Friday, October 17, 2014

Seattle School Board Meeting, Part Two


About the Gates Foundation grant for a preschool at Bailey-Gatzert.  Several on the Board want a more careful explanation about who is in charge of what (like curriculum, alignment, costs) while a few on the Board want to grab this opportunity.  There seems to be confusion over what early learning is in SPS.  The Board will not be voting on this grant until November 19th, well after the election vote on the preschool props, 1A and 1B.

About the downtown school.  Some on the Board pressed for costs around finding room at other schools and the actual numbers for space for students in Central/downtown.  It is unclear what will actually happen but one thing that I believe is firmly settled is that the Board is not going to vote in to take on more debt to renovate the Federal Reserve building.  So unless some generous donor(s) come forward, it seems unlikely that the district will be given the Federal Reserve building.  However, the door is still open for the district to bid on the land/building should it go to auction.

End of summary 

This section of the Board meeting was largely dominated by the discussions around the Gates Foundation grant for a preschool at Bailey-Gatzert and about renovating the Federal Reserve building for a downtown school.   (I note that downtown school supporters of this effort are very careful to say they want a pre-k-5 school while the district makes no such promise.)

The first discussion was about the Gates grant and right away, I saw a problem.  (The discussion starts around minute 70.  The discussion around the downtown school starts around minute 124 and continues on here.)

So what's the issue?  Well, just weeks ago I sat in a Operations Committee meeting where Dr. Herndon put forth a report on the different renovations that would need to be done in order to find the room for downtown students at Bailey-Gatzert, Lowell and John Hay.  They had paid consultants to come in and do a complete review of every building.  It appeared from that report that B-G had little extra room for students AND the renovations would be too costly for the space created.

But now, for the Gates grant, something is different.

The whole grant is based on putting a preschool classroom at Bailey-Gatzert which currently does not have one.  Principal Greg Imel testified at the meeting.   He testified to the Board about this idea of a pre-k at B-G.  (Interestingly, he opened by saying he had been with the district for 35 years and started as a Sped teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing.  He said he was sad to see that the deaf/hard of hearing program had gone downhill.)

He really wants a pre-K as B-G is the highest poverty elementary in the district.  He said that 95% of their students live in poverty and 60 are homeless.  That is just a breathtaking set of stats.  (I note that Principal Imel left Whittier on his own accord to seek new challenges, first at Dunlap and now at B-G.  I know Principal Imel from the days when he was principal at Whittier during my sons' enrollment.  He is great principal with the highest integrity.  Anybody who tells you there are no great principals in SPS is wrong.)

He said the B-G community would be very excited to have this opportunity for a preschool.

Dr. Herdon testified that he went out and walked the facility to look at whether there is space. 

Now keep in mind that it is NOT just a classroom when you are talking about a preschool class.  It is separate bathrooms only for those students as well as a separate playground. 

He also said he checked with Enrollment for projections and B-G is a "bit" underenrolled and would be for the next couple of years.  He acknowledged that the Yesler Terrace project was going to be finished soon as well.

He did not reference downtown students at all.

What is also odd is that he said "for the sake of this grant for the next three years," there is space.  Almost as if it were a pilot project (just like the City's 1B).  

I had missed Principal Imel's input to the Board but ran into him afterwards and we stepped outside for a chat.  He said that B-G had been consistently underenrolled for several years now and he had had conversations with Tracy Libros about it as her office had projected higher enrollments that had not materialized.  So they don't just have one classroom of space but are underenrolled by about 80-100 students.  And they have seven acres of land.

When I asked him about downtown school students he said, "I agree with you on that.  We ARE the downtown school."

Naturally, this is all troubling.  What was fun to see is how this issue later ran smack dab into the Federal Reserve building discussion.  (But no directors made the connection or, if they did, said nothing.)

The other issue, which I somewhat referenced above, is this timeline of the Gates grant being three years.  So it supposes that 1B will pass (indeed, the BAR has a couple of "what ifs" should 1B not pass) and that the City would take over the preschool.  So, in essence, a preschool would be started at B-G with Gates money and which the City would carry with if 1B passes.

Except that there would always be costs to the district and somehow that always gets left out.

Cashel Toner, the head of Pre-K-3 Early Learning, also spoke to the Board.  She was a bit confusing because, at one point she said that there was money in the grant for someone at SPS to do a grant search for fed/state dollars when the Gates money ran out (and if 1B didn't pass).  She continued saying but nothing in the grant obligated the district to continue the pre-school.

But later, on a question from Director Patu, she said it would be "heartbreaking" to open it and then close it in three years.  Yes, it would be and that's the reason to NOT open it if the district does not have the dollars to continue it.  There's a lot of "ifs" with real money for a program that is NOT part of SPS' state-funded mandate.  Ms. Toner, perhaps in defense of her job, consistently ignores this fact.

Director Questions

Carr - so the people employed by the preschool would be SPS employees?
Toner - Yes.  (But again, it is unclear if that would remain true if 1B passes.)

McLaren - Imel would be supervising the program, correct?  But there would be a difference between this program and other preschools in our buildings.  Would there be continuity at B-G?
Toner - She said Principal Imel is interested in "overseeing" the classroom.  She referenced South Shore and their pre-K but again, as all staff does, did not acknowledge the extra $1M a year South Shore gets for its programs including pre-K.
Martin-Morris chimed in that they need to scale/expand what is happening at South Shore and that it was an "equity" issue.  It certainly is if one school has $1M more a year; he's right on that point (although I think he meant something different).

Carr then asked about if this was in service of meeting the Strategic Plan goal 1, #3, commitment to prek-3.  Michael Tolley said yes.
Toner continued that they have "been collecting information about where they are" and this can't be funded thru K-12 system and since they have this opportunity to bring students in, it fits.

Peters stated that she thought it premature to act on this issue until "we know anything."  (I believe she meant 1B and the outcome of the election.)  She said aligning with 1B could limit/redirect our own programs.  She said the idea of preschool at Bailey-Gatzert is a god idea but the questions are: who does it, oversees it and what does it look like?  Are we matching and fulfilling the City's vision and is that our vision and what are the differences?

These are excellent questions because if SPS creates this "partnership" with SPS, is it equal?  Will the preschool curriculum align with what is being done in kindergarten and who decides if it does?  SPS IS the education entity, not the City. 

Peters also said it looked like the City would take over the preschool in year 2.  She also said 1B offers subsidies and would the district be serving students who would come in eventually as kindergarteners or any family who came to Bailey-Gatzert? 

Another great question because if the district is aligning its curriculum to the pre-K one and any child can attend, what happens if many of those kids go to, say, a charter school?  That "aligned" child is now gone.

Toner said that it was not the intent of the grant to not serve B-G families ( but she didn't say it couldn't happen).
Peters replied that it needs to be established with City before "we agree to anything."  She mentioned repeatedly asking Councilman Burgess about who would get into these preschools.  (She's right and this is one thing that 1B is decidedly silent on.)
Peters also worried about losing capacity that they then cannot reclaim.

Again, Peters is right.  Facilities staff told the Operations Ctm that high school space was the main capacity issue coming but they also said that room in the Central/downtown area would be needed. 

We already are arguing about space for a downtown school but somehow it's okay to give up a classroom in a building that could serve those students?

Then Peters asked another good question.  What defines "early learning?"  She said she was now seeing prek-5 mentioned and not prek-3 as had been previously stated.
Toner said the early learning world is prek-3 but within SPS she was hired "as prek-5 early learning."

Really?  Because I have the job description for her role and it says prek-3.  " working with children PreK-3r", " increase access of PreK-3rd staff", " P-3."  There is not a single place in the job description where it says P-5.  So if what she is saying is true, it's informal to SPS.

To note, for the feds Early Learning is birth to five.  The National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education define it as birth to five.  OSPI says it is prek-3rd grade.

Carr asked about costs re: Board approval. Ron English stated that because any amount over $250K triggers Board approval, this grant would meet that trigger.

McLaren thanked Peters for bringing up her concerns and said the C&I committee had also brought these up.  She said that they had asked for this grant action to be delayed until the Nov. 19th Board meeting.  She said they are allowing themselves time to vet this action.  Then she said, "We will have time after the election to look at the grant in that context." 

That's true but after the election, if 1B passes, I think the pressure will be huge on the district.  I'm hoping that no one is thinking that the Board is going to have this approved AND any partnership agreement with the City by November 19th.  There's way too much at stake.

Director Blanford stated that he had just gotten to the meeting and that he felt strongly that this "gives us an opportunity to address a problem."   He said it was "unfortunate" that "we lose sight of the bigger picture" (not defining what he meant).  He said the grant would be an opportunity to address significant gaps.  He said the district should "grab at any funding"  but not taking on any obligations "we can't take on" and how to fund this?

Well, also a good question.  If 1B does pass and the district takes this grant, then by year 4, SPS is on the hook.

He continued that there should not be finding imperfections but giving an opportunity to students who would otherwise not have it.

That ended that discussion.

There was an item about buying laptops that Tech head Carmen Rahm addressed. He said they were taking a couple of different laptops out to classrooms to test them on students.  He said that after buying this equipment that the district would have 3.5 students per computer.  Peters asked about security for computers and tests.  He said the new tests are "cloud-based" and so no test data would be on computers.  Peters also mentioned keyboard skills which would be so important for Common Core testing.

Federal Reserve Building discussion

I still need to find the link to the renovations report that the district commissioned to see what could be done at Bailey-Gatzert, Lowell and John Hay to support downtown students versus renovating the Federal Reserve building. 

It is clear to me that staff wants to renovate the Federal Reserve building for a downtown school (probably prek-5).  The report to the Ops Ctm reflects how big a leap they think it would be to renovate those three other schools to support those students if the Federal Reserve building isn't used.  Staff says that the renovations would only add 455 students to those schools.  But, as I reported above on B-G, it's already nearly 80 kids underenrolled so it's hard to understand how that can be.

However the Board is pushing way back and asking hard (good) questions.

Richard Best, head of Capital, went thru the costs for each building and what could be accomplished. One interesting point made that seem to spur questions was that the work done at Lowell would "substantially modernize" it.

President Peaslee zeroed in on the numbers.  She asked about if they only did Hay and B-G.  Best said that would add 320 students.  She then stated that Lowell would be the most expensive to fix but would be updated.  She pointed out that the BEX planning said there would be a surplus of students by 2017 and basically the need could be met by expanding B-G and Hay for about $30M.

Carr talked about the issue of substantial renovation at Lowell.  She said the building condition presently is such that doing renovations only for seats seems wrong; she said maybe they should do the entire building and make that a priority.

Best pointed out that doing a whole renovation would run into city regulations but Carr argued that it would make Lowell a more attractive option. 

Peaslee asked her, "Are you talking about completely rebuilding versus a substantial alteration?"  Carr said yes, the dollars are more but you serve a greater good AND the cost per seat goes down.
Best said he would concur with Carr on modernizing Lowell but they had been trying to do an "apples to apples" comparison to renovating the Fed Reserve building.  He said Hay is in bad shape as well.

Peaslee asked when the need for 600+ students would be downtown and Best said about 2020.  

Carr said she was going to "continue to pull on that thread" and said that even if they will need 200 seats in the Central region, that other regions are much more in need of more seats.  Staff agreed.  She said it is better to take a balanced check of all regions so they know where all the problems are.

Peters asked about the numbers of students being predicted in downtown and was the steady state of about 30% of Seattle kids going to private school being considered. 
Best referenced the chart with colored concentric circles where all the existing students are today and going forward.  Peters pressed him on the private school numbers but neither he nor Herndon seemed to clearly answer her question.  Herndon did point out that the numbers in the circles were for K-12 and not just prek-5.  He also referenced a "choice" system which is not really what SPS has currently.

Peters asked if the Federal Reserve proposal submitted to the feds was just for a prek-5 and Herndon said no, they were not locked into any specific type of school.  He said obviously they had to consider ed specs for each type of school.

Then head of finance, Ken Gotsch, said they had engaged the services of the district's financial adviser.

And here's where the rubber met the road.  

This was a report previously given at the Op Committee.  The most expedient way to get the $50M+ to renovate the Fed Reserve building is non-voted bonds.  Meaning, the Board okays the district to go out and get bonds without having to put it on a ballot.  This is how the JSCEE was financed.

He said if the repayment funds were not put on the next BTA levy, he was not certain where the source of repayment would come from.  The district could set up a 20-year repayment plan with the ability to pre-pay early but that it would cost $3.3M annually.  

So you do the math - borrow $50M+ and have to pay it back over 20 years at $3.3M a year. 

Director Carr took over from here.  In a firm voice, she stated that "taking on unvoted debt is, for me, a non-starter."  She said that she had seen Mr. Presley, the financial adviser, many times over the years over paying for "this building" (JSCEE).  She said they had finally figured out how to pay it thru 2017 and then...they had no idea.  The money, she said, would come out of classrooms.

This for a building that the district took on, what, almost 15 years ago.  Still paying it off.  As I said, in my testimony, this building is an albatross around the district's neck. 

She continued that the Board and staff had spent months figuring out the BEX IV money, families advocated for it and it got supported.  She said to take on non-voted debt or take money out of BEX IV or any other levy would not work.  She said they need to give consideration to commitments made to voters and parents.  She said the downtown school is a "long-term need."

Herndon said the project is a "substantial one."  He said downtown land is expensive and "that's why I thought we should pursue it with due diligence."  

And he's right.  I said from the start, please do try and see if this will work. 

He said they wanted to give the Board an "informed" choice and that there was no guarantee from the ED that the district's application would be approved.

McLaren said the news on the building is "sobering."  She asked about just letting it go to auction.  
Herndon said the building had been sold before for $18M but that was before it was landmarked and then that sale voided.  He said the building needs abatement.

He said it is possible that it could go to auction and someone could get a deal or it could go higher than $18M.

My understanding of the landmarking is that it includes the roof.  Meaning, the building could go no higher so that would eliminate a lot of buyers who would want to build up.  I think it worth the district taking their chances at an open auction.

Peters pointed out (rightly so) that buying it outright would mean they owned it and would not be at the mercy of the timeline if it were gifted to the district. 

(The timeline is that if the government gives the building to the district, it HAS to be up and running as a school in three years.  So the district would have to find the money, turn it around in 2 or less years and have it enrolled by year three.  Very tight schedule and would add more to the BEX roster and possibly slow other projects down.)

Herndon said that if their proposal to the feds was successful, acquisition of free land is rare.

Peters asked about the lawsuit from the homeless coalition whose bid had been rejected by the feds.  Herndon said there was no update. 

McLaren asked if there might be any other financing of the building via developers' fees.  Herndon said that had come up.  Ron English pointed out that private financing is much higher and public agencies can borrow money far more cheaply.

That ended the discussion.

There were a lot of unhappy faces in the front row where staff sat.

But Carr is right.  The district is already in debt and the need is not pressing down from downtown anywhere near what the costs are.  If this had penciled out or any downtown interests had come up with some money (and the claim is that - at some magical point - there will be help), then I could see going forward even with the strain on capital projects.

But it doesn't.  It also seems apparent that, despite the room at B-G, downtown families are not enrolling their children there.  


Greenwoody said...

Well this certainly is interesting stuff. If I didn't know any better I'd say the groundwork is being laid to turn Bailey-Gatzert into a charter school, using 1B funds, the Gates grant, and perhaps the I-1240 trigger clause. Hard questions need to be asked of SPS staff (who appear to be inappropriately driving this proposal) and the City of Seattle about what exactly the plan is here. What was presented at the meeting was far too vague to merit adoption.

mosfet said...

Kudos to Carr for pointing out how difficult it would be to pay off the downtown school, given the example of JSCEE.

Anonymous said...

You know what they ought to do about the capacity crisis? Where they can find extra classrooms and facilities?

The glass palace!!

That's right, the John Stanford Center for education excellence. That we are all still paying for. It's got lots of seminar rooms, classrooms, and even a cafeteria.

As they run out of high school space, non-traditional schools like the Central school could be duplicated there.

Might inconvenience staff quite a bit, but, the mission it's K-12 students.

Maybe staff could relocate to the empty Schmitz Park and the herd of portables.

It would be a lot cheaper than having to buy $ 53 million building. Because, free ain't free.

I think some Directors have been reading this blog, and have understood the bigger question is NOT how bad is downtown, but rather, what's going on in the ENTIRE district, and where is/what is our worst problem, our second worst problem, etc.

God bless Director Peters. She's got the intelligence and the insight to be comprise a whole Board's worth of quality performance all on her own.

Facilities Planning

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't know that I think the preschool move is to turn B-G into a charter.

But there are too many questions unanswered. It will be interesting to see what Gates and the City put forth as a "partnership" agreement for SPS if 1B passes.

I predict...SPS will NOT be in the driver's seat.

mirmac1 said...

And I applaud Sherry Carr for pointing out the harsh realities we live under TODAY. Not the pipe dreams of city bureaucrats, downtown boosters, and their hired staff at JSCEE.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking what you are "Facilities Planning" - let JSCC become a school (probably a high school). Why can't the Federal Reserve building become staff HQ. It's set up as offices right? Wouldn't that require less of a buildout, renovation? They could still have board meetings at the JSCC location - tie it into a civics curriculum at the JSCC High School:)


Questions said...

Peters asked about security for computers and tests. He said the new tests are "cloud-based" and so no test data would be on computers.

Nice. Way to not answer the question!

Cloud-based solutions are even more worrisome.
- Who manages the servers?
- What student data resides on them?
- Are they really secure? (If Google can't even secure their servers, why should we trust any company that's bound to be less technically competent?)
- Who has access to the data?
- When will it be deleted?
- What happens when the hosting/managing/analyzing company goes out of business?

Oh wait! On this last item, you can't even count on signed contracts, because they're barely worth the cost of the paper they're printed on.

Lots of questions, very few meaningful answers.

Anonymous said...

I am so confused. John Hay does not serve downtown kids anymore, and all 3 Queen Anne elementary schools are bursting at the seams. Another K/1st was added to QAE this year to relieve over-enrollment at Hay and Coe. QAE is now out of space, and they are still growing as the larger classes roll up. But there are no classrooms left, they need at least 5 more in the next two years. Is that what they are planning on doing with the BEX money? They still don't have a gym, and the cafeteria is really small. Where are the QAE kids going to be housed during construction?
If they make Hay bigger, it could easily be filled with kids who live in QA. McClure is already full, and there are many more kids in K-2 in Queen Anne and Magnolia than there were 6 years ago. It is frightening.
QA Mama

Transparency Please said...

It would e very easy to turn a prek-3 into a charter school. This is very consistent with the charter start-ups we are seeing.

Wasn't there talk of turning Bailey Gatzert into a charter school at some point? Does anyone remember anything about this?

Murray and Burgess have been silent as to whether or not they will use Prek funding for charter schools. Has anyone contacted their office on this issue? Has anyone heard this issue addressed in a public forum?

Transparency Please said...

What would prevent the city from co-housing a charter prek in an SPS building?

Nice way to get a foot into the door.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, as someone who has kept up on the charter school talk, I have not heard of anyone wanting to turn B-G into a charter.

Yes, Murray and Burgess are silent on a LOT of issues.

I have not raised the issues at the forums I have participated at simply because it confuses the issue at hand.

The City could NOT put a pre-K charter into an SPS building. They have zero authority to do that. At this point, only the Charter Commission could grant that and I doubt they would. It would make zero sense to them.

Charlie Mas said...

"He said the new tests are "cloud-based" and so no test data would be on computers."

This is a nonsensical response.
What does he think the cloud is?
It's computers.

Anonymous said...

What he means is nothing will be stored on the district's computers, therefore they will not be responsible for security and/or attempted breaches.


Mission Creep said...

"Toner - She said Principal Imel is interested in "overseeing" the classroom."

I'm sure Principal Imel is a wonderful man and thoughtful leader.

Let's be clear: The Gates grant would transfer prek to the city and the city wants principals in their office. In essence, we will have the city/ principal involvement. What does this look like? Will the city coerce principals into a prek structure that principals may or may not agree? At this point, does the principal work for the city or the district.

It seems that either the district or the city should run this program.

Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed at all the weird (and often unused ) warrens of space at JSCEE when I visit with family there - lots of strange crannies full of obsolete equipment and boxes of ???.

I'm sure they probably could easily carve out enough for a small alternative high school there ala Center School. hmmm.....


Po3 said...

JSCEE is a brilliant idea for a high school - could even be a business/finance focused school where students could intern w/ staff.

Anonymous said...

JSCEE is a brilliant idea for a high school - could even be a business/finance focused school where students could intern w/ staff.


mirmac1 said...

"Clouds" have been hacked. Look at the recent release of nude photos of celebrities.

Anonymous said...

@QA Mama:

"...John Hay does not serve downtown kids anymore, and all 3 Queen Anne elementary schools are bursting at the seams. Another K/1st was added to QAE this year to relieve over-enrollment at Hay and Coe. QAE is now out of space, and they are still growing as the larger classes roll up. But there are no classrooms left, they need at least 5 more in the next two years. Is that what they are planning on doing with the BEX money? They still don't have a gym, and the cafeteria is really small. Where are the QAE kids going to be housed during construction?
If they make Hay bigger, it could easily be filled with kids who live in QA. McClure is already full, and there are many more kids in K-2 in Queen Anne and Magnolia than there were 6 years ago. It is frightening."


You are right on the money -- Queen Anne/Magnolia are geographically completely boxed in by water and desperately need space to accommodate all of the existing rolling up elementary kids. Kids who are THERE NOW - not theoretical kids who might appear once additional housing stock is built. (Which, by the way, you know is happening in QA. The downtown parents seem to think families will flock to new condos downtown, but, aside from the affordable housing units being built, no evidence points to school-aged children families' mass or significant in-migration pattern causing downtown neighborhood saturation. It is called 'data').

QA/Mag is a far more pressing problem than downtown, because downtown elementary kids have schools to go to that have room (and are not growing enrollment per Dr. Herndon): Bailey Gatzert and Lowell. Madrona K8 also has some room, so, even if BG gets full, boundary adjustments can make solutions happen without construction money!

QA/Mag? no such luck. They need planning now. Only construction solutions can truly solve that region's issues. Or, school in shifts there. They need $40 million to make Magnolia school the site of Blaine K8, and, Blaine can become a high school. That would also help the north's high school coming crisis. The time is now to try and claw back the Magnolia building. But, Herndon is wasting his time and the time of his staff by chasing after the Federal Building, and doing so in the ABSENCE OF DATA.

Perhaps West Seattle's coming capacity crunch at middle/high is a worse problem, quantitatively. Or, high school north. Or, elementary in Ballard. Or, elementary in the south NE. We'll never know until Staff does their job. Dr. Nyland needs to explain to Dr. Herndon hiding enrollment data is not exactly helping the problem go away.

All we have is the Board to try and protect our District's resources, to try and persist to get data, not just head counts, but, value-add data that can guide capital budgeting decisions.

Facilities Planning

Pro-sleep Mom said...

I went to the boundary/transportation committee of the whole meeting on Thursday. A potential bombshell was in the last few minutes of the meeting. This is the October FTE adjustment- where staff is moved from under-enrolled to over-enrolled schools. Gatewood was on the early side of this; there are three rounds and this is the final round. (Tolley did comment that principals would know their counts and the implications, and so would not be blindsided; personally, I think the parents are another story and that this will be really disruptive for a lot kids.)

Up to 19 schools could be impacted- 7 adds and 12 FTE pulls. Principals will get notice on Friday 10/17; they have a week to raise the money/ pull carried over funds or whatever by 10/24. ​This is per the CBA process- not sure what CBA is- but the timeline is crazy short.

There was some discussion of the disparity in impact on poor vs rich schools- and talk about having every school contribute a % of their fundraising for a pool to be used for situations like this- but nothing concrete.

If your kid's school has had big ups or downs in enrollment numbers, you might want to check in with your principal to see what's up, and mobilize your PTA if necessary.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"They need $40 million to make Magnolia school the site of Blaine K8, and, Blaine can become a high school. That would also help the north's high school coming crisis. The time is now to try and claw back the Magnolia building."

Yes, this a good suggestion. It would also - finally - give QA/Magnolia a high school.

Thanks, Prosleep Mom for that report. Were there any handouts?

Pro-sleep Mom said...

The handouts are available here:

Charlie Mas said...

When I listen to the downtown families and their plea for a neighborhood school, that's what I hear.

They aren't asking for access to a nearby school, they are asking for access to a school in walking distance to their homes.

I appreciate that desire, I really do, but that's a luxury. And it is luxury that our district simply cannot afford.


1. There is no walkable location downtown because all of those busy streets would disallow any kind of walk zone with our transportation rules.

2. What would be a walkable school for kids in the International District would not be walkable for kids in South Lake Union. The idea that downtown is so small that any location - even Second and Seneca - is walkable for all of downtown is not correct.

3. Bailey-Gatzert is walkable for the students living in the southern part of downtown, and Lowell is a very short bus ride for those living in the northern part of downtown. It is 1.5 miles and six minutes by bus from Denny Park to Lowell. There are a lot of other families in the school district going a lot further to school without any whining.

4. It would be a whole lot cheaper to make the Federal Reserve building the location for The World School and to put an elementary school at T T Minor. Yes, the renovation costs for the Federal Reserve would be a little higher, but the savings on the renovations for T T Minor would cover that. Plus it would give us the kind of capacity we need and in the place we need it.

Charlie Mas said...

I notice that TT Minor wasn't shown on the Basetti maps.

Anonymous said...

I find that power point presentation insane. 95% freaking out about 20 kids moving here or there in elementary, and then you get to the end and see 5667 (!!!) seats short by 2022 in high school. Five THOUSAND. After Lincoln is online.


Anonymous said...

@ Sleeper

"(the Downtown Federal Building presentation by Basetti hired by Dr. Herndon to spend time/money doing up that building) power point presentation (is) insane. 95% freaking out about 20 kids moving here or there in elementary, and then you get to the end and see 5667 (!!!) seats short by 2022 in high school. Five THOUSAND. After Lincoln is online."


Flip (with Pegi) is wasting his time and his staff time and the Board's time and everybody's time and money on this pet project (why? who the knows?) while ignoring the ICEBERG up ahead.

High school north and in the north part central (e.g. Garfield) has a real, unmitigated problem, even after Lincoln comes on line (assuming it ever does). Wilson Pacific isn't looking so good. This District and Flip fail to understand the concept of 'sunk costs'.

Ballard elementary capacity is a problem, QA/Mag has capacity problems... the next thing to do is probably fix that by switching a k8 into an expanded/refurbed Magnolia building and reclaim Blaine as a high school as a first step; probably bring back Webster as a K5; and they also need to get real about West Seattle, all those elementary kids are aging up and need a place to go in middle and high.

PLANNING; it takes DISTRICT WIDE PLANNING. And, that is exactly not what Dr. Herndon is doing. He is ducking FACMAC apparently, the only community engagement for system wide capacity woes.
And, he yanked enrollment numbers from public view? If that doesn't tell you there is a major issue... that is a massive red flag. Hide bad news.

This is pure speculation, but who doesn't think his resume is out circulating? He'll be gone, sooner or later, but we will all still be here with our kids going to high school in shifts.

The District is 'studying' that now. Of course, they are not tell us about it.

Facilities Planning

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, stop making sense.

I had hopes for Herndon but they are fading. Good guy but not what I hoped for.

Anonymous said...

Every area of the city can point to some capacity problems in k-8. You can see on those projections there are hotspots everywhere. All of them pale in significance(are literally less than a tenth of the size) to the high school capacity problem, which starts this upcoming year, and yet there appears to be no movement to address it. It's very upsetting. I can't imagine clearer data to show that something needs to be done, and yet...


Pro-sleep Mom said...

I don't know the capacity issue in depth enough to speak on it- but could those that do organize to get it out more broadly? A bunch of Board testimony in a row to show the problem, contacting the media, etc? I imagine a lot of this has been done, but given the official denial, another round of publicity might do something, especially as the iceberg is getting pretty close.