(Posted by a former Seattle parent)
On May 5, I became part of the reason for school closures. That was the day we moved out of Seattle. When people talk about the hidden cost of families leaving the city, it often sounds like a theoretical threat. I am proof that it isn’t.
My husband and I loved living in the city. I liked seeing the mountain while I took the bus to work; he liked walking with my daughter to the grocery store. We loved our Greenwood brick tudor so much that we arranged financing to build a room for our infant son.
Like many parents with children about to enter school, I began touring schools early and read every article I could find about the school district’s plans for the future. I was dismayed by what I saw. The Seattle School District didn’t just not work to keep us, they actively pushed us away.
Of the five schools we toured, not one had a principal who had been there more than two years. We had no idea which schools to apply for because we didn’t know which would be open or what their mandate would be. We had no idea whether we would even be given a choice when our son was ready. And, we had no idea what the vision was for providing an education to our children.
So, rather than expand our home, we moved. We would have been a great family for the school district; I have two bright kids with no apparent special needs, we donate money and time, and, most importantly, we strongly believe in public education and neighborhood schools.
I asked Beth if I could post because I think it is important for my story to be heard. I am not pointing fingers. I don’t pretend that I know the answers to the very difficult problems the school district faces. What I do know is that part of the district’s budget trouble is due to families like mine choosing not to send our kids to its schools. The solutions being offered now are going to exacerbate the problem by forcing more families into the suburbs or private schools.