Denny-Sealth: Remaining questions from 2/12 meeting

President Steve Fischer of the Westwood Neighborhood Council, which organized last Tuesday’s panel-discussion meeting at CSHS (WSB text/video coverage here), sent the list of audience questions that remained when time ran out. As promised, he has forwarded them to the district to request answers online the same way they answered questions (here) from their 2/4 meeting at CSHS. Here’s the list (reading it, we see there is one toward the end that we can answer, as it involves WSB):

Questions Not Asked

Can the school board assign a 3rd party to objectively present the info from this point forward so that the public can make their decisions based on objective data without the influence of hidden agendas?

How to do you keep the students safe?

Is there something about the demographic background of students at Denny and Sealth that the district thinks will not allow these students to succeed unless their campuses are combined?

If we can’t maintain a good math program for high schoolers, how will we maintain one for 6-12?

What happens if in six years into a combined campus we decide we have built a mistake?

Is there any possibility that Sealth could only move out for a duration of 1 year?

How is the district going to get the science and computer labs at Boren up to par for the IB program next year?

What amount of funding and how many additional security personnel will be needed?

Are there statistics indicating whether joint campuses are beneficial or detrimental to the academic progress of students?

What happens to the real estate currently occupied by the portables at Sealth? Could it be adapted for the convenience of special needs students?

Will community and parents have an option of choosing one of the options?

Please specifically define “modernized” classrooms, science labs and computers labs as well as “spaces and facilities” at Sealth that support the IB program. Within the confines of the more limited budget allotted to Sealth’s remodel (less than Denny) doesn’t additional 10 million come out of the levy technology funds?

Coming out of the BEX technology fund is $5 million to pay for infrastructure. Isn’t this $10 million in option 2 taking away from other school projects?

Is the district considering any options that don’t involve cost overruns?

What happened to the “state of the art” athletic facility that was originally promised to replace the Denny sit as part of the “consolidation”?

If the decision is made to go through with option 1 or 2, what does the district plan to do with the Denny property?

Is it really possible to provide adequate oversight of these age groups?

The district is using the student assignment plan because of the high costs of transportation. How can you justify the added costs of transportation by having different start times?

For Carla Santorno: It was stated that combining the schools would give teachers a chance for more deliberate curriculum planning. Is being one block closer really going to make a difference?

Wasn’t the Ignite Mentoring program brought into Sealth to stop the drop out rate?

Community and parental involvement and support have been excellent at both Denny and Sealth, why would that be different if the two schools were co-located?

How many breeches of security have there been this year between middle and high school students with the schools separated?

How can you compare Sealth’s future enrollment to that of West Seattle and Ballard when they did not have middle schools placed on their campuses?

What was the $2 million dollars spent on?

Why if BEX III is for high school renovations a middle school like Denny is receiving a large amount of money instead of being a part of the BEX IV project?

I understand there is 70-80 space shortfall in faculty parking. How is OK to use our residential streets as your parking lot? (Kenyon, Elmgrove, 27th SW, 28th SW have increased traffic and parking problems)

The students “at risk” already skip school and hang out at both Denny and Sealth. How will these students be kept apart on a co-located campus?

What fields are the school teams to use if those facilities are removed make space for Denny in options 1 and 2?

For Carla: You stated that the district does not have resources to create planning time for Denny and Sealth teachers to work together on a shared academic plan. Then how will this be done in light of Sealth teachers moving twice in three years?

It has been stated many times that the “bones of Sealth are sound”. The building has stood through every earthquake since 1957. What truly justifies seismic upgrade when Sealth shows no signs of structural damage?

If safety and money is not a problem why don’t you fix or have a plan to fix the gym floor?

Why can the district spend $100 million on other high schools but not at Sealth?

Is the district planning to combine the campuses of Rainier Beach High and the new school at South Shore?

Is it true that the average tenure of Superintendent nationwide is something like 2 or 3 years? Once built, how long would a combined Denny/Sealth campus be expected to last?

How will all the separate lunches all going to fit into one day?

How will the issue of skipping to go with high schoolers in cars to other lunch locations be addressed?

Do the residents of the Westwood neighborhood agree with Dr. Felder that the Summit 6-12 program has a greater potential for success because it is in a “safer” neighborhood?

Will the district address the “inequities” between the north end schools and the south end schools? The Sealth campus is being shortchanged.

How did “Schools First”, a private political organization get the co-location info (mail it to 45,000 households, not all voting households) but King County did not? How is this not bait and switch?

There are misrepresentations on the district’s website regarding Sealth student polls and Denny staff polls. How can the district use these as factual/accurate representations of the staff and students at both schools?

I heard that the student written article in the Sealth school newspaper was “pulled” because of the opposition expressed. Is this true?

Did legal counsel of the district ask the West Seattle blog to remove the student written article for “factual inaccuracies”, is this true and why?

Why are the response sheets biased towards Denny and the merger? Sealth surveys and concerns are not addressed.

How many drive by shootings have there been at Sealth in the last five years?

Regarding that third-to-last question mentioning WSB, we posted about that in a 2/6 addendum to a 2/3 post. Read it here. (11 days have passed, and we have yet to receive the “correction” the district said would be sent – our offer to publish it whenever we get it is still open.) Meantime, as mentioned previously and frequently, the comment period on Denny-Sealth remains open till school-board members take their final vote a week from Wednesday; their contact info for your comment(s) is here; WSB Denny-Sealth coverage is archived here.)

3 Replies to "Denny-Sealth: Remaining questions from 2/12 meeting"

  • westello February 18, 2008 (1:49 pm)

    I seriously doubt if the district will answer these questions but even if they do it won’t matter. The Facilities department’s credibility is shredded.

    What’s the latest on this issue? Well, as we recall Facilities staff was recommending that the extra $10M for Sealth be taken from three funds; BEX III Technology (which means some project like The Source won’t get get updated or started) and the Debt Service Fund (which they really have no business touching because this situation is NOT an emergency and that fund is to pay off the Stanford Center which is yet another money-losing venture for this district).

    The third source is the BEX III Infrastructure fund which, according to the bond wording, is for air/water quality issues and playfield resurfacing. When I spoke this past Wednesday at the Board meeting, I told the Board this. I also said that I knew, because the air and water quality issues at various schools was so high profile that, of course, that work would be done and that meant some fields would not be resurfaced.

    So I was checking out the West Seattle Herald and seeing the story on Denny/Sealth by Rebekah Schilperoort. She reports that Salmon Bay K-8 and Summit K-12 WON’T get their air/water quality issues addressed. And, that they can get the money for those projects in a future levy.

    This is a whole new issue. So, Facilities staff put forth that we had to add air/water quality issues to BEX III (these type of things normally get addressed in another maintenance levy called BTA) and yet now, they can afford to put off some of the projects? Facilities staff think resurfacing fields is more important than air and water quality at some schools? And, they believe that they will be able to so easily pass another levy that they can put off projects?

    This is very troublesome. It is a constant shell game of moving money around from pot to pot and canceling or postponing projects (for example, still waiting for the Secondary BOC – who had their entire project’s money at $14M taken by Garfield’s project – to appear on any list). There is no way to track where these hundreds of millions of dollars are going. (I’ve been researching this and I cannot find anyone at OSPI or the State Auditor who can say that districts have to send in a specific accounting of how they spend capital funds.)

    This issue of the Infrastructure fund is personally painful to me. I came out publicly against the BEX III list (I have been pretty active in the district so I was able to get media to listen and, as well, there was no other organized opposition). I got hammered by people who called me a terrible person because I opposed BEX III and it contained work on buildings with air and water quality. How could I do this to those schools, I was asked? I did feel bad about that but I knew there were many problems with this BEX III list. And now, Facilities says that some of those dire air/water quality issues can be put off.

  • WSB February 18, 2008 (4:41 pm)

    West – the Salmon Bay and Summit source of the money was mentioned at the board meeting last Wednesday; we mentioned it in our report posted that night.

  • Steve Taylor February 19, 2008 (10:00 am)

    Westello, I really appreciate your work! You are a savvy individual! Possibly the District considers resurfacing select athletic fields a priority, as it is my understanding the District does derive some rental income from athletic fields. My son is an athlete who has been able to enjoy the improvements of select athletic facilities within the District, and not because of his affiliation to school sports teams. Private sports teams utilize District athletic facilities far more so than school sports teams. One again, as you say “follow the money”. There is likely little rental income derived from “air / water quality improvements”. However athletic facility improvements may prove otherwise. Another example of the “shell game” and the District not fulfilling funding of projects is the Chief Sealth Audio / Video Production “program / class”. The room was built, not finished however. The teacher had to actually finish the “finish work” – painting, base trim work, etc. Now this room sits empty, as there is seemingly no funding to procure the equipment that was originally slatted to be installed in this room. Where did the funding go? Garfield perhaps? We all no how important funding of Garfield High School is… But not for Chief Sealth. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

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