That leaves the community and the district that may not like the idea of losing a $73M building to a charter entity.
One thing to keep in mind - ALL charters are their own districts. If they take over a district building, they can decide the parameters - within the law - of public use just as SPS does. If you use a school building for your local community meetings or Boy Scouts, you might have to find someplace else to go.
I also don't know what it would mean for the joint-use agreement that SPS has with Parks for SPS playfields. I would assume if a charter group takes over the building and its grounds and is its own district, they don't necessarily have to hold to the SPS/Parks agreement.
For those of you who don't know, South Shore has a long history in the district. What happened is that Stuart Sloan, of QFC fame, wanted to help SPS. That help first took the form of helping TT Minor which was a struggling elementary. I don't know exactly why but the help came mostly to part of the school (I think it was grades K-2 but not 3-5). You can imagine the issues that engendered and so that was abandoned.
The district then allowed the foundation, which was called the New School Foundation, to open South Shore at the old Sharples building. About this time, the amount given to the school was about $1M a year and again, I'm not sure everything it supported but it did support some wrap-around services to low-income students.
Their move to Sharples wasn't exactly greeted with open arms as it was practically in the backyard of Dunlop Elementary and just down the road - a mile or so - from K-8 African-American Academy. There was a struggle for students and when South Shore offered free pre-K, it got worse.
When you have a large number of low-income children, you can imagine the need. But you can also imagine that any school in that category would have loved $1M extra a year.
I will also note that somehow - and I stand by this statement - South Shore got pushed to the top of BEX III even though they clearly were NOT in one of the worst buildings in the district. It was a '70s open concept building with issues but one of the worst? No.
Because they got picked, it meant that Pathfinder K-8 in West Seattle didn't even though their entire middle school was in portables and their building was older and worse off. So the district HAD to find a better building for Pathfinder, chose Cooper, scattered Cooper's students (and took a neighborhood school off-line) and now, well, you can see the capacity issues in West Seattle quite clearly because of this decision. South Shore also has one of the more overbuilt schools in the district complete with a rotunda.
But someone here raised the question: how is South Shore doing after all those years of extra dollars? I did a fairly quick check of all the K-8s and South Shore does well.
Frankly, if we are "data-driven" district, then I see a red flag, a flare, something that screams out to me and that's WHAT'S UP WITH THE MATH?
Clearly, something isn't working. You can see good reading scores and then...the math scores. It's hard to see how kids do uniformly well in reading and yet not do well in math. (And by well, I'd like to see over 60%.)
Looking at K-8s (scores from 2011-2012):
Blaine has the least F/RL at 16% with 13% Special Ed. They have fairly high reading scores (90% for 4th grade, 76% for 8th grade) and even math scores at about 75%.
TOPS has FR/L of 30% plus 14% Special Ed and 11% ELL. TOPS has nearly 80% of both 4th and 8th graders passing reading. Their math scores are about the same as each other at about 70%. TOPS 4th grade math scores are telling across three years; 2009 - over 80%, 2010, under 60%, 2011, 70%. What's happening here?
ORCA has about 32% F/RL with 14% Special Ed. Their reading scores for both 4th/8th grade are about 66% but for math, while 4th has 51% passing, 8th has just 32% (and that 32% is a rise from previous years).
Pathfinder is about 36% FR/L with 26% Special Ed. Their 4th grade reading scores are good at about 74% but their 8th reading scores are at 93%. That is a GREAT trend to see. But again, you see the math scores down there with 4th at 56% and 8th at 48%.
Jane Addams is at 44% F/RL with 16% Special Ed and 15% ELL. (I want to point out that like Broadview-Thompson, which is also in the northend, they carry a large diversity of students.)
JA has some of the more disappointing scores vis a vis the progress from 4th to 8th. Fourth grade reading is 77% but drops to 59% in 8th. Math at 4th is 65% but drops to 55% in 8th.
Broadview-Thompson has a F/RL rate of 60% with 19% Special Ed and 18% ELL. What is interesting is that 4th grade reading was at a high of 78% but the 8th grade is down at 50%. The math is at 4th grade of 67% and 8th grade at 48%. Not good trending to be going down but they have a big load of diverse students.
So you can look at those last three - the ones with the highest need and see the difference that the money that comes into South Shore might make. South Shore and B-T are nearly the same size (605-660) but Madrona is an anemic 368 (and in a large building so that is a sad thing to not see a nice building filled).