Though the election results will soon change the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors to a new-member-majority board, the current board has some big decisions to make tonight, including two issues that have been hot topics here – bell times (schedules) and boundaries – plus a few others of special interest. Here’s the agenda, and here’s where things stand:
BELL TIMES: These district-wide changes were born from advocacy for starting middle and high schools later, after years of research showing tweens and teens do much better if they’re not in school so early. The final schedule proposals, school by school, were in our coverage here. Then, as we reported after the subsequent board meeting, concerns over “Tier 3” schools starting at 9:40 am – in West Seattle, those would be Louisa Boren K-8 STEM and Lafayette Elementary – led to a question of whether that time could at least be moved back. In the final version of the plan, scheduled for a vote after 6 pm at tonight’s meeting, two things have changed:
*Tier 3 is scheduled to shift back five minutes from the final proposal, to 9:35 am starts
*The superintendent is authorized to look at whether Tier 3 schools that don’t want to be so late might be able to move into Tier 2 later this school year, voluntarily
BOUNDARY CHANGES: After a series of meetings looking at other changes to the boundaries the board approved in 2013 to take effect next school year, you’ll recall, the district revealed that it’s expecting to move the Roxhill Elementary program to now-empty EC Hughes after remodeling and expansion – likely in 2018 – so an area that was supposed to move from West Seattle Elementary to Arbor Heights next year is instead now planned to be moved into the Roxhill zone next year. The district belatedly added an October 19th meeting to explain this; concerns voiced there included potential effects of WSE losing more students (another section of its area already was scheduled to be moved as of next year). Details and maps for tonight’s scheduled vote are here.
SPEAKING OF HUGHES – PORTABLE PURCHASE: Also on tonight’s agenda, the district is proposing to pay the Hughes building’s former tenant, Westside School (WSB sponsor), $525,000 for improvements it made to the site – primarily the four portables that contain nine classrooms, which the district says must be kept so that Hughes could hold up to 550 students when reopened, but also other items including playground equipment. The agenda document says Westside invested $1.1 million in the improvements but with depreciation they’re worth less than half that.
WHAT’S NOT LIKELY TO HAPPEN TONIGHT: When the mentioned-earlier boundary changes were discussed at the EC Hughes building two weeks ago (WSB coverage here), the district rep also mentioned a big proposed change in the works regarding the district’s Student Assignment Plan – no more post-summer waitlists for students whose families hoped to get them into something other than their neighborhood school. That, and a change in tiebreakers, hadn’t gotten much daylight. The updated agenda says Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland is asking to delay the vote on that and other changes – detailed here – two weeks, to the November 18th meeting.
The board meeting at SPS HQ in SODO (3rd and Lander) starts at 4:15 pm; public comment starts at 5 pm (the speaker list and waitlist are already finalized, per district policy); action items start at 6 pm.