TONIGHT: Bell times, boundaries, Hughes portable purchase and more on School Board agenda

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.

14 Replies to "TONIGHT: Bell times, boundaries, Hughes portable purchase and more on School Board agenda"

  • Lafayette mom November 4, 2015 (9:58 am)

    Elementary schools getting priority for the early start are those identified as title 1. Totally justified so as not to increase the achievement gap. How they chose the schools that got tier 3 start times (super late) appears not to have followed the same logic as Lafayette has the highest percent of free and reduced lunch than other area admiral schools at 24%. Schmitz park 9%, fairmont park 12%, Alki 20%

    This is completely bogus. Nothing gets me more fired up than NOT using data and making subjective decisions. And McClearen sates: “I appreciate your thoughtful point of view, but I’ll be voting for the proposed changes.” Goodbye Marty!

  • Jim Clark November 4, 2015 (10:22 am)

    So the school district says West Side put 1 mill + into improvements and they they need to depreciate it. My guess is that if the school district did those same improvements it would have cost them 2 to 3 mil

  • Laura November 4, 2015 (10:32 am)

    Lafayette Mom, where did you get you FRL numbers? I do not doubt them, I am looking for updated info on West Seattle schools and I cannot find anything on Fairmount and the latest numbers the district has published is from 2012-13. Thanks for your help!

  • mamabear November 4, 2015 (10:43 am)

    I’m not sure I understand the part about the option to change to a tier 2 school later this year. If it means earlier start times for Lafayette, I would be into it. It’s sad when it feels like them proposing a 5 minute change is like getting a treat.

  • Schmitz Park mom November 4, 2015 (10:47 am)

    Lafayette mom–I totally agree that Lafayette has gotten a bad deal on the bell time issue. Here is some other data that also doesn’t get taken into account when SPS makes decisions:

    Schmitz Park has 20 portables, 643 students, and one bathroom per gender. SPS gives Schmitz Park no remediation for the nasty bathrooms that smell and have insufficient supplies by the end of the day. No remediation for the fact that our kids get less instructional time dealing with the chaos of shepherding 643 students around a facility designed for 275 kids. My kindergartener has to eat lunch at 11, when she isn’t hungry, because Schmitz Park has to have so many lunch periods to get all of these kids fed.

    We have to pay kindergarten tuition, one of the few schools in the city where this is required. Where does that money go? Not to remediation!

    Schmitz Park has an Access program for kids with autism. Five of those kids are in 1st grade. There are four first grade classes: 3 classes of 29 kids and 1 class of 28 kids. SPS gives no consideration whatsoever to the fact that we have special needs kids in those classrooms. We have autistic kids in classrooms packed so tight we had to take out bookshelves to make room for them. But, that data doesn’t show up on the District’s spreadsheets.

    SPS is a mess. I stand with Lafayette on the belltime issue. I want you to stand with Schmitz Park on our issues, too. And, I want us to all stand together on behalf of Title I schools, and every other school in this district. The only way we fix this by all of us standing together.

  • FireNyland November 4, 2015 (12:46 pm)

    5 minutes wow thanks sps that really does nothing for working families who are at these tier 3 schools. How can this be approved? I also am not buying that BS research either. There are so many variables in that flawed study that are not accounted for. No tier 3 bell times it’s unfair to working families but this district doesn’t really care about them based on the canned responses from board members I have received.

  • waitasec November 4, 2015 (1:49 pm)

    The first time I perused that research about sleep and adolescents, I did NOT see any reference to current wisdom of science on the known sleep inhibiting effects of the blue-screen light which most computer monitors emit.

    Has the legitimate scientific research on blue-light and the correlation to disrupted sleep patterns been considered by the proponents of this start time change? If that specific current and updated research HAS been included in their analysis, then nevermind. I’ll shut up.

    BUT, if not…

    what kind of critical thinking are the collective adults modeling for children here? There is absolutely no gain to change hours to later starts IF THE COMPUTER LIGHT MITIGATION IS NOT INCLUDED.

    Do you understand this? Kids are habituated to the light emissions but it is disrupting their sleep/brain waves. Research THOROUGHLY. Or go HOME.

  • Bonnie November 4, 2015 (2:07 pm)

    6 more years. 6 more years. 6 more years. OMG it seems so long to have to put up with this crap. 6 more years.

  • Lynn November 4, 2015 (2:10 pm)


    Here’s a link to 2014-14 data for Lafayette.

  • Lafayette Dad November 4, 2015 (5:46 pm)

    Wow, thanks for that extra 5 minutes SPS! What a bunch of complete morons. Lafayette already has extremely late start times compared to all the other WS elementary schools. The School Board completely ignored all of the difficulties that the late start times have on parents and students and gave Lafayette a start time inconsistent with other schools for no real reason. All I can say is “Goodbye Marty! Don’t let the door smack you on the way out!”

  • Jbug November 4, 2015 (9:21 pm)

    My kid attended Westside in that building. The portables at EC Hughes put in by Westside are deluxe, double-size, accessible, with plumbing and landscaping. The parking lot and fence were also repaired. Playground climbing and play equipment, hoops, 4-square is all there. Plus a beautiful library space. SPS is getting a much improved school space back.

  • AmandaKH November 4, 2015 (10:55 pm)

    Nice portables are not a conciliation prize for moving into a 90 year old building. How’s the new Westside building compared to the EC Hughes one? No offense to you Jbug.

  • Gina November 5, 2015 (8:48 am)

    Isn’t the start time at Lafayette the same as it is currently?

    • WSB November 5, 2015 (9:29 am)

      It would have been 10 minutes later under the original “final proposal” and now if the final *amended* proposal goes through, it would be 5 minutes later. 9:30, vs. 9:40 and then 9:35. Those voicing concerns say it’s ridiculous for any elementary school to be starting that late.

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