Looking ahead to school-closure proposal: “Workshops” set

Next Tuesday, Seattle Public Schools leaders are scheduled to present their proposal for the next round of school closures. We’re watching this closely because South and West Seattle have the most likelihood of finding schools on this list, since the north end has been dealing with overcrowding, but these areas have not. We don’t know yet if a media briefing is planned earlier that day, but we do know the recommendations will be formally presented to the School Board at a 6 pm workshop at District HQ, and whichever buildings are scheduled for closure will get on-site public hearings during the week of 12/15. Before that, the district has just announced two “workshops” 12/4 and 12/6 to discuss the recommendations before those hearings – read on for full details:


Here’s the full text of the news release just sent out by SPS:

In order to strengthen academic programs across Seattle Public Schools and protect its long-term financial health, the District must consider building closure as it implements its Strategic Plan, Excellence for All. As part of our engagement process, the community is invited to two consultative workshops on December 4 and 6 to discuss preliminary recommendations. Details of these workshops are listed below.

Preliminary recommendations will be presented at a School Board workshop at 6:00 p.m., November 25 at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence. A report will also be posted to our Web site. The workshop will be videotaped for later streaming on the Seattle Public Schools Web site.

The purpose of the community workshops is to consult with the public, present information and listen to concerns and ideas. A number of recent studies have urged Seattle Public Schools to balance its capacity, both in terms of overall excess capacity as well as geographic location. Interpreters will be present at the workshops in the following languages: Amharic, Cambodian, Chinese, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrigna and Vietnamese.

Dates, Times and Locations:

Thursday, December 4th, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, Auditorium
2445 – 3rd Avenue South, Seattle, Washington

Saturday, December 6th, 9:30 – 11:30 AM
Filipino Community Center, Main Ballroom
5740 Martin Luther King Way, Seattle, Washington

Public hearings will be held at buildings proposed for closure on Monday, December 15, Tuesday, December 16 and Thursday, December 18. Times and locations will be advertised and posted on our Web site.

3 Replies to "Looking ahead to school-closure proposal: "Workshops" set"

  • westello November 23, 2008 (2:43 pm)

    I have no idea what these workshops could be about. The Board has decided the criteria will be:
    – geographic need
    -building condition
    -cost per pupil
    -academic performance

    So I have no idea what discussion there could be on these except for the Board to clarify what those criteria mean.

    No school chooses where to be located or its building condition. So it’s hard to defend against that criteria.

    Most schools, especially elementaries, have a nearby school with the same grade levels.

    A couple of things to point out:
    -this process could have been started last year (as in the last closures) to give communities time to absorb and make plans
    -the State Auditor does say our district has too many buildings for too few students. BUT, the report also says that we have too many staff at headquarters (in proportion to other districts). No staff cuts have been announced.
    -the State Auditor also says the district has been neglecting basic maintenance and this is true. They are practically drowning in backlogged maintenance. We only spent 1% of our General Fund on maintenance (versus the OSPI recommended 4%). No school can defend against the lack of maintenance by the district.

    Also, if you look at this schedule, the initial announcements are two days before Thanksgiving. The public hearings for each site are the days before the Winter Break right about the time most elementaries have their holiday concerts. And the final list is to be announced right after the Winter Break. This is alot to absorb and carry during Thanksgiving and the holidays. I know the district didn’t mean to be cruel but the timing is harsh.

    I appreciate the West Seattle blog keeping up with this but I think between the timing of the meetings and the economic realities overwhelming many, that this will not be on many people’s radar.

  • WSB November 23, 2008 (5:39 pm)

    No, it probably won’t, but we’re duty bound to present the information anyway, as a news organization, and what people do with it is up to them – obviously when we find out which, if any, West Seattle school/s are on the list, that will attain a different degree of urgency. Toward the “finding out” end, we’ll be at Stanford Center Tuesday night – at this point it looks like that may be first official word of the closures unless SPS decides to schedule a media briefing, in which case we will post live from that, whenever/wherever it happens – TR

  • westello November 23, 2008 (5:40 pm)

    This from Harium Martin-Morris’ Director’s blog about what will we will learn this Tuesday:

    What type of school the Jane Addams building will be

    Where the Summit program will be placed

    Which buildings will be closed

    Where, if any, relocations will be.

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