Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New BEX IV Scenario

Just got a tip from a reader (thanks!) about a new BEX IV scenario.

This one costs in at just under $700M (I think they are trying to keep it under $1B between BEX and the Operations levy that will also appear on the ballot).

Jane Addams to Cedar Park?  Yup. New middle school at Jane Addams building?  Yup.

Winners
Arbor Heights - no mention of Roxhill joining them
SLU - Good luck with that one
North Beach - full replacement
Bagley (sorta) - partial replacement
Thorton Creek - stays a K-5
Mercer - gets an addition
QA - gets an addition

Losers
Roxhill
Rogers
Jane Addams community

I still don't get why TT Minor needs to be reopened. 

89 comments:

wondering said...

What's the big need to replace North Beach right now with all the other more pressing needs? It's a great little school! Will those kids be at Lincoln with 2 other schools? I heard it was crowded this year with just 2 schools. Will they add a playground? Will they wait until the elementary kids are out of Lincoln to start on the high school?

wondering said...

What's the big need to replace North Beach right now with all the other more pressing needs? It's a great little school! Will those kids be at Lincoln with 2 other schools? I heard it was crowded this year with just 2 schools. Will they add a playground? Will they wait until the elementary kids are out of Lincoln to start on the high school?

Anonymous said...

Let me guess...high poverty, high minority Roxhill loses and Tim Burgess' new South Lake Union elementary "WINNING!!"

Give me a break

Anonymous said...

Is there a way for the community to petition to take SLU off the list? How would we go about it? It is ridiculous.

Savvy Voter

Jamie said...

Wow, this is fascinating. It's true, North Beach is relatively fine, especially compared with Whitman down the road, which is in sad shape. And if I'm reading this correctly it looks like Jane Addams K-8 is moving to Cedar Park and the Addams bldg will be a middle school. And a new elementary at Wilson for APP - fascinating.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the Jane Addams community, I'm not sure that we are a loser in this plan - the Cedar Park site feels a little small (especially compared to our current site), but a brand new building seems like a nice consolation prize. Yes, I would prefer that we stay in our current building, but the opportunity to design a new building that supports our environmental science focus is pretty attractive. The location is closer to the existing school than any of the other possible sites that have been thrown around, and shouldn't be too inconvenient for most of our families.

It looks like they will move away from the mushroom model to a chimney K-8, which is understandable with the size of the site, but disappointing, especially since we are drawing new families at middle school (we currently have a wait list at 6th grade).

On the positive side, the district did notify the school community yesterday with a letter that went home in kid-mail, was posted at school, and went out via email, so I think they deserve some credit for that - and I'm glad that our school community has heard this news directly from school prior to seeing it on the blog.

-Keeping an Open Mind

zella917 said...

I'm excited that Bagley will get some improvement; it's a wonderful school community but the building is in pretty sad shape.

Anonymous said...

The TT Minor opening decision is another example of how tone deaf the district is to what parents actually want. It is madness to re-open TT Minor (which wasn't full before) when nearby Madrona also isn't full (and won't be anytime soon). Why not upgrade McGilvra (which is falling apart and has space to expand) so there are more spots at a school parents want their kids to attend?

Disgusted by the Incompetence

emeraldkity said...

Still nothing for Whitman middle school?

mirmac1 said...

Savvy Voter,

I suggest you write to the City Council and ask them to police their own; remind them that Burgess a)does not get to parcel out OUR levy taxes the way he sees fit; and b) is not mayor and can't just do his own urban planning and development. Conlin is chair of the Land Use committee. He should contain his vice-chair.

Anonymous said...

I'm not seeing how the overcrowding in the NE elementaries is going to be relieved. APP will entirely fill Wilson. Rogers is no longer on the list. Not everyone wants Thorton Creek (though a lot do). Am I missing something?

NE parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Emerald Kity, any other year, Whitman and/or Eckstein and/or Washington would be there. They should be there but they need capacity and they can't put more into those schools. Hence, a new Addams middle and middle at WP.

I know, those middle schools deserve better.

Patrick said...

I think it's unfortunate that they're planning to move Jane Addams to the Cedar Park site. JA will almost certainly be full by 2016. Are they going to kick out some kids in the middle of their elementary years or middle school years because they put them into too small a site at Cedar Park?

Why don't they build Cedar Park as a middle school and leave Jane Addams where it is? JA is a bit too close to Eckstein for even distribution across north Seattle, and Cedar Park would be a shorter ride for the students in Lake City and the extreme north end.

Is it clear when the numbers at the bottom of the boxes mean? I get that it's numbers of students, but compared to what? Capacity today, enrollment today, future projected enrollment? For Jane Addams @ Cedar Park in 2016, it's 104 elementary and -69 middle school. Why would the rooms be arranged for fewer middle school students than we have now? It seems like the middle school is already about as small as you'd want it to be and maintain some choice in classes.

My child will be in high school by 2016, but I still hope the District does right by JA.

Patrick said...

It's laughable that the District is claiming poverty while providing a $50 million school for SLU where there is no need. Set aside the land as it is developed, maybe, but the actual construction needs to await large numbers of children in the neighborhood.

Could another wing be added to Eckstein? A new wing seems like it could potentially add more capacity than the portables, because it could be 2-3 stories tall and have bathrooms and sinks in the classrooms and labs for the science classes.

Charlie Mas said...

I'm astonished by these price tags.

Why do we need to spend $50 million to make Meany ready as a middle school when that's what it is?

Between that $50 million, the $13 million to fix up Mann, and the $2.8 million to temporarily house Meany middle school at Columbia, the pricetag on the mistake of moving NOVA is well over $65 million. Will there be no admission of failure?

I'm sure everyone noted that this plan presumes that north-end elementary APP will move into the new elementary at Wilson-Pacific. Why wait for a recommendation from the ALPTF? The District has already decided.

$37 million to add 149 seats by moving Schmitz Park to Genessee Hill. That's a cost of $248K per seat. That's very dear.

And why does it cost the same to remodel Genessee Hill ($37m) as it costs to build new at Wilson-Pacific?

There is, of course, no rationale for the creation of the elementary school at South Lake Union. That capacity is totally unnecessary.

How was the decision made to move the Jane Addams program to Cedar Park? What was the process for that? How much community engagement was involved?

This chart reveals the deep dysfunction in the District's facilities planning and program placement practices.

Anonymous said...

We really hope Arbor Heights can be moved up the timeline to 2014. The school can not wait until 2018 for a re-build! We do not want to waste years in an unsafe building and do not want to chance being moved to an interim site until construction is completed. The property is large enough to build the new school next to the existing one while we wait.

Optimistic AH

Anonymous said...

If I'm reading Scenario 2 correctly, John Marshall is the interim site for the new middle school at Wilson Pacific. Does that mean middle school APP or some other alternative middle school? That's in addition to the new middle school at Jane Addams. So two middle school populations will be housed at John Marshall (interim) concurrently for 2015 and 2016. JM capacity is around 750.

-trying to make sense of it all

Eric B said...

Wondering - North Beach is a great little school, with an emphasis on little. It's one of the few schools in the Whitman area with room to expand easily. Also, the site is so large that they'll be able to build the new school while still keeping classes going in the old building, so there's no need to move to Lincoln. Access to the site will be interesting with the slopes, but doable with a little planning.

Charlie asked "And why does it cost the same to remodel Genessee Hill ($37m) as it costs to build new at Wilson-Pacific?"

I don't know about land side building, but on the marine side, retrofitting is almost always harder and more expensive than building new.

Skeptical said...

Charlie,

Listing APP as going to the new Wilson school could be a move to temporarily quiet/appease the disgruntled APP families. Come 2017, I'll eat these words if the district sticks to that promise and gives APP a shiny new building. I won't be shocked if the program is split or moved to another old building at that time instead of Wilson.

Anonymous said...

Why is this a win?

Thorton Creek - stays a K-5


A lot of families are sending their kids to Salmon Bay for 6-8 and the school district doesn't want to continue busing those kids. Why can't Thorton Creek be made into a K-8 like Salmon Bay?

It is very interesting to me because we get a lot of families who wanted this option in Thorton Creek so they now send their kids to private school.

Future Hale Parent

Anonymous said...

Isn't reopening T.T. Minor a sign of SPS planning ahead? The planned Yesler Terrace redevelopment is supposed to expand it from 600 housing units to 3,000 over the next dozen years.

There will probably be a lot of families living there. Bailey Gatzert, the closest elementary to Yesler Terrace, would not be able to handle huge growth in its neighborhood. But T.T. Minor isn't that far away, and it could absorb overflow from Yesler Terrace or Gatzert's current neighborhood.

- Just thinking aloud

Anonymous said...

I'm speculating that North Beach is on the list due to its small size (5 portables are in use now) , a lack of seismic readiness or preservation-worthy architecture, and a huge site that is underutilized.

--NB parent

Anonymous said...

Where will the Middle College High School branch at Wilson - Pacific (the remnants of Indian Heritage High) be going if the program is kicked out of Wilson - Pacific?

And now this: I heard a rumor that the program at Middle College High School at South Seattle Community College is being evicted.

Does this mean that the District has no intention of supporting these programs or will they be killed off?

Summit K - 12 is no more...

--Old school music

BL said...

Does "Thorton Creek K-5 (keep K-5 Option/Build K-5)" mean they plan to leave the existing building, but build an additional 650 student K-5 on the same property?
For all the other elementaries, the number at the bottom of the box indicates the resulting net increase in capacity. An increase of 650 seems awfully high for a rebuild.

JA Dad said...

I think Jane Addams wins if it means some stability for a really good program. I'm glad somebody downtown thought we're worth saving.

Erik T said...

It's amazing to me that the district is going to build a SLU school when Lowell in capital hill has a capacity of 500 kids and we currently have 210 and is less than one mile from the South Lake Union area. It's nice to know that they can throw 30 million around.

Jan said...

Erik T and SavvyVoter: I am thinking it might be worthwhile to put together a petition drive to see if we can't get the SLU OFF this BEX -- and Roxhill back ON it. I need to go hunt down the person/people who did the petition for Mr. Floe's reinstatement. The problem, of course, what that was a single school community -- with a 3 alarm blaze smack in front of them. I think it will be a much more amorphous project to inform people, and get their support, for tinkering within the levy options. But I think the SLU school is a huge achilles heel, and could cause enough disgust/dissension to sink the levy.

Also -- Melissa, as between the three middle schools that all need major work (Whitman/Eckstein/Washington) -- if we could only add back to the list ONE of the three, which would you choose (worst shape, most benefit) to add back and why?

Jan

Anonymous said...

Moving Jane Addams makes sense. A K8 doesn't need all of the infrastructure of a comprehensive middle school. The Jane Addams building has all of the comprehensive middle school infrastructure - sports fields, music room, etc. as it was built as a middle school.

Cedar Park is just too small of a site to be a comprehensive middle school.

I am happy that the district is both doing right by the Jane Addams community by giving them a building (maybe like TOPS) and taking the cost savings of using a middle school building as a middle school, rather than spending a few extra million dollars to create something that already exits.

- northeast seattle mom

mirmac1 said...

Jan,

I am with you there. I'm a 99% who votes faithfully, and will OPPOSE any levy that includes Burgess' pork.

Seriously, I'm sure $32M would build Roxhill/Hughes/S of WS Elem a beautiful school on the old Denny site. Some numknutz must want to save the overpriced tennis courts and softball field they "temporarily" built there. The site is HUGE if you include the massive empty parking lot next to Sealth Stadium. So do some design work people!

Joy A. said...

What about West Side School?

They negotiated In good faith with the District to lease EC Hughes, and the district assured them that they would probably never need that building back because it was "too small" for their purposes.

And as for Rox Hill, I am sure the Dept of Education is going to come down pretty heavily on their closiing yet ANOTHER TITLE 1 school in West Seattle. What does this District and community have against schools of color that are succeeding? And why in the world do they fight so hard to keep traditionally white failing schools afloat? None of these students asked to be the victims of this District's incompetent capcity planning. These kids do really well in the face of the adversity and the shell game with buildings that this district forces them to play . Kids get screwed again, after they did what they were supposed to. I am so disgusted. Swiss boarding school is looking better all the time.

I can't wait for the Department of Education to come in and take over. It will feel like the Allies liberating Nazi Germany.

ben said...

@northeast seattle mom - Its not like the JA middle schoolers don't also play team sports, have an orchestra/band put on plays etc. Those facilities are currently being used and will really need to be accounted for in the Cedar Park site if its still a K-8 with say 400-500 middle schoolers.

mirmac1 said...

Joy A.

It would appear from this new option that Westside's out and Roxhill gets Hughes. That NOT what I would push for but it sure as hell beats the dissolution of Roxhill!

Anonymous said...

Ben -
Yes and those facilities are being used by a relative handful of kids. If possible to recreate those resources, it would cost millions more. I am certain Mel has an idea of how much as she has talked about the costs involved with the fields in the Denny Sealth rebuilds.

Nothing is convenient for any community in NE Seattle. Everything is overfull and overburdened. I am grateful that they are making a cost effective decision that benefits the greatest number of students.

northeast seattle mom.

seattle citizen said...

That's a good question, Old School Music: Where will Indian Heritage go? Has the district consulted with the Native American/Alaskan Indian community?

Eric B said...

My bad - on reading the proposal again, it appears that North Beach Elementary is planned for 2 years at Lincoln while the school is rebuilt. Of course, all of this could change again...

Eric B said...

A petition drive for no SLU/add Roxhill would be a pretty easy sell, I think. Put "No SLU" first, and many people will sign on just for that.

BL said...

Marty McLaren had a community meeting yesterday. This version of the BEX proposal had just been released, and someone brought a copy along.
I thought Marty seemed a little surprised that the SLU school is still on this lateset version. The vibe I got is that she expects it to get dropped. She said Wing Luke (not Roxhill) is next in line for a rebuild.

Anonymous said...

Ben - Just curious? Where did your 400-500 middle schooler number for Jane Addams K-8 (at Cedar Park)come from? That seems a bit high.

From the latest BEXIV scenario, it looks like they are planning on a chimney model K-8, not a mushroom model, at Cedar Park. If you plan for 3 classes per grade, all the way up, that would be about 270 middle schoolers, maybe less if they are thinking that some of the rising 6th graders might chose the comprehensive middle school.

That IS a handful, when compared to the 1080 middle school seats planned for the converted Jane Addams building, especially when the turnover is only 3 years for a middle school, -vs- 9 years for a K-8.

-North End Mom

mirmac1 said...

Thanks BL. If Hughes is getting yanked from Westside, then it should very well go to Roxhill. The latter is overstuffed with massive portables on the former playground. Hughes is in the middle of Roxhill's attendance boundary. It is in a walkable neighborhood, away from the busy 4 lane arterial.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jan, if I had to choose, I would probably go with Washington, given that the north-end is getting two new middle schools (including one in a new building). Washington is doing good work, is popular and could benefit from a renovation. Eckstein is in the same position.

I don't know about any talks with the Native American community over Indian Heritage but like APP elementary north, Nova and World School, they need a permanent and decent home.

I don't know the Roxhill area well enough to offer an opinion on what should happen (and I am still unclear on why Schmitz Park is being moved rather than renovated at their current site).

My worry is that this is not a long-term vision and that what BEX IV needs to be.

steve in west seattle said...

Charlie,

Genessee Hill is a tear down/new construction, not a remodel. They also fail to site the new STEM school. Perhaps that is going into the old Schmitz Park

The net gain is much greater than 150 if they continue to use the existing Schmitz Park campus.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Mas asked about the consultation process with the community for the JA move. Short answer: none. This after the district (Pegi McEvoy) had said at the Eckstein community meeting the other week that JA would be untouched. I see how the current building is desperately wanted for a middle school - the facilities are great - but a K-8 also needs to have those middle school facilities. JA is projected to grow to 750 or so total (around 600 for 2012-13, so continuing to grow quickly). I'll be very curious to see how they manage to build a 750 student K8 on that rather small site.

betamomma

mirmac1 said...

Well if anyone gets Hughes, it should be Roxhill because they need the space. Put STEM in Roxhill's cramped building.

Charlie Mas said...

I've had a chance to talk to some folks and a lot of my questions have been cleared up. Others remain.

One of the biggest changes is a revision of the Ed Specs for new elementary schools. Previously the District planned to build the new schools with capacities of 500. Now they will build new elementary schools with capacities of 650.

West Seattle issues:
The District is going to open two new elementary schools in West Seattle. One of them is going to be an attendance area school and one will be an option school, the STEM school now at Boren. Fairmount Park would be a better choice for the attendance area school and Hughes would be the better choice as an option school based on proximity to other schools and the absence of an option school in the Denny service area.

The $37 million price tag for Schmitz Park at Genessee Hill is because the district is going to demo the existing structure and build new. By moving the school to a new location, the District doesn't need to use an interim location and they will have the Schmitz Park building available for lease after the move. The capacity change on the chart should be updated to reflect the planned capacity of the new building as 650 instead of 500.

The District will re-build Arbor Heights - and, again, I suppose they will rebuild it for 650 - but they must defer that work until 2016. I know that the building at Arbor Heights is dreadful, but the District needs to take care of students who have no classroom before they take care of students who have a crappy one. The students with no classroom have first dibs on the interim space at Boren.

Charlie Mas said...

Northeast issues:
There is no doubt that the Northeast is one of the most impacted areas of the city - at all levels.

The District will build a new elementary school on the Decatur (Thornton Creek) campus. This will be an attendance area school because that's what the District needs. Again, this new school will have a capacity of 650 because that's how big the District will build them now.

This is the only additional elementary capacity planned for the northeast. There will be additional elementary capacity in the north, but not in the northeast.

Note: the District no longer intends to expand Thornton Creek from a K-5 to a K-8. They got feedback from the community that the expansion was un-wanted. This may be discussed further.

The District also needs additional middle school space in the northeast and they need it soon. They had intended to build a new middle school on the Olympic Hills campus, but, due to environmental impacts, that won't be possible. The new plan is to convert the Jane Addams building to a middle school and to find a new home for the program there now. Their solution: Cedar Park.

The District will demo the current structure at Cedar Park and build an all new K-8 there. When it is ready the Jane Addams program will move in. A quick conversion of the Jane Addams building will allow the new Jane Addams middle school to move in to the building the following year. Because the relief is needed immediately, the Jane Addams middle school will start long before, using John Marshall as an interim site.

This is not a bad deal for the Jane Addams community. Their program remains intact, they get a brand-new building in a good location, and they get to stay in Jane Addams until their new home is ready.

It's a very good deal for the District. The cost of converting Jane Addams to a middle school ($5m) and the cost of building a K-8 at Cedar Park ($33.5m) is significantly less than the cost of building an all-new middle school at Olympic Hills ($71.5m).

It's also a good deal for families in the northeast. They will get their new middle school faster, possibly very fast. The chart shows the JA middle school starting at John Marshall in 2015, but that may be stepped up to 2013 with the work at John Marshall stepped up to 2012.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"The District will build a new elementary school on the Decatur (Thornton Creek) campus."

Sorry to be dense but TC will be on the same site in the same building and a new (attendance area) building will be built?

Also, $33.5M seems VERY small to spend for a K-8 that has to have science labs and other items to support middle schoolers.

Boren can't support two elementary groups a la Lincoln? Couldn't Arbor Heights be in there at the same time as the STEM program?

Charlie Mas said...

Central North and Northwest
The District will build a new elementary school, Wilson Elementary, on the Wilson-Pacific campus. It will have a capacity of 650. More about this building later.

There will be another new building at North Beach, presumably one with a capacity of 650. The North Beach program will be housed at Lincoln during the construction.

When North Beach moves out of Lincoln, Bagley will move it. The District thinks this will happen around the winter break of 2015.

Bagley isn't getting an all-new building, just an addition. Perhaps more than is indicated on the chart given the updated ed specs for elementary schools.

All of this additional elementary capacity (plus the new Thornton Creek and Cedar Park buildings) needs to be regarded as additional capacity for all of the north. It would be wise to regard the needed additional capacity and the planned construction in the Whitman, Hamilton, and Eckstein service areas in aggregate. There will be a pretty serious re-alignment of attendance areas after this construction.

I'd like to think that this mass re-alignment will allow for the possibility of making the language immersion and Montessori programs into option programs, but I'm not optimistic.

The District will build an all new middle school, Pacific Middle School, on the Wilson-Pacific campus. The Pacific program will open at an interim site, John Marshall, before their building is ready. One of the reasons that Jane Addams needs to start sooner is so they can be out of John Marshall before Pacific arrives there.

Again, think of all of the needed capacity and all of the new construction for the all of the north-end in aggregate. Again, there will be a serious re-alignment of attendance areas.

The district sometimes needs to have multiple programs in interim sites at the same time. Lincoln is the interim site for elementary schools and John Marshall will be the interim site for middle schools. This way the District doesn't have to mix middle school students and elementary students in an interim site.

JA Parent said...

betamomma: If Jane Addams moves to Cedar Park the enrollment will capped somewhere around 650, I believe. As somebody else said, a chimney, not a mushroom.

But, yes, at the April 3 BEX meeting, Pegi McEvoy looked at us and LIED to us. I hope she realizes we can't believe anything she says now.

Anonymous said...

Charlie,
The new scenario spread sheet (4/24/12 draft) has the Wilson-Pacific middle school at John Marshall in 2014, and joined by the Jane Addams MS in 2015, with both staying until the start of the 2017-18 school year, when their buildings are ready.

This seems like an impossible proposal, given the John Marshall capacity of 760 seats.

This also differs from your account, where Jane Addams MS goes to John Marshall first, and is out of there by the time Wilson Pacific MS comes in.

Has there been an addendum to the 4/24/12 draft?

-North End Mom

Anonymous said...

Quote:
Note: the District no longer intends to expand Thornton Creek from a K-5 to a K-8. They got feedback from the community that the expansion was un-wanted. This may be discussed further.

Well this will be good for private schools. I can't believe the community doesn't want a K-8. How many of these kids end up being bussed over to Salmon Bay for middle school? I know of at least 5. Are they going to continue supporting the bussing to Salmon Bay?

Future Hale Parent

Charlie Mas said...

Program Specific
The Advanced Learning Program Task Force will soon make a recommendation on the preferred location for north-end elementary APP. I'm on the task force, but I don't claim to know what the Task Force will recommend. I will say that, to me, there does not appear to be any realistic viable options other than placing all of the north-end students together at Wilson.

We are told that the notations on the chart that appear to presume that conclusion (Wilson Elementary-APP) is strictly a "place-holder". Whether that's credible or not, there really aren't any other choices on the menu. There's no other choice for a one-school solution and there aren't good choices for a two-school solution. There's no available existing space, and all of the new space planned is already desperately needed. John Marshall is needed as an interim site and Lincoln will soon be needed as a high school.

North-end elementary APP will probably go to Wilson Elementary because there is simply no place else for it to go.

This BEX IV does not address the imminent need for a solution for south-end elementary APP which is headed for a capacity crisis at Thurgood Marshall just as it reached one at Lowell.

NOVA appears to be destined to return to the Mann building. Between the $13m needed to renovate and expand the Mann building, the $60m needed to renovate Meany, the $4m needed to temporarily house the World School at Van Asselt, and the $3m needed to make Columbia ready to temporarily house Meany middle school, the District will spend $80 million to essentially put things back to the way they were a few years ago.

Add to that all of the money spent three years ago to close Meany, move NOVA and the World School (S.B.O.C.) into Meany and move half of APP to Hamilton (made necessary by the closure of Meany).

This ill-advised series of moves, recommended by the previous superintendent and approved by the Board, will end up costing the District - the taxpayers - over $100 million for little or no purpose.

I think that an acknowledgement (if not an apology) is in order.

You may notice that the chart shows 110 middle school seats at NOVA at Mann. I don't know where this idea came from, but I think it is a very, very bad idea. Renovating Mann with a capacity of 450, however, is a good idea.

The District plans to tear down Meany and rebuild new. You will see that the chart shows 700 middle school seats at Meany and 400 high school seats. The District describes the total capacity of the new building as 1,100 - 700 middle school seats and 400 high school seats. So the number on the chart for Meany High School - unlike all of the other numbers - is not a net change. It's an inconsistency that should be corrected.

The World School has always said that they expect to need 600 seats and they still say that. Maybe the District disbelieves them. Maybe 200 of the World School seats are middle school seats. The World School currently has 203 students in grades 6-12. I think the numbers mean that the Meany Middle School will only have 500 seats for neighborhood students and the World School will have 200 middle school seats and 400 high school seats. This needs some clarification.

BL said...

I've heard both Kay Smith-Blum and Nancy Coogan say that Nova is going through the Creative School application process and are requesting to expand their program to serve grades 6-12.

Charlie Mas said...

@North End Mom,
The FACMAC has told the District, in the strongest possible language, that they need to expedite the re-purposing of the Jane Addams building. Not only to meet the immediate need for middle school space, but also to get the Jane Addams middle schoolers out of the John Marshall building before the Pacific middle schoolers arrive.

@Mel,
I agree that the price tag on the K-8 at Cedar Park seems suspiciously low.

I don't know if Boren is big enough to house both the Hughes and Arbor Heights programs at the same time. I think the timing of the Arbor Heights work may be driven by cash flow from the levy as much as it is driven by the availability of space at Boren. It's definitely worth discussion.

It appears to me that the new building on the Thornton Creek campus will be for the new program with a capacity of 650 and the current Thornton Creek program will remain the Decatur building, but I have never heard anyone say that authoritatively. It also seems strange that the Decatur building doesn't get an addition or something.

Charlie Mas said...

@BL, I suppose that NOVA can add middle school students if they want and if the District approves.

I just think it is a really bad idea. That's my personal opinion and, as always, I'm open to persuasion. Would all 110 students be 8th graders? Would they be 35 each of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade?

Would Mann be a good location for the high school element of the Homeschool Resource Center - and maybe the middle school element as well?

Charlie Mas said...

Issues Not Addressed

Where will the Homeschool Resource Center go? Could the high school (and possibly the middle school element) go to Mann with NOVA? Could it find a place somewhere at either Wilson Elementary or Pacific Middle school? What about the Webster building in Ballard after the Nordic Heritage Museum moves out? Could it go to Lincoln - at least for a while?

Where will the American Indian Heritage Middle College go? Could it go to Mann? Could it go to Lincoln and stay there as part of the new Lincoln High School?

Actually, what will be the fate of the Middle College in general?

And what will be the fate of south-end elementary APP? The situation at Thurgood Marshall is not sustainable. The school is already in portables and there are only 49 attendance area students in the school - the lowest number for any school. As soon as folks discover what's happening at Thurgood Marshall, the attendance area enrollment there is going to explode. And there is no place in the building to put even one more student. It will be just like Lowell.

Where can south-end elementary APP go? It can't go too far south because the majority of the students live north of I-90. An even greater majority of them will live north of I-90 if the McClure service area is shifted from feeding to the north to feeding to the south to balance the cohorts.

It can't go too far to the north either since the District wants to lower barriers to access for students in under-represented groups living mostly further south.

The list of options is short, and they all have problems. T T Minor has a pretty good location but it isn't very big. Van Asselt is the right size and a pretty good location, but the District needs it as an interim site. Columbia has a pretty good location, but it's definitely too small. West Seattle locations are not good for southeast students. Lowell is said to be both too far north and too much deja vu. I hate to say it out loud, but Thurgood Marshall might be the right place for a stand-alone APP site in the south. It would be politically ugly for the district to relocate the attendance area students, maybe it could let the ones there stay until they age out.

And then there is the Downtown Elementary. Not as a possible south end APP site. Folks tell me that it is too far north.

This is generally regarded as a vanity project for some Downtown Business Interests and City Politicians. The District's current enrollment projections absolutely do not support anything like it.

The current story is that the District's enrollment projections are known to be wrong and are due for an update. The current story is that the updated enrollment projections will show significantly greater population growth among school-age children downtown. Between families in residential downtown spaces and the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace, some believe that we will need this school.

Of course we have T T Minor available and about 300 empty seats at Lowell and another 300 empty seats at Madrona K-8. It's very hard to believe that the District will be able to justify the construction of a completely new school with a capacity of 650 (updated ed specs for new elementary schools).

ben said...

@North East Mom

I'm going off incomplete information for the numbers of middle schoolers and as someone else said I expect the capacity will be capped differently.

BUT the numbers currently don't add up: The current building has a projected MS capacity of around 400-500 (I can't dig up the official data for some reason) and the planning chart shows only a loss of 69 seats.

I'm also worried that the plan for Cedar Park will not include enough resources/space to make a viable MS and am waiting to see more details. If that were the case I'd rather see the district make the new school just an elementary rather than a poorly thought out k-8 with perhaps a companion option program housed within the JA building.

Stepping back, I'm pragmatic and sensitive to the overall capacity pressures in the quadrant. We've opted out of Bryant which is just what the district wanted us to do, we can just as easily opt back into Eckstein. The district needs to balance two pressures here:

1) Overall MS seats.
2) Overcrowding on the Southern side of the quadrant.

When all is said and done there still needs to be a compelling magnet school to draw kids out of the overcrowded parts of the cluster.

Ben

Chris S. said...

To defray further speculation about the craziness of the Thornton Creek Community, let me explain. The community includes families, staff, and a bit of neighborhood input. Some families support a K-8 but not enough to override a strong staff preference for a K-5.

So our positon, of growing to a 500-seat K-5 in a new building was an compromise within the community, which matched, we thought, what the district has been asking us to do the past 3 years. Now it looks like that option is not on the table anymore, due to the ed spec revisions. Is that interpretation correct?

ben said...

@Chris S. I've very curious about the different opinions at Thornton Creek. On the blog there seems to be a strong contingent who want a K-8 but I've also seen the reps at the capacity meeting say that they don't. What's the reasoning for each side? Offhand, I don't see why the current staff would take a strong position. Adding grades above them seems to not be a direct impact.

Ben

Anonymous said...

I hope Charlie's point that we have wasted $80 million on moving the poor NOVA population around is noted by the Times when they do the BEX story. Our public needs reminding of the shoddy, shoddy job this district has done in managing scarce capital funds.

I want the Times to note it because it plays into the South Lake Union $30 million new school proposal. This is a complete political boondoggle brought to us by, no doubt, the Downtown Chamber, Vulcan and quite possibly a certain city council member who hopes to be mayor. Maybe the current mayor too.

THERE IS NO PLACE FOR POLITICAL PANDERING in this process. Someone better get that proposed school our of BEX. Folks on this blog can start the process by sending this note, or one like it, to the West Seattle Blog (hey, we need more buildings than we're getting), Rosenthal at the Times, Goldy at the Stranger or someone at KUOW. If the politicians won't play fair, let's get the populace to force them to do the right thing.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

A k8 in the community around the cedar park site is a lot of new traffic to a quiet neighborhood. Has the district sprung this on the community? It also seems awfully far north and off the grid for a magnet program.

Further, there are no guarantees for the JA community here. What is to prevent a bait and switch on an option program ultimately going in on the site?

Many unanswered questions here. I do not like that this came out of left field for the community.

3rd grade parent

Anonymous said...

The 5 Thorton Creek families I know who are currently at Salmon Bay for middle school were very disappointed when Thorton Creek didn't take the oppurtunity to move to Jane Addams. They said a lot of families wan K-8 but that the staff doesn't. It isn't just wanting a K-8, it is wanting the option of this type of eduation for K-8. Salmon Bay has a waitlist. Our family gave up and went private. I know of other families at our K-8 private school who are there because of not getting into Salmon Bay and not liking Thorton Creeks K-5 only set up. We will be a public school family for the first time next year when my youngest goes to Hale. My oldest opted for private high school because of the math program. I am hopeful my youngest will do okay with the math program at Hale.

The lack of stability at public schools in Seattle is a big minus for a lot of families.

Future Hale Parent

Patrick said...

Seems like we go to an awful lot of unnecessary expense for the district and inconvenience for families because of lousy demographics work. Schools closed, schools opened, communities moved around, JA opened, JA needed for a middle school only. Do other school districts go through this? We didn't when I was in school, but that was along time ago in a district far, far away.

Anonymous said...

Charlie - why do you say Wilson pacific is the only possible building for APP north - Lowell at Lincoln? That will not be on line until 2017. By then APP north could be split with Magnolia/Queen Anne/Fremont, etc. co-housing at new SLU school, and 1/2 of APP north co-housing at Wilson-Pacific. Also, remember that APP south is happy with the co-housing model at Thurgood Marshall. Do you really think the district would allow APP to kick out the low income minority kids from a school named after Thurgood Marshall to make room exclusively for APP kids? I sense from reading many of your posts that you are resistant to considering the co-housing model. Yes, there are capacity concerns, but Thurgood Marshall can hold 2 co-housed groups. Remember too that there are 3 populations at TM. the PEACE Academy, which draws from a wide geographic area takes up 4-5 classrooms. Why be so quick to kick out the general education classrooms? I hope that the ALPTF considers the benefits of co-housing before automatically rushing to isolating stand alone solutions for APP elementary. Many of us at Thurgood Marshall have found that co-housing does not have to be a zero-sum game, with winners and losers in the school. It can be a win-win model for all populations in the school. Yes, good leadership is critical to make it work, but many of us prefer co-housing under Julie to the old model at Lowell pre-split (in which we only co-housed with a small mostly separate special education population). I suggest you take a look at Thurgood Marshall's survey results to get a sense of what south end APP families are thinking.

You do make a good point that all of APP has been growing, and we need to address south-end growth as well as north-end growth. My concern is that you seem quick to assume that an APP-only school in the south end would be preferable for APP families or south-end children generally. I suggest you take a look at what is happening at Thurgood Marshall to see the synergies that are benefitting all of its students.
-- Co-housing is not a zero sum game
--

Jan said...

Co-housing: I thought Charlie's point was -- APP is going to get forced out of TM due to space, just like they were forced out of Lowell -- assuming that the TM neighboorhood starts to send their kids there in greater numbers. Co housing is a zero sum game in any school where the District has "lost control" of the ability to control the numbers for either, or both programs, at any point when those programs become popular. It failed miserably at Lowell, and isn't working well at Garfield or Hamilton.

Co housing could work fine if both programs are option programs where the District is in total control of seat counts.

Anonymous said...

Jan - Charlie is proposing an all-APP elementary at Wilson Pacific. APP North is already 550 kids and growing for next year, with no ability to control numbers since APP is a guaranteed assignment. Yes, guaranteed assignments cause capacity problems, but this is true with an all-APP school also. This is no different than two co-housed groups of 275. In fact, over the past 5 years, APP has grown faster than any other program in the district. Splitting APP North and co-housing may be a way to stem some of the school growth, especially if APP is co-housed with an option school, spectrum, etc. in which numbers can be managed. At APP North's current growth rate, it won't even fit into Wilson Pacific's proposed elementary capacity in 2017. in fact, even at a modest growth rate that is much slower than recent years' growth, APP north will be over 600-plus students in a few years, before it even is scheduled to move into Wilson Pacific. Co-housing is not the problem. Poor planning on the part of the district is the problem. Before the 1st split, Lowell parents did a detailed capacity analysis showing that both Thurgood Marshall and Lowell would quickly outgrow their new homes, and argued to keep T.T. Minor open. Likewise, everyone knew that the Garfield boundary was drawn too big under the new NSAP, and that Washington would get overcrowded with the closure of Meany as a middle school. The reality is that finding a stable home for a growing program is always tough, but co-housing is not the villain. The national reputation of Garfield is evidence that we can have a strong inner city school serving a mix of kids, including APP students. The solution to capacity problems is not segregating our students.
- Cohousing is not a zero sum game

Lori said...

co-housing wrote, "APP North is already 550 kids and growing for next year..."

Actually, Lowell@Lincoln has about 425 kids this year, give or take a few. There are 17 classes with roughly 25-26 kids/class.

And, surprisingly, the latest number that I've heard for next year puts enrollment at around 480 students, much lower than the earlier projections. Over one hundred families toured, but if the latest number is accurate, not very many opted in for next year.

Anonymous said...

From 425 to 480 is two+ classes, that's still over 10% growth. My guess is that the uncertainty around its location after next year was enough to convince some families to stay where they are. Hey, maybe that's how they can control the numbers...

observer

Jan said...

Cohousing is not a game:

Hmm. Good points, all. Here are my thoughts (but I defer to both you and Charlie, who seem much more deft with these numbers:

1. Control of numbers: APP is odd here, in that a number of things go into the possible number of qualified and attending kids. First, while in once sense, admission to the "program" is guaranteed -- they can play (and have in the past played) with qualification threshold. This doesn't seem to be the thread to debate whether the bar should be higher, lower, is just right, or should be calculated on different tests. But -- there is that, if the numbers get too out of hand. From my perspective, I am most concerned that the "group of kids" (however you define them) for whom giftedness truly means that they cannot be reasonably served in a regular/differentiated program -- and who need a cohort of similarly gifted kids in order to learn well -- get that. I will defer to others on what that group is -- I only know it DOES exist, as I have seen with my own eyes some of those kids fail in regular classes and thrive in APP. (And I concur that SOME of them seem to do great in other places -- but not all of them, and we owe ALL of them a shot at reaching their potential).

Setting aside tinkering with the admissions criteria, the other two factors for SNAPP seem to be:
(2) negative effects of fiddling with/dismantling Spectrum programs that have served some APP qualified kids well in the past and allowed them to attend neighborhood schools, and (3) moving the program north -- so that a chunk of kids whose parents simply refused to bus them to Lowell (and either kept them in local Spectrum programs, or went private, or homeschooled, or whatever) now choose to send them to APP north. To the extent that these things have put pressure on the growth of the population -- they are finite. If 40% of north APP kids went to Lowell (I am making up numbers here, to argue the point), and now 75% go to L@L, because it is more accessible -- I don't know whether a move to Wilson Pacific will hold that number, or move it slightly up or down. But at some point, SNAPP will have captured all of the increase that there is to be captured by a north move (the rest are parents who still want the local neighborhood school, or a private school -- and are not inclined to make a switch based on the program's migration north.

cont'd

Jan said...

Cont'd:
All in all, while population growth can always cause pressure, I think that co-housing with any other program that cannot be totally controlled (in terms of population) is hazardous for
APP, as the District (and many non-APP families) bear the program such ill-will. And, if it is an option spectrum program -- even the ability to control size may be insufficient, given the animus of many families towards APP.

If the District really wanted to take pressure off APP, they would reinvigorate Spectrum as a viable, attractive model that produces significant acceleration for spectrum qualified students in a number of north-end schools. THAT, I think, would allow many families who do not want their "gifted" children separated from their neighborhood schools to keep them there -- while taking the growth pressure off of APP and giving accelerated families a greater range of choices. But I am not holding my breath.

I am curious, though. If you were going to "cohouse" APP in the north end -- how would you propose to do it? Which schools would you co-house with? Partly, I am concerned that even now, the rigor of APP may be being compromised by wildly high staff turnover the past few years at Lowell, combined with the split from TM and the district's utter failure to keep its promises on curriculum. I am concerned that further splitting the program will continue to isolate the teachers attempting to ramp up their work with a unique population with very different learning styles and needs, and will degrade the quality of the teaching that goes on. (I confess, though -- this is all speculative. I have no concrete evidence (other than an indication that fewer of these kids qualify for some of the most rigorous private schools -- such as Lakeside -- than qualified a few years back, and even that is sort of hearsay).

Anonymous said...

Regarding Arbor Heights and BEX IV, I understand that SPS is approaching the options planning with the first priority of dealing with capacity issues as the number one priority. However, health and safety should not have to take a second seat to capacity. SPS needs to deal with capacity and health and safety simultaneously.

Overcrowded schools are a major problem, no question. But who are the "students without a classroom" that Charlie is referring to?? As uncomfortable and unacceptable as over-crowding in certain west Seattle schools is, there are not public school students that are sitting on the sidewalk without a placement in their reference school. There are however students at Arbor Heights Elementary sitting everyday in a school with mold, water that is not potable, exposed and frayed pipe insulation, portable classrooms with poor ventilation, deteriorated asbestos, and standing water beneath. A failing boiler that is in such bad shape that classrooms are in the low 50's in the winter, and blinds that are so broken and inadequate that if the school went on lockdown can't even cover the windows to follow protocol.

Charlie wrote about the re-build of Genessee Hill for Schmitz Park happening earlier in the timeline so that Schmitz Park would not have to use the interim site at Boren. But then writes that it is worth discussion for Arbor Heights to be housed at the interim site at Boren, and even co-housed with another elementary at that interim site. Why?? What in the world is going on here?? This is unacceptable to me.

I am a mom of two fantastic children. Arbor Heights is our neighborhood school, and that's where I want both my kids to be--in Public school, in my neighborhood. Isn't this the goal? Isn't this what I am supposed to want? SPS is losing neighborhood kids left and right in Arbor Heights because of the condition of the building. We should be spending our time advocating for a better math curriculum, up-to-date technology, special programs, and enrichments. Yet here we are having to expend our energy advocating for the most basic need: a safe and heathy building. Advocating for a priority re-build of a school that is undeniably, unequivocally, and extensively documented to be one of the worst buildings in the entire Seattle school district.

AH

Melissa Westbrook said...

.."co-housing at new SLU school"

Look, APP is not going to continue to be this movable feast. Eventually co-housed schools (if there are 2 north and 2 south) will outgrow their buildings and then where? Split them again?

I ask you - who wants to co-house with APP? A forced marriage is not the way to do it.

Jan said...

I am confused, AH. I totally agree with you that Arbor Heights needs to be redone, but I thought that WAS in the plan. Is there a plan that leaves Arbor Heights in its current condition?

The students "without a classroom" are the northend APP kids, who were co-housed at Lowell (against everyone's better advice, but MGJ made it a policy to NOT listen to folks who actually knew anything) with a neighborhood. Within 2 years, although it had been APP's "home" for more than a decade, the Lowell building booted APP out. They are now "temporarily" at Lincoln -- but with nowhere, NOwhere as a permanent home, either to go to or return to. They will never fit back into Lowell, unless the neighborhood program left, which it will never be asked to do to make room for APP (especially since it is not even the right part of town for the northend kids). To make room in the first place for the attendance area program, MGJ had already broken apart the program, sending the south end kids to TM (while ignoring all the promises made in the process, like the one for a written, tested curriculum), and leaving the "silliness" of a northend program south of the ship canal. Now that they are actually NORTH of the canal, it is going to be even more absurd to try to "relocate" them south again -- but, of course, there is nowhere for them to go, on a permanent basis, in the north end.

All kids in schools being completely torn down and redone (which is what Arbor Heights seems to need, right?) spend a year or two at an "interim site." Mine did the trek from the CD to Lincoln for 2 years while Garfield was being rebuilt, as did the Roosevelt and Ballard kids before them. Isn't that all Charlie is talking about? What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

Lori - L@L has been projecting 550 for next year for several months now. Perhaps you have the latest enrollment figures issued last week and they are a full 70 kids lower than projections -- that is quite a big swing.
-- Lowell watcher

Anonymous said...

Lori --
Lowell's "Talking points around capacity and APP" sent to Lowell families and posted on the PTA web site prior to the BEX 4 public meetings says, "Lowell is expected to have 550 students next year." If enrollment really came in 70 kids lower than projections, that is a huge difference, particularly since by April Lowell knew how many kids tested in & toured. If as you claim L@L only has 425 kids this year. (sounds low) and they were projecting 550 kids as recently as early April, that is a 30% projected annual increase - huge even by Lowell standards.
-- SPS parent

Anonymous said...

I have had some thoughts rattling around about a
L this. One is that if you look at the wait list data for this year, Jane Addams has a wait list for kindergarten of only 13 kids, compared with a wait list of 62 at TOPS, 54 at Salmon Bay, 45 at Pathfinder, and 34 at South Shore (so, comparing it with other K-8s). People aren't choosing JA at the rate that they are choosing other option schools. Maybe the district looked at that data and decided JA doesn't need the amount of space they have now and their needs can be met in a smaller building?

I am not super jazzed about SLU either, but I have an idea for it: put the entire APP cohort back together in the SLU building. I was in the APP program as a kid back when it was IPP and it was at Madrona, and back then we had all sorts of problems with it being cohoused. So, put the APP program solely in its own building, centrally located, with easy access to museums and other enrichment stuff, and voila, APP in SLU. And if they ever do have enough kids living downtown to need a building, which I doubt (how many 3 bedroom condos/apartments are there downtown for under a million bucks?) then they have one...but in the meantime, Wilson Pacific can be used to help with crowding up north, and APP gets reunited in a central location. Plus, it goes with the theme of putting everything back like it was before the last round of closures. Short of that, an SLU building is a total boondoggle in my opinion.

I also don't get the plan to leave Thorton Creek in that tiny building that they have already outgrown, while the neighborhood kids get a brand new building on the same site. TC is already half in portables, they deserve a building that meets their needs. How u fair will it seem to the kids in that program to watch a new building being out up on their campus while they walk into their portables?

One thought about North Beach: if it gets expanded, I would expect the to absorb some of the Broadview-Thomson reference area--the rich part by the water--which means B-T would have more space...for when Charlie's nightmare of half the North APP cohort going to BT and half at Lowell comes to fruition.

The good news is, my kid got into Queen Anne and they will probably get an addition...about the time his younger sister is in first grade there.

-Incoming Parent

Doris said...

As a north end app parent, I would never say what is best for south app. As a general app parent, however, I would support what they say is best for their population and help them fight for it when it comes time. Regardless if it's what we have or not.

Lori said...

Lowell Watcher and SPS Parent, I'm a L@L parent who is trying to follow the issues closely. I'm not sure why people think that there are 550 students there this year, which is what someone claimed earlier in the thread and I was trying to clarify.

There are in fact 17 APP classrooms at L@L this year, and each has 20-some kids in it.

I didn't say 425 was the precise number, but it's in that ballpark given the number of classes and the number of kids per class. Some classes have 23-24 kids, while others have 26-28. No class that I know of has more than 30 kids in it.

Someone calling themselves "co-housing" said that L@L has 550 kids this year with more coming next year. That's just not true. There are not 550 kids there this year. And, as families heard this week, there will not be 550 kids there next year either. It sounds like there won't even be 500 kids next year. I trust the source of the latest numbers, and I know it's a lot lower than what was originally projected.

I'm sorry if I caused confusion. At the end of the day, the take-home message is that none of us know how many APP kids there will be in 2017 when/if the program moves into a new building at Wilson Pacific. Claims that the program will be too big to fit into a 650-student building 5 years from now seem premature to me.

Anonymous said...

About K enrollment at the K-8 schools, Jane Addams has 3 K classrooms while TOPS, Pathfinder, and Salmon Bay all have only 2. Additionally, JA is only 2 years old while the others are much more established. JA has an excellent program, and is becoming known as a desirable school.

I think the move will be good for us. There is mention of building our own outdoor environmental learning center & greenhouse. The parent community is hugely involved and everyone works hard to make this a quality school (ie. lots of volunteer hours).

JA parent

Anonymous said...

Hi Jan,
To clarify, the concern from many at Arbor Heights Elementary is not the idea that the school will be rebuilt--it's the timeline of when they are proposing to do so--not opening until 2018. (although in the first round of BEX options did not include AH at all in one of the 3 options but that's another story). Regarding this current scenario in West Seattle, an AH rebuild would come *after* opening Fairmont Park in 2014, a rebuild of Genesee Hill for Schmitz Park in 2015, and opening Hughes in 2016. My issue is strictly with the fact that considering the dire condition of the AH building now, that a rebuild can not wait until 2018.

I know I don't want to move Arbor Heights to the interim site at Boren (let alone co-house 2 elementary schools at Boren as was suggested in a previous comment in regards to having AH and STEM there together). As we wait for a rebuild. Our wish would be:
1. AH rebuilt by 2015
2. Remain in our current building while the new building is constructed adjacent to it.

I hope that helps clarify what my concerns for Arbor Heights here were.

I was reading Charlie's comment about "students without classrooms" to be talking only about students *in West Seattle schools* specifically, not APP or in other areas. Not sure if I misunderstood as he said...

"I know that the building at Arbor Heights is dreadful, but the District needs to take care of students who have no classroom before they take care of students who have a crappy one. The students with no classroom have first dibs on the interim space at Boren."

AH

Anonymous said...

Lori - no one said L@L had 550 this year. Two people used Lowell PTA's own taking points to say Lowell has been predicting 550 for next year, not this year. This prediction was posted on lowell's web site for a long time in its talking points, and this document was distributed widely to the parents and others in the district as talking points for the BEX 4 meetings. 425 still sounds low for this year - sounds like you were guessing based on low assumptions for average class size. The numbers are out and the Lowell PTA could easily provide this year's numbers and next year's.
-- SPS parent

Charlie Mas said...

Co-housing is not a zero sum game asked: "Charlie - why do you say Wilson pacific is the only possible building for APP north - Lowell at Lincoln?"

Because there literally are no other acceptable options. There is no other building with the right size and location for a one-school solution. Lincoln and John Marshall are needed as interim locations for the next five years and then Lincoln will be needed as a high school. And a two-school solution would require finding two buildings - one in the northeast and one in the northwest - of the right size and location. While Wilson could be the school for the northwest, there is no space available in the northeast. I suppose that a Magnolia/Wilson plan is theoretically possible, but it is a terrible solution while using just Wilson is a much better one.

Your proposal won't work. Count the butts and seats. The APP students from the McClure and Hamilton service areas at the SLU school is a much smaller cohort than the APP students from the Whitman, Pacific, Eckstein, and Addams service areas that you would gather together in Wilson. Certainly not half and half.

APP south may be happy with the co-housing model at Thurgood Marshall but it is completely unsustainable. The school is already adding two portables and there aren't any attendance area students there. They are on the exact same path as Lowell. The exact same capacity crisis is coming.

Do I really think the district would allow APP to kick out the low income minority kids from a school named after Thurgood Marshall to make room exclusively for APP kids? Yes, I do. There is no other option. Should the District move 300 kids out of the building and leave it empty (see Lowell) or should the District move 100 kids out of the building and leave it full? If the goal is to disrupt the least number of students then it is the general education population that should leave - especially since they have access to a large number of available seats nearby. You can play racist and classist games by dividing them between APP and "low income minority kids", but they are all kids.

I'm not resistant to considering the co-housing model. It would take a school with a capacity of at least 700 and it would have to be with an option program rather than an attendance area program. It might be able to work with a smaller building if the co-housed program were one that can operate with less than a full size cohort because they can form a learning community with APP. This would be a Spectrum program or a Montessori program. There are no suitable buildings for such a co-housing situation.


Co-housing is not a zero sum game wrote: "Thurgood Marshall can hold 2 co-housed groups."

No. It can't. That statement is simply false. They are adding portables for next year and will soon explode.

I assure you that the ALPTF is not being "quick to kick out the general education classrooms". The Task Force has made no such decision. We haven't even discussed the idea. I assure you that the ALPTF has considered the benefits of co-housing. We would love to do it, but it simply isn't on the menu. We cannot place programs without buildings and there are no such buildings.

Charlie Mas said...

Splitting north-end elementary APP into two cohorts would not slow the growth of the program but speed it. With two locations the assigned school would be closer to students' homes and more eligible students would participate thanks to the proximity.

Any talk of splitting the program into two cohorts, each co-housed with an option program presumes the availability of a building for this co-housed school to occupy. There are no such buildings. There is no existing option program in a building with 250 available seats. This solution requires the creation of a new school and a new option program. The two best spots for such schools would be the new school building proposed for Wilson in the northwest and the new school building proposed for the Thornton Creek campus in the northeast. The District needs the new Thornton Creek building as an attendance area school. Right now they have 300 students from that overcrowded area leaving it to go to school. They do not want to bring them back to take up seats that they need for other students from that area.

The suggestion that Wilson could be the location for the northeast and that SLU (if any such school is built) or Magnolia (the only other available site - at a cost of over $20 million) would work for the northwest could only be made by someone who never had to stop for the Ballard bridge.

Charlie Mas said...

Enrollment numbers for Lowell are difficult to understand because they are sometimes for "Lowell at Lincoln", sometimes for "Lowell-Capitol Hill", and sometimes for all of Lowell, combining the two campuses.

This is still regarded by the district as one school in two locations.

I have been told that the enrollment at Lowell at Lincoln this year is 431 and that the projected enrollment for Lowell at Lincoln next year is something like 480. This is, of course, just a projection.

Let's remember also that APP students from the McClure service area are now assigned to Lowell at Lincoln, the northern part of the program, instead of Thurgood Marshall in the southern part of the program. If the District had an interest in balancing the cohorts, they would re-direct the McClure service area students to the southern location.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, how many APP kids from the McClure cluster will that be? Also given it's DeBell's voter base, do you think it's possible to send these kids South? Presently, L @ L and Hamilton is a lot closer commute and thus easier to be part of the community than TM and Washington given the mess downtown construction is these days.

mag mom

Another JA Parent said...

@JA Parent:

I completely agree that the Cedar Park move will overall be a good thing. I question the district's ability and will to follow through with it, though. In two months we've heard of around four proposals. They need to publicly commit to this latest one. In writing.

Anonymous said...

Charlie -- in your rush to kick the diverse gen ed program out of thurgood, you are ignoring the fact that there are currently 3 populations at Thurgood. The 25 student PEACE academy (not neighborhood kids but they deserve a good, stable centrally located home) currently occupies 4 full classrooms plus a therapy room. Reducing Thurgood to just 2 programs by relocating the PEACE academy would provide room for over 100 more general ed and APP students without kicking out any neighborhood kids or redrawing of boundaries. It is troubling that the district ignored concerns expressed 4 years ago that Thurgood would be overcrowded with 3 programs. More thoughtful planning would have co-housed 2 programs
at thurgood Marshall and not 3. It seems you want to get rid of cohousing at thurgood instead of figuring out ways to keep a good thing going.
- south end parent

Charlie Mas said...

Wow, South End Parent. Do you think I have horns and a tail?

In my "rush to kick the diverse gen ed program out of thurgood". Nice way to characterize it. Was there a rush to kick APP out of Lowell, the school that had been theirs for fifteen years? I don't remember you characterizing it that way. Please remind me.

Try this: there is a problem. I'm looking for a solution. I'm looking for the most acceptable and least disruptive solution.

Some people are denying that there's a problem. Are you one of them?

Some people are looking for a solution which is less disruptive for a few students even if it is more disruptive for three times as many other students. Are you one of them?

So your proposal is that the PEACE academy leaves. Okay. Then what do we do when families in the Thurgood Marshall attendance area actually start accepting the default assignment to the school - or do you think that there are only 120 school-age students living in that attendance area?

Charlie Mas said...

By the way, South End Parent, when the general education program at Thurgood Marshall is just one class per grade, with whom will the teachers collaborate? With whom will they share their assessment of student work? Will all of the students in that program have the same classmates for six years? Is 120 students enough of a critical mass to form a professional learning community?

Anonymous said...

JA Parent, I didn't mean to disparage JA's program, I think it's a great one. I'm just saying that could be why they're thinking you guys will be OK in a smaller building, since your numbers aren't exploding.

-Incoming Parent