s not resolved, was to be part of the National Day of Service rather than picketing. Late tonight, we’ve received word that in West Seattle, the plan has evolved to add a gathering including families. Shared with us by Schmitz Park Educators, on behalf of their colleagues from around the peninsula:
If the Seattle Public Schools teacher strike continues through the end of the week, please join West Seattle educators and families on Friday afternoon from 12:30-3:00 for an Alki Beach Read-In after a morning of community service in honor of September 11th (check with educators from individual schools for project specifics). ALL families are welcome! We are coordinating with multiple schools for this event and hope to have a great turnout.
Please bring your books, blankets, and back-to-school momentum! Meet near the Statue of Liberty on Alki Beach. Let’s spend the afternoon reading together as we show that we ALL want to be back in school.
Wear red – see you there!
You’re encouraged to RSVP so organizers have an idea of how many people to expect – you can do that here.
P.S. We’re also interested in all the local service projects tentatively planned on Friday (both educators and non-educators, for that matter) – firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
No classes for Seattle Public Schools again tomorrow, as reported in our all-day coverage of the first day of the Seattle Education Association‘s strike against SPS. In the past six hours, we’ve heard from representatives of both sides, and we recorded each one.
First – a 3 pm media briefing at SPS headquarters in SODO, during which district spokesperson Stacy Howard said “all indications” were that talks would resume tomorrow:
We mentioned a few other points toward the end of our morning/afternoon coverage. Howard was joined by two members of the district bargaining team, Jon Halfaker and Keven Wynkoop.
Second – near the start of the 7 pm 34th District Democrats meeting at the Hall at Fauntleroy, the union’s lead bargainer Phyllis Campano said the union was going to meet with mediators at 10 am tomorrow but had not heard from the district regarding resuming talks:
As you can hear in the clip, Campano also offered some backstory to how negotiations had played out pre-strike, saying the union told the district it wanted to be done by August 24th. She said this is her fourth turn as a negotiator and this is the “slowest” process in which she’s ever been involved. She characterized the district’s 5 pm Tuesday proposal as “pretty much the same proposal they had put on the table at 1 o’clock on the morning,” and that, she said, is why they decided to end talks for the day and declare the strike was on. But, she said, “All 40 members of our bargaining team are eager to get back and get this solved.”
We later asked district spokesperson Howard about the seeming discrepancy, via e-mail. Her response: “Our bargaining team members told me they were asked to report here in the morning. … But this goes with the pattern we explained earlier…we are there, have been around the clock available and the union on numerous occasions have either not showed, or walked out. So that’s why we said today that all indicators show talks should resume tomorrow. Because it wouldn’t be the first time they’ve refused to talk.” The union, meantime, has contended that the district was a no-show on multiple occasions along the way. We’ll see what happens tomorrow; the union says picketing will resume at all schools at 8:30 am (with an early round at Louisa Boren STEM K-8 in Delridge during morning-newscast hours).
SIDE NOTE #1: Later in the 34th DDs meeting, the group unanimously approved a resolution supporting the union (we’ll add a copy here when we get it), and a $500 contribution to the teachers’ strike fund.
SIDE NOTE #2: Some parents have wondered how the strike will affect the school-year calendar. The district has an extensive strike-related FAQ up here, and it ends with a section about “calendar concerns.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two hot topics brought a big turnout to last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting – about 50 people at the start.
SW ADMIRAL WAY SAFETY PROJECT: As shown here earlier in the day, SDOT has revised its plan for rechannelizing SW Admiral Way west of California SW. The original proposal, introduced at April’s ANA meeting and discussed at an at-times-raucous “open house” in May, included removal of more than 200 parking spaces, and drawn howls of protest from some who live along the stretch, not just because of the reduction, but because it would have left some stretches with parking only on one side. The new configuration would remove the center turn lane in spots instead.
Dawn Schellenberg and Sam Woods from SDOT led the presentation about the revised version, going again through contextual information about collisions and bicycle use, with questions that had emerged before emerging again from attendees – how many collisions were the fault of drunk drivers, how many bicycle riders are using the road, etc. Numerous documents are now online – scroll down this page to find them.
The new plan includes a reduction of lane width – SDOT says wider lanes encourage speeding. Currently, between 63rd and 60th, the drive lanes are 12 feet wide, and will be narrowed to 11 feet. Between 60th and Stevens, there will be a “door zone” buffering drivers from the new bike lane (and vice versa) on the downhill side. Going uphill, the buffer will be between the bicycle rider and the driver. Between Stevens and Lander, the lanes are 11.5′ and will narrow to 10.5′; between Lander and 47th, “where we didn’t see a lot of parking no matter what time of year we studied it,” … and between 44th and 47th, standard bike lanes, and between 44th and California, no changes, to maintain the left-turn lane.
Additional safety features are now under study on the west end – maybe an all-ways stop at 59th/Admiral, which currently only has a pedestrian signal, leaving people to be confused about traveling in the non-controlled directions when someone is using the signal.
On first take, the revisions did not seem to be receiving rave reviews.
How’s your bus route doing this week? We haven’t seen any Metro texts/tweets about West Seattle cancellations in the past few days, unlike last week. In addition to the Metro explanation we published, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen was looking into it, and has shared two things – first, a response he received from Metro general manager Kevin Desmond; second, Rasmussen’s response to that, including a note about a briefing ahead. First, from Desmond to Rasmussen:
Thank you for sharing your concerns with me. I hope this information helps clarify Metro’s readiness and commitment to provide daily bus service across King County and Seattle and increased service planned as part of the September service change. We also want to describe the lengths our organization goes to each day to provide our customers with transit service they depend on.
We are in a transition time of rapid growth in transit service, which unfortunately has seen a fluctuating number of individual peak commute trip cancellations that is higher than we would like.
(TOPLINES: Strike’s first day is on with picketing at all SPS schools; district says NO SCHOOL THURSDAY but talks are expected to resume in the morning; scroll down for newest updates and photos from all 16 public schools in WS)
(At Roxhill Elementary: WSB photo)
FIRST REPORT, 9:40 AM: Picketing has begun at Seattle Public Schools campuses around the city, as the Seattle Education Association‘s strike – announced at district HQ last night – begins. Above, picketers at the first school where we stopped to photograph picketers, Roxhill Elementary, the southernmost campus in WS for now (until Arbor Heights Elementary’s construction is done). Roxhill student Rose is on the line:
Community members there to support strikers include Steve, who says he walks by the school every day, so today, he picked up a sign:
SEA says picketing will continue today until 3 pm. Via text (206-293-6302), we just received a photo from (corrected) Pathfinder K-8 “families and friends” outside district HQ:
(Pathfinder K-8 “families and friends” outside John Stanford Center: Reader-texted photo)
ADDED 10:03 AM: Just back from Gatewood Elementary, where our Instagram video clip (mouse over the image to bring up the “play” button) includes a chant:
(At Gatewood Elementary: WSB video, above, and photo, below)
Gatewood parent Jena told us that a striker-support fund is in progress at Caffé Ladro around the corner. We also spotted this sign:
Just in from strikers at Schmitz Park Elementary:
(At Schmitz Park Elementary: Reader photos above, via text)
10:53 AM: Thanks for sending photos from more of the picket lines around West Seattle:
That’s from Fairmount Park Elementary teacher and parent Althea Chow, who says, “Fairmount Park Elementary staff and families are loving the honks of support from drivers on Fauntleroy Way! Thank you, West Seattle!” (In addition to the group above in front of the school on Findlay, they also have picketers along Fauntleroy to the west.) Whenever school starts, this will be the second year for the renovated and expanded FPES, which reopened last year, seven years after it was part of a wave of SPS closures.
At the forested campus of Sanislo Elementary:
Thanks to Megan Simmons for that photo.
Next, from Jennifer Hall, who says her photo is from “West Seattle High School! This strike is FOR our students!!”:
Earlier, we included a photo of Pathfinder K-8 families at district HQ downtown. Holli Margell tweets this from the Pathfinder campus, on Pigeon Point:
— Holli Margell (@HolliMargell) September 9, 2015
ADDED 11:29 AM: Just stopped at Highland Park Elementary, where picketers are marching along Trenton, with chants and with music from a loudspeaker:
Some students showed up this morning unaware of the strike, they tell us. They also are handing out a letter, reading, in part, “We are on strike to redefine public education in Seattle. We want the best schools in the nation, with world languages, music, the arts, sciences, humanities, mathematics, the language arts, physical education, and more. We want the money spent on kids and classrooms, not on bureaucrats at the Stanford Center. We want our kids to be fully ready for the 21st-century world, not just to be test-taking robots.” They reaffirm the plan announced pre-strike, for picketing today and tomorrow (if the strike is still on), then projects for the National Day of Service on Friday – these strikers say they’ll be at the nearby White Center Salvation Army that day.
On to 5950 Delridge – where this will be the second and final year of Arbor Heights Elementary‘s temporary home. This photo’s from Krista McInerney:
11:52 AM: We’re now at Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth International High School, which share a site in the 2600 block between SW Kenyon and SW Thistle. Denny picketers are along Kenyon (including the traffic circle):
They were marching along Thistle, all the way down to the Longfellow Creek P-Patch east of the school.
Back at Highland Park, PE teacher Chellie LaFayette tweeted that they had a surprise arrival just after we were there:
— Chellie LaFayette (@ChellieLaFayett) September 9, 2015
(Datapoint, Full Tilt co-founder Ann Magyar is a longtime teacher.)
12:15 PM: Just stopped at West Seattle Elementary in High Point:
Picketers are in front of the school on 34th SW and there’s also a small group at 35th and Morgan a few blocks away.
12:27 PM: On to the north end:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) September 9, 2015
Thanks again to everyone who’s texted/e-mailed (email@example.com) photos; we will continue to update the story with any new information on what’s next in the strike (see below).
1:53 PM: Thanks to Heidi Alessi for the picket-line photo from the newly renamed Louisa Boren STEM K-8:
Meantime, more of the stops we made before a quick lunch break. In the Admiral District, Lafayette Elementary:
Down the hill from there, Alki Elementary:
2:10 PM: Just got word that some of the north WS strikers will be gathering in The Admiral District at/near Lafayette, so if you see a particularly sizable group there, it’s representing more than one school.
HOW LONG WILL THE STRIKE LAST? NEWEST INFORMATION, UPDATED 12:58 PM: No word of new talks, so far; negotiations started in May and were ongoing until just before the strike announcement last night. Both sides are updating their websites – the union here (you can find PDFs of its e-mailed updates here), the district here. … We added district spokesperson Stacy Howard about the plan for announcements on schools’ status, etc. Her reply: “Hopefully at least one update per day will go to families. But this is so complicated and we want to make sure we are accurate before just putting info out there. Also, as of right now there is not a plan for legal action. We hope to resolve this before that happens.” (Added) We noticed the message on the SPS home page has been updated:
12:58 PM UPDATE: SPS is having a media briefing in two hours. No new talks or breakthrough; members of the district bargaining team are expected to speak.
2:59 PM UPDATE: We’re live at district HQ to report toplines of the briefing. SPS spokesperson Stacy Howard is leading it off. “We appreciate our teachers and educators and believe we have made a strong offer … It’s also important to note we must protect our fiscal health … (the offer) is fiscally sound. A contract that is not fiscally sound ultimately will help our students. We are offering a substantial pay raise … Our most recent offer provides a 14 percent pay raise over three years including the state COLA …” She says the union’s proposal would cost three times as much as the district’s offer. She denies that they are “extending the teacher’s workday,” currently 6 hours and 10 minutes, proposed to go to 6 hours and 30 minutes. “By adding instructional minutes to our students’ day … we can meet their .. needs.” She says they believe negotiations will resume tomorrow.
In questioning, the bargaining team reps who have joined Howard say it’s “complicated” to explain why the extra instructional time won’t extend the teachers’ work day. Regarding the length of the contract, the district reps say that both sides have proposed two- and three-year contracts at different points; right now, the district’s most recent offer is 3 years, the union’s most recent offer is 2 years. “The negotiation process is fluid,” Howard interjects at one point. “We are hoping for a quick resolution.” Says bargaining team member Jon Halfaker, “We believe we have made strong gains.”
“Does the district’s offer pay teachers what they’re worth?” they are asked. Howard doesn’t answer directly but says, “We want to honor our teachers. … Our goal here is to make them feel like they are getting what they deserve and that the students are getting the education they deserve.” Adds the other bargainer, “The district’s offer IS competitive. … We know it’s best for our kids to have strong teachers.” Halfaker says they feel they’ve been “as transparent as (we) can be.”
Asked one last question, why negotiations ended last night with a strike announcement: Halfaker said they had all worked a very long weekend, but they were “quite surprised” by the union breaking away after getting a counterproposal around 5 pm and instead coming into the chambers last night to declare they were on strike.
Final word from spokesperson Howard: Yes, this means NO SCHOOL THURSDAY – please get the word out to everyone you know.
ADDED 4:17 PM: SEA says picketing at schools will resume at 8:30 am tomorrow, except for an early start, 4:45 am-6:15 am, at Louisa Boren K-8 STEM in West Seattle. (Not mentioned in the update, but we would guess that’s for benefit of early-morning TV reporters, so you might see TV trucks there in the very early hours.)
Almost exactly one year after announcing an expansion plan for its HQ in The Triangle, the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) has a major update today: Construction costs have gone up, so the plan’s size has to go down. From the announcement:
…With rising construction costs and after careful consideration of fundraising efforts thus far, the original design will be modified with a focus on delivering the expanded Y in 2016.
Factors impacting the revised scope include:
• A booming Seattle construction market that has boosted the original project design cost to an estimated $12 million (including underground parking).
• $3.5 million has been raised to date from 240 generous local donors, putting the West Seattle YMCA on track to raise $4 million. The YMCA of Greater Seattle is matching this amount dollar for dollar, currently allowing for a project that costs approximately $8 million.
• Even with our continued plans to raise funds for the expanding West Seattle YMCA, board and staff leadership does not see a timely pathway to $12 million in funding.
Leadership staff and volunteers are working closely with donors and the project team to provide alternate plans that better fit the YMCA’s financial capacity. “We’re working with the project architect, Miller Hayashi, to keep focused on community need as we revise our expansion plans.” said Dave Kehle, Chair of the Building Committee.
Key components of the revised project will include:
• Expanded Fitness Space
• Family Programs Wing
• Family Changing Rooms
• Community Meeting Room with Healthy Eating Kitchen
The community will have an opportunity to view these plans at meetings in October. Dates for the meetings and updated information will be shared on OurNewY.org.
Fundraising continues in earnest with every dollar making a difference. New donors pledging $1,500 or more can double their impact by having their gift matched dollar for dollar by the Nucor-Pigott Community Challenge. …
The West Seattle YMCA will serve thousands more people annually with the expanded facility. The building will remain open during construction, with improvements happening in phases and completion expected in 2016.
Read the full announcement here. Full details of the revised plan haven’t been worked out yet, so there are no specific drawings or details yet.
(Pileated woodpecker, photographed by Matt Olson)
Before we move on with what is already a very busy news day/night, here are highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
HIGH POINT MARKET GARDEN FARM STAND: 4-7 pm, your third-to-last weekly chance to buy produce that was grown steps away. (32nd SW & SW Juneau)
CITY COUNCIL PUBLIC HEARING ON HOUSING-AFFORDABILITY RECOMMENDATIONS: 5:30 pm at City Hall downtown, the council’s Select Committee on Housing Affordability – which includes all nine councilmembers – will listen to public comments about the proposals to be considered in the months ahead. See the agenda here; see the documents here. (5th/Cherry)
SENIOR CENTER OF WEST SEATTLE: Monthly board meeting at 5:30 pm, open to the public. (SW Oregon & California SW)
AMERICAN LEGION POST 160: 6 pm monthly meeting, open to all who have served or are serving in the U.S. armed forces. (3618 SW Alaska)
KAYAK THE DUWAMISH RIVER: 6-7:30 pm, tonight’s community kayak tour features “Stories of This Place“; details in our calendar listing, including how to RSVP, which will bring you information on where the tour’s launching from (either West Seattle or South Park).
34TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS: 7 pm at The Hall at Fauntleroy, our area’s largest political organization meets. In addition to the agenda posted online – including some endorsement decisions – chair Marcee Stone-Vekich says the group will hear at 7:15 pm from Phyllis Campano, head of the bargaining group for the now-on-strike Seattle Education Association. (9131 California SW)
(Four WS-relevant views – more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning. No incidents so far, but we do have road-work alerts:
ARBOR HEIGHTS MICROSURFACING: Starts today – see the map and announcement here.
48TH SW CLOSURE STARTING TOMORROW: Another project announced by SPU starts tomorrow:
Beginning September 10, Seattle Public Utilities will repair sewer lines on 48th Avenue SW between SW Juneau Street and SW Raymond Street. This work will require closing 48th Avenue SW to through traffic. Local access will be available with the assistance of a traffic flagger. Work may take up to five days to complete with hours from 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM. The lanes will remain closed for the duration of work hours, and will be opened to traffic after non-work hours. Metro bus 37 will run as normal.
35TH SW PAVING STARTING TOMORROW: Preparation for SDOT‘s 35th and Roxbury rechannelization work continues, and starting tomorrow, 35th will be repaved between SW Cambridge and SW Barton – here’s that announcement.
Also, though Seattle Public Schools are NOT opening today because of the Seattle Education Association strike announced last night – with picketing planned at all SPS campuses 8:30 am-3 pm today – some independent schools do start the year today:
BACK TO SCHOOL: This is the first day at the new Westside School campus (34th SW & SW 104th) as well as Explorer West Middle School (10015 28th SW) and West Seattle Montessori (11215 15th SW); all three are WSB sponsors.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
3:09 AM: Seattle Fire crews are arriving at a small house fire near 23rd SW and SW Willow – the caller didn’t have a precise address so it’s taken them a while to find it. Some of the units are already being turned back. More to come.
3:21 AM: Our crew has arrived and says this happened at a vacant house (confirmed by city complaint records) in the 6700 block of 23rd SW and was so small that SFD didn’t even need to roll out hoses to get water on the fire, but instead used extinguishers to put it out and are now ventilating the house. No injuries reported. The cause is under investigation.
It came out of the blue – or, we should say, out of the green. Alice Enevoldsen of Alice’s Astro Info and Skies Over West Seattle suddenly turned up on Twitter earlier tonight saying that with a really good camera, a “dim” aurora was in view. Jason Enevoldsen subsequently got the view the orange clouds and green glow.
ADDED: Jed tweeted this photo:
— Jed (@jedmurdock) September 9, 2015