There were about 130 people in attendance including Sherry Carr, Harium Martin-Morris, Michael DeBell, Mary McClaren, Sharon Peaslee, Lauren McGuire of the Seattle PTSA, FACMAC and Advanced Learning committee members.
A large (and cute) contingent of Bagley parents and students were there as well with signs and yellow shirts. They didn't do anything loud but were quite visible with their yellow shirts.
You come in, sign in, take a question card if you want and fill out a survey of the BEX options. They had a large and hard-to-decipher sheet with options on one side and a map on the other (and there was no key to the map).
Here's the format for the meetings:
6:30-7:00 p.m. - introductions and slide presentation
7:00-7:20 pm - Q&A from written cards
7:20-7:40 pm - Questions at the Microphone
7:40-8:00 pm - individual time with staff
E-mail your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
I didn't like this format because:
- staff went past their time for the presentation,
- they gave people time in the middle of the meeting to write questions/fill out the survey (I think you should do the survey at the END of the meeting.)
- I think the majority of the time should be for answering questions out-loud.
- There will be a SEPA public meeting on April 11th at JSCEE, no time announced.
- They are waiting for enrollment numbers from the end of April to update any plans.
- Very funny - Operations Head Pegi McEvoy explaining how we were losing enrollment so we closed schools but then gained enrollment and reopened even more schools.
- The figures have changed for levy amounts:
Low - from $523M to $528M
Medium - from $743-748M to $700M
High - $856M to $892M
Now, I can't say why but my gut says no way to $892M. It is just an absurd figure. I don't know why they don't just hit a sweet spot like $730-40M in the middle.
It was also disclosed what the difference in your tax bill would be. For the low end, your BEX bill would go up $4 per year. For the middle, it would be $109 more. For the high end, $225.
- BIG SOMETHING - Lucy Morello casually mentioned that they would have to re-boundary much of the NSAP because of BEX IV building. Keep that in mind going forward.
- I had anticipated a more agitated crowd but people were fairly subdued. Frankly, I think they were just trying to take it all in and it was a large amount of information presented.
- Any decision on APP elementary north? No, but the AL committee is working on it (and indeed we are). As well, we are aware there are capacity issues for Hamilton/Washington's APP 6-8.
- World School - Pegi McEvoy said there was a meeting in January and the district was told World School wanted to stay at Meany. But meanwhile they are putting in a middle school to join them. I know World School had plans for expansion and it was a plan approved by the district. It will not work in this scenario. I suspect the middle school will push out World School in 3-5 years. How the current scenario would work is that the district will fix up old Van Asselt for a year, then move World School there for 2 years and then reopen Meany with both World School and a middle school. That's a lot of moving for World School but I guess the district thinks they are used to it by now.
- If Thorton Creek is a K-8, will 6-8 roll up? Yes.
- Another funny moment was Lucy Morello, head of Capital Projects, explaining how many portables there are and that we are buying 25 more to be installed this summer. The plan is for them to go away but that's a mighty big investment in portables to only use them for 5 years or so.
- Questions about middle schools in BEX IV - The answer was a middle school at Olympic Hills and Wilson-Pacific.
- Why K-8s when comprehensives are more popular? Want to keep options for families.
- Disabilities and BEX IV - any school will fully comply with ADA
- More options for discussion? Pegi McEvoy said sure, depending on the feedback they get and data that comes in.
- What about Jane Addams; was built to be a middle school? No, we think it should remain intact and continue its work. (I tend to agree with Director Carr; I think it makes sense to move Jane Addams up to Olympic Hills and use Jane Addams as a middle school.)
- Seismic work? The answer was reinforcing the roof and diaphram, the sheer walls and reinforce masonry.
- A couple of Lowell kids got up and expressed their desire to be together and not be moved around. It was nice to hear from students affected by these moves.
- What about McGilvra and their crowding issues? Maybe a new cafeteria
- I got up and said that the district should take the $32M for a South Lake Union elementary off all scenarios as there was no capacity issue and many other schools with issues both of capacity and condition of building. Pegi McEvoy said they are just thinking about it for later on like 2019. (That is still in the range of this BEX so the answer should still be no.)
- Multiple levies are coming, are you working with those government entities? Yes, we are talking with the Mayor and Council. (good luck with that)
- Underutilized RBHS? Pegi said they are starting an IB program there as well as more CTE offerings.
- There was the issue of which elementaries are getting renovated. The original list I saw had different schools under different options. Confusing. I'm not sure I understand why Rodgers is on one option and Bagley on another.
- It was pointed out that there would be no new middle school capacity until 2017 and that is too long. A Whittier parent pointed out that Whitman was less than desirable as compared to Hamilton with its new buildings and multiple programs. Lucy Morello said Whitman was probably getting some work via BTA but didn't have her list. (So we are there to have a discussion about facilities and capital projects and yet no one had a list of BTA projects handy?)
- Another parent with students at both View Ridge and Lowell spoke wistfully for the need for stability for children and not so much movement.
- Another parent, this time from Bryant, spoke of the over-capacity experience his children were having. He asked that the district consider another reference school for the NE. He mentioned the light rail station that is coming and the development and growth it will bring (he's right).