West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One day after news began to spread of a district-ordered teacher-reallocation move affecting two local elementary schools, one is launching a short-time, big-sum fundraising drive: $90,000 needed by Wednesday, to keep from losing a teacher.
We first reported Thursday afternoon on the situation that could result in one teacher being moved from Gatewood Elementary to newly reopened Fairmount Park Elementary. Fairmount has more students than planned for, the district says, while Gatewood has fewer first-graders than planned for.
While the district has not publicly identified the teacher that would be moved from Gatewood to Fairmount Park, Gatewood parents say the current version of the plan would move first-grade teacher Ms. Morgan. Parent Tracy Clarkson sent the photo at right, her twin daughter and son with Ms. Morgan, who is their teacher. Says Clarkson, “We are longtime West Seattlers, but new to Gatewood. We cannot lose this teacher!”
Another parent e-mailed more details about what will happen tomorrow, and beyond:
Gatewood is mobilizing. We need to raise $90,000 by Wednesday morning. We have about 10% thus far. Disbelievingly, our beloved teachers have each committed $500.
The parents of Gatewood and their children are planning to hold the biggest bake sale imaginable tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. at California and Myrtle and going on throughout the day.
We ask for any community support from everyone. Even if not a monetary donation, we appreciate moral support, too. The families and teachers could sure use it right now.
A donation account was set up late today at Chase Bank; you can donate at Chase and tell them it’s for “Friends of Gatewood.” Parents say online fundraising is not an option because they have to have the cash in hand by Wednesday morning, and online donations wouldn’t be disbursable that way.
They are hoping at least to get a time extension, and say that the district’s executive director of schools in this area, Israel Vela, indicated support for that in phone calls today to parents who had left him messages about this.
Meanwhile, the district responded to a followup question we had sent yesterday. At the ribbon-cutting for Fairmount Park on September 2nd, the day before the new school year began, it was announced they anticipated opening with 380 students. The current enrollment cited by the district is just below that. So why is an adjustment being made just now? District spokesperson Lesley Rogers replied with this backstory:
In August we decided to fund an additional teacher (the student projection [for Fairmount Park] went from 290 to 329, or 39 additional students). This was part of an overall district assessment that resulted in 26 schools having adds or pulls, with a net 2.0 addition. We also added in 2 schools based on high urgency (Arbor Heights and Alki Elementary).
We decided to wait to address FTE [full-time-student equivalent] adjustments due to the traditional student movement, wait list, data cleanup, and no-shows that happens in the first 2-3 weeks of school. The student enrollment reached 368 at 9/22 (Fairmount Park).
The other component was the budget situation. Our mitigation fund was depleted after the last 2 adds. We decided to wait to find out what schools have significantly lost student enrollment, as Gatewood, to transfer FTEs.
Overall, we are waiting for the official 10/1 counts that will be reported on 10/12 to recommend more staffing adjustments. At the same time we are using the current student count to identify the hot spots adjustments and deploy/execute earlier.
We’ll continue to follow up.
ADDED 5:26 AM SATURDAY: Overnight, we received the letter to the community, drafted by organizers of the fundraising drive. Click (or scroll) ahead to read it:
(Refresh for newest image from WSF camera at Southworth dock)
6:37 PM: Happening in Southworth, but no doubt affecting Fauntleroy ferries: Washington State Ferries says the Southworth dock is closed right now because of “law enforcement activity.” Via Twitter, the Kitsap Sun reports this is a case of a vehicle gone into the water. (You might also see air activity related to this – at least one TV helicopter has headed that way.)
6:55 PM: No one has confirmed whether anyone was in the vehicle, which at least one witness says crashed through the barricade at the dock’s end.
7:20 PM: An update:
Coast guard divers are conducting search/recovery currently. pic.twitter.com/iOTKHmi7wa
— Trooper Russ Winger (@wspd8pio) October 4, 2014
The vehicle is in 60 feet of water.
7:47 PM: WSP says the body of the vehicle’s driver, who was believed to be in it alone, has been recovered. SFD divers are reported to have assisted.
8:01 PM: WSF projects it will be a few hours before the dock reopens – which won’t happen, they say, until the vehicle is pulled from the water. In the meantime, ferries are running only between Fauntleroy and Vashon, and the Seattle-Bremerton run from Colman Dock downtown is recommended as a detour for those trying to get to Kitsap County.
9:40 PM: WSF says the Southworth dock likely will be closed until morning.
11:06 PM: The vehicle has been pulled from the water. Christine Clarridge from The Seattle Times (WSB partner) tweeted a photo and describes the vehicle as a silver Ford Escape.
11:25 PM: WSF says the dock is open again and service to Southworth restored.
Looking ahead to next week, two traffic alerts that might give you cause to plan ahead:
SPOKANE STREET VIADUCT: Just announced by SDOT:
Roadway Structures Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation will close the left-hand, eastbound lane on the Spokane Street Viaduct from Fourth Avenue South to First Avenue South on October 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., weather permitting. The closure will allow crews to make pavement repairs on the viaduct.
VICE PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: VP Joe Biden’s still on for a visit to Seattle next week, on Thursday (October 9). The full schedule hasn’t been announced but we do know he’s expected at a noon fundraising event for U.S. Senate candidates at the Convention Center downtown.
4:03 PM: If you’re noticing police/animal control in northeast Gatewood, they’re looking for a dog reported to have killed chickens in a yard near 36th/Warsaw. SPD media relations tweeted about the call; we went over to check. Dog description: Samoyed, white, fluffy, about 55 pounds, still being sought at last report.
4:12 PM: A possibly-related lost-dog report has come in from the area; we’ve advised the owner to contact police/animal control.
4:48 PM: Both the owner and police say the dog has been found.
(WSB photo, taken this morning: Demolition continues at ex-Genesee Hill Elementary)
Because of changes including new school construction (like the Genesee Hill site, above), the Seattle Public Schools board voted last November to approve boundary changes that are being phased in over the next five-plus years. Some take effect next school year (2015-2016), so the district is having three public meetings next week to talk about those. The meeting for families in West Seattle is at 6:30 pm next Wednesday (October 8th) in the lunchroom at Fairmount Park Elementary (38th/Findlay). Eight elementaries in West Seattle, and both local middle schools (which means both high schools too, because of our area’s feeder pattern), will be affected by the boundary changes, with new maps linked from school names here. In some cases, the changes are relatively small – the Gatewood boundary changes, for example, would affect up to 10 students.
If this wasn’t on your radar, you probably have questions. The district has an FAQ online, including this:
This does not mean that students must change schools. Students currently enrolled at an elementary may stay at that elementary through 5th grade as long as the services they need are available. This is called grandfathering. New students will be assigned based on the updated boundaries.
(Thanks to Mary for pointing us to the saveseattleschools.blogspot.com report mentioning this – the meetings were not previously on our radar.)
(Photo by Suzanne Krom – goats with visitors before the feeder was removed last month)
You might recall the saga of the Jacobsen Road goats – Bama, Deli, and JJ – who would come say hi to visitors who put a quarter in a food dispenser and rang a bell to summon them. As reported here in June, the feeder went away in late spring after the goats’ owner acquiesced to a neighbor’s complaint. Then, encouraged by community support, he brought it back. Now, it’s gone again, as explained on this sign:
(September 25th photo)
This time, the feeder was removed under order of the city Department of Planning and Development, because of a zoning complaint – the feeder apparently turned the goat display into a “petting zoo.” We started asking DPD for comment last week, and finally received a response last night. Spokesperson Bryan Stevens told WSB, “We inspected the site (Wednesday) and found it to be in compliance with what the code allows in the single-family zone. The owner has been very cooperative and removed the elements that created the ‘petting zoo’ use. The feeding signs, bell, and 25-cent feeder have been removed, but the three goats remain.”
We asked Stevens about what appeared to be a new beef in the goat site’s file: “The more recent complaint that you’ve referenced was regarding the number of animals kept. Someone was claiming that there were more than three animals on site, but upon inspection from the sidewalk, only the three goats were observed … so the service request was closed. Up to three small animals are allowed on each single family property.”
Before we get to today’s list – an unusual-wildlife sighting from David Hutchinson, who says that’s a juvenile White-fronted Goose seen hanging around the Alki Beach promenade since last weekend, unafraid of people and reportedly spotted even crossing Alki Avenue. Bonus closeup:
Now, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
DROP OFF YOUR ART, DAY 2: Until 6 pm, it’s the second of three days you can drop off up to 3 pieces of art for the Southwest Branch Library‘s upcoming Community Artist Showcase. (35th/Henderson)
CLICK! TURNS TEN! Proprietors Frances and John Smersh (shown above during this year’s West Seattle Summer Fest) have been running Click! Design That Fits (longtime WSB sponsor) for a decade now. Go congratulate them, enjoy some treats, and take advantage of anniversary discounts, 5-9 pm tonight. (4540 California SW)
WORDS, WRITERS, & WEST SEATTLE: The literary series presented by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society at Barnes & Noble/Westwood Village is now in its second year! 5-7 pm tonight, go meet Susan Rich:
B & N is in on the south side of Westwood Village. (2800 SW Barton)
CORNER BAR AT HPIC: First Friday of the month means pop-up Corner Bar time at Highland Park Improvement Club. Music by the Drew Medak Trio. And more – see our calendar listing. (12th/Holden)
SEALTH HOMECOMING: 7 pm at Southwest Athletic Complex, the Seahawks host Franklin for Chief Sealth International High School‘s homecoming game. (2601 SW Thistle)
WSHS FOOTBALL: 7:45 pm at Memorial Stadium downtown, West Seattle High School plays Roosevelt.
NIGHTLIFE, NIGHTLIFE, NIGHTLIFE! Live music and more – see the calendar listings here.
And from the “not in West Seattle, but …” file:
(WSB photo: Rev. JD Godwin blessing Pace the dog at St. John’s 2013 Blessing of the Animals)
St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, is the inspiration for Blessing of the Animals events each fall, and this year we have heard from three West Seattle churches welcoming you and your pet(s) for the occasion, at events being held independent of the churches’ regular services:
PEACE LUTHERAN CHURCH: Happening this Sunday morning:
Pastor Erik Kindem and Peace congregation offer an opportunity to bless your special companion/pet on Sunday, October 5 @ Peace Lutheran Church, 39th Ave SW and SW Thistle. The blessing will take place on the Westside Patio (8316 39th Ave SW) at the conclusion of worship (11:45am). Community invited!
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Happening this Sunday afternoon:
Sunday at 1 pm: Plan now to bring your pet or pets for St. John the Baptist’s annual community-wide St. Francis’ Day Blessing of the Animals, Sunday, October 5, at 1:00 p.m. on the West Seattle High School parking lot. Parishioner Paul Dahlke is coordinating the event again this year.
WSHS is at 3000 California SW, just north of St. John’s.
FAUNTLEROY UCC CHURCH: Happening Sunday, October 12th, 2 pm – details on this flyer. The church is at 9140 California SW.
Three notes in West Seattle Crime Watch this morning. One is somewhat general – multiple reports of “metal scrappers” stealing items left out on parking strips or in alleys. Theft is theft, so if it happens to you, please be sure to report it.
Second, Dean reports interrupting car prowlers near 46th SW and Admiral Way, but not before they got away with T-shirts that say REPETE (with a pic of the Seahawks’ coach). A police report has been filed.
And third, an update from Rick in Gatewood:
Thank you, West Seattle Blog, for posting the information about my stolen work van. After driving around West Seattle for hours on Saturday, I located my stolen van. The locks & ignition were destroyed/missing & my tools stolen. Eye witness reports indicate that my van was stolen between 4:15 a.m and 5:30 a.m. and that individuals were car prowling w/ a dark colored van on Ida Street. Also, I learned that other individuals in the area have also reported their tools stolen.
(WS bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Happy Friday! Nothing out of the ordinary in the routes through/from West Seattle so far.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: Short and sweet – no major road work, as WSDOT says the Highway 99 work is done for now. The SDOT citywide weekend-alert list is short, too.
7:41 AM: SDOT reports a stall on the right shoulder of the eastbound bridge at the Delridge onramp. They’ve turned one of the cameras toward it – the one at top right of our four-camera display above – for now, anyway.
8:10 AM: Thanks for the sunrise photos this morning, after the beautiful sunset last night. This one is from Carolyn Newman:
Any time you need sunrise/sunset/moonrise/moonset times, forecasts, tides, the WSB West Seattle Weather page can help.
9:56 AM: Seen while driving through The Triangle a short time ago:
Tower-crane removal continuing at Spruce (ex-Hole), day 2 pic.twitter.com/xvJ2umpK9Q
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) October 3, 2014
Here’s our Thursday report on that.