WEEK AHEAD: School-closure proposal expected Wednesday

Looking at the week ahead, one of the biggest stories is expected to result from Wednesday’s Seattle Public Schools Board meeting – SPS superintendent Dr. Brent Jones is supposed to finally unveil his proposal to close elementary schools. Community meetings in the past month – including this one we covered in West Seattle – were intended to explain why district administrators feel that’s the only way to close a big part of the budget gap for the 2025-2026 school year and beyond. So far, the early version of the agenda gives no hint as to what exactly the superintendent will propose; it simply lists “Well-Resourced Schools Update” in the first hour, sometime between the 4:15 pm start of the meeting and the expected 5 pm start of public comment. (If you haven’t been following this, “a system of well-resourced schools” is what the district says it will have if it closes some elementaries – although K-8s are “on the table” too, reinforced by this FAQ.) Speaking of which – if you want to sign up to comment on the expected plan or anything else, signups start tomorrow morning at 8 am; the agenda explains how. The meeting will be held at district HQ in SODO (3rd/Lander) and shown live on SPS TV, via YouTube and cable.

3 Replies to "WEEK AHEAD: School-closure proposal expected Wednesday"

  • Melissa Westbrook June 25, 2024 (9:26 am)

    First, it’s not going to balance any budget. If it did by half, maybe I’d be persuaded. Second,
    the amount of work – planning, transportation changes, boundary
    changes, etc – is really going to be overwhelming. That’s a direct cost
    to the district. I think if the district does close schools, they need
    to account for every single penny of doing so. Third, the amount
    of stress – administrators, teachers, parents, kids, district staff – is
    going to be very high and take a toll especially coming after COVID
    lockdown issues. That’s a lot of stress for kids to take on.However,
    the reality is there are some very small schools in old buildings.
    That, for me, should be the two criteria. That SPS has helped some
    schools shrink is moot at this point. But that’s not 20 schools. Problem
    is, that even if you closed 10, they would not be evenly spread out the
    district and there would be cries of unfairness if one region took it
    on the chin more than another. Plus, the district already
    signaled their hand years ago by creating these capital projects at
    Montlake, John Rogers, Viewlands and Alki Elementary. Mega elementaries
    are being created and there’s no way the district is going back on that.
    But still, that would just be four schools to close. Maybe the district should consider a go-slow approach, given all the work and heartache closing schools entails.

  • Kristin June 25, 2024 (10:32 am)

    SPS just sent an email about the board meeting: While the rescheduled meeting will occur on June 26, this Regular School Board Meeting will not include a proposed “school closure list.”

    • WSB June 25, 2024 (10:43 am)

      Thanks, I was just looking for an update.

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