School closures are on a fast track. The Superintendent will make specific recommendations to the Board in about two weeks. Two months after that it will be all decided. So what makes sense to you?
Here's what makes sense to me: Close schools where we have excess capacity.
Rainier Beach High School has more excess capacity than any other building; close it. Most of the students can find a seat at Cleveland, the rest can find a seat somewhere else. Of the 409 students at Rainier Beach in the October 2006 count, 246 lived closer to Rainier Beach than any other high school and 62 lived closer to Cleveland. There is room for those 308 at Cleveland. The rest can find seats at the schools near them or other schools. Closing Rainier Beach High School will save a lot of operational dollars because it is such a large, sprawling building and so expensive to power, heat, and maintain.
Central Cluster elementaries have a lot of excess capacity and so does The African-American Academy; reconstitute the AAA as a K-5 and place it at T T Minor. This will satisfy the federal mandate that the AAA reconstitute, will put it in a building well-suited for it by size, location and configuration, and will take up the excess capacity in the Central Cluster without closing any buildings. T T Minor students can either join the AAA or move to another school in the cluster.
Aki Kurose has a lot of excess capacity; close it. The program is under federal mandate to close or be reconstituted. A turn-around simply isn't possible without consistent leadership and the school will have four different principal in four years. Just close it and open a new middle school in the Southshore building. The District will save money because the brand new Southshore building will be less expensive to operate than the Sharples building where Aki Kurose is housed. The New School was going to move into the Southshore building, but they can move into the African American Academy building instead.
With these three moves, the District can close Rainier Beach, Aki Kurose, and Columbia. There are other changes needed - for example, there is excess capacity in West Seattle elementaries - but these moves are obvious and low impact.