FOLLOWUP: Plan for West Seattle’s first proposed charter school proceeding on multiple fronts

Less than five months after we discovered the plan for what would be West Seattle’s first charter school, its prospective operator has officially submitted its application to the state.

California-based Summit Public Schools is asking the Washington State Charter School Commission for authorization to open what would eventually be a 6th-through-12th-grade campus at what’s now the Freedom Church/Jesus Center, a former supermarket site on the southwest corner of 35th SW and SW Roxbury. Summit says it would phase in the seven grade levels, starting in fall 2016 with 6th and 9th grades. (Charter schools are publicly funded but privately operated, as explained here.)

Summit has approval to open its first two schools in our state this fall, both high schools – one in the International District and one in Tacoma. Last week, when Seattle Public Schools were closed on May 19th, Summit brought members of the future first Seattle class over to the Roxbury/35th site to paint murals for the school opening in the ID this fall, which is still being remodeled.

They were advised by Native American artist Andrew Morrison, who also worked with young artists on the signal-box mini-murals along Delridge two summers ago:

But back to the Roxbury/35th plan. It’s making its way through the city system, with a site plan now on file showing more details than the one we first reported on at the start of the year:

In addition to renovating the main building – the former grocery store – two 2-story additions are planned along the Roxbury side of the property (shaded in the “site plan” sketch above), and a one-story addition to connect the one at the Roxbury/35th corner to the main building. The site-plan document says the additions will total more square footage – more than 27,000 – than the existing building (23,000+).

For parking, 65 motor-vehicle spaces and 52 bicycle spaces are proposeed. Though the document says the school could eventually bring 125 cars, the prospective school operators say they only will be required to have spaces for half that many because the site is close to frequent transit – the RapidRide line stops right across the street. The bicycle-space count is 22 more than the city requires.

HOW TO HAVE A SAY: The land-use-permit application is in the system as #3019454, if you’re interested in commenting. No public meeting is required, as this is not going through Design Review. Meantime, the process for approval of the charter school itself is outlined here; the Charter School Commission must set a date for a public forum on Summit’s application to open the school, but as far as we can tell from the commission’s calendar, it has yet to be announced. We don’t yet have the official application document for the proposed school, but hope to procure it later this week, and will publish another followup when we do.

53 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Plan for West Seattle's first proposed charter school proceeding on multiple fronts"

  • Melissa May 25, 2015 (3:24 pm)

    While I recognize that my philosophical objections to charter schools are a topic for a different place, I did find myself having a “Whoa! What?” moment while reading the above when I saw that there would be 65 automobile parking places and the provision for 125 cars.

    We don’t have sidewalks in Arbor Heights. It’s already a tricky and often dangerous place to walk. If we have cars parked on the edge of the road all around the school, which would happen if there are 60 cars for which there is no parking, then people like my family, including my kids, will be walking in the street. And the geography of Arbor Heights, given the green spaces and streets that don’t go through, makes it a bit of an island. That means one cannot bypass those streets.

    In other words, to make a school for the charter kids, the state will be endangering the kids who walk to busses and to other schools. Not okay, not wise, and not right.

  • JanS May 25, 2015 (3:40 pm)

    there is a HUGE parking lot there. I don’t understand why there has to be any street parking at all. And, actually, I don’t think those 66 or so parking spaces are meant on the street. I think they’re talking about the parking lot. Could that be clarified, TR?

    OK…reading the official city permit plan, the 66 parking spots are meant for the lot, from what they say. They do not mean 66 street parking spots, taking away from the public street. So, Melissa, no worries :)

    • WSB May 25, 2015 (4:33 pm)

      Jan, what I wrote is from the document. Here is the long form of that section of text, cut-and-pasted, with extra calculation information that is way more detailed than I would usually include but in case someone’s interested. Note that a fair amount of the current lot will be covered with the additions I mentioned. What remains, per below, will be 66 parking spaces. They are estimating the project could generate 125 cars, between the percentage of driving-age students who could drive to school, and the number of staffers, but they say they are not required to provide that many because of factors below, including frequent transit across the street:

      Location of parking and reuse of existing curbcuts along 35th Avenue SW has been approved under project #3019806
      1 space for each 80 square feet of all auditoria or public assembly rooms is required; “A” occupancy does not occur within the building, the following assumptions have been made to calculate parking:
      Allowable structure height with exception = Actual maximum height of structure from average grade = Refer to G1.1 for average grade level calculcations
      44′-0″ 33′-4″
      • • • • •
      400 HS students total, 200 are driving age, 40% have capability of driving to school = 80
      45 instructors / administrators = 45
      Total # of cars = 125
      Per SMC 23.54.020.F, a 50% reduction applies for access to transit
      Assume front lot line is 35th Avenue SW, structure width at its widest point is 300′-10 3/4″, lot width varies from 354′-0″ to 356′-0″.
      121-14031 03-20-2015 Author Checker
      125 X 0.50 = 63 parking spaces required
      66 on-site parking spaces provided
      PARKING FOR BICYCLES PER TABLE E FOR SECTION 23.54.015 B.10 Schools, Secondary (middle & high school)
      2 per classroom
      30 bicycle parking spaces required
      52 bicycle parking spaces provided

      P.S. to Anonyme, we covered this in another story. There are *two* marijuana-related businesses on the intersection now, NWPRC on the northeast side and the new “MMJ”-signage-sporting outlet on the northwest side. What would have been a third, Canna Health, which did not dispense or sell marijuana but rather authorizations for medical-marijuana cards, has closed and Nepenthe Massage is now in that building. – Tracy

  • Community Member May 25, 2015 (3:43 pm)

    I went to an informational meeting about the charter school a few months ago. About a dozen community members were there – some curious, others concerned about neighborhood impacts, some looking for a more old-fashioned text-book based alternative (which Summit is not).
    The meeting was interesting, and I had an overall positive reaction. Lots of reliance on computer-based education such as Khan Academy, and big blocks of expeditionary learning. Interesting ideas. I was surprised that they intended to align the school calendar with California schools instead of Washington, and the didn’t seem to know much about Seattle, but I guess that just indicates that they are expanding a California chain into Washington.
    BUT – what really bugged me: at the end of the meeting, Summit passed a clipboard sign-in sheet around, pleasantly asking the audience to sign it just to say we had attended the meeting. Summit staff said they just needed to document for the state that they had held public meetings.
    I objected when I realized that the smallish-print I was being asked to sign was actually affirming to the state my intention to enroll my children in the Charter school if a license was granted. Not that I would be committed by the paper, of course, but that the paper was clearly to be used to demonstrate public demand for their services.
    Whoa– I had made no such decision, and don’t even have eligible children. Summit representatives seemed rather perturbed when I said I couldn’t sign that.

  • dsa May 25, 2015 (4:06 pm)

    Melissa, it is called an impact and should be addressed, and mitigated to proceed IMO.

  • anonyme May 25, 2015 (4:21 pm)

    I oppose this on every level, including the mess that Melissa mentions. There is already a parking problem along 35th south of Rox, with most cars parked up on the planting strips and sidewalks. And this doesn’t even address the issue of additional traffic in and out of an already tricky intersection at peak hours.

    Between this and the THREE pot shops at this corner, Arbor Heights is being screwed big time. Instead of some kind of useful amenity, we get more traffic, worse parking/access/pedestrian issues, and more weed. What a cluster.

    Jan, please read the second paragraph beneath the diagram. I believe Melissa’s interpretation is correct. The parking lot will not seem so huge when the additional building is constructed, nor do I find it likely that most of the staff will take the bus.

  • dsa May 25, 2015 (5:11 pm)

    What other story? The proposed school is within a 1,000 feet of a pot shop. Isn’t that too close? Pot was there first. I don’t necessarily support pot, but fair play is fair play.

    • WSB May 25, 2015 (5:13 pm)

      No rule prohibits it, the city attorney’s office says.

  • Whoa! Slow Down May 25, 2015 (7:56 pm)

    Whoa! Slow down!

    Before you get excited about Summit and other charter schools, do your homework. Charter schools- including Summit- are full of issues:

    Seattle’s first charter school is in a state of disarray and at risk of closing:

  • Whoa! Slow down May 25, 2015 (7:59 pm)

    “BUT – what really bugged me: at the end of the meeting, Summit passed a clipboard sign-in sheet around, pleasantly asking the audience to sign it just to say we had attended the meeting. Summit staff said they just needed to document for the state that they had held public meetings.
    I objected when I realized that the smallish-print I was being asked to sign was actually affirming to the state my intention to enroll my children in the Charter school if a license was granted. Not that I would be committed by the paper, of course, but that the paper was clearly to be used to demonstrate public demand for their services.”

    Get the picture. Why deal with an out-of state entity? No guarantee that they will be responsive to parental needs and concerns.

  • Community Member May 25, 2015 (8:26 pm)

    Does anyone know what Metro’s process is for increasing bus service? It sounds like they are expecting that 600 bodies will ride the bus to school, and that that will work because they are on a route with frequent service. But if Metro is only providing one bus every 1/2 hour, that would need to be increased. Does Metro accommodate schools’ needs?

  • MOVE Seattle May 25, 2015 (9:51 pm)

    Change, it is one thing we can count on. How humans react to change is something we can’t count on. WA state voters approved Charter schools.

    Remember there was a Fred Meyer store on Roxbury where the current mega Safeway is? Then it became a Low Bucks Larry’s grocery because our demographics reflected a lower income neighborhood. Low Bucks Larry’s didn’t last too long.

    I wished a PCC market had opened at 35th and Roxbury but we got a church instead. Change – we all need to find our adjustment point.

    As far as Metro, wouldn’t count on them adjusting their schedule too much. They already have a Rapid Ride going around the corner at 35th and Roxbury. I recall reading Metro wants to increase Rapid Rides to every 6 minutes during peak commute times with our increased (SEATTLE ONLY) $60 car license tab fee. That should cover the new school in the AM but PM dismissal time might not have a RR bus every 6 minutes as that would be prior to peak commute hours. The RR route could possibly put a lot of students over at Westwood transit hub. Maybe that would help get an increase in safety issues addressed over at the transit hub.

  • bertha May 25, 2015 (10:19 pm)

    Wrong Summit School. The article you linked to was about Summit Charter School NOT Summit PS which is the school that will open on 35th. The Summit high school in Redwood City, CA is listed as one of the best charter high schools in the country and two Summit high schools have been included in the Washington Post’s Most Challenging US High Schools. I can tell you from personal experience that the Seattle Public School District administration is NOT responsive to parental needs or concerns.

  • evergreen May 25, 2015 (10:34 pm)

    I am absolutely for charter schools and glad another high school alternative is coming to the neighborhood. Where I come from, my home town & a large metro area, charter schools are the most successful and desirable schools in which to enroll and always have huge waiting lists. They have top test scores and more interesting curricula and creative teaching methods, and kids of all socioeconomic levels have an equal chance and generally perform at a higher level. Public schools need this kind of competition, in my opinion. I’ve read the opposing opinions in depth, so please don’t refer me to another particular local blog. Posting so that people remember that there are a lot of different viewpoints out there, and as someone pointed out, enough supporters to vote for charters.

  • Lynn May 26, 2015 (12:46 am)

    Care to share where you’re from? I’d like to read about the types of charter schools that are successful.

    if you’re considering Summit, I’d suggest asking how much teaching experience the principal has, whether they’ll hire certified teachers or Teach For America recruits and how much time your child will spend in online learning vs receiving instruction from their teacher.

    Oh – don’t forget to ask if they’ll be requesting a $500 per student donation and how many parental volunteer hours are required. (This is the practice in their California schools.)

  • AHParent May 26, 2015 (5:47 am)

    Let’s slow down and do this right for students and neighbors! The block that is just west of 35th and Roxbury, along the north side of the proposed building, is dangerous, narrow and already clogged – especially hazardous when people come flying out of that parking lot.

  • anonyme May 26, 2015 (6:46 am)

    There seems to be a misunderstanding of how Metro serves that corner.

    The #21 Express runs only during peak hours. The RR and #21 Local go north to the Junction/downtown from there – not to Westwood Village. Those routes hit WW Village first, necessitating a wait and transfer. There is no direct southbound service to 35th & Rox outside of peak hours.

    The #22 runs once per hour, and loops only as far as the Junction.

    I’m adamantly opposed to charter schools. Just a day or two ago (speaking of Metro) yet another proselytizing bus driver told me she loved charter schools because “private schools” were “better and the kids learn about Jesus”, I’m sure not all charter schools are religion-based, but the lack of oversight is concerning.

  • WSB May 26, 2015 (7:02 am)

    And to clarify that last point in case anyone misreads … Freedom Church is selling this site outright, and will not be involved with the school. The sale is not yet closed, according to county records. – TR

  • bertha May 26, 2015 (7:52 am)

    Lynn – Summit Sierra in the ID has hired certified teachers not Teach for America recruits. No required volunteer hours and no $500 required donation. It is a mix of on line and classroom learning. Do you have experience with Summit or is your information from online articles?

  • Melissa Westbrook May 26, 2015 (9:07 am)

    A couple of thoughts:
    – to the comment about the number of actual parking spaces versus the number stated -perhaps Summit, as a “public” school might ask that their area be included in the proposed Transition levy coming from the City this fall

    Look for charters to start asking for things like this. I note that two charter schools will be open in the Fall of 2015 and both of them will be eligible for Seattle School district levy dollars should the next BTA levy (Feb. 2016) pass. That means fewer dollars for buildings in SPS.

    – charter schools cannot be religion-based. However, one of the largest charter chains in the country – Gulen – is run by a religiously-based group and have, in the past, applied to be a charter in Washington State. Their schools are under investigation in multiple states by both the US Dept of Ed and Us Dept of Labor.

    – I’m confused how anyone could know what kind of teachers will be at the Summit school in the ID. Charters don’t normally give out that info. According to the odd favor that TFA gets, their teachers are certified but really, does 5 weeks make a teacher?

    – No, Summit or any other charter can’t “require” money or time but they certainly can apply pressure if you don’t. (Yes, I’ve done my homework.)

  • bertha May 26, 2015 (9:55 am)

    I know several families who are enrolled at Summit Sierra and they do know which teachers have been hired. Summit has hired experienced, certified teachers and one has taught in the Seattle area for a number of years. No mention has been made about required money donations or volunteer time. As far as pressure to donate money – I know of one Chief Sealth teacher that has an assignment that requires families to make a monetary donation or the student does not receive a passing grade.

  • Lynn May 26, 2015 (10:52 am)

    From the application that Summit filed with the Charter Commission:

    They will hire non-certified employees to teach ‘Expeditions’ (their term for electives.) Students spend 40 days a year (a full eight weeks) in these classes.

    Some of my children’s most rewarding and engaging classes have been electives. These subjects require certified teachers as much as core academic courses do.

    Transportation will not be provided for all students. “If, for example, we are close to bus lines that run throughout the neighborhoods of Southeast and Southwest Seattle, we will provide discounted or free ORCA bus passes to the students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.”

    Seattle Public Schools provides transportation to students based upon their address, not their economic status. There’s a large gap between an income that qualifies a student for free or reduced-price meals and an income that makes it possible for a family to transport children to school.

  • bertha May 26, 2015 (11:34 am)

    Expeditions are happening in conjunction with a number of community organizations, including Coyote Central, Digital Media Academy (UW), Seattle Film Institute, Taproot Theater, Youth in Focus, Academy of Music Northwest, Center for Wooden Boats, Hugo House, Pacific Science Center and the list goes on. An elective at SPS may be taught by a certified teacher but that does not mean the teacher is certified in that subject. The art teacher at Denny had NO background in art and knew nothing about it until she was told she would be teaching art. Students will be provided with Orca cards (as are students at Center School and Nova). I get that a lot of people are against charter schools and I respect that but please get your facts straight before posting about this new school.

  • Lynn May 26, 2015 (12:05 pm)

    I am saying that all subjects in schools that are supported by tax dollars should be taught by teachers with certificates. An expert from the Center for Wooden Boats is not a proper substitute.

    Obviously our district doesn’t get everything right. Denny should have been provided with a qualified teacher. That anecdote does not convince me that it’s OK for charter school students to be without actual teachers for 40 of the 180 days of the school year.

  • bertha May 26, 2015 (1:32 pm)

    Lynn – The Center School does not include PE in their curriculum so students satisfy this requirement outside of the school day and those classes are not taught by a certified teacher. I can understand that is your requirement for your child but that is not the requirement of the families that have chosen The Center School or Summit Sierra. We all have differing opinions on what makes an acceptable school – just read the forum posts asking for opinions about a specific school. The problem I have with many of the posts is that the information is inaccurate and misleading. Perhaps Summit is lying and misleading the families that have enrolled but I don’t think so (frankly I have been impressed with both principal and the staff) and it’s not as if SPS is a beacon of truth and cooperation.

  • anonyme May 26, 2015 (4:39 pm)

    “And to clarify that last point in case anyone misreads … Freedom Church is selling this site outright, and will not be involved with the school. The sale is not yet closed, according to county records. – TR”

    I made no connection between Freedom Church and any charter school, so not sure why this clarification was needed.

    And while charter schools cannot be religion-based (at least not in theory) they can be religion-laced. With all the money being drained from the public school system, who will monitor this activity?

  • Lynn May 26, 2015 (4:43 pm)

    Tax dollars are not paying for Center School students to take classes from uncertified instructors. Those classes are also outside of school hours – they’re still receiving instruction from certified teachers for their 180 school days.

  • zark00 May 26, 2015 (5:09 pm)

    Oppose charter schools whenever possible – they destroy public education. Education should NEVER be For Profit.

  • G May 26, 2015 (6:11 pm)

    I’d be willing to bet that most of the antipathy to charter schools is not about whether they can teach calculus or not. Just a wild guess.

  • Rusty May 26, 2015 (7:48 pm)

    Unfortunately, I am not surprised by all the NIMBY’s and charter school opponents. I am curious why so many people fear giving a failing district competition? If it’s not a good school, they won’t get students to go there. No skin off your backs. If it is a good school, then they provide local kids with a better education than they’d receive going to the local SPS.
    Why is it that people get so worked up over trying things that might actually benefit our kids, and force SPS to be more responsive, lean, and effective? Instead, people seem to think that just giving SPS more and more money will get us a different result. Again, if the charter school is not doing a good job, they won’t be able to attract students away from SPS.
    How about we give it a chance and see if we can actually do better for our kids.

  • Voted No 1240 May 26, 2015 (8:21 pm)

    Great article about the Great Charter School rip-off. Anyone considering this school must read this article.

    The city’s first charter school is in a state of disarray and they are struggling to find funds for day to day operations. Don’t let the happy talk about charter schools fool you.

    Try waiting before enrolling your child in this school. Enrollment doesn’t come with a guarantee and it could be worse than your present situtaiton.

  • Lynn May 27, 2015 (12:08 pm)

    How much more lean can our schools be? I guess they could borrow some ideas from Summit and provide instruction from certified teachers for only 140 days a year. They could invest in Chromebooks and require “self-directed” learning for a good portion of those 140 days. Is that what we want for our kids?

    If this charter school opens in West Seattle, we’ll see Chief Sealth and Denny lose enrollment. With decreased enrollment, the schools will have to cut staff and class offerings. The students left behind will suffer from that.

  • zark00 May 27, 2015 (5:00 pm)

    Comments like Rusty’s really say it all – basically, he has no idea of the state of SPS, none whatsoever, and is encouraging everyone to experiment with your child’s education so someone doesn’t call you a NIMBY – wow – so misguided.
    How is SPS failing Rusty? Examples? Because it’s not profitable – it’s public school it’s not SUPPOSED TO BE PROFITABLE.

    NIMBY has NOTHING to do with it – man get a dictionary, or at least Google.
    SPS isn’t over funded, not even remotely close.
    Charters literally TAKE money from existing public schools – fact, period.
    To open a charter, an existing SPS school must cut funding.
    Charters under perform more often than not, and never, I repeat never outperform an existing school – it hasn’t happened yet. The closest were in DC, and it turned out they doctored their test scores.

  • Community Member May 28, 2015 (5:30 am)

    I voted against Charters. But I do believe there are advantages in having some schools around who do things differently. When they were alternative schools such as Nova or Pathfinder, there was room for some experimentation and different views, but they were still under the school board and the OSPI. I believe that charters and teachers in charters should be monitored by the state office OSPI.
    But some specifics about Summit: YES, they use online learning. Maybe they rely on it to excess. But I think the public schools should be using some of those resources. It shouldn’t be all-or-nothing.
    And Summit says that their teachers receive 40 days of professional development each year. That’s why the teachers aren’t leading the “expedition” learning.

  • anonyme May 28, 2015 (7:56 am)

    I just read the permit linked to by the editor. I misunderstood the first paragraph of this article in regard to the addition (my own fault) but wanted to clarify just in case I wasn’t the only one. The new building itself will comprise an additional 28,000 sq. ft., for a total footprint of 51,000 sq. ft. The addition alone will be larger than the existing building.

    The stats also show that 80 students will potentially be driving to school – scary in and of itself, but this is with only 65 parking slots allowed. Traffic before and after school will clearly be an issue, but there’s also lunchtime – where will students go? Will they wander the neighborhood? Drive…somewhere?

    • WSB May 28, 2015 (8:05 am)

      Do remember regarding footprint that the additions are listed as two stories – so 28,000 sf of two-story addition means 14,000 sf of ground coverage (roughly).

  • anonyme May 28, 2015 (8:26 am)

    Thanks, WSB.

    Just had another thought. Who pays for the construction? In reality, not theory…?

  • Lynn May 28, 2015 (11:14 am)

    Construction will be paid for by Pacific Charter School Development – a Los Angeles based not for profit funded by the Gates Foundation, Broad Foundation and Walton Family Foundation.

    You’re going to love your local charter school if you are a fan of Common Core Standards (brought to you by the Gates Foundation) and Walmart and if you appreciated our Broad-trained superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson.

  • anonyme May 28, 2015 (11:46 am)

    Thanks, Lynn. I get the picture.

  • Rusty May 28, 2015 (12:58 pm)

    @Zark –
    at $19,000 per student… and SPS is not meeting the needs of the community (
    If I wanted to send my daughter to SPS, she would be going to Gatewood – here’s how they’re doing:

    I’m not sure where you get your info from, but I researched all avenues before opting for private school – trust me, I went through Northshore and would not spend $20g a year on private school if I thought SPS was up to the task. Based on their own data, they are not.
    One last point – I wasn’t saying people should or shouldn’t send their kids to a charter school – merely that giving people choices for educating their kids is preferable to continually throwing money at a failing public entity – and will force them to compete, which benefits all kids. Maybe you’re confused about this being about our kids, and not us – maybe you’re just confused by blind loyalty to SPS regardless of their use of public funds, but we need to do better for our kids.
    The NIMBY comment was due to the many posts of traffic / usage, which I believe was accurate.
    Do your own homework next time k

  • anonyme May 28, 2015 (1:57 pm)

    Everything zark said I find to be factual, and I’ve done my homework. This includes the fact that you, Rusty, obviously have no idea what the acronym “NIMBY” stands for. So – maybe you should do some homework of your own, k?

  • Rusty May 28, 2015 (11:36 pm)

    anonyme –
    If local people complaining about parking, traffic, and location aren’t just possibly a tad NIMBY, then please enlighten me with the true meaning.

  • anonyme May 29, 2015 (6:32 am)

    For God’s sake Rusty, do you even know HOW to use a dictionary? Google? Or is it the definition that has you stumped?

    It’s also not NIMBYism for neighbors to show interest and express concerns over what happens in their neighborhoods, whether it be crime trends, construction, types of businesses, or traffic concerns. Being civic-minded is not a negative thing; community involvement is what keeps neighborhoods vital. Misguided name calling is not likely to deter good citizenship.

  • StringCheese May 29, 2015 (8:56 am)

    @Rusty, where are you getting this $19,000 figure from? Washington (at last available ranking) was 28th in the nation in per pupil spending at $10,600. Keep in mind that not all of that money goes with the student to the school. The last figure I saw was $7400 actually makes to the school per student. This figure changes for SpEd, ELL, etc.

  • Rusty May 29, 2015 (9:18 am)

    anonyme –
    ‘Misguided name calling’ – good one. Focus on the ‘NIMBY’ comment and insult me all you want – you’re not making a lot of sense.
    Of the top 275 salaried employees of SPS making over $104,150, only 3 are teachers.
    Yes, charter schools take money away from SPS – that’s the point, by giving other options and forcing SPS to compete for our tax dollars. Yes, charter schools are run for profit – and if they aren’t doing a good job, they will not get people to enroll and will not be successful.
    Let’s try and focus on the issue – the voters approved charter schools – if you don’t want them, try to get the law changed.
    I have no idea if this new charter school will succeed or not, be better than SPS or worse – but seeing the state of what’s available and how SPS is performing, I welcome the competition and am certainly willing to let them try.

  • Rusty May 29, 2015 (9:22 am)

    StringCheese –
    I got the figure (Total per student spending: $19,051) from here:
    I believe the $10,600 you’re quoting was for state-wide spending per student.
    The figure I gave for 272 of the top 275 salaries (over $104,100) came from total compensation in this table:

  • StringCheese May 29, 2015 (9:54 am)

    @Rusty, so I went to your link and was unable to find the source of their numbers. However, according to OSPI, the total per pupil funding for SPS, specifically, was $11,766 for the school year ending 2013.
    You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t trust unsourced data from an organization that promotes “free market” solutions to education.

  • Lynn May 29, 2015 (12:56 pm)


    Charter schools in this state are required by law to be not for profit organizations.

    Please do tell us how Seattle Public Schools are performing – particularly compared to other schools with the same resources and the same student population.

    Charter school students may very well end up producing higher test scores than our public schools – but that will be a function of the families that they attract rather than the quality of instruction.

  • Rusty May 29, 2015 (3:36 pm)

    Lynn –
    Thanks for the correction on the not-for-profit comment. I believe I already commented on SPS’ poor performance based on their own metrics.
    Here’s another issue w/our public schools as well (WEA Form 990 from 2011):
    I haven’t had time to look at the discrepancy between the $11,766 per yer per student vs. the $19,051 and see what numbers each are crunching.

    I have no problem paying taxes and supporting our public schools even though we’re not using them – I’d just like to see a lot more accountability on how they’re spending our money, and expect better results for what we are spending. I would love to be able to have my daughter go to a good public school like I did growing up here. Seeing SPS adopt common core in 2011 was sad – their ‘new math’ and ‘social justice’ curriculum seem anathema to critical thinking and problem-solving. If the new charter school is using common core, maybe that will discourage parents from enrolling their kids there.

  • Community Member May 29, 2015 (8:12 pm)

    Rusty –

    There are various Washington state laws that apply to all public schools, including charter schools. Those statutes – passed by legislators in Olympia, not by WEA or SPS – currently include the Common Core Standards.
    I can’t imagine where you are getting information about Public Schools and Charter Schools if it leaves you angry at SPS just for following the law, and endorsing Charters in the hope that they will break the law.
    There are pros and cons of CCSS, and much misinformations where Common Core gets blamed for failings that have nothing to do with the actual standards.

  • Rusty May 29, 2015 (8:43 pm)

    Community Member –
    Thanks for the that, I didn’t know it was a bill signed by Gregoire that did it – just that they were going to it. I don’t advocate for anyone to break the law. It is a good sign that both state party organizations have passed resolutions to withdraw from it.

  • Lynn May 29, 2015 (8:52 pm)


    Test scores for public schools correlate with their demographics. Well cared for, well prepared students do as well in public schools as they would anywhere. Please consider doing a bit more research before criticizing our schools. (Imagine what they could do with the smaller class sizes that would be possible if they too had $20,000 per student to spend.)

    That said, if your public option didn’t meet your needs, there’s no shame in choosing a private school. We all try to make the best choice for our children.

  • MOVE Seattle May 29, 2015 (9:14 pm)

    “Charter school students may very well end up producing higher test scores than our public schools – but that will be a function of the families that they attract rather than the quality of instruction.” That made statement by commenter Lynn.
    I have found since Kindergarten thru 5th grade now, only 1 of our public school teachers were interested to hear what I have to say about my child’s progress in school. Only 1 out 6!!! One teacher even had the nerve to inform me “Well, this is public education you know.” Shame on her! Earning $65,000 or more and slamming public schools. That is why I voted YES for Charter.

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