For your consideration:
- the Downtown Seattle Association has made the unfortunate decision to continue to pressure the Board/City Council for a downtown school. To their credit, they took a meeting with me and I outlined why, at this juncture, it was bad timing. I also gently put forth that if one of the South Lake Union businesses would donate a couple of floors, the district could roll out a K-8 or K-5 one year at a time and, by the time BEX V came, then they would get a real building. (I mean it's just plain funny to ask for money for a building when there is NO land to build on.)
They also apparently do not understand the severe and pressing needs elsewhere in the city despite my efforts to explain the overcrowding elsewhere AND the number of rundown schools.
They also say this:
A public school in Downtown could potentially serve not only families who live Downtown, but also Seattle residents who work Downtown.
That's all well and good but if we are building a school downtown, it's for downtown kids, not for the convenience of those who work there. That would be a great idea if we had the luxury of land, money and time but we do not.
- the Superintendent told KING-5 that he thought BEX IV should come in around $600M. That's far lower than earlier estimates and that means a lot of pulling back on projects.
- The district is promising to move World School in 2017 to TT Minor. They will fix up TT Minor according to the architect's specs for World School and that takes more money than World School has been allotted. Guess where that extra money would have to come from? Yes, BEX IV. Is the district seriously going to not fulfill its promises to World School for the umpteenth time? But again, moving money to this project will change the number of projects that can be done.
- the threat of charters. So if 1240 passes in November, a clever charter might start its planning to take over a school (say South Shore) via the "trigger petition" and voila! gets their "share" of BEX IV dollars if it passes in Feb. 2013. Now would South Shore as a new building need that money? Probably not but they would be entitled to it.
Only conversions could get their hands on BEX IV dollars but I suspect that could be several tries to take over different schools. Any levy enacted - even after the conversion - that charter school gets their share of dollars, operational or capital.
Could parents tell the Board - come out against charters, each and every one of you or we won't vote in BEX IV? Maybe. It certainly would be a difficult position for the Board but it would get each of them on record. (Interestingly, Sherry Carr is one of the hosts of a LEV PAC event coming up and we all know LEV is one of the 1240 supporters.)
What do you want to tell the Superintendent and the Board about BEX IV?