I attended the BEX IV meeting at McClure last Thursday. More on that in a moment.
Want to make your voice heard? Write the BOARD. Don't write the district, write the Board. They will make the final choice.
Let me say that given the push from the Downtown Association, they have heard loud and clear from some of those folks. (And, they have probably heard from the City Council and the Mayor as well.) They need to hear from YOU.
Write them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now our friends at the Times printed an op-ed from a nice parent on Queen Anne/downtown. I would gently say this woman gets a few things wrong but she is certainly entitled to her opinion.
I would say, though, that EVERY neighborhood should be entitled to ITS own op-ed to advocate for the schools in its region. So here's the link to the Times' op-ed guidelines and I urge you to write one for your region/school.
There is no reason why the Times should show any favoritism to any one area and if this is the only op-ed they do print, well, that would be mighty suspicious. Almost like they wanted to help just one area of the city when their readers need to be educated that nearly every single area of the district needs capital help.
Now to the BEX meeting. I'd say there were about 50 people there. Directors DeBell and Carr were there (although DeBell seems to have heard this before and chose to have a conversation with a parent while the meeting was going on). I also note that the staff presentation ran long.
The video was okay - I wasn't really offended but I have to wonder why the district needed to spend the money and the time to do this. I did smile when the principal at South Shore talked about the "amazing, beautiful space" at that school. My belief is that if 1240 comes through, South Shore will get taken over and she will stay in that "amazing" space that the charter has now taken from the district.
I also smiled at the video explaining how Denny/Sealth have new athletic fields. Yes, those would be the ones we paid for...twice. It's a sad thing to be paying over and over for the same thing.
As for the questions, both written and oral, well, I was a bit surprised. Maybe not that many people came from other parts of the city (although I saw that Wedgwood and Thorton Creek parents had a presence) but it was very focused on QA/downtown. I rarely see that heavy a focus on one area when it's a issue that is district-wide.
Now some of you reported that at other BEX IV meetings there was some discontent shown at the mention of a downtown school. Not here and there was quite a push for it.
I did get up and ask that those gathered to consider what will happen to BEX money if I-1240 passes. I explained that charters, both conversion and new, will take both operations and capital money and that will further thin the pot to all schools. I personally find it disagreeable for public funds to go to private buildings and their maintenance but that's just me.
Again, passage of I-1240 means that all the BEX IV plans really shift but how much is anyone's guess. However, the amount might not change the major projects but it certainly could affect which schools get seismic upgrades (or the district will have to pull back on major projects to support seismic work).
Which would you pick - making sure schools that need seismic upgrades get them or additions/redos of a few buildings?
Those are the hard choices that will have to be made about BEX IV money (if it passes) and if I-1240 passes.