Just a week into the new school year, Seattle Public Schools will be making the rounds one last time to gather thoughts on what should be in BEX V, one of two renewal levies it’ll take to voters in February. Five meetings are planned around the city, including one at West Seattle High School, 6:30-8 pm next Thursday, September 13th.
Not long after that, the School Board will have to settle on the project list for the levy, which it’s been discussing at work sessions since the last round of community meetings back in April (WSB coverage here).
According to the info packet from the board’s most recent BEX V work session on August 22nd – 161 pages – the schools with the biggest potential projects under consideration (see the list starting at page 90) still include Alki Elementary (modernization/expansion, estimated at $55 million), Lafayette Elementary (replacement estimated at $71 million or a modernization/expansion that would only be $3 million less), Madison Middle School ($6 million addition), Roxhill Elementary (replace the original school at the original location for $73 million), West Seattle Elementary ($9 million addition).
A multitude of smaller West Seattle projects are under consideration too, such as a $512,000 “parent drop-off area” for Sanislo Elementary and $225,000 in “classroom sound systems” for Louisa Boren STEM K-8. And the list continues on through other specific types of repairs/rehabit – from roofs to playgrounds (the latter is a new category – it’s long been up to community groups to pursue funding, as happened most recently at local schools including Roxhill, Highland Park, and Gatewood).
After all that, the draft list of potential projects moves on to technology. Much of this list includes central/districtwide items but there’s also, for example, a $1 million line item for “Equitable Access and Distribution of Technology to High Need Elementary Schools,” with the list including four elementaries in our area: Highland Park, Sanislo, West Seattle, and Concord International. A similar item for “high-need secondary schools” would include Denny International Middle School.
Also to be discussed at next Thursday’s community meeting, the next three-year Operations Levy, which is explained here, but the BEX V project list is the big decision ahead for the School Board. Its next work session is September 26th, at which time members are expected to reach “consensus on project list for levy” and on the levy rate. So next Thursday is your last big chance to pitch for (or against) something. These levies will go to voters next February.
P.S. Community advocacy has made a difference in the past – for example, Arbor Heights – one of the major projects on the BEX IV levy (along with Genesee Hill and Fairmount Park) – wouldn’t have been rebuilt yet if not for a push to get it onto the levy and then get the construction timetable moved up.