In comments on the post School Board Meeting on January 21, there was a request for a separate post about Summit K-12, as well as much discussion about the decision to close the program. Many people seem to not know about Summit's unique situation in this process. Summit K-12, whether you consider it a program or a school, is doomed, no matter which way the board votes next week, without direct school board action. This post is simply a timeline and assessment of the current situation. Why Summit should be saved is a topic for another post.
On November 12, 2008, the school board voted to "re-purpose" the Jane Addams building, Summit's home for the past 24 years, into a K-8 school, as part of capacity management in the northeast cluster. The original School Board Action Report can be found here, as a PDF file. The pertinent suggestion, in Attachment B, is to re-purpose the Jane Addams building for a new K-8 program with decisions regarding the future of the Summit K-12 program to be included in any building closure process.
Video of this portion of the board meeting can be found here. During the meeting, the concern of many Summit parents that this was a de facto closure of the program, was brought up by Steve Sundquist beginning at about 10:30. Director Sundquist and the other board members all agreed that this was not a part of the current decision and there was a discussion of what "re-purposing" meant in this context. Director DeBell stated that if it was a motion to close the Summit program, he would have a very different feeling about it. The motion was approved.
Prior to this meeting and during the public comment portion (video), many people involved with Summit had spoken up about the program and its value, in an attempt to keep the program viable, even if the Jane Addams building was re-purposed. Despite our dismay at the decision, we have continued to be active after this meeting, as well.
When the Superintendent's preliminary recommendations were released on November 25, 2008, it was recommended that the Summit K-12 program co-locate with Rainier Beach High School. Since this re-created the same situation that had been problematic for Summit in the past, namely placement on the outskirts of the school district leading to complaints about transportation costs, there was a call for a more central location. At the December 3rd board meeting, there was a discussion about the move to Rainier Beach perhaps not being fiscally feasible. It was noted that this might lead to a final recommendation to discontinue the Summit K-12 program.
On December 9th, at a board workshop, further modifications were made to the recommendations. The preferred option discontinued the Summit program. The non-preferred option suggested moving Summit K-8 to re-locate with Nova at the Meany Middle School building and discontinuation of the 9-12 portion of the program.
As was expected, the final recommendation on January 9, 2009 was to discontinue the Summit K-12 program and re-assign students to where they lived. It has been proposed that this include an option for Summit students to enroll in their regional alternative school, but that isn't yet official.
If the board votes yes on the final recommendations without amendment, Summit will be discontinued. If the board votes no, as many active in the discussion suggest, Summit still has no building and will be effectively closed. At this point, Summit, as a program or as a school, is homeless and cannot be saved without direct intervention.