9:00 pm The emotional intensity tonight at the Stanford Center was overwhelming. I feel sad and exhausted and I'm going to bed.
8:20 pm Meeting adjourned.
8:10 pm Moving on to rescind School Board policies as listed in the agenda and making changes in reference areas. Unable to continue due to crowd shouting. Now continuing but I can't hear a thing. DeBell speaking about SBOC co-location with Nova at the Meany building. "Wish we had a newly rennovated stand-alone building for the SBOC, but we are at a period of scarcity and we cannot do that." Could not hear votes, but it sounds like both recommendations passed.
8:05 pm Sundquist reading revised final motion. Vote: Yes (5): Sundquist, Carr, Chow, Maier, DeBell; No (2) Bass, Martin-Morris; revised closure plan passes.
7:50 pm Board members making final statements. So far Chow and Sundquist have spoken and clearly support closure proposal. DeBell says that if the audience keeps interrupting the Board meeting will have to move. Bass near tears. "We do have solutions that I think could have been found with just a little more effort and time." Says public are willing to accept closures based on a rationale that makes sense. Tells audience its time to start learning about the assignment plan and all its details and to fight for change. Will be at Casey Center, Monday 6 pm if anyone wants to talk with her and ask her questions.
Preparing to read new motion back into the record.
7:40 pm Maier reading his amendment (1.a.6) regarding providing priority assignment of any displaced students. Vote: Yes (5): Sundquist, Carr, Chow, Maier, DeBell; No (2) Bass, Martin-Morris; amendment passes. Maier hopes that amendment will "help ease the transition." Bass doesn't want to do this now because changes to the assignment plan should be done when the rest of the assignment plan is discussed.
7:35 pm Sundquist reading his amendment (1.a.5) regarding reassignment of Cooper students to Gatewood, Highland Park and Arbor Heights. Vote: Yes (5): Sundquist, Carr, Chow, Maier, DeBell; No (2) Bass, Martin-Morris; amendment passes. Sundquist: Trying to assure that we have room at the West Seattle Elementary building for students coming into the High Point development. Also trying to move larger cohorts of students with teachers.
7:30 pm Harium Martin-Morris reading his second amendment (1.a.4). Vote: Yes (2): Bass, Martin-Morris; No (5) DeBell, Chow, Carr, Maier, Sundquist; amendment fails."I've already said what my feelings are about Cooper...for me to say to the students of Cooper that you've done a good job but you are not worthy to keep your building, that doesn't work for me...After being there and seeing those families, how could you not think it's the right thing to do." Bass: "It's the right thing to do." Sundquist: I cannot support this amendment. I think I have a better one in number 5.
7:25 pm Harium Martin-Morris reading his amendment (1.a.3). "...my attempt to keep as many of the Summit K-12 students intact...this is the only way I could see doing it without displacing another group of students." Vote: Yes (2): Bass, Martin-Morris; No (5) DeBell, Chow, Carr, Maier, Sundquist; amendment fails. Maier says not enough time to study this proposal. DeBell says Summit is a very caring community that has succeeded with little support from the district. But need to cut transportation costs and don't have another building that could house a K-12 program.
7:15 pm Sherry Carr reading her amendment (1.a.2) regarding Lowell walk zone. Asked Tracy Libros to speak to this. Vote: Yes (5): DeBell, Chow, Carr, Maier, Sundquist; No (2) Bass, Martin-Morris; amendment passes.
7:05 pm Mary Bass reading her amendment (1.a.1) regarding impact on Central cluster. Harium seconds it. Vote: Yes (2): Bass, Martin-Morris, No (5); Sundquist, DeBell, Chow, Carr, Maier amendment fails. "The reasoning behind this amendment was not to throw a wrench in the closure process, but to say to everyone that there is more work to be done, particularly in the Central cluster." Public has come up with creative solutions but too late to be vetted by the district staff. Came from a "marathon session" on Sunday and Monday. Even though AAA is not included, want that community to know how proud she is of their work. "I took the time to make sure your voice was heard on this piece...but we are where we are no matter how the vote comes out." Chow speaking about history of AAA and the goal of that program. "Unfortunately, the program is and has been underenrolled." Current AAA K-4 students will be assigned to Van Asselt program and can stay in that building. Name will remain the African-American Academy unless the school community chooses to change it.
7:00 pm Moving on to business section of meeting; introducting and voting on amendments and overall closure plan. Sundquist making formal motion by reading out full closure proposal text. Print version given as handout packet to audience. Motion seconded. Now moving onto each amendments.
6:30 pm Board comments before deliberation
DeBell making historical comments. Says central administration is having a $4 million cut including staff layoffs.
Sundquist: "This is happening in the context of the strategic plan." Two "cost-related problems" we are facing: 1) structural budget deficit (costs rising faster than revenues; and 2) economic situation in the country. Structural budget problems cannot be resolved with "one-time" actions, like using budget surplus.
Carr: "This is about closing schools or eliminating classroom teachers...annual savings is equal to about 42 teachers." As painful as this process is, there is no good alternative. Voicing respect for Dr. Goodloe-Johnson as a strong leader while crowd jeers.
Martin-Morris: "My personal belief that the district does indeed need to close schools...It is indeed time for us to take action to remove the excess capacity from the district...Many of the components in the proposal, I agree with. Some I do not." "One of the reasons I personally have offered up amendments to the proposal is to address some of those concerns." Discussing population at Cooper and the academic and enrollment gains made without much support from the district. To Summit community, my goal was to find a more central location for Summit students but "I have failed to do that." Pledging to "work tirelessly" to make sure all students receive a quality education no matter the outcome of the vote.
Maier: "Overall, I believe we must close schools" in order to have a stronger school district. Believe final recommendations have improved during the process. "These decisions have been deferred for too long...Tough times demand that we make difficult decisions." "These changes fit in well with possible changes to the student assignment plan."
Bass: Speaking to the audience "I don't want to let you down." Asking for all of you to believe that we are working together to improve education for all. Believe that we should reduce excess capacity but that assignment plan should have come first. "I also am very clear that we have a hole in our finances." Encourages audience to work to change education financing.
6:25 pm Board members have been asking questions of Dr. Goodloe-Johnson but I can't really hear anything because of chanting in the lobby. Michael DeBell said James Bible was removed because of where he was standing (no one is allowed in the aisles) and has said he is welcome to return.6:15 pm James Bible from the NAACP was just removed from the meeting for no apparent reason. Other audience members have been interrupting and one has been removed from the room. Michael DeBell says staff will look into what happened with Mr. Bible but has told audience that if quiet is not maintained, the meeting will be moved to another location with only the media in attendance.
6:00 pm The meeting is starting. The security presence is overwhelming. The room is at capacity and security is keeping many people in the lobby.
Superintendent's Update: "...opportunity to correct longstanding imbalance in capacity..." "Our view includes students in every school throughout the city." "We know that the single most important factor in student learning is the quality of teaching...I believe that the recommendations we made will improve Seattle Public Schools overall." "These are the hardest choices School Boards are asked to make." "Continuing the status quo of underenrolled buildings...is unacceptable."