FOLLOWUP: Final School Board votes expected on November 4th for bell times, boundary changes, after this week’s discussion

Though we couldn’t make it to Wednesday’s Seattle Public Schools Board meeting in person, two issues of concern we’ve covered recently were on the agenda, so we’ve reviewed the archived video to see how the discussion went.

Those items and our most-recent coverage:
*“Bell-time” (school start/end) changes, revised
*Boundary changes (with an eleventh-hour change in West Seattle)

First: Both were “introduction items,” so neither was voted on – the votes are planned at the next School Board meeting, Wednesday, November 4th. But the board members’ comments during this meeting might give some hint of how the votes will go; they didn’t voice major concerns or opposition, though both were topics of public comment during that portion of the meeting (58 minutes into this clip).

BELL TIMES: Discussion began at 52 minutes into the video clip above. It was acknowledged that the “tier” times for next year will be 10 minutes later, so that’s why “Tier 3” (latest-start) schools – including Lafayette and STEM K-8 in West Seattle – will be starting at 9:40. (The new times, in addition to being featured in our previous coverage, are on the last page of the documents for this agenda item.) Board member Sue Peters said she’s a Tier 3 parent and she wondered if there might be someway to roll the times back even “five minutes or so.” It was also noted that in two years, the district is scheduled to go to a longer school day – so, might a two-tier system be possible then? Assistant superintendent for operations Pegi McEvoy said they’ll “be looking at it.”

BOUNDARIES: The discussion began just after 2 hours, 3 minutes into the video above; the agenda documents are here. Enrollment planning director Ashley Davies reminded board members that the boundary changes were originally approved in 2013 – with one exception, what’s known as “Area 53” in West Seattle is now going to move from the West Seattle Elementary zone to the Roxhill Elementary zone starting next year, instead of going to the Arbor Heights zone. She noted that fewer than 10 students currently live in that area. West Seattle/South Park’s board member Marty McLaren summarized concerns voiced at last Monday’s meeting at EC Hughes – to which Roxhill is expected to be moved once Hughes is renovated/expanded – describing it as “a strong amount of resistance,” bringing “angst” to WS Elementary in particular. Board member Peters asked about the plan for Roxhill once Hughes is reopened. That hasn’t been finalized, Davies said, but she characterized Hughes as “much larger” than Roxhill, saying that after the upgrades, it’s “going to be a much better environment for teaching and learning.” She also reiterated that Hughes isn’t expected to reopen before 2018. McLaren conveyed that some in the Roxhill community would rather see their school renovated so, she said, “just be aware it’s a continuing point of interest.”

SOMETHING TO SAY? The school board’s feedback address is

8 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Final School Board votes expected on November 4th for bell times, boundary changes, after this week's discussion"

  • Zark00 October 23, 2015 (4:27 pm)

    McLaren is dismissive. It’s not angst, its a well founded concern voiced by the community you’re supposed to support.

  • Lafayette Parent October 24, 2015 (12:34 am)

    Proposed start time for Lafayette: 9:40am. Proposed start time for every other elementary school in the WS area: 8:00am. WTF. Tell me how that makes sense. The current start times are already pretty late and the new times will ensure that we will have to get before school care next year. Arrghh!

  • Deborah October 24, 2015 (7:15 am)

    Proposed start time for Lafayette: 9:40am. Proposed start time for every other elementary school in the WS area: 8:00am.

    !!!! We cannot let this happen to our students at Lafayette!!!!

    Please email your concern every day every hour to :

    Larry Nyland: (SPS Superintendent)
    Pegi McEvoy: (Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Bell Times Task Force Chair)
    Sam Markert: (Lead, Bell Times Task Force)
    Marty McLaren: (West Seattle School Board Representative)
    Israel Vela: (Director of Education for Lafayette)
    Arrival Times Task Force:
    School Board:

    This is a very very long day for our students who attend before care, and an insane day for those that also attend aftercare. Not to mention the costs of that care, think of what $5000/yr diverted to a college fund could do! (or just a roof over said students head!)

    Lafayette will lose students because of this, please email the above and at least share your concern.

  • SPSboardsucks October 24, 2015 (8:34 am)

    This 9:40 am start time is a joke voting all of these people out of jobs would be a good start Marty is gone after this election hopefully. 5 minutes does nothing it should be 8:50 start times that were recommended.So tired of vocal minority’s getting what they want the sleep issue is so bogus and is lame excuse for changing bell times.

  • Scott October 24, 2015 (9:17 am)

    The Seattle School board is a joke and I agree they all need to be voted out.

  • Deborah October 26, 2015 (6:33 pm)

    Please Please if anyone reads this, copy and paste this and send it to the board:
    Please DO NOT pass this on November 4th!
    Lafayette’s PTA Bell Time survey results:
    Are you in favor of retaining the late start times for Lafayette?
    Yes: 22% No: 73.2% Dont Care: 4.5%
    Does a late start time NEGATIVELY affect your family’s schedule?
    Yes: 69.2% No: 30.4%
    Do you currently PAY for before and/or after school care?
    Yes: 56.5% No: 43.1%

    This will negatively impact Lafayette!! We will lose students to other schools.
    · Lafayette is the only K-5 school in the West Seattle area (out of 11 K-5 schools) being asked to keep a late start time.
    · Lafayette would be the only K-5 school in West Seattle that wouldn’t follow the Bell Time Task Force’s recommendation to provide “excellence in education”.
    · The Task Force identified students who take part in the “Free and Reduced Lunch” program as the most at risk for a Late Bell or Late Start. Lafayette has the highest number of students in the “Free and Reduced Lunch” program in the North end of West Seattle. Here are the percentages of Free and Reduced Lunch students in this area: Schmitz Park: 8%, Fairmont Park < 10%, Alki: 18-22%, Lafayette: 25%.
    · Lafayette has the highest percentage of students that SPS is concerned would be hurt with a late bell (Tier 3) start time but it is the only school in West Seattle with a late bell time.
    · For the past six years, Lafayette has had a “late start” or “late bell” time. Discussions between the Lafayette PTA and the Seattle School District resulted in a promise that the elementary schools in the North end of West Seattle would share the late start burden – which was never considered optimal. This rotation has never occurred.
    · The expense of bussing students during a reasonable time is smaller than the cost of before-school care for our students.
    · With late bell times, a family with two children can expect to pay around $5,000/year for before-school care. This is a burden that would not be shared with other K-5 schools in West Seattle.
    · Community based before and after school programs will have to adjust to earlier school hours in West Seattle, and Lafayette’s students will be left out. Think of all the soccer, ballet, etc. that will start at 2:30 PM for everyone but Lafayette’s students won’t be out until almost 4 PM. Any current morning programs will likely shut down, again leaving Lafayette students without options.

  • working parent October 29, 2015 (1:04 pm)

    I don’t think some of those last talking points are entirely accurate. Many (most?) working parents start their work day at 8 AM. Even if school starts at 8 AM, they will still need to use before school care. I highly doubt that Hiawatha would stop providing morning care for Lafayette students. Lots of kids get there by 7 AM so that their parents have time to commute to work. Have you seen the West Seattle bridge in the morning???

    And often those same kids (possibly more if the bell times are moved up) need after-school care, which would still make for the same long day they already have. AND they all miss out on the after school activities like ballet and soccer regardless if their parents can’t get them there. Hiawatha will not transport them to these activities — not even the enrichment activities that go on at Lafayette after school.

    PTA – get it right. Either you are considerate of working parents or you’re not. Please do not twist the situation to suit your needs.

  • HighSchoolNapper October 29, 2015 (10:41 pm)

    Change is always hard. If you read the studies they are very clear and are not ‘bogus’. When you all have high schoolers you will understand why this must be done. Tier 3s are getting the short end of the stick but adjustments will be made and we will be on to the next self-centered drama in no time. I hope all of you joyously vote YES on the levies and voice your concerns to the state legislators so they fund education properly so this bus situation – which is causing the 3rd tier – can have any chance of going away in the future. SPS is doing the best they can in this bell times decision.

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