Friday, December 20, 2013

Seattle Schools and Transportation

Apparently, I did not hear/understand Bob Westgard of SPS Logistics correctly yesterday in my reporting on coming changes in transportation. 

First, the total number of students that may be impacted is 1,000 with under 300 being students at Option schools. 

Second, the standardization of times are for ARRIVAL, not bell times. 

Here's the handouts:
Transportation Service Standards 2014-2015Here's the section on Option Elementary/K-8 Schools
4. Option Elementary / K-8 Schools – Option School Elementary and K-8 students whose transportation service address is within the boundaries of their service area or linked service area and outside of the designated walk boundaries are eligible for transportation. District arranged transportation is provided for those students attending an elementary or K-8 Option School in their service area or linked service area. ORCA cards may be provided for 6th through 8th grade students who live within the boundaries of Seattle Public School District choosing a school outside of their service area, if they live farther than 2.0 miles of the school.

Exceptions are allowed in the following areas:

a. Students who require specialized transportation services as determined by their Individualized Education Program (I.E.P.).

b. Students requiring medical transportation as approved by District Health Services.

One thing to point out is that yesterday Director Blanford asked why there are 11 different transportation situations and the answer was "well, there used to be 26."  If you go to the last page of this particular document, you see many exceptions and there's your answer.  The district chooses to have a more complicated system than most districts. 

Here's the Board Action Report for this proposal.

Transportation Standards Options for FY15.   Trying to get to just three arrival times which would affect 21 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 4 high schools and 10 K-8s.  


Anonymous said...

In the last linked document what does "2nd tier" mean? -Was There

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Melissa. I think I'm missing something, though. It sounds like the proposal is to set a total of three start times for all schools for 2014-2015 (and beyond?), but I'm not seeing which schools would have which start times. Is there a link to that info?

-West Seattle Parent

Anonymous said...

Don't kid yourselves, parents. Transportation is sunsetting. It is a highly visible target for Olympia to hit, because bus dollars do not equate to classroom dollars, and that is what all the fuss is about. Disregard this advanced warning at your own peril if you are wholly bus-dependent and utterly entrenched in an 'external' school community. Transportation is part of what will kill the option programs of Seattle. You may not see this coming now, and, it is easy to miss, but the budget woes of this District coupled to the budget woes of this State in the context of our District's capacity problem spell trouble for alternatives that are option-enrolled. They are going to end up squeezed, very very squeezed.

-clipped busses

Christina said...

Is "issued ORCA Cards" code for "we're swallowing the $5 card issuing fee but the onus is on the students or their families to fund the cards adequately for Metro ridership"?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, Melissa, and also thank you for going to the Ops Committee meeting.

I'm confused, because I thought that option school students currently only receive transportation if they live within the option school's middle school service area or linked middle school service area?

Maybe the affected students they are referring to are losing transportation because of JAMS coming online with its own attendance area?

I can see this affecting JA K-8 students who live in what will become the new Eckstein service area, since JA K-8 would be considered to be within what will be the JAMS attendance area (even when located in interim at John Marshall).

Also, it will affect Thornton Creek families who live within the new JAMS attendance area, since Thornton Creek will remain in the Eckstein attendance area.

I wonder where Pinehurst/AS-1 fits in? Would their attendance area be JAMS (based upon their current location), or would they now be considered in the Whitman attendance area for 2014-15, since the Peaslee amendment has them eventually going to Wilson-Pacific?

Was there any mention of special transportation for schools that will be at interim sites next year???

It would be nice if grandfathering could continue until the kids who enrolled pre-NSAP were out of the system, but I guess for students attending K-8 schools, that could be a long time?

Also, do you know if there has been an analysis done to predict what transportation savings, if any, will be realized by JAMS coming online? It seems like they will save some money not transporting NNE kids to Eckstein?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

As to transportation, did anyone notice that the sped kids got no transportation on Friday? Sped kids with door-to-door were not even in school. Just another "oh well". Transportation needs to include alternate routes for special education student bus riders (like everyone else) instead of just considering that their education doesn't matter - at all. When everyone else goes to "snow routes", special education students go to "no routes". Nice.

sped parent

Lynn said...

North-end Mom,

It looks like affected students will be:

1. Students at K-8 and K-5 option schools who live outside the school's service area and had been grandfathered to receive transportation.

2. Laurelhurst students grandfathered at Hamilton.

3. Students from the McClure, Whitman, Eckstein and JAMS service areas who attend Hamilton for continuing language immersion services.

Lowell parent said...

Sounds reasonable that a kid coming from the North end not receive bussing to Tops or a similar situation.If you want your kid to go to one of the numerous option programs, you should drive him.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And Lowell parent, that means any choice is narrowed for parents who can't drive their child to school and there's not decent public transportation.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And Lowell parent, that means any choice is narrowed for parents who can't drive their child to school and there's not decent public transportation.

Anonymous said...

Wait - is it the District's problem that there is a lack of "decent public transportation"??? Isn't that Metro's issue? Or the City's for not requiring developers to pay adequate impact fees to support better transit and/or schools?
Really, in an era of diminishing dollars you can't have everything. Option implies choice. If that choice means you have to figure out alternative transport so be it.


name said...

Right. And only priveged people should have choices. Those without should be grateful there is even a traditional neighborhood school for them. Who cares if their child need a different educational environment. Option schools should be reserved for families with means to escape their unsavory neighborhood school.

If a choice is offered it should be available to all and include transportation. That doesn't mean they can't get creative about how that transportation looks. It doesn't have to be an expensive, yellow bus.

Peanut said...

My kids attend an option K-5, and we are within walking distance of both our elementary AA and the option K-5.

I've read and re-read the transportation info, and I can't understand it. Can someone help translate it? I care about providing transportation, not because it affects our family directly, but because it affects our school.

If we were an ELL household, we wouldn't even try, given that description. It's English, but it doesn't make any sense.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Drorbaugh:

I'd like to let you know that our house is within the Wilson/Pacific walk zone, when WP is ready for occupancy.

I have no objection to the distance or the route my child would be expected to navigate (on foot) to attend that school.

I have no objection to the 68 bus route that would have transported my child to Eckstein.

I do object to the Metro option of bus 75 (four stops) for my child's transportation to Jane Addams Middle School. The Yellow Bus option of having my child walk to NE 103rd and 5th Avenue NE to catch a bus at 7:10 is a non starter. The ten minute walk to arrive there puts her out the door at 7:00 am, fifty minutes prior to bell time for a 1.99 mile commute. By my calculation, 2.4 miles an hour.

I am having her use that bus to get home every afternoon, even though it is less than optimal. It is my understanding that this bus DOES drive along Roosevelt at NE 105th Street.

Therefore I am forced to drive to Jane Addams each morning, incurring costs to me that Seattle Schools appears to believe are acceptable. I am expecting, since Seattle Schools believes these costs to be acceptable, to be reimbursed for them.

Below find the analysis that supports this invoice (Sept/Oct2014):

Half an hour each day at $20 per hour, plus mileage at $.55 a mile, 3.99 miles round trip:

$10 for the half hour of my time plus the $2.20 is $12.20 per day. 42 days for September and October is $512.00

Please remit the $512.00 to:


You need to establish a Yellow Bus on Roosevelt to pick up those students displaced to Jane Addams from Eckstein.

The bus runs on Roosevelt already. Just establish a stop.

I will continue to invoice the district for my transportation costs as they are incurred, and expect to be reimbursed if a rational resolution is not offered.


Michele Drorbaugh, the District’s Transportation Manger forwarded your email to me for review.

I understand that changing schools can be very disruptive to our students and families, especially if there is a change in how a student travels to school.

In reviewing your correspondence, due to boundary changes to address capacity challenges, your student was reassigned from Eckstein to Jane Addams. As a result of the boundary change, your student is not eligible for yellow bus transportation in accordance with the District Transportation Standards.

However, per the Standards, your student was issued a Metro ORCA Card which is being utilized. Your student also has the option to apply for space available on a yellow bus, which you have chosen not to take advantage of.

I believe the Transportation Department has provided to you all transportation options allowed under the District Transportation Standards.

I thank you for taking the time to bring your concerns forward for review.


Bob Westgard

$200,000 worth of school district salaries telling me I can eat $512 every two months.