TOMORROW: School board talks Arbor Heights, Denny solar; $419 paddle-cam tickets; ‘capacity’…

Seattle Public Schools classes may be over for the year, but the School Board still has work to do, and its agenda for tomorrow (Wednesday, June 28th), starting at 4:15 pm at district HQ (3rd/Lander in SODO) has these items of interest:

SOLAR POWER FOR ARBOR HEIGHTS, DENNY: When the new Arbor Heights Elementary was designed, there was a mention that it would be solar-ready for the future. According to an item on Wednesday’s board agenda, the future is approaching – AH and Denny International Middle School are two of six schools around the district planned for a pilot project. The documentation says AH is proposed for “1 ballasted rooftop array consisting of a total of 412 modules of 72 cell monocrystalline, 345W format” and Denny for “3 roof-penetrating rail-mounted rooftop arrays consisting of a total of 408 modules of 72 cell monocrystalline, 345W format.” The project has a price tag of more than $2 million but the district is getting a grant covering half a million, and says the sites were chosen for energy savings that will provide a “positive cash flow.” You can read the documentation here.

SCHOOL-BUS PADDLE-CAM TICKETS: The district’s been working on this for a while and now is looking at going full-speed-ahead with cameras on school-bus paddles, to detect violations and send tickets. One of those tickets will cost you $419. Of that amount, the agenda document says, $69 will go to the provider American Traffic Solutions. They’re expecting more than 9,100 violations a year, to be processed by the King County Sheriff’s Office (which also will get a share of the proceeds). Total expenses are projected to be more than half the expected revenue, so the district expects to net about $1.3 million a year.

CAPACITY: The board meeting will start with a “work session” at 4:15 pm, and part of it addresses the topic of “capacity.” No documentation in the agenda yet, but “capacity” is the umbrella topic that includes the possible move of Louisa Boren STEM K-8, so we’ll be monitoring.

13 Replies to "TOMORROW: School board talks Arbor Heights, Denny solar; $419 paddle-cam tickets; 'capacity'..."

  • Space Dust June 27, 2017 (6:48 pm)

    Might help if they educated the drivers on who has to stop for the school paddle. 

  • Admiral Mom June 27, 2017 (6:55 pm)

    The education is simple: EVERYONE 

  • Silverback June 27, 2017 (6:56 pm)

    So this really is not about safety, they are only doing the cameras because they get a slice of the revenue?  Why does a school district get access to funds from a ticket?  I am sure it will take a whole bunch of “Directors” at $150 K a year to manage the operation. 

  • Mike June 27, 2017 (10:29 pm)

    I like the  paddle-cams.  Great idea.  And, the extra bucks will be handy.  If the cams are effective, and these Yahoo!’s that ignore the flashing lites finally get the message, the revenue will drop and be a non-issue.  

  • AmandaK June 27, 2017 (10:59 pm)

    Wow, solar panels for a brand new school when you have at least two West Seattle schools begging the community for money for safe playgrounds.  Awesome.  

  • JRR June 28, 2017 (8:14 am)

    I mean, I get that this is a grant for a specific thing… but does SPS not even think about how these things are perceived by communities? Roxhill is moving into a renovated school (EC Hughes) with a smaller cafeteria and will still rely on portables at the new site, meanwhile, down the street, the school with higher incomes is brand new, with bells and whistles. 

    Maybe that’s the point. Maybe the egregious disparity is being laid before our eyes so we’re mad enough to take action. I know I am. Let’s build a playground for Roxhill that rules all the others.

  • Don Brubeck June 28, 2017 (10:28 am)

    AmandaK and JRR:  ” the sites were chosen for energy savings that will provide a “positive cash flow.” ” The money the solar PV power production saves can be put to use by the District for other purposes at other schools. The District has already invested money to make the new schools solar ready (roof structure, electrical conduit pathways to electrical rooms with switchgear and extra space for the inverters).  It would not be smart to waste that investment to do this work at older schools. Older buildings would need more work and disruption to install the systems, at higher cost. The solar energy and cost savings will benefit everyone, not just the parents of children at Denny or Arbor Heights. 

    • AmandaK June 28, 2017 (12:17 pm)

      Don, while I often appreciate your pragmatic approach, SPS has one too many times played the shell game.  

      For example, in the last BEX levy, Arbor Heights was rebuilt.  Over at Roxhill, which was literally .1 points “better” than AH on their scale, we were told we would get a new school in the “next round of BEX”.  Well, instead of that, they used the BTA levy to “refurbish” EC Hughes, which due to Historical Protection status in the cafeteria / auditorium, cannot be expanded or improved upon.  Hence, the tiny cafeteria is supposed to serve all the students – which can go from the current enrollment of 320 to 550.  Not to mention it sitting outside of the Roxhill boundary (they redrew it when I pointed that out) and all the way across the boundary into a new community. Not to mention the HORRIFIC “playground”, and loss of the natural area of Roxhill Bog where they kids had hands on science field work.   And guess who gets new schools in the next round of BEX?  Not Roxhill.

      They think because  we are poor, we should just “deal with it”.  Well you know what, I’m done with the inequities that SPS has heaped upon our Community over here on the other side of 35th.  And you know what, you should be too.  West Seattle deserves better.

      So sure, they built the infrastructure for solar, great.  Put the cost into the next BEX levy and let us vote on that.  Use the $1.5m to improve the playgrounds at the schools who are begging their community to help.   Starting with Roxhill and Highland Park’s playgrounds.

  • Jort Sandwich June 28, 2017 (11:28 am)

    Everybody thinks that a “lack of enforcement” is the reason why our streets are unsafe.

    Well, here we are, with automated, automatic enforcement of a critical law that helps keep our children alive and uninjured. And yet still, complaints: that it’s a “revenue generator.”

    People like to blame a “lack of enforcement” because they know that the odds of breaking the law and getting away with it will always be in the scofflaw’s favor, and it allows them to blame law enforcement for unsafe streets.

    The reality is that everybody should be ticketed automatically and immediately for any road safety violation of any kind, and I’m glad to see we’re taking steps toward that with automated bus paddle ticketing.

    By the way, there’s a very simple way to avoid having this enforcement bother you: don’t break the law.

    • KM June 28, 2017 (11:44 am)


  • Automatic Enforcement? June 28, 2017 (4:37 pm)


  • JRR June 28, 2017 (5:18 pm)

    If we’re talking readiness, they’re redoing all systems in EC Hughes and could have just as easily run conduit to that roof, too.

    This is the same thing as has always happened, only now it’s couched in environmentalism.

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