West Seattle school boundary changes: Board member Marty McLaren says 2015 alarm is based on wrong numbers

11:41 AM: The West Seattle school boundaries set to change next year have triggered major concern because of enrollment effects – especially at Schmitz Park Elementary, already beyond overcrowded, and now worried (as laid out here) that boundary changes for next fall, a year before their new Genesee Hill school opens, will further burst their seams. This morning, West Seattle’s school-board rep Marty McLaren just sent her mailing list a document contending that concerns about the boundary-change effects were based on projected enrollment for 2017, and that this fall’s enrollment changes are much smaller:

The boundary-change vote is set for next Wednesday’s school-board meeting (November 19th) at district HQ in SODO, 4 pm. As noted on the SPES PTA website, public-comment speaker signups start Monday morning.

ADDED 4 PM: Until this, we hadn’t heard an official announcement that Genesee Hill wouldn’t open until fall 2016 – it was originally supposed to be midyear 2015-2016 – but district spokesperson Tom Redman confirms to WSB, that is indeed the new plan.

7 Replies to "West Seattle school boundary changes: Board member Marty McLaren says 2015 alarm is based on wrong numbers"

  • zark00 November 14, 2014 (12:45 pm)

    More ill conceived, poorly planned, changes that will clearly make things MUCH worse for the majority of students and schools – way to go SPS! You can’t estimate enrollment, you can’t read a map, and you can’t plan you way out of a wet paper sack. Cheers! – you stink at your jobs.

  • Alice November 14, 2014 (8:57 pm)

    As a Schmitz Park parent, I fear for my child’s:

    Safety. Overcrowding the school means the ability to move students safely through is extraordinarily difficult — what happens if there is a fire or other emergency? And the small number of toilets is another serious issue. More than 500 children are expected to use 2 bathrooms (with the Kindergarteners relying on only 3 additional toilets), and they don’t have running water in portables. Children can’t even wash their hands appropriately!

    Music, dance and PE classes. Adding more students and portables means our kids might not be able to access these important programs every week.

    Meals and recreation. We have 612 students who eat lunch in four different shifts currently. Those same kids need our outdoor space for their physical recreation — running, playing and relationship building that benefits them in the classroom. Taking away that space for additional portables is not okay with me.

    Learning! Library time at our school is limited, and even less available during the extensive testing periods throughout the year. In addition, we have such a small number of computers that kids are already missing out on web-based learning opportunities. Furthermore, my other bullet points (safety, special classes, meals and recreation) are absolutely vital for learning!

    I attended the boundary meeting last week, and when I voiced some of these concerns, there was no response whatsoever. Not even a “We’ll consider it.” That is not acceptable! I know how much effort went into the boundary changes process last year; I took part in those meetings, too. But we were told our school would be open in time to accommodate these changes and it will not.

    So the only acceptable option now is to delay the boundary implementation change for one year — until the new school is open and ready to welcome its transferring students.

  • Gene November 15, 2014 (12:18 am)

    The 2015 Schmitz Park alarm is based on the +9 from boundary changes and +20-30 from the increased number of incoming Kindergartners compared to the outgoing 5th Graders. i.e. 90-100 vs 70. That can easily account for the 630-650 number in the alarm blog post.

    If I were to take a wild guess, the 2017 enrollment at the Genessee Hill building might be 675-700.

  • Debra November 15, 2014 (4:41 am)

    15 years ago the school system was in the same mess it is today, made the difficult choice to send my daughter to private school, a significant financial burden . As a product of public school myself, and willing to continue to vote to tax myself to improve the school system it is discouaging to hear of these continued issues. Makes me wonder if my money is well spent
    And I should change my voting habits

  • Person November 15, 2014 (7:09 am)

    I agree Gene. I most certainly hope there is some sort of secret plan to keep the current a Schmitz Park as a regular elementary school.

    The new school is going to be at or over capacity right from the start.

    Schmitz Park IS a very awesome school, the staff does an amazing job with the logistics of fitting the kids in the school, but as Alice says, it is starting to have unfortunate consequences.

  • Leslie November 29, 2014 (11:52 am)


    How would we know the correct nos.? SPS still not publishing them, despite schools, keeping, paying ransom for and losing teachers?

    Also can you pls post regarding the surprise announcement regarding permanent appt of Interim Supt Nyland for next Weds, updated to agenda Weds. Night. What’s the emergency? Where’s the transparency? Nyland signed the Gates Foundationg grant well before the Board voted and then said “whoops!” Some are calling it a faux pas. We’ll see what the State Auditor says. Strange dealings downtown.

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