West Seattle, Washington
What we heard from Seattle Public Schools administration at the end of the school board’s Denny-Sealth shared-campus project work session tonight boiled down to something a lot like what we heard at a meeting about it that we covered here in West Seattle last summer — Yes, we know, we didn’t get a whole lot of public input before roaring forward with this plan, but really, we’re in it too deep now to pull back, though we’ll get you a little more information on what it would cost to change course, if you really, really want it. The majority of the board members, of course, have been elected since the project was approved last year — 4 of the 7 school board members are brand new — and even though board president Cheryl Chow warned them not to get bowled over by the “freshman rush” of project opponents hitting them up, they asked for a chance to reconsider anyway.Read More
First top line from the school board’s just-concluded work session – maybe the Chief Sealth HS community’s concerns about the consolidation project would be alleviated if the district added at least $5 million to the Sealth renovations, for items such as a new roof and a new gym floor? District administration wants to focus on either that option or the current plan; the newer school board members want some more financial facts on the “rebuild Denny at Denny” third option too, before discarding it entirely. More details shortly; the work session wrapped up at 5:41, and the board is now about to launch into its regular session.
Much going on this week – all listed on the WSB Events page – but here’s a small sampling we want to highlight:
TODAY/TONIGHT — Back-to-school day for everyone who wasn’t already back by the end of last week. School open house/tour season is revving up too, with Seattle Lutheran High School having one @ 6:30 tonight (more open houses & tours on the aforementioned Events page, including the West Seattle-wide Middle School Information Night on Thursday, and please send us your open house/tour schedule if it’s not there already).
TOMORROW — Next meeting of Junction Neighborhood Organization (JuNO), 6:30 pm at Ginomai (SW corner 42nd/Genesee), with topics including RapidRide and Adopt-A-Street. Read more on the new JuNO site. (Are you connected to your neighborhood organization? We’ve got a list on the right sidebar of this page.)
WEDNESDAY — Biggest event today involves the rest of the city as well: The Seattle Police Department will begin implementing geographic changes as laid out in the new Neighborhood Policing Plan. You can read it here; we are working on a standalone report about this, but among other things, it means the Southwest Precinct here in West Seattle no longer will handle Georgetown; its remaining turf remains split into two “sectors” but the layout of “beats” within those sectors will change (see page 15-16). Also Wednesday — At 4 pm, before their regular semiweekly meeting, Seattle School Board members hold a “work session” for updates on the controversial Chief Sealth High School/Denny Middle School shared-campus plan. (Recent WSB coverage: 12/19 school board meeting; 12/12 Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting.) Then at 7:30 pm, people interested in the environmental permits required for the Nucor steel mill’s crane-expansion project are invited to a public hearing at Alki Community Center.
THURSDAY — The Southwest Design Review Board is back in action, this time looking at the mixed-use “Spring Hill” project south of The Junction. (Latest WSB reports on that project: Neighbor concern here; meeting announcement here.)
Again, those are just a few of this week’s events – listed here along with dozens of other West Seattle events planned all the way through October at this point — if yours isn’t there, e-mail us (or go here for our postal-mail address if you prefer to send announcements that way).
COYOTE REPORT: Just in from Katherine – “WOW! Heard maybe 3 coyotes howling and crying early this morning from Pelly Place Natural Area, which is near Lowman Beach Park.” (ADDED 10:30 PM, Alex reports a coyote trying to cross California SW tonight near SW Willow; traffic spooked it, he said, and it retreated back westbound onto Willow.)
TREE TAKEDOWN: No doubt this will be a big weekend for taking down the Christmas tree. In addition to the tree-recycling/disposal info we featured in this post-Christmas report, we also have more details about a youth group’s treecycling fundraiser on Saturday: Local Rainbow Girls are taking trees 10 am-2 pm tomorrow at the Alki Masonic Hall (4736 40th; map here) for a $5 donation; the trees will be mulched.
SCHOOL-TOUR TIME: Some West Seattle private schools are already back in post-winter-break session; public schools return Monday. At both private and public schools, tour and open-house time is kicking into high gear, because it’s application season for the ’08-’09 school year (already!). We are adding tour and open-house info to the WSB Events page as fast as we find/receive it; please let us know what’s up at your school. More to come on school-decision season – including a spotlight on some multischool events including the West Seattle Middle School Information Night (with reps from private and public middle schools around WS) at Gatewood Elementary next Thursday.
While we were at the Seattle Police Southwest Precinct this week meeting with Lt. Steve Paulsen, he showed us this photo and we asked for a copy to share with you. It’s from Arbor Heights, during one of the many school-zone safety patrols that SW Precinct officers routinely handle; the trunk-mounted display is another variant on those unmanned mobile signs you see from time to time (like the longrunning one on Fauntleroy by Lincoln Park). After “early dismissal” today, school is out for the next two weeks, so you won’t see a scene like this, but many school zones are in residential areas where you’re going to want to keep the pedal a little lighter on the metal anyway.
The main questions left for us after the Denny/Sealth discussion at last night’s Seattle School Board meeting (which we covered with in-progress reports here and here) were, what now, and when? We got some new info today from West Seattle’s school-board rep Steve Sundquist. But first – we wanted to let you know, if you want to watch the meeting, particularly the testimony on this project during the public-comment period near the start, the video is now available online at the Seattle Channel site. (Regardless of where you stand on the project, you have to agree it’s particularly heartening to see students show up and speak to the board.) Back to “what’s next” — Sundquist says the Denny/Sealth “work session” at 4 pm January 9th will be open to the public; he tells WSB its format and participants are not all set yet, but he’s expecting there to be “some element of presentation” as part of it. He thinks it’ll last an hour to an hour and a half, since it’s before the board’s regular meeting at 6 pm that same night. As for any sort of a deadline to decide whether the Denny/Sealth project will proceed, change, or be scrapped altogether, Sundquist acknowledges that West Seattle families’ enrollment decisions make this time-sensitive as well as the oft-cited construction-cost factor, so he hopes it will be settled “within the first couple months of the year.”
Meeting’s in a 10-minute break right now. Since the previously mentioned public comment against the project (no one spoke in favor):
-District superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson and West Seattle school-board rep Steve Sundquist both reiterated (as he had told us would happen) that the scheduled votes later tonight would not commit the board to the Denny/Sealth project as it now stands. It also was announced that the board DOES have the authority — last week, Sundquist said they were awaiting a legal answer on this — to “modify the project if we see the need.”
-Board president Cheryl Chow asked members to clear time on their calendar the afternoon of January 9, before the next board meeting, for a work session on the Denny/Sealth project.
–Susan Harmon from the Westwood Neighborhood Council, speaking during the public-comment period, asked the board to delay Denny-Sealth votes until after a meeting WNC is working to organize for late January or early February to examine both the potential impacts of the shared high school/middle school campus concept, and the future of the current Denny land if the project proceeds as currently planned.
More details as they happen, plus a full all-in-one wrapup
by night’s end in the morning (we have a followup question out). 8:46 PM UPDATE: The meeting is adjourned. The matching-funds item involving the Denny-Sealth project passed unanimously, after yet another reiteration that it does not commit the board to the project as it now stands. One other note of interest, Sundquist will chair the board’s Finance Committee next year.
You can watch it right now on channel 26 – public comment at the start of the school board meeting, and several people (including two students and two teachers) have spoken against the Denny/Sealth consolidation project. (It’s open public comment, for those who signed up ahead of time, so other topics are being discussed too; as mentioned last night, there’s a Denny/Sealth-related item later on the agenda.) More to come.
Thanks to Susan in Westwood for pointing out that tomorrow night’s Seattle School Board agenda includes an item regarding the controversial Denny-Sealth combined-campus proposal, updated and discussed at a Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting last week (our detailed report here). The item is explained on the agenda as, “Approval of this item will certify that the existing space to be replaced through new construction in lieu of modernization at Denny Middle School/Chief Sealth High School will not be used in the future for District instructional purposes or be eligible for future state financial assistance.” If you read the report linked from the agenda item, it sounds like a technicality, rather than any key vote regarding the project – but just to be sure, we checked with West Seattle’s new school board rep Steve Sundquist, who was at last week’s WNC meeting. He replied:
“… my understanding is that Action Item 4 is an administrative action concerning state matching funds, and passing it does not bind the board or district into a particular outcome regarding the Sealth/Denny project. Consequently, I do not consider it a major directional vote on the project. Having said that, I have asked the district to go on record publicly to that effect before we vote in our Legislative Meeting tomorrow evening, and Superintendent Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has agreed to ensure that it happens.”
We also asked if there was an update regarding Sundquist’s statement last week that the board needed legal counsel’s opinion on whether it would be potentially empowered to change or scrap the Denny-Sealth project; he said, “I am expecting to hear that announced publicly soon, possibly as early as tomorrow evening’s meeting.” That meeting starts at 6 pm Wednesday at school district HQ, the John Stanford Center in Sodo (map linked from this page).
-If you planned to participate in the West Seattle High School Travel Club babysitter fundraiser tonight, the Travel Club needs you to know that the babysitting had to be canceled because “Ms. D” has pneumonia and the event can’t happen without a staff member present at all times. However, good news, the Night Out dining fundraiser tonight is still on – full details at the WSHS Travel Club blog.
-Yeah, so it’s a little breezy and wet out there today – some other awesome events are happening indoors throughout the morning, afternoon, and evening too, besides the dining fundraiser — from the C and P Coffee Arts/Crafts Fair under way right now, to several holiday concerts this morning/afternoon, and more – the WSB West Seattle Weekend Lineup has full details.
-Got a note from Jim Curtis, executive director of the North American Self-Defense Association. He’s not WS-based but he’s about to launch a class here and wanted to get the word out:
I am now registering students for a new Umibushi Goshin Jutsu self-defense class I’m teaching at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center … It’s every Wednesday from 4:40-5:30 PM … If people sign up this coming week then they get a free uniform … Umibushi Goshin Jutsu is a practical self-defense system combining techniques and strategy from karate, jujitsu, boxing and Marine Corps hand to hand combat. It’s easy to learn and does not require extreme flexibility. Also, I am seeking a new webmaster for the North American Self-Defense Association and would trade self-defense classes in exchange for this service.
If you want to find out more about the class, you can contact Jim directly at email@example.com.
Many people e-mailed WSB to ask what the big police presence at West Seattle High School today was all about: We just got off the phone with Lt. Steve Paulsen at the Southwest Precinct, who explained that various student conflicts during the week led to some concern about a possible “disturbance” today — so just to be on the safe side, they put on a show of preventive force — and Lt. Paulsen says it worked, with a quiet day at the school. He says there also were officers present around Chief Sealth HS as well, and there will be some continued presence at WSHS next week too, though not quite at today’s level; Lt. Paulsen also noted that today worked out as a great exercise in cooperation between the schools and the police department.
So suggested Sealth teacher Delfino Munoz toward the end of tonight’s Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting to update the project status; he was followed by West Seattle’s new school-board rep Steve Sundquist saying the board’s trying to get a legal opinion on whether they do indeed have the power to cancel the plan – if they wanted to. Bottom line, now more than ever is your time to speak out, if you have a strong opinion on the proposal either way; WNC president Steve Fischer provided lots of resources tonight on how to do that. Here’s our detailed report (updated 11:59 pm):Read More
West Seattle’s own South Seattle Community College just dedicated its expanded Automotive Collision Repair training facility – with $1.7 million in improvements, including new painting and paint-prep facilities. We weren’t able to attend the dedication but asked SSCC’s Michael May for pix and he kindly obliged. Some of the work will involve cool restored classic cars like the ones shown above; more pix ahead:Read More
DENNY-SEALTH UPDATE: It’s been a few months since the last general update on what’s going on with this fast-track Seattle Public Schools project to consolidate the neighboring middle and high schools on one campus. Tonight, the Westwood Neighborhood Council sponsors a gathering to get out the latest info. Read more here, including the meeting agenda. It all starts at 7:30 pm @ Southwest Community Center.
HIAWATHA PLAYFIELD IMPROVEMENTS: The city will present details on improvements to the field, iighting, and more that have been years in the making; read more here. This meeting happens at 6:30 tonight @ Hiawatha Community Center. (Got the reminder about this last night at the monthly meeting of the Admiral Neighborhood Association, where the main topic was the California/Hanford/Hinds upzone proposal; our full writeup on that is coming up a little later this morning.)
A few weeks after we first told you about the West Seattle High School Travel Club working to raise $ to make sure no one’s left behind when they journey to Italy & Greece next year (original report here) — there’s word of progress. First, the club reports last weekend’s rummage sale raised more than $2,000; second, your next chance to help is coming up on Saturday night, when three West Seattle restaurants will donate part of their proceeds to the Travel Club quest — Beato, Puerto Vallarta, and Kokoras Greek Grill.
Just noticed this comment from a local elementary-school principal came in Monday afternoon on this week-old post, so in case you missed it:
Is anyone interested in painting halls in a school? Arbor Heights Elementary School desperately needs a few coats of paint in the hallways. We want to color-code each hall and brighten up the interior. Call me (the principal, Carol) at 252-9250. Thanks!
Two nights till the Christmas Ship sails to West Seattle — and the good news is that the weather looks great! The Christmas Ship and its floating entourage will make three West Seattle stops on Saturday night: Seacrest 5:15 pm, Lowman Beach 8:50 pm, Alki 9:40 pm) and one on Sunday night (Don Armeni, 7:10 pm – you can find the schedule linked from our Holidays page, where we just added another nightly highlight for tonight: Pathfinder K-8 has its holiday Craft Fair & Culture Night, 6-8 pm tonight. (We love hearing about, and sharing news of, school activities – so if you’ve got one or more kids in West Seattle schools, please make sure the school office and PTSA have WSB on their mailing lists — all the info, from e-mail to postal mail to phone # to even where to find us on Facebook, is on the Contact WSB page.)
All 3 are on our frequently updated everything-West-Seattle Events page, but also worth one more big shoutout:
4-8 PM @ ARBOR HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY: Holiday bazaar! Food, music, shopping, fun; read more here.
6:30 PM @ WEST SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL: The (so far) only scheduled public meeting about the upzoning proposal for a block-plus of California Avenue between Hanford and Hinds; property owners are expected to attend to explain their intentions, as well as city reps and concerned neighbors; everyone’s welcome. (Read our previous coverage: Yesterday, Monday, Nov. 20, Nov. 13 in 2 parts here and here, original report on November 8th.)
7 PM @ HIGH POINT COMMUNITY CENTER: The second of 6 chances within 1 week for West Seattle residents to have a say in the city Parks Department’s future plans (read our complete coverage of the first meeting here).
Big response to this morning’s post about the Chief Sealth High School class offering free web design to some West Seattle nonprofits and small businesses next semester; the P-I’s Big Blog checked in with teacher Sam Reed, who told us this afternoon he’d heard from more than a dozen prospects; by tonight, it was up to 30.
The King County Elections Department has just certified final results from this month’s election; the final count in Seattle School Board District 6, which is centered on West Seattle (but is voted on citywide in the general election), was Steve Sundquist (photo left) 61.2%, Maria Ramirez 38.4%. Sundquist and other newly elected school-board members will be sworn in at school-district HQ in Sodo tomorrow night.
Do you have a West Seattle nonprofit organization or small business with no website (or not much of one)? Chief Sealth High School teacher Sam Reed, and some of his students, have an offer for you:Read More
We were lucky to grow up with some opportunities to travel, around the U.S. as well as to a few other countries. Nothing too fancy, but still — as you know if you have been able to travel — it changes your perspective on your own slice of the world, in so many ways, that carry on throughout your life and enhance your ability to “think global/act local,” among other benefits. With that preface, here’s a chance to help some West Seattle teenagers gain that perspective as they prepare for the journey into adulthood: At West Seattle High School, the Travel Club is looking for partners and supporters to help make sure everyone who wants to join a 10-day student trip to Italy and Greece next spring can go. A nicely written press release appeared in the WSB inbox – so we’re sharing that, and the information that follows it about how you can help, including fundraising events that are just a few weeks away:Read More
From West Seattle Blog contributing photographer Matt Durham, two photographs of events around WS today — first, from the Gee West Seattle (ex-Huling) auction preview (more info on the auction, which starts tomorrow and Thursday @ 10 am, in this earlier post):
Second photo is a familiar scene to West Seattle families with kids in elementary school — and for everyone else, it explains why you are seeing kids out and about earlier than usual this week — it’s “early release” time, to clear afternoon/evening blocks for parent-teacher conferences. Here, Matt photographed Kent Ferris, 4th-grade teacher from Lafayette Elementary in the Admiral District, meeting with parents:
Parent-teacher conferences (and early dismissals) continue citywide through November 20; here’s the district calendar. (Prints of Matt’s WSB photos and his other work are available through his site, MattDurhamPhotography.com.)