Monday, September 23, 2013

Boundary Change push back

I've now heard of two neighborhoods that are not happy with boundary changes.

Members of the Hawthorne Elementary community is not happy about having their middle school assignment changed from Mercer to Aki Kurose.

Members of the Georgetown community are not happy about having their elementary school assignment changed from Maple to Van Asselt.

From a press release (yes, a press release!) about the Georgetown shift:

The boundary redrawing would move Georgetown kids from Maple to Van Asselt Elementary, which more than doubles the distance kids would need to travel to get to school. The proposed Growth Boundary changes would force young children to navigate busy streets and cross dangerous freight routes, some without sidewalks, up a narrow arterial to Van Asselt on Beacon Hill. The geography between the Georgetown neighborhood and Van Asselt is challenging, especially considering the complex series of off and on ramps to Interstate 5 that would mark the first leg of a child's journey. Walkability is listed in one fo the Seattle School's "guiding principles" in relation to Growth Boundary setting.

I can't tell what triggered the change for Maple's attendance area. It looks to me like the situation in Georgetown is a result of a shrinking attendance area for Kimball. Kimball's attendance area no longer reaches across Beacon Avenue, so Maple's attendance area has to take up everything west of Beacon and as far north as McClellan. Taking in the territory north of Jefferson Park means that Maple has to cede Georgetown. Dominoes.


Beacon Hiller said...

It looks like they got rid of the attendance area for Dearborn Park which is what created this domino effect of changes in the Mercer attendance area. If Dearborn park is to become an immersion school, why would it be an option rather than an attendance area school like Beacon Hill and Concord?

Anonymous said...

I know of another school that is quite unhappy with the proposed changes - north beach. Students who live literally across the street from the school would be bussed to LH. People are not happy. At all.

Jen C

Anonymous said...

Is this not what the 'walk the boundaries' invitation from the district is all about? To explain/revise boundaries based on items like unsafe/too challenging geography walk routes?

I like to think citizen input will make a difference since the district is asking for it. My friends plan to send in a couple comments.


Stu said...

I know that it's too much to ask that the people in charge of things like this actually understand topography but before ANY changes are proposed, staff should have to actually WALK the walk zone. A basic understanding of the lay of the land could go a long way to see that there are other things than address that define a neighborhood.

Over the years, I've been amazed at how many times our bus stop was moved across major arterials, once on the other side of an on-ramp to I-5, and how the concept of "neighborhood" has been expanded to include outlying areas while, on more than one occasion, boundaries were drawn that excluded houses a block away from an elementary.

I understand the concept of overcrowding, though so much of this was self-inflicted by a staff that doesn't really like to use data to drive decisions -- even when someone like Meg Diaz hands it to them -- but continuity and predictability should not be sacrificed for expediency.

Predictable assignments, predictable paths, predictable availability of programs (ALO, Spectrum, etc) mean predictable class size and community involvement. This isn't rocket science, which is a good thing 'cause I don't think rocket science is offered.


Charlie Mas said...

That's it! It's the elimination of the Dearborn Park attendance area that started the dominoes in the Mercer service area.

Some language immersion schools, Dearborn Park, JSIS and McDonald, have to be an option schools because there isn't a native speaking population in the neighborhood. Others, such as Concord and Beacon Hill, have native speakers in the neighborhood and don't need to be option schools to get them in.

There is also, in the case of JSIS and McDonald, some concern about the school becoming overcrowded as the appeal of language immersion draws families to the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, won't converting immersion schools to option schools just exacerbate the capacity shortage, since the option schools can set caps on enrollment? That means non-option schools will have to absorb more students.


Beacon Hiller said...

Hmm, but JSIS and and McDonald have 4% and 0% English Language Learners (respectively) according to the most recent school reports while BH and Concord have 43% and 40%. Dearborn Park has 31% I wonder what the logic was in grouping it with the option schools. Not enough native speakers of in any one language?

Anonymous said...

What are the geographical zones going to be around the ELL schools? Can't tell if boundaries work for Dearborn, McDonald, JSIS unless parents know this detail.


Charlie Mas said...

Here's an interesting tidbit:

When Mercer and Aki Kurose swap Hawthorne for Wing Luke, it moves about 350 students from the Aki Kurose attendance area to the Mercer attendance area. It's not a straight swap.

If you check the capacity of Hawthorne and Wing Luke you'll see that Wing Luke is being rebuilt for 660 students while Hawthorne's capacity is about 300.

If Mercer is already overcrowded and Aki Kurose has space, why would the District do this swap that moves 350 students into the crowded school from the school with space available?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that John Stanford and McDonald will be option schools in name-only and will continue to serve only kids that live in the neighborhood (due to geozones that I'm guessing will mirror the current attendance boundaries). If John Stanford and McDonald truly let in kids from outside Wallingford, then I have a hard time believing that the Wallingford kids will all fit in Greenlake elementary.

I believe that John Stanford and McDonald should be true option schools with access determined by lottery so that any kid has an equal chance of getting in - not just those who can afford to live in Wallingford. But I'm finding it hard to believe that this will actually happen. I would love to be wrong.


Anonymous said...

Anyone know how much extra capacity Greenlake has right now?


katie said...

Wing Luke and Bagley don't come online until 2020 at the earliest. Why are they doing the boundaries for those schools. It seems to be creating a whole lot of disruption for gains that won't be seen for a long time.

Charlie Mas said...

Wing Luke and Bagley are going to be pretty darn crowded when they get their bigger attendance area (and enrollment) before they get their bigger buildings.

Is Thornton Creek really the most urgent of these?

Anonymous said...

In the north-end, APP kids, most hailing from Eckstein and Hamilton service areas get a shiny new building at Olympic Hills. In the BEX planning process, this building was to be a "comprehensive" elementary school for the growing population of Lake City-area kids, complete with ELL, Sped, and preschool classes.

Meanwhile, the kids who live in low-income housing projects on either side of Lake City Way are drawn into the new Cedar Park School attendance area, in a barely-renovated 1950s relic of a building, with over 40% of the school in portables and insufficient core facilities.

Locals have started calling it "Trailer Park" instead of "Cedar Park," though the mother of all trailer parks will be on the Jane Addams parking lot, where up to an estimated 23 portables plus something called a "quad modular core space" will be placed.

Does SPS carry tornado insurance?

Trailer Trash

Anonymous said...

Even if the district actually allows kids from outside the geozones or neighborhoods to enroll in JSIS or McDonald, in my opinion, these schools would only be "options" in name only unless transportation is offered. Yes, I know: it will never happen.

A true option school is open district wide, by lottery, and provides transportation when needed.

Short of that, what we will still likely have is fake "option" schools, perpetuating unequal opportunities for language immersion.

--Tired of unequal access to LI

Charlie Mas said...

When will we be done reversing all of Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's decisions?

When will we be done paying for all of her mistakes?

The total cost of moving Meany, NOVA, and The World School out of their previous buildings to Meany and then moving Menay back to Meany, NOVA back to Mann, and The World School to where they could have gone in the first place is $100 million. And yet it was all done in the name of saving money.

That doesn't even count the cost of splitting middle school APP - which was made necessary by the Meany closure - and all of the attendant expense linked to that, including the overcrowding of Hamilton and the costs that created.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And Charlie, you always say that there never was a review of AL programs but Dr. Goodloe-Johnson DID have a review of APP. Of course, she never acted on it but the district paid for the review.

Anonymous said...

FYI FACMAC has completely argued against putting APP in Olympic Hills b/c there's no space to bring kids in from outside the area, there are so many kids - and that should be a neighborhood school. LOTS of pushback against the district on that decision. It was not FACMAC and not APP - it was all Teaching and Learning's Michael Tolley at the last minute pushing that Oly Hills APP bad idea, b/c he wants to divide up APP and stick it as far at the edge of the city as possible - the SPS plan involved busing kids from Laurelhurst up to Oly Hills! Michael Tolley doesn't care to try to understand capacity and won't listen to the experts who do. Please direct all program placement anger, whether it's over APP placement, option schools issues, or SpEd placement (PLEASE put the N-NE group of SpEd into the fully ADA compliant new Oly Hills building rather than a retrofitted old one! They're a way better fit than busing in APP!) But that's not where the district is proposing on the SpEd slides. Look at those. Get on the district and Michael Tolley's case - but APP is not the bad guy in this one. They really want to stay out of neighborhood schools b/c they've been burned that route too many times.
Signed, Whaaaat Plan?

Anonymous said...

When will we be done reversing all of Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's decisions?

When will we be done paying for all of her mistakes?

Let's remember M. Tolley was brought to Seattle by MGJ.

mirmac1 said...

Why is Banda blind to Tolley's incompetence and political machinations?