There are other options and it is the board's job to direct the district's staff to look at them honestly even if this means changing the timeline. If they don't take the time to understand all the repercussions of their decisions they may find themselves in even more financial trouble then they are in now. Many of the families effected by the last round of closures chose to leave Seattle Public Schools rather than abide by the new assignment they were given.
I believe the superintendent and her staff have a hidden agenda and are not presenting the information objectively. They are using this budget crisis as an excuse to make major changes without giving the board enough time to look at the issues responsibly.
I accept that the district must act quickly to cover the budget gap. I accept that buildings need to be closed as a part of the solution. I can even accept that the building where my children go to school (Pinehurst) should be considered because of its size and condition. I don't accept that the current proposals are the best way to save money. Goodloe-Johnson even said they haven't looked at the financial implications of the proposal yet. Which begs the question, what were they really trying to accomplish?
The cost savings from closing one of the undersubscribed HS would eliminate the need to displace so many central cluster students and is the most cost effective choice for the short term. It will disrupt the least amount of students while directly affecting the disparity between oversubscribed and undersubscribed schools. Long-term work could be done to bring that HS back online when the population increases and the district has put together a desirable program that will entice parents to choose it.
The district needs to take enough TIME to assess the best way to deal with the capacity and program issues such as SBOC, APP, and Alternatives. These are complex programs with very specific needs. The current proposal does not add seats to the North End. In fact, it eliminates 270 seats by closing the Pinehurst building. It does not proportionally reduce the amount of excess capacity in the South East and West Seattle clusters.
The board needs to take enough TIME for the communities effected to be engaged in the process. The current timeline is a joke. The communitee meetings for the buildings being closed have multiple schools scheduled on the same day. This guarantees that not all the board members will be able to hear from all of the programs that will be impacted. As a further insult, only the schools whose buildings are being closed get a meeting. Programs that are discontinued (Meany and Arbor Heights) don't get a meeting.
The district needs to take enough TIME to do an Alternative Schools audit and look at the best way to provide access to Alternative programs throughout the district based on best practices determined by the audit. Goodloe-Johnson clearly doesn't understand Alternative schools and needs to learn how to evaluate them before making decissions about how to move around Alt students.