Denny/Sealth meeting: What was seen, what wasn’t heard

Click for a few seconds of video panning across the full 150-plus crowd at the Chief Sealth High School cafeteria last night for the last district-presented meeting in West Seattle before the School Board makes its decision on the intensely debated Denny/Sealth construction project’s future.


That’s a photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Matt Durham, showing parent Gail McElligott at the meeting. What was seen – lots of PowerPoint slides – and what wasn’t heard – answers to audience questions – dominated the night. See most of the slides for yourself (since the district didn’t promise they’d be up online any time soon), and more, ahead:


First, with consultant Regina Glenn moderating the evening, the crowd spent a half-hour plus listening to narration with the PP slides. Some got printed-out copies; those were gone when we arrived just before 7, so we videotaped the screen and took grabs. Note, this is NOT the order in which they were presented. First, the summaries of all three options currently under consideration — 1, the project as it stands now; 2, the project plus $10 million that the district’s supposedly going to come up with somewhere to add more improvements to Sealth; 3, safety improvements mandated for Sealth plus Denny rebuilt on its current site:




Now, the schematics that were presented — the one for options 1 and 2 is the same, and for 3, only a rudimentary drawing was presented, with a promise that if the board chooses 3, then a design will be developed (top half of the 1/2 drawing shows Sealth on its current site, bottom half is the proposed Denny design to the north):



So what about those possible extra Sealth improvements in option 2? They were listed on a variety of slides; here are some – where you see the word “choice,” it was explained, that’s if those options were chosen — one slide says the total cost of all potential added improvements would be $18 million, so some prioritizing would be required.








Throughout this process, the matter of money keeps coming up. So here are the slides showing what the district projects as the costs of each option, plus a timeline:






No matter what, the district says, Sealth will have to move into Boren starting next fall (and as that last slide suggests, Option 3 would drag the process out an extra year). CSHS teacher Delfino Munoz, an outspoken critic of the proposed colocation, asked during the short open-comment period last night, why does the Sealth work have to be done first?

The questions and comments in those last few minutes were just a small sampling of those recorded during the “breakout groups” after the presentation; the audience was broken into fourths, and each one went off to a classroom. Our group was told that the questions being asked in the “breakout” room would be answered when the full audience regrouped. That didn’t happen; instead, each group of questions was read to the entire audience, and the district promised the questions would be posted, and answered, on its website by Feb. 13, maybe even sooner. (Website info, or lack of it, on this project has been a sore spot, as we noted here.)


That’s one of the breakout groups, moderated by Robert Evans, photographed by Matt Durham, who also snapped Chief Sealth social-studies teacher John Starks, who lives two blocks from the school, wondering how the project might affect property values.


Students’ voices were woven through the night as well. In this video clip, Chief Sealth senior Alyson Hitch is worried about something in the classroom – books:

Some other students last night reiterated safety questions that had been brought up previously. Here’s what the district presentation had to say about safety:




District reps reiterated last night that from this moment forward, they will accept comments in any format you can use to get them in: E-mail the school board. E-mail the superintendent. Send them postal mail. Go to the Feb. 12 Westwood Neighborhood Council moderated-panel meeting one week from tonight – WNC president Steve Fischer pitched it at the end of last night’s district-presented meeting:

The WNC meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 12, 7 pm, Chief Sealth HS Commons. Read the latest official announcement (including the panelists’ names) here. Citizen activist Charlie Mas also pointed out in comments on our meeting-toplines post late last night that the district’s BEX Oversight Committee meets this Friday morning at John Stanford Center (SPS HQ in SoDo) and will have some discussion on Denny/Sealth. And again, 2/13 is when the school board is to be presented with the district’s recommended option; 2/27 is the date for the final vote. Check out our archived Denny/Sealth coverage here.

42 Replies to "Denny/Sealth meeting: What was seen, what wasn't heard"

  • Charlie Mas February 5, 2008 (7:59 am)

    Here is my letter to the Board:


    Members of the Board,

    The Denny-Sealth project as proposed by Facilities needs much more scrutiny before you should approve it. You should not approve it until you get some honest answers to your questions and the community’s questions. So far, Facilities has either chosen not to answer questions or, in many cases, they have not answered the questions honestly or completely.

    Have no doubt about it. The community is watching and sees this issue as a defining moment for this Board and this Superintendent. This is when the community learns what your guiding principles really are. Will you value honesty, openness, transparency, accountability and engagement, or will you sweep all of those values aside in pursuit of potential cost savings and smooth relations with the staff?

    May I propose something constructive? Would it not be helpful if we could replace the contentious, rancorous and non-productive back and forth with real dialog? Rather than a work session in which the Board members act as proxy for the community members with in-depth knowledge of the issues and facts, why not allow the community members to speak for themselves? Why not bring a few community representatives who question the project together with you and the Facilities staff for a conversation so you can learn the facts, issues, and conflicting priorities at stake? There are few communication methods more effective than conversation, and so far we have only tried methods which are much worse.

    The community relies on the Board to represent their interests. The Board are the only people in the District who are accountable to the public and who have responsibility to advocate for the public’s interests. There can be no doubt or dispute that Facilities has bungled the community engagement and community outreach on this project. Don’t you bungle it as well. Model the behavior you want. Do engagement right: have a conversation.

    Do you have confidence that once the community’s questions and concerns have been addressed the project – as designed – will be regarded as a net positive? If so, then it serves everyone’s interests to get full and honest answers to those questions and concerns. If, however, the answers to the community’s concerns reveal that the project was ill-conceived, then wouldn’t it serve everyone’s interests to discover that as early as possible and change course? Perhaps some middle road can be found in which all interests can be served. These are the predictable results of dialog, which we could never get from Q & A sessions or web pages – even if they did exist.

    I cannot not now recommend approving or disapproving the project. The critical questions about it remain un-answered. Without those answers, how can you cast a thoughtful vote either way on the project?

    – Charlie Mas

  • Ken February 5, 2008 (10:09 am)

    Maybe a simplistic question, but how is a new athletic field an academic improvement? Is there no field now? What is that massive structure across the street?

  • Michael February 5, 2008 (10:36 am)

    I agree with Charlie – those who have been seeking to argue, rather than discuss with an open mind, are causing bigger problems than they’ve been solving.
    It would be nice to see some fact-based, rather than fear-based, reasons for opposing the combined options.
    And placing the onus on the school board to “prove a negative” is NOT “asking important questions that deserve to be answered.”
    In short, if you REALLY don’t want this, do the legwork and come armed with FACTS, instead of an avalanche of fears.
    (BTW, I don’t really have an opinion either way – I just hate the way Seattleites oppose stuff like this.)

  • Indaknow February 5, 2008 (10:39 am)

    On the second slide of the power point presentation was the following:

    Two separate schools with shared spaces

    Student interaction between middle and high school students will be
    *academically beneficial

    That’s funny. In the January 10, 2008 article “District plan to combine schools meets resistance” Chief Academic Officer Carla Santorno said there is no academic benefit to combining the two (schools). Hmmmm. So what in the last month changed to make this academically beneficial? And why couldn’t Denny be rebuild at Denny and still work towards academic alignment?

  • Indaknow February 5, 2008 (11:36 am)

    Michael, I don’t like the Seattle method either, but then again I was on the losing end of the monorail, stadiums…. This is the first time I have ever engaged in public debate about anything. Here are some facts and links. I hope people check them out and form their own opinions…
    The actual wording of what was voted on February 6, 2007 can be found here (get ready to scroll down alot!)
    The website of the Schools First, the organization that mailed out the only campaign information sent to the public that mentions a combined campus is They do not have a copy of this flyer there, but alot of other interesting info from that election.
    An article from the Boston Globe talking about the pros and cons of combining Middle and High Schools. I keep thinking about how different our situation is than these schools.
    Seattle Times article about the general controversy-not sure why they wrote that the schools would be across the street but the rest seems pretty accurate.

  • Chris Woelfel February 5, 2008 (2:28 pm)

    It was shocking to learn that Option 3 causes delays that amount to $29 million in lost buying power. We should spend our precious public dollars on schools and students — not lose it to inflation and rising construction costs. I support Option 2.

  • Indaknow February 5, 2008 (2:48 pm)

    Does ANYONE know who first proposed the cojoined campus anyway? I cannot this fact anywhere online or in the literature. I know that wording for Prop One (for the election 2/06/07) was adopted 10/18/06 but the info on Prop One does not indicate any shared campus.

  • Regina Glenn February 5, 2008 (3:21 pm)

    Nice Job of sharinag what was presented.

  • westello February 5, 2008 (3:49 pm)

    That’s a good question. What Director de Bell told the BEX Oversight Committee at its January meeting was that Director Irene Stewart (now replaced by Steve Sundquist) had brought this idea to the Board. Whether they ever talked about it publicly, I don’t know. She probably worked with staff on it. Director de Bell said he had the impression that both communities supported it based on what Director Stewart told them. He seemed – to me at the time – chagrined to see, from this outcry, that it was likely not the case.

    Since there has been a lot of design work done on this project it had to have been developed over the last couple of years (in order to get permits from the City in time to start this summer).

    One other piece to consider; the district went for a bond measure (where they would get all the money upfront versus a levy where the money comes over time). They are saying they will be starting, at the same point, 4 major projects at once. Those would be Sealth/Denny (with Sealth going first), New School, Hale and Hamilton. That is a lot of oversight and work for a department that hasn’t even always gotten projects done on-time and on-budget for projects that were staggered.

  • Steve Taylor February 5, 2008 (4:03 pm)

    Michael, as much as we all would like to have “facts” to work with. Not all information known is easily provided in “fact” format. Conversely, other than immediate monetary expenditure there is little, possibly few “facts” that support BEX 1 or 2 as being a good choice. Are we to short change our children because of arguably reasonable monetary necessity? You state “I don’t really have an opinion either way – I just hate the way Seattleites oppose stuff like this”. Possibly you would be better off somewhere other than Seattle? Where do you come from? Where did you grow up? My family has lived in West Seattle for three generations, going on four. You can decide for your self if such is good bad or otherwise? Regardless, I plan to retire here, how about you? I have expressed much in the last week or so. I have done so in an effort to bring to light the BEX issue so many are not familiar with. I would rather keep the amount of dirty laundry at Denny and Chief Sealth in the back ground, however doing so seemingly only serves not to tell everyone the “whole story”. Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School have some of the brightest students in the State, possibly the Country. However each school also has students with tremendous obstacles to overcome in their educational and life experience/s. I know of a Chief Sealth student who was transferred into Chief Sealth because s/he was not welcome at most any other Seattle Public High School. While at Chief Sealth this same “troubled” student has risen far above his/her high school career history, now well on track to graduating! The phenomenal staff at Chief Sealth I believe have played a great part in this students improvement. I also credit fellow Chief Sealth students in championing there new schoolmate to succeed! There are GREAT things going on at Chief Sealth! I do not believe we should allow BEX 1 or 2 to get Chief Sealth off track. Do you really believe 93% of Chief Sealth High School Teachers are wrong about what is best for their students? Who knows the students better? In some cases I know the teachers know the students better than their parents do! Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

  • maallbright February 5, 2008 (4:04 pm)

    To indaknow:

    In my notes from the School Board Work Session, I copied from Don Gillmore’s power point presentation that Irene Stewart first introduced the plan to Raj Manjas in early July, 2006. There were three levy committee meetings about the merger in July and August, none of which were made public.
    During the last week of August, 2006, the Sealth staff was told that we would have a combined campus. At that meeting we were told that for all intents and purposes, Sealth would get a full remodel and Denny would be rebuilt. We were told that if we didn’t do the rebuild/remodel when it was offered, that it would be Sealth’s last chance to get the funding for any future remodeling. This was the beginning of the end to community engagement about the merger.

  • Indaknow February 5, 2008 (4:10 pm)

    Michael, I don’t like the Seattle method either, but I was on the losing end of the monorail, stadiums…. This is the first time I have ever engaged in public debate about anything. Here are some facts and links. I hope people check them out and form their own opinions…
    The actual wording of what was voted on February 6, 2007 can be found here (get ready to scroll down alot!)
    The website of the Schools First, the organization that mailed out the only campaign information sent to the public that mentions a combined campus is They do not have a copy of this flyer there, but alot of other interesting info from that election.
    An article from the Boston Globe talking about the pros and cons of combining Middle and High Schools.
    Seattle Times article about the general controversy-not sure why they wrote that the schools would be across the street..

  • Indaknow February 5, 2008 (4:52 pm)

    maalbright, Thank You! It sure would have been nice to know this was in the works at the multiple tours I took of Sealth this time last year. We heard lots of talk about IB, but nothing about the combined campus at any time. If this was so exciting and innovative, why wasn’t it “pitched” when all of the families of 8th graders were touring? My children went to Madison MS so we knew nothing at all about this until a few months ago.

  • Sasha February 5, 2008 (5:43 pm)

    Steve Taylor, I think your use of “BEX 1 or 2” is confusing. BEX I and II refers to Building Excellence Levy I and II. BEX I and II are the levies that funding prior construction projects, and are funding the Garfield and South Shore remodels.

    I think what you are trying to say is Option 1, Option 2, or Option 3 for the Sealth/Denny project, which is one of many projects slated for funding under the BEX III Bond measure, which was passed last year.

  • Steve Taylor February 5, 2008 (6:26 pm)

    Sasha, you are correct, more than once I have expressed “text” that is not completely accurate by written description, however I suspect you, and most everyone else knows of what I am referring to. In the future I will make a concerted effort to specify BEX 3, option 1,2 or 3. Essentially all of the recent postings have been in regard to BEX 3, regarding options 1,2 or 3. I trust it is well understood which option (option 3) I support. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

  • Charlie Mas February 5, 2008 (8:01 pm)

    Last night at the meeting our group (the blue group) was told that Option 3 would cause an expensive delay not for plans and permits – as previously reported – but because Sealth and Denny would have to be relocated to Boren and Sealth would go first. Our group asked “Why couldn’t Denny go to Boren first thereby delaying the less expensive job at Sealth and reducing the impact of inflation? no answer. Are there no other available interim sites? no answer.

    So, here’s part of the problem. We can’t get straight answers to questions. What would be the cause of the delay with Option 3? Plans and permits (which would only create – at most a 6 month – delay) or Denny waiting for a turn in Boren (which makes no sense at all).

  • Steve Taylor February 5, 2008 (8:49 pm)

    Arguably no one would prefer to have their child currently spend any school time at Louisa Boren. Curious Louisa Boren, until recently was the most modern middle / junior high school in West Seattle, was the middle / junior high school chosen to be closed… Mmny people have a fair idea as to the reasons why. There are construction / BEX options, some seemingly less “painful” than others, however likely not in consideration by the District. Yes most likely (per the District) it will be necessary for any improvements at Chief Sealth, for a graduating class, possibly two, to graduate while attending a relocated Chief Sealth High School at Louisa Boren. Such is likely no one’s first, or even second choice. However many students from many several schools have endured such. Geography may be an issue, however more importantly what goes on inside a school is paramount. There are several people reasonably content with Chief Sealth as is, however would appreciate a properly working heating system. The system is repairable, however the District came to a District wide conclusion some time back to make all heating systems in the District hot water, opposed to Steam. Having a great deal of industrial Steam experience, I disagree with choosing hot water over steam in an industrial / commercial application, however I am not the making District policy. Very possibly a sales engineer representing a hot water boiler company was an effective marketeer to possibly a naive District. Can you imagine the sales spike in selling an entire school district new heating systems for all there schools… Kick back begins to ring in my ears. Though there are likely those who would jest an elaboration to such ringing at the very least, with whom I would likely tip my hat and say “good one”. I really do not care, however I do care deeply about much more important subjects. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

  • Delfino February 5, 2008 (10:24 pm)

    Thank you West Seattle Blog!!

  • Gavin Layton February 5, 2008 (10:39 pm)

    My wife and I have a sixth-grader at Denny. We were thrilled to discover last winter what Jeff Clark and his staff are doing there, thrilled to have the opportunity to send our son there from Lafayette, near where we live. We also have an eighth-grader at Washington who we expect will be going to Sealth (at the Louisa Boren campus) in the Fall. Again, with the IB program and the good work being done there (the counselors were very impressive on our visit), we are thrilled to have it as an option.

    The principals of Denny and Sealth are doing good things. The BEX plan is a good, thoughtful plan that makes much better use of the Sealth site than is currently done. It needs more good thought put into it. Community members can — and should — help with that, and it shouldn’t get in the way of moving ahead. There is time to iron out details as progress is made.

    The third option presented Monday night — I call it the Armadillo Option — to rebuild Denny on-site, looks like a disaster for Sealth, and I imagine would dishearten the staff and faculty of both schools, just as they are making very positive strides. The renovation and rebuilding of these buildings should be energizing for these schools. Inspiring successes can be leveraged out of the pride of new and improved buildings, but it requires smart leadership. That’s what our focus ought to be on — how to make this process enhance the pride and accomplishment of our students and their teachers for years to come.

    The fear of change that seemed to prevail among community members and Sealth students at Monday’s meeting should not be allowed to derail or beat down the potential of this project. We can all imagine ways that we would make elements of this process and plan different, but at what cost, and for what gain? If the Armadillo Option is chosen, it will take a long time to correct. We should not mourn water under the bridge, but focus on capturing the energy that is still there. Consider the details, ask questions, make suggestions, insist on being heard — this is all good. If you know you’re right that Sealth will suffer from lost softball field space (one student’s contribution at Monday’s meeting), make it your mission to get that space replaced somehow. But it seems to me that there is too much wailing and beating of breasts over vague anxieties.

    Many good things can come out of this. I think we should move forward wisely, and make sure they do.

    Gavin Layton

  • GenHillOne February 6, 2008 (6:02 am)

    These slides say the construction period for Options 1 & 2 would be from June 2008 – Aug 2011…is this to say Sealth would be at Boren for three school years now instead of two?

  • Indaknow February 6, 2008 (7:42 am)

    The counselors, IB program and principal where what attracted our family to Sealth as well. The IB program requires specifically trained (and also enthusiastic) teachers to be a success. Don’t forget that this program is new, not one of our IB students has even taken an IB exam, so we really don’t even know how we will fare (although I have no reasone to believe they won’t succeed) 93% of the Sealth staff is against this plan. I find that troubling. I cannot ignore this fact. Happy employees tend to stay put. The IB program needs consistancy. There isn’t a district in the nation that I can find that has attempted this with a similar demographic of students, that is also all-inclusive (no applying or testing for admittance, with a population of more than 200-400 students that has improved their academics (our population will be close to 2,000). If there was, I would think that the district would be telling us all about it. Why do you think that all the discussion of academics is theoretic and warm and fuzzy? And not one of those things couldn’t be done with the schools as they are currently located. By the way, Boren isn’t so bad. With all the recent remodels in West Seattle, going there is almost a right-of-passage. My son will have spent 25% of his public school education there after Sealth moves there (between Madison and Sealth constructions).

  • westello February 6, 2008 (8:45 am)

    On the subject of heating/boiler, just so you know. The HVAC system at Roosevelt hasn’t worked properly since day one and is likely, on the taxpayer’s dime, to be replaced this summer. As you may have noted in the PI, Cleveland had to shut down for a day because their boiler has to be fixed. So the issue of replacing boilers/HVAC systems seems to be a problem for Facilities.

    I’m not wailing over vague anxieties. I know, for a fact, that if this plan goes forward, money already spent on Sealth within the last five years is going to wasted because those projects are going to be altered or destroyed. It is not “water under the bridge” if the district writes one thing in a voters pamphlet and another in a mailing to fewer voters. That’s called bait and switch and, for business, it’s illegal. It’s not water under the bridge if voters get alienated because they cannot trust what the district says it will do with their money. It is not water under the bridge when school official do not disclosure, during school tours, what is being planned for their school. I had this happen at Hale where they were phasing out their separate AP and Honors courses and did not disclose this information on tours for 3 years.

    Sorry, you let the district off the hook on this behavior and we will pay and pay dearly at the next levy/bond measure.

  • Indaknow February 6, 2008 (10:10 am)

    Sorry about the duplicate post yesterday. The first post didn’t show up for a few hours and I posted again-but now they are both there! Must have been my computer connection…

  • Suzanne February 6, 2008 (12:57 pm)

    I appreciate what Gavin Layton had to say and I agree with him. I feel there has been a wave of fear spreading through the community around this issue. Unfortunately, as evidenced by Monday night’s meeting, the district has only added to the problem by not answering people’s questions. That is extremely frustrating.
    I am completely disheartened by this whole situation and I feel we are now at the point where, whatever option is chosen, there will be no winners. There is huge rift in the community because of this which will take a long time to heal. If Option 3 is chosen, we will have wasted a lot of time and money. If option 2 is chosen, it will be impossible to implement effectively because the Sealth staff and parents are so opposed to it.
    I still feel option 2 is a great idea and could have worked really well if all the energy and time that was put into opposing the plan would have been channeled into finding solutions to make it work. In addition, the district could have done a much better job at engaging people in the process and helping to find solutions.
    I am so discouraged and from what I’ve heard from Sealth staff and parents, I’m no longer excited about sending my daughter to Sealth in a couple years no matter what the Board decides.
    This was my first time on a blog and it was initially very informative and thought provoking, but things have devolved over the past week or so. So, on that note, I’m signing off for a while.

  • Steve Taylor February 6, 2008 (1:06 pm)

    I encourage everyone who believes they have a stake in the BEX 3 issue to attend the Westwood Neighborhood Council Meeting on the 12th? Whatever day it is, I will be there, likely my wife and children as well. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

  • Debbie February 6, 2008 (6:12 pm)

    Fear is not the driving factor to the opposition to Options 1 & 2. Equity is the issue. Is not each child in Seattle equal to another? If you believe this statement to be true, then why would you expect the students & staff at Sealth to be happy with anything but Option 3?

    After all, isn’t the main focus supposed to be about the students?

  • Marlene Allbright February 6, 2008 (6:23 pm)

    Gavin, thank you for your positive comments about Denny and Sealth. I agree with you as a former teacher at Denny for 6 years, and now at Sealth for almost 6 years. Denny has a talented, committed, and energetic staff. I know many of the people who are still there.

    The school is falling apart. They are very deserving of having a beautiful, brand new school.

    Sealth also has a wonderful committed and talented staff who works tirelessly to insure that their students have the best academic experience possible.

    In your comment, you have stated that the “fear of change seemed to prevail among community members and Sealth students.” That statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Sealth has undergone tremendous change over the past four years. The Sealth staff has supported their principal in implementing several programs that are changing Sealth into a dynamic and academically challenging institution of higher learning. This did not happen because the staff was afraid of change.

    When the International Baccalaureate Program became a possibility at Sealth, the staff discussed the pros and cons methodically. There were issues of elitism and marginalization. Ultimately, we voted to change the status quo at Sealth with the hope that by having the IB program at Sealth, we could widen the scope and slowly bring in more heterogeneity to be more inclusive.

    Two years ago, we were told that we were one of the schools that would getting funding to be a part of the Flight program (family engagement program). We were told by the principal that if we did not agree to go to families’ homes two weeks before school started, we would lose our jobs at Chief Sealth and be transferred. Only 1 or 2 people believed they could not commit to the family engagement program.

    There are many other examples I could list that have effected change, but I don’t want to go on ad nauseum.

    You mentioned that the third option, to rebuild Denny at their current location would be a disaster for Sealth, and dishearten the staff.
    Why would this be a disaster? We are happy with our school. Yes, it would be nice to have a beautiful, new school, but we are willng to wait until the next BEX levy. Denny deserves to get their new school now.

    We are not suffering from vague anxieties. We live in the school, and see what happens there from minute to minute. These are not vague anxieties….this is reality…come and talk to one of the security guards at Sealth.

    There are good reasons why they created middle schools. There isn’t any good research that shows academic advantages for a combined campus in the same configuration as the proposed denny-sealth merger. These kinds of 6-12 schools are either private schools with a required application process, a rural school, or an alternative school. The district is using this merger of these two traditional, urban and low-income schools as an untried experiment. Do you really want your children to be a part of this experiment?

  • Indaknow February 6, 2008 (6:54 pm)

    Over the past few weeks it has become more clear to me that Denny families have been hearing about this plan for quite a long while (maybe 2 years now?). I am sure that many of these families have been eagerly awaiting this project and probably angry at the controversy continuing. However, these are not new complaints just because you didn’t hear them (being at Denny). I submit that we should, instead of being angry/frustrated with each other, be angry and frustrated with the people who effectively set us up at odds with each other. It seems like somebody made some premature promises to the Denny community, and withheld information from the Sealth community. Open and transparent communication? Only if the two sides don’t ever talk…I have no fear about any of this project (my children will be upper-classmen by the time it rolls around) and I don’t care about going to Boren. I just don’t like being lied to, even if it takes the form of omission of facts.

  • Steve Taylor February 6, 2008 (7:59 pm)

    Does anyone find it curious that it would seem (though I could be wrong) the parents of Chief Sealth students, Chief Sealth students themselves, and lets not forget Chief Sealth Teachers do not support BEX 3, options 1 or 2, and several of us parents of older students also have younger students as well. Does it also seem only the parents of younger students as “their” oldest students support BEX 3, options 1 or 2? With these same parents of younger students seemingly being only marginally familiar with Chief Sealth, or even Denny in many cases. Though some could be quite familiar with each. Any thoughts? One that comes to my (possibly unique way of looking at life) is the parents of younger students have not “been there yet”. My, and my wifes, even my children’s experiences at Arbor Heights, Denny and Chief Sealth are what motivates us to come to the conclusions we have regarding BEX 3, options 1,2 & 3. If you have not been “there”, how can you say what it will be like when you get “there”? There are many reasons why we have the opinions and experiences and ultimately conclusions we have, all of us, Chief Sealth Teachers, select Staff, Chief Sealth Students, Chief Sealth Parents. Think about it. Does it cause anyone to ask themselves (or us) why? Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

  • Sasha February 7, 2008 (10:27 am)

    Marlene, you write “Yes, it would be nice to have a beautiful, new school, but we are willng to wait until the next BEX levy.” I think that the reality is that Sealth would not be on the next levy. Any remodel would be at least one, if not two, levy cycles away.

  • Michael B February 7, 2008 (12:21 pm)

    There were a lot of questions about safety and what the Seattle police might think about this merger of schools. I can guess (only a guess) that they might respond positively. It would be easier to watch one location rather than 2.

    My bigger question would be to ask the Seattle Gang Unit their thoughts. Seems like a bigger chance of this type of activity and recruitement?

  • Steve Taylor February 7, 2008 (3:09 pm)

    Michael B, you hit the nail on the head! Unfortunately there seems to be a growing / festering problem, and the Seattle Police I speak with state such, confirm such, forewarn of such, etc. That is the principle reason some have suggested building Denny at the old E.C. Hughes location. The Seattle Police can view between the two schools, they have little to no presence within the schools. Even though I am aware there is a non uniformed Police Officer frequently within Denny, however not Chief Sealth… Consequently why at least some Seattle Police Officers suggest even more distance between Denny and Chief Sealth. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

  • Delfino February 9, 2008 (10:15 am)

    Another important point to note here is that there are a good number of students that will be successful in any school setting. Garfield was one of our worst buildings, but has consistently posted some of our best academic results.

    Chief Sealth and Denny are among, if not most diverse schools in our District. The makeup of the meeting in no way reflected the diversity of the student population in either ethnicity or academic success. We are:

    21% Asian
    29% African American
    22% Latino
    24% Caucasian
    12% Special Ed
    17% Bilingual

    38% of our students do not graduate. Our staff who is overwhelmingly opposed to this plan, realize this and is committed to serving ALL our students.

    While many of the vocal supporters don’t reflect this or understand the how this project will negatively affect a large portion of students, or the staff committed to improving our situation, we do.

    Separate or combined won’t affect some, but I ask you to take into consideration ALL our students when you decide what side of this issue you support.

    It is much easier to jump on the “just build it bandwagon” than to ask the hard questions, and fight the uphill battle. Indeed, since the District is primarily concerned with saving money, you don’t even have to do anything. Just sit back and watch this population be ignored again, maybe your children will be one the lucky ones.

  • Tallulah February 9, 2008 (6:36 pm)

    “Garfield was one of our worst buildings, but has consistently posted some of our best academic results.”

    Delfino: When you make this statement, how do you take into account that the APP program is housed at Garfield? I can’t imagine that housing the APP program did not inflate the academic results of Garfield.

  • Delfino February 9, 2008 (10:01 pm)

    That was my point, Tallulah.

    There is a group of students and their parent supporters of this merger plan that will find success in any school environment. IB, AP, Sports involved and music students are some examples who come with a head start and safety net. Chief Sealth has motivated educators that will ensure most our students will find a large degree of success.

    Indeed some of the students I directly serve will not be harmed by this plan. However, there are a large number of students at both Denny and Chief Sealth for whom the configuration can and will make a major difference.

    I have stuck my neck out and risked the wrath of administrators and even some of my peers to speak for these students and their families. I have chosen the very uncomfortable position of telling the truth of our situation with the full realization that some will use that information against our school community, because I care.

    I will most likely not be on the “winning” side of this battle, unless people who feel as I do, or are willing to listen to the educators of Chief Sealth step up the pressure and make the Board aware that we are all here and watching, but I am confident that history will prove I was more right than wrong.

  • Mary February 10, 2008 (9:04 am)

    You are not making sense on this one. Garfield is an outlyer in whatever context you consider it, because of the APP. The reality that I see is that every school that has been remodled sees an increase in student population, which typically results in a bump in academic achievement data. What I worry about for the Chief Sealth studenTo me, it is rather grandious of you to presume that you speak for anyone other than yourself and your like-minded CSHS collegues. ts is that you and your collegues are so fixated on this issue that you are not as focused on improving academic achievement. I see this happening at WSHS at the staff fixates on the 4/6 period day issue.

  • Steve Taylor February 10, 2008 (11:27 am)

    Just so everyone knows, a select (volunteers) group of Chief Sealth Students and Assigns have made it safely back from East Wenatchee. Back to the debate. If you have lived in Seattle long enough you might be aware that prior to the Seattle School District luring students to select schools (after the mandatory busing disaster began in 1981) in order to be able to participate in select programs, many (all) of those schools had, and still have their challenges today. After many years of “select students” choosing to attend a school out of their neighborhood, those schools academic scores have improved. In many cases, many (most) of the local students in those schools are not involved in the select programs within those schools. My son is on his way out of Chief Sealth, however I know a merger would not adversely affect him, even if he was a younger student. The current Chief Sealth Senior Class has about 188 students. My son is ranked quite well among his senior classmates academically. One (there are some ties) of the Students is ranked #1 of 188, another is ranked #188 of 188. The Ranking is a mathematical proclamation of what each student has achieved academically. I strongly suspect the parents who support BEX 3, options 1 or 2 have children that will be in the desirable percentages of such student rankings. I suggest everyone also consider the needs of students other than their own. Such is exactly what I have been doing all along. My Denny eighth grader I am confident will be just fine, regardless, and admittedly it is to soon to speak for my Kindergardner, however her siblings have proven well (rather exceptionally), we believe she will prove well as well. What my wife and I have done has seemed to work twice already. I do not believe it is necessary to bring up the “issues” plaguing the West Seattle High School four period per day issue. If you know much about it, and many of my sons friends attend West Seattle High School along with many of the children of my wife and my adult friends. Most all speak of what a sore subject the four class per day issue has been for several years. “The Plan” to initiate and facilitate such was originally “pitched” by someone? (I do not know everything), and ultimately adopted by everyone at West Seattle High School. Now years later “The Plan” as it relates to all students has failed. Though admittedly many students have survived such, possibly even benefited from it. Though arguably more students have suffered from it, than have benefited. Such is the primary motivation to change back to six classes per day. Changing class schedules within a building is much easier than changing the street address of a building, should a building “plan” BEX 3, options 1 or 2 fail to provide the proposed intent. Are 93% of Chief Sealth Teachers wrong? If they are, why would you consider sending your children to Chief Sealth? My son is at Chief Sealth, and has done exceptionally well, and a great deal of my son’s success is attributed to the phenomenal teaching staff at Chief Sealth! I invite you to listen to what they have to say, after all, it is quite possible they may be teaching your child/ren for several years. Do you want your children to be taught by teachers who you believe are wrong? Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

  • on behalf of BEX III February 12, 2008 (9:14 am)

    As promised, the BEX III team has compiled and responded to all questions posed during the February 4, 2008 community meeting held at Chief Sealth High.
    Please go to

    February 4, 2008 Questions & Responses

    During the February 4th session the public was presented with three possible options, one of which would be approved by the Board. This section includes responses to questions both in-support and opposed-to the co-location.

    In 2008/9 Sealth moves to an interim site and it returns to a remodeled building in 2010. Denny would be co-located on the Sealth campus and would move into a new building on or about 2011.

    This option is the same and Option I except 10 million dollars would be added to Sealth.

    In 2008/09 Sealth moves to an interim site and returns to a remodeled building in 2010. Denny would move to the interim site in 2010-11 and return to a new Denny two years later.

    Because different costs and benefits are associated with each option, public input was taken at the February 4th Meeting. This document provides responses to questions posed at the public meeting.

    Break out groups were divided by colors. Questions and responses are listed by the group room color.

  • WSB February 12, 2008 (9:43 am)

    thanks, that hasn’t been announced publicly anywhere on the district site that I can see (checking news, news releases, etc.) so wouldn’t have found it without your note. have just added the info to a front-page post that was in the works as a meeting reminder, when we saw the protest signs and added those, now it’s got the info links too.

  • Steve Taylor February 13, 2008 (11:54 pm)

    Curious why many questions some people provided to be addressed did not get posted “as promised”. Let alone answered. Who decided what questions were posted on the District Web Site? And what questions seemingly were edited / left out? We would not want the District to be put in a position where they would have to answer a direct question the District would rather not… The District – Public Disclosure (oil / water), a lesson in Physics (or is it politics?). Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

  • Dan Dempsey February 26, 2008 (9:00 pm)

    The following was said:
    They are saying they will be starting, at the same point, 4 major projects at once. Those would be Sealth/Denny (with Sealth going first), New School, Hale and Hamilton. That is a lot of oversight and work for a department that hasn’t even always gotten projects done on-time and on-budget for projects that were staggered.

    Comment by westello — February 5, 08 3:49 pm
    Gee – this seems reminiscent of WPPSS (Washington Public Power Supply System) when an organization which had never built anything attempted to simultaneously build multiple nuclear power generation plants.
    This created an enormous shortage of labor which drove prices higher. The organization due to lack of experience had little idea how to direct and finishing something. Did you like the result? Worthless bonds because of no product.
    With the nation currently undergoing the beginning of an economic slow down, which WA may lag. What will be driving prices up after the Vancouver BC boom? Oh yes Government mis-management of energy, monetary policy etc. Predicting the future is hard work.
    Allowing the continued deception of the public by administration and rewarding the administration for continuing deception is hardly what I would call holding everyone accountable.
    I guess holding everyone accountable and effective new leadership will be starting at the same time, if ever.

  • rob shaver February 29, 2008 (6:11 am)

    I live and own a house just blocks from Boren school. The School board claims it is in great shape, yet when Cleveland students attended there in the interim period, the landscaping was ruined, crime accelerated, Delridge traffic increased and the roadway deteriorated. I believe the school board is happy to decrease the property values in the Delridge area by shoving students into crappy neglected dangerous facility.
    I think the Delridge Commons is the best Idea. ( The district should sell the property, and allow the West Seattle neighborhood to be rid of the blight known as Boren middle school.

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