Two items this morning related to the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse: First – from the WSB Events page – a free Family Fun Night tonight, sponsored by civicdancers.org, a nonprofit part of Seattlecivicdance.com, one of the schoolhouse’s key tenants. Kim Dinsmoor says it’s free, 6-9 pm, on the north side of the schoolhouse’s lower floor: “There is a silent auction of items donated by more than 30 families and West Seattle merchants. You can buy tickets for food, drinks, face painting, cake walk with up to 100 cakes, and more. All profit from this goes to Seattle Civic Concert Dancers, a non profit group. This is a chance for West Seattleites to see one of the reasons why the old Fauntleroy school is so important to our community.” Speaking of which, we just checked on the status of the plan to purchase the schoolhouse, which Seattle Public Schools has designated “surplus” property, and there are a few new developments – read on:
It’s been almost three months since the last official update on the Fauntleroy Community Services Agency‘s negotiations with SPS (WSB July coverage here), so we checked in with Kevin Wooley. He says the scope of the current talks has narrowed somewhat – putting the “back lot” on something of a back burner, for future consideration. “We’re feeling fairly good for getting the building, the parking area, and a small playground – the rest would be something to work on in the future,” he told WSB.
There’s yet another deadline, Wooley says; now they’re shooting for November 15th to wrap up the details. And there are many details – such as the price, and whether that “back lot” area could be held in contingency for a future FCSA purchase, or whether SPS would put it up for sale to someone else if it wasn’t part of the FCSA deal.
FCSA is also still nailing down final funding, Wooley says; $1 million from the city seems firm, but they’re trying to finalize details of state $ – the state has set aside a $4.5 million pool from which five projects like this are vying for cash, and he says FCSA has banded together with those involved in the other projects to ask the state to split the money equally among the five.
As we’ve mentioned in previous coverage, buying the schoolhouse is just the start; it needs a lot of work, as Wooley reminds: “That’ll probably be more expensive than buying the building; we have to replace the roof, and some other things.” Capital campaigns for that money are likely to follow, though again, details are yet to be worked out.
But reaching a deal with the district won’t be the last word on the potential sale; School Board approval is required, and public hearings would be involved. In addition, West Seattle-based activist Chris Jackins is campaigning against all current district plans to sell “surplus” school properties – we recently received a flyer he distributed for Seattle Committee to Save Schools, listing a variety of reasons his group is opposed, including: “When these schools were temporarily closed, they were made available for community use, with reduced rents and the understanding that they would be cared for and kept available for future school use. To sell these properties now would abrogate these understandings.” The flyer also notes “new taxpayer costs” from city and state money being used in many of these purchases (as appears to be the impending case for Fauntleroy). His group is attempting to raise money to “proceed with legal action against the sale of public school properties.”
As always, we’ll keep checking to let you know what happens next; we asked Kevin Wooley if there is anything that schoolhouse-purchase supporters can do right now to assist, and he mentioned that contacting legislators to support the equal split of the aforementioned $4.5 million would be helpful. (West Seattle is represented by State Sen. Joe McDermott, State Rep. Eileen Cody, and State Rep. Sharon Nelson; links to the websites for all three can be found here.)