From New School parent, Ben Wilson, comes the counter-argument to Pat Murakami's posting on BEX III opposition.
- The New School is currently in the South Shore building, which is being held up by braces, leaks whenever it rains, and has a heating/ventilation system that constantly fails. The district facilities people say they cannot keep the building safe/habitable for much longer.
- The building's construction quality is so low and its architecture is so distant from current educational standards that renovating it is not considered an option. Scenarios for renovation were prepared by architects, but they result in a school facility that is not desirable.
- The community in Rainier Beach is anxious to have a K-8 option. This comes up at all neighborhood meetings about schools in that region. The building as designed could hold either a K-8 or a middle school in the future.
- The New School is not an alternative school. It is a neighborhood school. The majority of students come from a one-mile radius of the school. Community events are co-sponsored and hosted by the school, and parents are active Rainier Beach community leaders. The student population is 47% black, 15% white, 29% Asian, 9% Latino - wonderful diversity.
- There are no empty buildings in SE Seattle at this time. Rainier View is scheduled to be empty after this year, but that building is also crumbling and would therefore require a capital investment similar to that planned for the South Shore site in order to be useable. That building is also too small even for the PK-5 program, and certainly could not be a PK-8.
- The New School is achieving outcomes for its students that are comparable to schools in central (McGilvra, Montlake, TOPS) and the north-end of the city that have much lower rates of poverty and english-language learners. For example, 96-97% of first and second graders are reading at grade level.
Shouldn't we invest to preserve a great educational option in SE Seattle?