I am in receipt of an e-mail sent out to the Board, the Superintendent, the Seattle City Council, Mayor Murray and a few others in leadership. It is about a meeting about NW Center. It includes no wording about Cascade nor does it invite any of Cascade's leadership.
It is from a NW Center parent; I am checking to see if this has been done through NW Center.
I find that sad because NW Center seems to have gained quite an upper-hand in this situation from various government officials (including Rep. Reuven Carlyle who is hosting this meeting). I would love to know if Cascade is having a similar meeting and have an e-mail out to their principal to ask.
I find some of the wording to be not-so-fair to the situation.
"stop the eviction clock" - when it is not an eviction. (They call it an eviction twice.)
"honor our 28-year partnership" - does NW Center have a written partnership agreement with SPS? SPS Communications is not aware of any written partnership but it probably means based on the length of time NW Center has been in the building, NW Center believes it to be a partnership.
(The district also had a very long-term agreement with the tenants at Cedar Park. While that was a group of artists - and very different from the work NW Center does - I would need to know if SPS truly considered NW Center a partner and not a tenant.)
"bring all parties to the negotiation table; the City, District, and Northwest Center can craft a solution that keeps all programs intact" - well, that would be everyone but Cascade. Why would NW Center be part of a decision for Cascade? (emphasis mine)
They also say that their program should be "duplicated, not destroyed." I do not believe this is the district's intent at all. I do believe they are going to make a good-faith effort but to make it sound like this is some kind of goal seems wrong to me.
They say: ..."We request we request that the following parties make time to come to the negotiating table and not leave until an equitable solution is crafted:
• SPSD Superintendent Jose Banda
• SPSD Facilities Director Flip Herndon
• City Council Member Sally Bagshaw (Parks and Rec Committee Chair)
• City of Seattle Office for Education Director Holly Miller
• Northwest Center CEO Tom Everill
• NWC parent representative"
Well, that's quite the power play but unfortunately Sally Bagshaw and Holly Miller have absolutely no say in this matter. They can add their input from their respective point of views but that's about it.
They also say:
"Thanks to School Board Director Martin-Morris for this suggestion to bring all parties to a table."
Except that all parties are not at the table. Is this truly what Director Martin-Morris meant when he said "all parties?"
I truly understand the worry, the passion and the desire to keep this program alive. I have said that I think it best to leave NW Center where it is, given its established program, fragile population and the work done on the building.
That said, it seems they are trying to marginalize the Cascade program. Cascade IS an SPS program that I believe would likely grow if more parents knew of it AND they had a stable home. They are doing good work as well.
If I were the Board or Superintendent or district staff, I would not go to this meeting unless Cascade is included (if only to listen in). I would also gently say that the expectation that one meeting would fix everything for NW Center is less-than-realistic.