As-it-happened coverage: School Board’s last BEX IV levy work session

5:48 PM: We’re back at school district headquarters for what will be the School Board’s last work session before finalizing the BEX IV levy (BEX is short for “building excellence” – it raises money mostly for construction/renovation/repair work) to put before voters next February. Since the board will be hearing, and talking, about the entire citywide list, we won’t be updating this minute-by-minute except for the discussions of the West Seattle projects – and anything else that seems major. As this begins, board president Michael DeBell is reminding everyone that because of a session scheduled afterward, they must cut this off at 7:15 pm. He then embarks on a round of thanks to everyone from the district staff to members of the FAC-MAC advisory committee.

“We will not please everyone – there will be neighborhoods, or school communities that will not be fully satisfied with this work,” DeBell warns. He then notes that he believes the communities that were skeptical about the BEX III projects (the Denny/Sealth co-location was part of that levy) seem to be happy now, and fears did not come to bear. “We can’t please everyone – we don’t have enough money to please everyone, and even if we did have enough money, we probably wouldn’t please everyone.”

5:53 PM: The staff will now run through the slide deck. You can see it here. (First, Superintendent José Banda echoed the thanks that DeBell had offered.) The staff members are the same ones who have become familiar through the latter part of the process. Assistant Superintendent Pegi McEvoy is leading the presentation – and says there is late-breaking information. The microphone goes to Dr. Tracy Libros, who’s in charge of enrollment, and runs through that charge – including projections for the years ahead.

6:08 PM: Capital projects manager Lucy Morello is going through the timeline. In 2014 Fairmount Park Elementary would reopen (still no elaboration on whether it would be a neighborhood school or a home for K-5 STEM), 2015 Schmitz Park Elementary @ Genesee Hill (a “flex school” – intended for 500 but with “core facilities” that could handle 650) would open (new construction) … and in 2019, Arbor Heights Elementary (also in the “could handle 650” mode).

6:46 PM: The discussion has centered almost extensively on north end issues – in particular, the late-in-the-procsss plan to relocate Jane Addams K-8. Staff is still going through the slide deck, and there’s less than half an hour left. They have just moved out of the building portion and gone on to a couple other aspects of the levy – technology, for example (with $12 million in “IT Infrastructure” including getting wireless Internet into all schools). A few other assorted projects will include a new roof for Gatewood Elementary.

6:50 PM UPDATE: Superintendent Banda is reading from a new report by the FAC-MAC committee, which in part urges that work on Arbor Heights be done “as soon as possible” – though he said that shortly after saying FAC-MAC “agreed with the recommendations for … Arbor Heights.” McEvoy is also summarizing the slide with “community feedback summary” thus far, which, as we noted in our story yesterday, included “build AH sooner” and “find a permanent home” for K-5 STEM at Boren, which has not been mentioned so far in this meeting (aside from appearing onscreen on that slide). District manager Bob Boesche is now explaining how the levy funding is spread across six years – and saying there are certain types of funding “dependent on market conditions” that COULD move some of the projects forward. “We are looking at different vehicles through which we could move projects up, but at this time we can’t predict what the market conditions could be or the financing costs … until we actually pass the measure.”

6:57 PM: Now, finally, board member discussion. Discussion begins with Sherry Carr thanking staff and saying they should still work on options for the Jane Addams/Pinehurst situation that has drawn so much scrutiny since this draft came out Tuesday. She then says she toured Arbor Heights with Lucy Morello earlier this week. “I understand why it’s landed where it is – but if there’s any room using (alternative financing) we really have to look at moving it forward. I didn’t see anything unsafe but … I asked the district archivist to pull information about that building and how it got to be the way it is.” She elaborates, that means how it is built in stages, with portables, and a hallway “strap(ping) it all together.”

7:04 PM: Marty McLaren says she is very disturbed at the thought of moving Jane Addams. “The other really big issue because I’m from West Seattle is Arbor Heights … I see the FAC-MAC committee has spoken very clearly … it’s so clear that the right thing to do is to deal with Arbor Heights and Schmitz Park simultaneously. As the directors know, there has been an impressive show of unanimity of the West Seattle community on this issue. … Everyone agrees these two schools need to be rebuilt immediately … there must be a way to make this happen. I also want to point out, the underlying issue is the equity thing …” She says it’s clear that people with money move into Schmitz Park boundaries, and “we are answering by adding capacity, which is a capital issue … but what we’re doing is pulling money away from schools like Arbor Heights.” There’s nothing wrong with those moves, she says, but “we are allowing people with resources to drive the shape of the district and the flow of operational resources.” She concludes by saying “I hope we can land this [final BEX IV draft] in a different place.”

7:07 PM: DeBell now gives the remaining board members 2 minutes each, as they roar toward the 7:15 deadline for ending this meeting. Betty Patu says she agrees they need to move up Arbor Heights … its conditions are “unacceptable … we can’t build new schools if kids are in the older schools that are falling apart.” Sharon Peaslee focused her remarks on the north end issues, as did Harium Martin-Morris. Kay Smith-Blum also said, “We need to rebuild Arbor Heights right away.” She says if the overall plan is looked at through a different lens, “we might be able to build Arbor Heights first.”

7:17 PM: Finally, DeBell: “I agree that I’d love to see Arbor Heights move up but this is a very complicated model that can’t be quickly repositioned … there are capacity issues all over the city and I hope the directors will think wholistically … big challenge, complicated puzzle.” And at 7:20, the meeting is adjourned.

63 Replies to "As-it-happened coverage: School Board's last BEX IV levy work session"

  • Mark Ahlness October 10, 2012 (7:32 pm)

    Thank you, Marty McLaren! For advocating for AH of course, but also for focusing on the bigger picture, by addressing equity, resources, and influence.

  • Amanda October 10, 2012 (7:42 pm)

    Wow! I am tipping my proverbial hat to Marty McLaren, Betty Patu and Kay Smith-Blum! I will say it again, unless they put the health of kids first, I will not vote for the BEX IV Levy. Fingers crossed for AH!

  • socamr October 10, 2012 (7:49 pm)

    DeBell is fooling himself if he is citing Denny/Sealth as an example of success. The building itself is working, but since the district in its infinite wisdom is shifting 100 Denny kids to West Seattle every year, it is hardly achieving the results promised as part of BEX III.

    Given that the district can’t seem to keep its promises even when the plans make sense, how much harder is it to support plans like BEX IV when they DON’T make sense?

    • WSB October 10, 2012 (8:04 pm)

      Just to be clear – he did not say Denny/Sealth – he said BEX III without specifying particular projects. I mentioned Denny/Sealth because that is the most prominent result of BEX III here in West Seattle, and certainly there were concerns about it. But for all I know, he might have had something else in mind. The board was seguing into their next meeting so I did not get to follow up with anyone on anything. – TR

  • Joe October 10, 2012 (8:11 pm)

    what we’re doing is pulling money away from schools like Arbor Heights.” There’s nothing wrong with those moves, she says

    So there’s nothing wrong with wealthy people shafting less affluent neighborhood schools? Is that what she said?

  • WSMama3 October 10, 2012 (8:15 pm)

    THANK YOU MARTY for speaking up for our community.

  • StringCheese October 10, 2012 (8:18 pm)

    Whoa there Joe! You took that quote totally out of context! She was talking about people moving from one school boundary to another. Calm down and reread please.

  • Leslie October 10, 2012 (8:34 pm)

    It is well past time for Michael DeBell to move on w/ his patronizing attitude to his fellow board members and the voters. He, with all his seniority, and experience (especially thru last round of capacity, closures and so called right sizing) has gained no wisdom nor leadership….. ,

    He is in the pocket of the $$$$ class and accepts part and parcel whatever the SPS HQ folks throw his way.

  • Joe October 10, 2012 (8:36 pm)

    Oh man, sorry — !

  • Jessica Pierce October 10, 2012 (8:45 pm)

    Attended meeting and overjoyed for our AH community. We need everyone’s support to make this happen! Please consider attending the last two board meetings before the vote. Wear yellow in support of AH. I guarantee you will not regret lending your support to such a worthy cause!!!

  • E October 10, 2012 (9:03 pm)

    Still voting no! And yes I have a child in SPS.

  • WSMama3 October 10, 2012 (9:04 pm)

    So proud of AH families – KEEP IT UP!!!!

  • evergreen October 10, 2012 (9:25 pm)

    Marty was a great advocate tonight! Love her support for AH and JA.

    STEM parent

  • Yep October 10, 2012 (9:26 pm)

    @Leslie, I couldn’t have said it better. It is hard not to have those thoughts about DeBell.

  • Bonnie October 10, 2012 (9:37 pm)

    I personally do not live in Arbor Heights but I have a child (used to have 2) who attends Arbor Heights. We live in Fauntleroy but I love Arbor Heights and did consider moving my child to STEM because of the way the Arbor Heights Elementary School is treated by SPS. I did change my mind and decide to stay. My daughter is happy there. While it would create difficulties for us to move to an interim school I think the school situation cannot be ignored any longer. People are leaving the school because of the building and when I tell people where my daughter goes to school they get all bug eyed and can’t believe I’d send her there. She is getting an excellent education and I am proud to have her attend Arbor Heights. Arbor Heights deserves a rebuild and I cannot imagine what the building will be like in 2017 when they plan to move the children out of the building to rebuild.

    Now don’t even get me started on the math…. that is a whole other subject.

    • WSB October 10, 2012 (10:45 pm)

      Note – A kind reader just noticed that I had misplaced a paragraph in a different story I was updating while at the board meeting. It’s the 6:50 pm paragraph, now returned to its rightful place here. And that had an important bit of information, with the mention of what FAC-MAC said about Arbor Heights.

  • JD October 11, 2012 (6:16 am)

    Sounds like nothing changes at these work sessions. As much as I would like to vote YES to levy once in my life the Board/Administration just do not leave me w/ that warm fuzzy feeling that they care about any community let alone West Seattle.

  • Que October 11, 2012 (7:54 am)

    A Huge Thank You to Marty McLaren, Betty Patu and Kay Smith-Blum for speaking up on behalf of the education, health and well being of the children of West Seattle!!! Marty, it is so nice to feel like our representative on the SPS Board is advocating for us. I know that I am not alone in feeling in the past like we are the forgotten stepchild of Seattle in terms of having our needs even be discussed at the table. Thank you very much for your hard work and dedication on our behalf.

  • Perspective October 11, 2012 (8:51 am)

    A question to those who say they won’t vote for the levy if AH isn’t moved up sooner – if this levy doesn’t pass, then AH won’t get its rebuild at all. Isn’t later at least better than never? And you would also deny all the other schools in the district aching for improvements their access to the funds to make their schools better? Vote no if you can’t afford it, vote no if you don’t have kids and don’t think you should fund public education, but don’t vote no to spite the system. Give AH a chance, you never know if they could find a way to move it sooner!

  • Charlie Mas October 11, 2012 (9:00 am)

    DeBell: “I agree that I’d love to see Arbor Heights move up but this is a very complicated model that can’t be quickly repositioned”

    Yet there was no trouble adding the last minute idea to move Jane Addams (enrollment 581) into the Pinehurst building (capacity 265). That was part of the model that could be quickly re-positioned. Also the additions to Loyal Heights and Bagley along with the deletion of the additions to Mercer and North Beach. Those were other parts of the model that could be quickly re-positioned.

    It seems that Mr. DeBell finds these logistical obstacles insurmountable – unless he supports the change. In those cases it’s no trouble at all.

  • bluerose October 11, 2012 (9:35 am)

    I’m so thankful that AH has an advocate in Marty McLaren and that the FAC-MAC brought out the urgency of the rebuild for AH. This is a question of health and safety, and educational equity and a way must be found to rebuild AH as soon as possible. Speaking as the parent of a student at Arbor Heights.

  • westello October 11, 2012 (9:44 am)

    “…(the Denny/Sealth co-location was part of that levy) seem to be happy now”

    West Seattle, is this true? I thought many felt the building were too small but I’d like to hear what you think.

    It’s fine for any school including Gatewood to get a new roof but folks that’s what the BTA levy is for. The district is still mixing money and it gets confusing. BTA is for major maintenance and BEX is for renovations/additions. It should be that way.

    I think there are many things complicating the BEX issue.

    There are people unhappy over the order (and I, too, say AH FIRST – it’s the worst building in the district and needs to be fixed).

    There are people unhappy about money – any amount – being set aside for a downtown school. A downtown school is a great idea but there are ways to get one without BEX money but downtown won’t listen. They are a little myopic on this subject considering the vast need throughout the district from parents who have waited much longer for their capital needs.

    – People unhappy about the shifting list of projects. This latest list is puzzling – why is North Beach off and Bagley on? Why pull the rug out from under Pinehurst and JAddams?

    – And, there is the worry over how much any charter schools will take from BEX if 1240 passes.

    To remind people, any new charters would not get BEX money. However, ANY conversion charters, those charters proposals that take over ANY existing school with a petition, failing or not, WOULD get a share of this BEX money.

    What would happen is that if 1240 passes and a conversion charter got created in the next 2-5 years, then the district would be forced to take the number of existing schools (including any conversion charters) divide that into the BEX money and then cut that conversion charter a check.

    My estimate is that it would probably be about $5-7M which means less for all other schools. (And, even if a charter took over a building in good condition, they STILL get the money.)

    Melissa Westbrook
    Seattle Schools Community Forum blog

  • skeptical October 11, 2012 (10:04 am)

    You know, if board and staff took less time high-fivin’ about what a great job they’re doing, there would have been MORE time for actual board discussion. I’m tired of their meetings going this way!

  • skeptical October 11, 2012 (10:07 am)

    Voting NO is the same thing as voting Sundquist out. It sends the message loud and clear that they work for US, and we’re tired of their tin-ear and pandering. Otherwise, they spin in their own little orbits and we take it in the shorts.

  • WSParent2 October 11, 2012 (10:08 am)

    Socamr and Leslie – you are both so right about DeBell.

    To Amanda and E. I am very frustrated about this whole situation and it has crossed my mind to not vote for this Levy, but it would ultimatley hurt the children in SPS. All the schools on the Levy (except for a new down town school) need help. As an AH parent I would rather see a 2019 rebuild than nothing at all. There is a very good chance the building will be moved up earlier to a rebuild, despite it showing as 2019 on the LEVY. If you are AH parents, it would be helpful for you to show your support by attending some meetings. It is not helpful to our school and community to just voice threats on the blog.

  • WSParent2 October 11, 2012 (10:19 am)

    Thank you Melissa Westbrook!

    One more thing. I am really confused as to why the district is being so reluctant to share the intent of Fairmont Park. We all are assuming STEM will be moving there. There has not been any real discussion of a neighborhood school there and how it would look if one is there. If there intent is to put STEM there, why don’t they just come out and say it. Does anyone have any theories on this?

  • Amanda October 11, 2012 (10:30 am)

    @WSP2 – While again, I can see the big picture of all schools needing assistance, the only way to send a message the school board is to vote no. We ALWAYS vote yes for schools. Always. This has made the SPS Board bold and inflated. They are clearly not listening to us, or the Voices of Reason on the Board. I don’t want to punish any children, but I will be damned if I pay more in taxes to fix schools with overcrowding as their only problem. AH and Roxhill (which has completely been shut out now) need new buildings ASAP. Not in 2017, 2019, 2020, 2025 or whenever they deem they’ll get around to it. They need them now. They needed them with BEX III. I will vote NO until I see AH moved to the top of the list.

  • tk October 11, 2012 (10:36 am)

    a question for AH families-
    I do not support the BEX as proposed at all for many reasons, but in a worst case scenario (if the BEX passes with AH not even moving into an interim site until 2017), would it be possible to move AH kids into the empty Schmitz Park school as of the fall 2015 school year (when SP is scheduled to move into their new school)?
    Apparently SP is in good shape, and not that much further of a commute as the Boren intirim school would be. It would get the AH kids out of an unsafe environment two years earlier- maybe even opening up a window (with some pressure) to start construction that much earlier on a new AH?
    My guess is that the district is dragging it’s feet on the AH timeline because they have gotten themselves into a collosal bind with not committing a new home to STEM/Boren yet, thus not making Boren avaiable as an intirim site for AH for years down the road.
    Any ideas on this?

  • aka October 11, 2012 (11:03 am)

    @tk, I’ve heard Boren could house BOTH Stem and AH.

  • skeptical October 11, 2012 (11:14 am)

    Actually tk Fairmount Park is closer than Schmitz Park.

  • Interim AH October 11, 2012 (11:26 am)

    I for one would prefer AH to be housed at Schmitz Park rather than Boren. AH has reduced enrollment right now due to the building condition and in my opinion would lose more families moving to Boren. I would much rather have my kids in a quiet neighborhood and not on a busy street that has seen it’s fair share of trouble. This is one of the major reasons why we chose Arbor Heights. I dont know how the majority of other AH families feel, but at this point if AH is shuffled off to interim housing at Boren we will likely look to transfer to a different school. I DON’T want to leave the AH teachers and the fantastic principal Christy Collins, but I have to follow my instincts and dreams for my kids’ elementary education experience, and Boren is not it. I’m not saying this ignite the Delridge/Crime is everywhere debate. I had never thought of
    AH at the Schmitz Park building, but I like the idea.

  • WSMama3 October 11, 2012 (11:27 am)

    Boren has enough capacity for STEM and AH as of Fall 2013.

    The North needs to advocate to leave Schmitz Park open as a neighborhood school in my opinion – all the North end schools even with SP @ Genesee need the old SP to stay open too.

  • AH Resident October 11, 2012 (11:35 am)

    The comment about parents with more money being at SP than AH – this is the crux of the problem. I believe, the district views AH as a south end school full of poor people. Well I am not poor, I’d consider myself to be middle to upper middle class. I send my kids to AH, too. Based on what I see at school, I’d say most of the parents are in the same social economical situation. Do we need to provide W2 to the board to prove what we make at our jobs is worthy of a new school?

  • E October 11, 2012 (11:35 am)

    I do not trust SPS at all and will not vote to give them any money. No way! I already told my husband vote with me or my vote will just cancel his out anyway. I will be voting for charter schools.

  • WSMama3 October 11, 2012 (11:38 am)

    The problem is that SPS has designated Boren as the interim site. The whole plan behind all the funding was for it to house schools as needed. AH – I’d start advocating that you move in 2013!!! Your teachers, staff – they all come too when you make this move. You become “Arbor Heights at Boren” until they rebuild the school.

    Please – we would welcome you to come visit us at STEM – Boren is getting a bad rap from people who have never even visited the site. Does it feel like a “neighborhood school” no – but it’s perfect as the interim site. Bonus – no mold. No rats. Working heat. Drinkable water. Great lighting, space, and room.

    Also – by the time you come we will have flashing lights and a playground and science labs!

    Seriously – contact the PTA – we’d be happy to show you around the site so parents could actually see what it might be like for them.

  • tk October 11, 2012 (11:49 am)

    A possible AH move into SP would be only temporary until a new school is built for them. There is no money to fund another “new” neighborhood school at Schmitz Park, at least for now.
    The other advantage of having AH move into SP is that it would keep the occupancy permit current, which means later down the road if it needs to be used as another “neighborhood school” then the $Millions in Code upgrades would be avoided.
    Finally, co-housing at Boren is less than ideal for both schools, and should be only used if no other viable options are available. It would also require more $ being dumped into Boren (rather than upgrades to a fully functioning SP). It actually happened years ago at Boren, ironically with Cooper and Pathfinder co-housing with less than desirable results.

  • skeptical October 11, 2012 (12:26 pm)

    Yeah, but wouldn’t a temp relo to SP come with the issues of not enough potties, space etc?

  • E October 11, 2012 (12:39 pm)

    The problem with Boren is its physical location. I would never send my kids there. It’s a rough area.

  • wondering... October 11, 2012 (12:39 pm)

    Here’s my prediction:
    Boundary changes to provide occupancy for Fairmont Park as a neighborhood school are announced Spring 2013 and go into effect for 2013-2014 school year. These kids will go to Boren (as interim) for one year, until FP opens (2014).
    This will be short term way to solve capacity problems at Schmitz, Lafayette, Alki, and Gatewood for upcoming school year. Sounds like a perfect solution for those existing schools, sounds like a nightmare for the families who are drawn into Fairmont Park.
    I think this makes just enough crazy sense that the SD will likely do it.

  • Interim AH October 11, 2012 (1:09 pm)

    wsmama3- I cannot help but feel that one of your strategies in advocating for STEM to be moved to Fairmount Park next year is to advocate for AH to move to Boren as soon as possible. Now, it may very well be the case that sticking AH in Boren will get STEM to Fairmount Park sooner. But by pushing against any and all alternate ideas of housing AH at a site other than Boren, you are are possibly doing a diservice to AH families such as mine that would rather be anywhere but Boren. Go ahead and advocate for STEM to go to Fairmount Park since that’s what you want. I am glad you have a strong voice for your school, but when that voice tries to always be louder than all other voices combined, it may be at the expense of other West Seattle students and families. I want to hear many ideas and voices of how to solve the problem of re-building AH sooner and for interim AH housing that will be productive and acceptable for the most AH families. And I want Marty McClaren, Jose Banda, The Board, and FACMAC to hear what is, and is not, acceptable to AH families. Do continue asking for what you want for the STEM school, but I would hope you will not donthat by consistently railroading solutions that do NOT include AH to Boren. That being said, I enjoy reading the opinions and discussions here. My opinion as an AH parent is I’d like AH to be rebuilt ASAP and if they can’t build the new school next to the old school without moving AH to interim housing, than I’d like to be housed most anywhere but Boren.

  • AH Resident October 11, 2012 (1:12 pm)

    @E – Boren is a ‘rough area’? Have you been to other cities in other states and seen REAL rough areas? Just wondering.

    @wondering – agree! but once a child is in a school the boundary can’t make them move. So the current overflowing status of some schools would remain the same. Right?

  • Delridge Mom October 11, 2012 (1:18 pm)

    Wondering, I think you are exactly right. This was one of the biggest reasons we moved from Lafayette to Pathfinder this year. We knew boundary changes would likely cause our neighborhood to get screwed over yet again (think Cooper closure), and we wanted to reduce that possibility by going to an option school that happens to also be in our neighborhood. I also can’t help but sigh and shake my head at those of you afraid to send your kids to Boren because of the sketchy neighborhood. We have lived in this so called sketchy neighborhood for 12 years and trust me when I say, it is a safe place to live. I get so tired of having to defend where I live from misinformed people who don’t have a clue about what it is like to actually live here. Don’t worry. The boogeyman of Delridge won’t eat your children if they end up at Boren. It will be ok. At least there won’t be mold, rats, peeling floors, and unsafe water to drink!

  • wondering... October 11, 2012 (1:41 pm)

    AH Resident:
    I’m not totally sure about who they can make go to a new school. I have a vague memory of something happening in the north end where a new school was opened, and they didn’t make people attend the school unless they were incoming K or something… But it became a huge waste of money as it only accommodated a very small population of kids because of that.
    I believe (but I’m not totally sure) that the school district looked at that as a mistake, and probably WILL pull kids from neighboring schools into any brand new schools from now on.
    I know, I am very worst case scenario… but sadly have learned to expect that from SPS :( I have a bad feeling that we are not learning more about the plans right now because it will make people (more) upset and they will loose votes for BEX IV. But, the money is already in place for Fairmont, and this change could happen whether or not the levy passes.
    Another thought, this could be the way they accommodate families who want to keep their kids together. “Oh you can be together, you just have to go to FP now.” :(

  • WSMama3 October 11, 2012 (2:20 pm)

    I have no incentive – and I’ve not advocated for STEM to move “next year” to Fairmount. We were told that Boren would be our site for 2 years. I have advocated for the STEM community to find out where we are going and for the promises that where made to be honored.

    STEM can stay at Boren forever as far as I am concerned. :) We’ve just been told that is totally not an option. STEM moving to Fairmount Park, old SP, Hughes is totally a separate issue from AH moving to old SP, Fairmount Park or to Boren. We are not working against each other. There needs to be enough money into West Seattle to cover AH (now!), and SP@G (now!). West Seattle will still have a capacity problem even with SP @G that also needs to be addressed. STEM is not on the levy, we want to be recognized as a school and given a home.

    In terms of advocacy – in working with other PTA leadership and families from other schools – we are throwing everything into the pot as options. Each school, each parent, every family has ideas about what they think is best for them and their community so there is no way to get consensus. We are all trying to do the best we can in a crazy, messed up, situation and the end goal is that communities stay together, kids are safe, and we have supported our friends at all West Seattle schools.

    As a parent with a kid at Boren who was worried at the onset – I am offering families who do have concerns to come visit.

    As a community we all should stand united and ask for input and commitment from SPS if (when) they do a boundary redraw to get input, direction, and agreement from the community.

  • evergreen October 11, 2012 (2:20 pm)

    AH, you are so wrong. Boren is a nice building, really. It feels safe during school hours. I had reservations before switching there from a very nice building, but we were pleasantly surprised. We, K5STEM, wish that we could STAY aT Boren. It is voiced repeatedly by the parents. But unfortunately we can’t b/c it is an interim building. WSMama wanted you to know that our community would welcome yours, period. SP or Boren for AH, either is fine from our perspective. We have kids at STEM from AH, sympathize with your plight, and want SPS to make your school the priority.

  • parentofone October 11, 2012 (2:39 pm)

    I am glad that Marty is advocating for AH. The AH rebuild should definitely be a priority.

    For those who are worried about a move to the Boren building – we live in AH and our child goes to STEM – I actually really like the Boren building and would be happy to have STEM stay there (and even from AH I find it an easy commute)! But everyone keeps saying it’s a temporary placement. So while I don’t really care where STEM ends up housed (as long as it gets a permanent home with a big enough space in WEST SEATTLE), I think the Fairmount Park building really does make the most sense in terms of where it’s located and the ability to draw from both North and South WS.

    I just hope the School Board gets it’s act together and actually listens to the people it’s supposed to be representing!

  • HPMom October 11, 2012 (2:45 pm)

    I have heard nothing but how bad the Arbor Heights building is. How it is unsafe, the worst building in SPS, and needs to be rebuilt immediately. I agree it needs to be rebuilt as soon as possible. I am confused as to why Arbor Heights families would rather stay at AH vs. going to Boren in the interim.

    Many families with school age children live in the area around the Boren school. I find comments about it being unsafe a little insulting.

    • WSB October 11, 2012 (2:55 pm)

      We toured Boren a couple weeks before school started and there was a lot of interior work being done. Certainly it’s not a new building, but nor was it a dump, shall we say. Not reflective of its current state but just for reference purposes, here’s the photo-tour story we published then. (I was impressed by the big bright windows, as a fan of lots of natural light …)

  • Cheryl October 11, 2012 (3:37 pm)

    I really wish everyone would stop counting all these BEX Levy $$$ that we don’t even have yet. You know what they say about chickens who haven’t hatched.
    I strongly suspect many (if not most) of Seattle will feel pretty acrimonious about voting “yes” come February. I know I’m unlikely to give it a thumbs up myself and I have a kid in 1st grade at Arbor Heights. How do you think people who DON’T have kids in SPS are gonna feel about it? Just sayin.
    I wish the District much luck. Our kids deserve much better than they’ve been getting from SPS, but sadly I don’t think throwing more money at a bunch of people (who have repeatedly proved they don’t know how to manage finances well) is going to solve that problem. Not even a little bit.

  • happy October 11, 2012 (3:40 pm)

    Um, does anyone in the district realize that there is a huge amount of space at AH? You know, the blacktopped-over playground, which could easily accommodate a new building while the staff and students stay in the current building.

    Oh, of course not: it would be fabulous STEM projects to watch a new building go up, not to mention cheaper than moving to an interim school, etc., so why would the district do that?

    Silly me for thinking that (logical) way.

  • Bonnie October 11, 2012 (4:10 pm)

    I thought that back when they were first talking about rebuilding AH they said they’d rebuild with the school right next to it and then tear down after the build.

  • skeptical October 11, 2012 (4:23 pm)

    happy, that had been mentioned before. Although, as a construction professional, I would not want 400+ youngsters and their parents near my jobsite, this is doable. I think the interim move proposed of late is purely palliative, “get these AH parents off our backs” stuff.

  • WSMama3 October 11, 2012 (4:28 pm)

    Bonnie – that was before West Seattle had a specific “interim” site (Boren).

  • skeptical October 11, 2012 (8:01 pm)

    WSMama3, I heard the mention of rebuilding adjacent to AH during the last few months of meetings. I understand, however, that the site may require pile foundations (which is puzzling given it’s location…)

  • westello October 11, 2012 (8:39 pm)

    One other factor to keep in mind – Silas Potter’s trial starts about at the same time as the BEX IV levy election. It’s not a good thing.

  • WSMama3 October 11, 2012 (10:43 pm)

    Skeptical – I have no idea – but it is good to have as many options as possible to then have a solution that supports the most families.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed for you all!

  • AH Resident October 12, 2012 (6:41 am)

    The pilings needed (maybe?) at the AH location are due to the soil structure. That’s what I heard anyway. Hmmm, perhaps that’s the reason for the leaks and water issues under the building. Maybe by today’s standards there shouldn’t even be a building there! I suspect there’s more to this story then “we just don’t want to rebuild”.

    Who is silas potter???

  • AH Resident October 12, 2012 (8:18 am)

    Does anyone know why the BEX vote is in February and not November? To be honest, those are the random ballots I forget to vote on! oops.

  • westello October 12, 2012 (9:08 am)

    Silas Potter is the guy who allegedly embezzled money from the district (the financial scandal that upended Goodloe-Johnson, Sundquist and Maier).

    AH, I believe school levies are separate from other election times due to state law.

  • skeptical October 12, 2012 (12:02 pm)

    Naw, county records show NO geologic concerns in the area (e.g. wetlands etc). Perhaps the capital projects staff meant to say tiebacks on the west slope (although why a construction project mgr would say piling for tieback is beyond me…) Leaks and water issues can be solved with proper drainage. You probably have these issues because of the very poor quality construction and dilapidated condition.

  • Goodguy October 13, 2012 (9:40 pm)

    Great summary. Thanks. I’m just hoping that levy passes because we’ll all be screwed if it doesn’t. True, West Seattle schools are a mess, but that’s no reason to vote against the funding that will help repair the damage.

  • Trying! October 15, 2012 (7:29 am)

    Voting against the levy will not end it! It will simply be reworked until it passes. Very slim chance it will never pass. Look at the history of past levies.

  • voter October 15, 2012 (8:11 am)

    I am voting for both the charter and the levy. competition is a good thing and clearly this state needs some fresh ideas and plans. what we have isn’t working!

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