Monday, January 22, 2007

School Closures in Shoreline

Our neighboring district to the north, Shoreline, is in the middle of their own school closure and consolidation process. The current proposal is to close two schools: Sunset Elementary (west of I-5) and North City (east of I-5), cut seventh period from middle school, and move two programs to other sites.

Now, the latest news is that the proposed cuts are insufficient and further cuts need to be made or the state may have to take over the district. (See The Enterprise Newspapers article "School Budget Hole is Bigger")

I've been following the closure process with interest to see how Shoreline approached the challenge differently from Seattle, and what the result was in terms of community reaction to the proposal.

One of the affected schools, Sunset Elementary, has organized to protest the closure plan. They have created a web site (www.saveshorelineschools.com) which, at first glance seems to be against the closure proposal in general, but on further reading is really just a defense of their school with no information on why North City shouldn't be closed and no apparent involvement or collaboration with that school.

I don't begrudge the Sunset Elementary community's attempt to keep their school from closing, but they should be clear about what they are doing and either call the effort "Save Sunset Elementary" or work with parents at North City to involve them and get their story out as well. Read The Enterprise Newspapers' Parents organize to save schools to learn more about the two affected schools and how they are responding.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I attended the school board meeting in Shoreline on Monday. There were the typical board presentations, followed by parent comments. The comments generally fell into these categories:
-Pointing out how the recommendation process was flawed.
-Questioning whether the school board had looked at every funding alternative and tried to cut the budget?
-North City or Sunset parents stating that their school is too special to close.

I think some of these parents, especially parents from Sunset may want to re-evaluate their tactics. At this point, they are alienating the parents from other schools because they seem to be saying “look at other schools to close.” This doesn’t really make me want to join there fight. In addition, there is a good chance that their school will close and they will be on the PTA with some of these other parents next year.

While I know that school closures are almost necessarily emotional, I truly hope that the school closure process in Shoreline does not become as divisive as it did in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Here's another perspective, questioning some of the messages being used...

http://mattonmarketing.blogspot.com/2007/02/ethical-storytelling-case-study.html

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the interest in what is going on in the Shoreline School District. The more information that is shared can inform our efforts to stop school closures. I am a parent of a North City student, with another child starting Kindergarten next year. A group of parents and community members have created a group called NC-CAN (North City Community Action Network). The group is committed to finding alternative solutions to the current budget crises and sustainable solutions for the future that do not include school closures. We are questioning the tactics of the school district in this process as a way to stop their railroading action toward school closures. One piece of what we are trying to protect is our small (300-400 students) neighborhood schools. There is now a compelling body of research showing that, on a wide range of measures, when students are part of smaller, more intimate learning communities, they are more successful.
For more info check out the website at www.northcitychat.com.

Anonymous said...

I am a fifth grade student who attended North City Elementary from grades 2 through 4. I think that the idea of giving students laptops is silly. I would rather have North City be up and running than be given any old laptop. We had a perfectly good computer lab where we could go and get technological help when we needed it. I have heard that certain High school teachers didn't utilize the computers. If you don't use it then why do you need it? I wish that I could be in Shoreline to speak with the Board but I cannot as I have moved overseas.

-UNHAPPY FORMER STUDENT