Friday, October 03, 2014

Seattle Schools: Boundary Changes Coming for 2015-2016

My comment here is that this information about community meetings was posted yesterday.  I don't know when the letters went out and I know these are changes already proposed and approved.  But it would have been nice for families to have more advanced notice about these meetings.

From SPS Communications:

Planning is underway for the implementation of boundary changes (Growth Boundaries) for 2015-16. Families who live in the specific areas where attendance area boundaries will change recently received a letter. The letter included information about the change, what it could mean to them, and how to get more information. Translated versions were included.

Community meetings are scheduled on Oct. 6, 7 and 8, so that affected families can learn more and get questions answered. Information about the meetings, maps of the changes, Frequently Asked Questions and copies of the letters sent to families are on the Growth Boundaries website.

These boundary changes were part of the plan approved by the Seattle School Board in November 2013. The approved changes are being made over time. 

Attendance area boundaries will change at 25 elementary schools and four middle schools for the 2015-16 school year. Middle school changes in the southwest region will also change boundaries for Chief Sealth International and West Seattle high schools.

Maps of the new boundaries are posted on the Maps page.  Maps are being posted at each affected elementary school office with the changes shown. You may also download them by clicking on the school name on the Maps page.

Questions and comments may be emailed to: Please include the name of your current school.

Community meetings are scheduled so that families affected by the changes can get more information and ask questions. As the majority of the changes are at southwest, southeast and central schools, meetings are being held in those areas.

Interpreters at the meetings are being provided in the languages of the families affected by the changes. There will not be childcare, but you may bring your child with a quiet activity.

Where Language interpretation
Growth Boundaries Community Meetings
Oct. 6,
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Mercer Middle School

1600 S. Columbian Way
Oct. 7,
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Rainier Beach High School
Performing Arts Center      
8815 Seward Park Ave. S
Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese
Oct. 8,
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Fairmount Park Elementary

3800 South Findlay Street.
Spanish and Somali


Ws said...

Wow. Schmitz park is already maxed out for the building and they plan to increase the boundaries?

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. No, completely expected. The separation of economically Great Whites from the riffraff will continue thanks to Seattle Schools. Check out that future Meany line including the dogleg south and the new condos downtown. The GWs go to newly renovated Meany. Diverse and low income head off to Washington.

Seattle Schools needs to review this week's new directive from DC. The one about equal opportunity for the poor folk of color.


Anonymous said...

If the Federal Building or another space doesn't come through, all downtown kids are headed to Lowell for K-5. Not optimal.


Anonymous said...

Are the new Schmitz Park boundaries drawn for the new (larger) building at Genessee Hill? Will the new building be ready for the 2015-16 school year?

-North-end Mom

ws said...

SP boundaries are probably drawn for the new building but the old boundaries have netted 600 kids in the current building. Not 100% certain what the new building is being built for (both 600 and 650 have been batted around) but even if its 650 I have a hard time believing there are less than 50 kids oin those boundaries.

Anonymous said...


Just many portables did Schmitz Park have to accumulate before they were given a wet one (running water, bathrooms, etc...)?


There are lots of things that aren't optimal...such as portable villages, geo-splits, etc... A building with room is a luxury item these days.

- North-end Mom

Ws said...

@nem. As far as I know the portables don't have water. At least the ones I have been in didn't.

Two years ago they added bathrooms to the kindergarten wing and a door to the outside so the kids in portables on that side of building could get to them. I wish I had a picture to share. I believe we are up to 19 portables now.

Anonymous said...


OMG. That's horrible!

Has demo started at the Genesee Hill site? Seems like their timeline is kind of tight if the new boundaries correspond to the new building.

- North-end Mom

Patrick said...

Downtown, what do you see as so bad about Lowell?

Anonymous said...

So, I took a look at the BEXIV project site, and found this for Genesee Hill:

Demolish the closed Genesee Hill building and build a new 500–600 seat elementary school designed to support best learning practices. The existing Schmitz Park building will be re-purposed to address current and projected elementary enrollment growth in West Seattle.

Schedule Overview
Design work began in 2012

Estimated construction start: September 2014"

So, according to what is on the BEXIV site, they are planning to build for 500-600 students, which seems low, based on the 600-student enrollment reported by ws on this thread.

But, based upon the Site Assessment Summary for Schmitz Park (2014 Facility Condition Assessment Report), 500-600 seems generous. The site summary for Schmitz Park states:

Enrollment = 414*
# Portables = 16

"Right-sized for 2020 capacity" = 450

*According to the site assessment summary, this is for a 10/01/13 headcount (though that does not seem plausible, based on what is being reported by ws).

Maybe the "right-sized for 2020 capacity number factors in the new building's capacity, because it doesn't seem like any building with 16+ portables could be considered "right-sized???"

It's all very confusing. I hope there are answers given at the community meetings.

- North-end Mom

mirmac1 said...

The boundary adjustments must take into consideration students with disabilities to assignment area school or Linked School. The district must stop using SpEd students as infill or capacity management tools.

Tracy @ WSB said...

Thanks for this post (and thanks to reader Mary, who tipped us to it) - we hadn't heard about the meetings at all (I have a question out to the district to ask if we missed a news release somehow); writing an item for our site right now.

To the person who asked about demolition at Genesee Hill - yes, it's about 3/4 torn down; we've been publishing updates and just went by today. (The old Arbor Heights has been undergoing teardown too.)

Anonymous said...

Lowell is the downtown school.

What's not optimal about Lowell for downtown students?

It's as close to downtown as any of the QA schools ever were. No Mercer Mess or trying to get across 99 to get there. It's as close as many kids throughout the city are to their schools. Kids will get bus service. And they have 100% sidewalks if they choose to walk.

Downtown people:

Until kids north of 85th and throughout the south of this city have sidewalks and crosswalks (forget lights - we're not even asking for lights, just some crosswalks and sidewalks - but note that you have lights all over downtown) - I really really have zero time to hear your whines about Lowell. You have access to a school with room. You have 100% sidewalks to get there. You'll get busing b/c downtown - despite the lights, sidewalks, and safe ways to cross over I5 - is considered not a safe walk zone. Hey, I'd rather walk up and over on Denny, Pike, Pine, or any other way over I5, than try to cross Lake City Way or Aurora ON FOOT like kids in the north have to do. Or deal with shots fired at groups of elementary kids. When was the last time shots were fired walking up past the hipsters on Aloha or Pike?

Sorry, the only thing I can think that anyone downtown means when they don't want to go to Lowell is ... ? What? The buildings not newly remodeled enough? Oh, get in line. Must be something else. So best if you just don't say it.

It's a super-nice playground, great location, and welcoming community. You could do much, much worse.

Signed: Lowell Friend

forcampus said...

school is the place where you learn discipline. The basic things for life are taught. A campus is a collection of building that deals with academic or non-academic courses

news from school

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirmac1 said...

Repost for Anonymous. Pick a two word name.

"First/ I think lowell will be the central district APP k-5 school serving mag, qa and cap hill.

Second/there are no kids going to Lowell now. Those neighborhood kids could be going to TOPS or Stevens.

Third/ why have option K-5 schools? Make every school a school worthy to going to.

4th/ there is too much emphasis on fairness. No program will be fair. They are inherently biased based on: zip code as designated by the applyer, race as similarly, economic status as similarly designate.... you get the gist. No one program is fair. They all can be beat/cheated on.

sidewalks= yes
clear walk zones = yes

ton of money to build downtown buildings = no"

pm said...

Anon @11:17

Lowell hasn't been an APP school for the past 4 years. APP (now HCC) elementary is housed at Thurgood Marshall and at Lincoln.

Anonymous said...

Let's do take a look at Lowell, with its massive reference area. Forty percent of kids there have special needs ranging from medically fragile to autism to vision. There is a growing number of children there who qualify as needing English language support. As of this year, more than twenty percent of children at Lowell are in transitional living situations. Lowell is becoming the District's central warehouse for high-needs kids. Is the school staffed up to meet these needs? Kindergarten classes this year have 29 children.


Melissa Westbrook said...

"Those neighborhood kids could be going to TOPS or Stevens."

What? I'm pretty sure that TOPS (an option school) and Stevens are full.

"Third/ why have option K-5 schools? Make every school a school worthy to going to."

First, we have option schools to provide...options. SPS' option schools ARE our charter schools in many ways (and with Creative Approach even more so).

Second, there's no stamp of approval that option schools are better than neighborhood schools. You do get parents who are invested from the start because they chose that school.

Naturally the goal IS for every school to be "worthy."

Anonymous, I don't think you clearly understand the situation.

That said, I am appalled to see the district seems hell-bent on acquiring the Federal Reserve building. I hope they remember if they do that, it may come at a price (and not just the capital cost).

I hope parents remember this when BTA IV rolls around. That is truly when you can make your voice heard and you would have tremendous leverage.

Anonymous said...

Good luck getting readers of this blog to care. Totally agree though. The district decides to pull students in the ID out of Gatzert and send them all the way up to Lowell all to get the eventual right numbers for Meany. Oh, and the Leschi folks right across the street from Washington are going to eventually have to head up to Meany as well? The gerrymandering to make Meany work is atrocious.

Signed: Ugh

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ugh, I put this information up the minute I saw it. As I like to frequently say, woe be to parents who perceive that something happening in one area of the district won't impact their area.

It will. So I do hope that parents not affected by these changes DO care.

If anyone out there in the Central area wants to write a guest post on what this gerrymandering looks like and how it will affect that area, please do.

kellie said...

Thanks for posting this. You posted it about the same time that I saw it as well and I follow this issue very closely.

I want to second Mel's caution about how these boundary issues are all interconnected. These meetings will be structured as a Q&A on the changes that were already decided and voted on a year ago. There are two problems with that.

1) There are many, many more issues that will hit for the 2015 school year that are NOT in this package. AFAIK, there is nothing set up to capture those issues.

This included issues that were NOT actually fixed with last year's plan, such as how Hamilton was not right-sized at all.

2) The "big noise" issues that were focused on the boundaries for NEW schools really eclipsed the small issues of some boundary changes of just a few blocks here and there. It is very likely that much of that was just missed in the focus to get the 2014 changes done.

If you have any capacity or boundary related issues, this might be your only public meeting to discuss them.

Anonymous said...


What are the other big issues for 2015? Have you seen the agenda for the October 8h work session? There are some (new I believe) enrollment projections near the end of the presentation. It is clear from those numbers that if we take on the Federal Building it should be used for high school.


Shane Foster said...

The Gerrymandering on the 2020 plan is making things worse.
Broadview Thomson going to Wilson Pacific is the most egregious example, but Kimball tacked on to Washingtons area is pretty close. West Seattle is bad also.

What would it take to get the planners to start taking geography into account?

kellie said...

@ Capacity,

Until the school by school numbers are released its hard to pinpoint the 2015 issues. However, the biggest question I get from parents is about portable placement and how many portables can a building take, especially when the electrical panel is maxed out.

That is one of the many reasons there is so little sympathy for a downtown elementary for potential future possible kids. The worry about electricity, running water and bathrooms for currently enrolled students.

I put my comments about high school on the work session thread.

Anonymous said...

Look at the Green Lake and Olympic View maps- they are redistricting ONE kid from Green Lake to Olympic View. Seriously? One kid?


Anonymous said...

KPLU ran this piece yesterday morning:

Thankfully I don't hate the quote he pulled from our interview:

"The fundamental challenge for the district at this stage is that the boundaries re-draws are based on facilities planning that doesn't provide enough capacity," said Eden Mack, the Seattle Council PTSA's legislative and advocacy chair. "We have a double-whammy here. We have families being disrupted by boundary changes, and we still have overcrowded schools."


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