West Seattle High School‘s athletic director says their Friday night football game vs. Cleveland HS at Southeast Athletic Complex might have to be canceled because of the ongoing transportation problem with away games.
That’s what AD Trevor Leopold told the 20+ people at last night’s community meeting called to strategize how to get Seattle Public Schools to address the ongoing problem, which is affecting other schools too.
Patrick Sand covered the meeting for WSB:
The main concern remains that athletes now have to miss more classes because buses are usually only available much earlier than they’re really needed to get to the games, so they must leave class at 12:45 pm to catch 1 pm buses for events starting no earlier than 4 pm. But this week is different: The district’s transportation provider has no “yellow buses” available at all to get the team to the 5 pm game site in Rainier Beach.
Usually under these circumstances, any given school can contract with a private bus provider, but this Friday night, Leopold said, they’re all booked because of the University of Washington game against Stanford at Husky Stadium that night.
Leopold plans to meet today with WSHS Principal Ruth Medsker to talk about whether the game will have to be canceled.
Meantime, the rest of the meeting, called by the West Seattle Booster Club and led by Donna Veenhuizen, included an explanation that the transportation problem isn’t just because of this year’s move to a later schedule. It also affects WSHS players getting to practices, because even with Hiawatha Playfield next door, they have limited access to it. The team plays home games at Southwest Athletic Complex, which is three miles away (and across the street from our area’s other public high school, Chief Sealth International High School, for which it’s the home field too). The 1 pm pickup time is earlier than the district had announced at the end of last school year, according to Leopold, and it means WSHS athletes miss two classes and lunch. One parent pointed out that the latter is an extra hardship for those who rely on free/reduced-price lunch at school.
The issue of the Joint Use Agreement with Seattle Parks – which affects use of Hiawatha, for example – isn’t just a football issue; other teams need transportation to distant practice fields if they can’t practice there. And swimmers have to get to Southwest Pool (which is next to SW Athletic Complex).
Even if private buses are available, the cost becomes an issue, and again, that affects other schools too. So the Booster Club is contacting other schools to talk about a show of support at the next School Board meeting on October 12th, joining WSHS students, parents, faculty and staff. The board meeting is at district headquarters in SODO (3rd Ave. S./S. Lander) and advance signup is required for a public-comment slot. Signups for this meeting will start at 8 am Monday, October 10th, via e-mail and phone, as explained on this district webpage.