To understand: coming up fast is the possibility of very overcrowded high schools. Not 5, 10 years out but probably three years. But a three-year plan may be all that is possible at this point especially since the needs/growth is very different for each region of the district.
And guess what? Nearly out of inventory. Where will everyone go? Will the district go to shifts (and they have done this in the past)? Portables?
The reader's basic thoughts:
- get this out to the Seattle legislators. We need help.
- get high school on the table now. High schools are high stakes for students and parents.
- fix the worst of the BEX mistakes. There were many but all of the stuff they added at the last second is just flawed.
If 100% of BEX projects were live today, there would already be a capacity shortfall in certain regions. I believe this capacity shortfall needs to be day-lighted in the community meetings next week. There is a wide spread belief that relief from over-crowding is coming. However, that is only true for some geographic regions. Other regions are going to continue to get more crowded. (And Lincoln and Boren - the go-to interim sites - are now housing permanent programs.)
The "blind spot" that I am talking about is that there are certain neighborhoods that persistently receive a disproportionate share of enrollment instability. In other words, there are a few neighborhoods that receive the most extensive changes in this plan, in the last plan and in the plan before that. If there is any possible mitigation for neighborhoods that have received more than their fare share of instability, that would be a very appropriate and important use of resources.
The subject of growth boundaries for high school is not planned for this year. This is not because there aren't high school capacity problems already and seemingly more on the way, but rather because there aren't any easy solutions for high school.
(It was called out at the Hale meeting that high school seems to be on the backburner for current growth boundary discussions and that course was called into question. It remains to be seen if the district should have looked at all K-12 or just K-8 and then visit high schools in a few years. That they are going to reopen Lincoln seems to indicate they know there will be issues. I will also reemphasize that Roosevelt and Franklin will have light rail stations right next to them - meaning more density around them - and this could change the course of who goes to those schools.)
The current high school plan is to open Lincoln in 2019. This seems like it is unlikely to be enough. Most of the highs are full now and each grade cohort coming up is larger. We have a creative group of parents, are they are solutions out there?
There have a be a few ideas mentioned by parents at the last few meetings and all of them have major impacts on the plans on the table for this year so this year's plan will either support or limit the options for high school solutions.
Here are a few of the ideas I have heard:
- Move Denny to Boren and expand Chief Sealth, once the Arbor Heights remodel is complete. This is pretty inexpensive overall and will help Franklin and Garfield, which are both very full but means that Stem K-5 needs to find a long term home.
- Swap a few north end BEX projects. Swap the Wilson Pacific Elementary School and Lincoln High School projects. Wilson Pacific would then be a middle and high school campus and could benefit from a full size athletic field. Lincoln will never be a great high school campus. This would leave north end APP in Lincoln for the long haul. This would both save money, and get a high school on line at least two years sooner.
- The John Marshall building was originally the 9th grade campus for Roosevelt. Maybe we need to start looking for 9th grade locations.
- Move high school to an 8 period day. It would be a schedule challenge but some lucky kid might get a later start to their day!