School closures: “Walking on Logs” becomes “Protesting on Logs”

Returning home from the downtown parade, we spotted the Walking on Logs sculptures decked in Arbor Heights Elementary School T-shirts, with signs like the one you see above (a bit soggy in the rain). Handmade signs are nearby (with identical ones across the northeastbound Fauntleroy Way end of The Bridge):

As evidenced by those displays – and other less-public actions — many members of the AH Elementary community are working frenetically through this “holiday” weekend, days after hearing Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson propose to end their school’s existence so the building could be given to the Pathfinder K-8 program (which has been stuck for years in the subpar ex-Genesee Hill Elementary building). The Arbor Heights troops are researching facts, crafting a battle strategy, planning a community meeting (date/time TBA), and preparing for the public-comment period at next Wednesday’s School Board meeting. They also are updating the Save Arbor Heights blog that was created even before the official announcement (as we reported Wednesday afternoon), with entries including this customized timeline of key dates/events between now and the final School Board vote in late January. From what we’ve monitored so far, it is clear they are taking to heart the advice offered by West Seattle board rep Steve Sundquist at his standing-room-only coffee hour on Wednesday – don’t bring the board raw emotion, bring research, ideas, alternative proposals – with the focus less on “don’t do that” than on “do this, instead of that.” Meantime, the holidays wait for no one, and the Arbor Heights Elementary community also is preparing for its long-planned holiday bazaar Thursday night, 4-8 pm — now juxtaposed with one of the school district’s “community workshops” (6:30 pm that night at district HQ in Sodo) on the citywide closure plan.

10 Replies to "School closures: "Walking on Logs" becomes "Protesting on Logs""

  • Smitty November 28, 2008 (3:08 pm)

    Is dressing these things up like that legal?

    Don’t get me wrong, I feel their pain – but once we start down this road it starts to look like trash.

    I’ll put my 1-20-13 t-shirt on one of them and see how the leftists like that.

  • WSB November 28, 2008 (4:07 pm)

    The sculptures are frequently (and temporarily) clad in T-shirts etc. promoting a variety of causes.

  • Smitty November 28, 2008 (4:10 pm)

    OK, thanks.

  • P November 28, 2008 (4:26 pm)

    who keeps that area clean? I have always wondered what happens to the “old clothes” that are on them….

  • MrJT November 28, 2008 (8:27 pm)

    Lets hope the guy that ruined all of the fun of putting signs on the pedestrian overpass not get wind of this.

  • WSB November 28, 2008 (8:34 pm)

    Unlike the overpass (although some have even questioned the interpretation there), this is not against law/rules. There even is a procedure for how to get permission to “dress” the sculptures, although I will freely admit to not knowing all the details (will find out, though!)

  • WS resident November 28, 2008 (9:25 pm)

    So…dressing the sculptures…okay.

    But, bottom line, we need to close schools to save money. Let’s all get over it.

  • WSB November 28, 2008 (9:34 pm)

    Aside from the people behind the pink sign (which is the same format as signs that popped up during the Denny-Sealth controversy), few are disputing that school buildings need to be closed. There are serious questions, including those raised by several school board members even as the list was being announced Tuesday night, about whether the right buildings have been chosen, and whether the optimal resulting changes have been proposed. There is one loud chorus asking why no high school is being closed (Rainier Beach, with an enrollment of less than 400 according to the newest SPS enrollment guide, has been suggested – currently it’s supposed to be “co-located” with the moved Summit K-12 program). In West Seattle, pretty much no one would argue with the contention that the old, deteriorating Genesee Hill building needs to be closed, but the question is whether moving Pathfinder to Arbor Heights and dissolving a successful neighborhood school is the right move to make in order to facilitate closing GH.

  • Mark Ahlness November 29, 2008 (9:35 am)

    The idea that this round of closure recommendations will save the district money… I’ve seen a reasonable projection showing exactly the opposite will happen. I think people need to look very closely right now.

  • westello November 30, 2008 (4:15 pm)

    What needs to be asked of the Board (and district staff) are the following:

    -you closed 7 buildings two years ago. How much savings has been realize by doing that? How many of those buildings have been vandalized (I know Viewlands had its copper wiring stripped out). If the district believes it saves money and has real live examples, then they should easily be able to give those figures.

    -has every data point been applied to every school? Meaning, has there been consistency and fairness in applying numbers. At the work session, staff went on and on about how we needed buildings to be in the “80s” point condition and yet that’s not the case in every school.

    -what is the OVERALL budget savings plan? The State Auditor said that the district needed to close buildings but ALSO the district has too many staff at its headquarters AND has not been keeping up on building maintenance (and hence the poor condition of many, many district buildings). How many cuts will come from headquarters and how come, if there is a hiring freeze, they are hiring more staff for Facilities out of BEX money?

    Make the Board AND the staff accountable for each school they are relocating and/or closing. It has to be done fairly and consistently or else it is merely a sham formality by staff to get their agenda done.

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