Schmitz Park Elementary is one of many schools that will be affected by new enrollment boundaries that were agreed on in 2013 but now will affect the school differently given the huge and continuing growth in SPS.
Meaning, what was agreed to before is not going to play out as thought.
Schmitz Park has been trying, very hard, to explain to district staff what is happening (and what will get worse). This subject of enactment of these new boundaries came up at the Executive Committee meeting yesterday. This is what my notes reflect:
Flip Herndon said they were "between a rock and hard place." He said there was no space at Alki for portables. He said SP had space but not "infrastructure." The interim director, Brent (something) said, "We really need to make these changes." Director McLaren was there but said nothing.
Here's what Schmitz Park sent to parents and has told the district (bold mine):
At the community meeting at Alki Elementary on Monday, November 3rd, a large group of West Seattle parents and community members voiced their concerns on the implementation of boundary changes in West Seattle for the 2015-2016 School Year.
The Growth Boundaries Plan was approved by the Board in November 2013, however, the timeline for implementation only gave specifics for the current school year (2014-2015) that were tied to the re-opening of the expanded Fairmount Park facility. The remaining changes were planned for roll out as capacity became available with the new buildings being constructed at Genesee Hill and Arbor Heights.
Although the Genesee Hill construction schedule has been delayed and a new opening date of September 2016 has been given, Enrollment & Planning intends to implement the new attendance areas next year. These changes will move 2 areas from Alki Elementary (estimated 37 current students, who can remain at Alki by choice under grandfathering, and an undetermined number of new, incoming students) into the Schmitz Park attendance zone and bring out projected enrollment to 630-650 students for 2015-2016.
As a PTA, we have requested that no changes be made to attendance areas in West Seattle until the new building is ready.
Today, Schmitz Park has 612 students,
- 17 portables,
- 16 in-building rooms, and
- only 1 bathroom each for boys & girls
- (excluding the 3 toilets in the kindergarten wing for our 96+ kindergartners to share.)
- We have 4 lunch periods.
- We have 2 morning recesses.
In addition to our physical limitations, there are other impacts to this change:
- Pay for K: full day kindergarten at Alki is free. Schmitz Park and Lafayette are the only 2 elementary schools in West Seattle that do not qualify for funded full day kindergarten.
- Currently enrolled students in the designated areas who opt to stay “grandfathered” at Alki will lose transportation. Transportation is not provided for students outside of their assigned attendance area.
- Hiawatha, Schmitz Park’s on-site after school care, has a wait list of 45+ students due to our over enrollment and limited capacity. SPS no longer provides transportation to students to off site after care. Incoming families who are not already on the Hiawatha wait list will not have after care available unless they can organize their own transport off site.
Schmitz Park PTA Legislative Co-Chair.
One bathroom each for boys and girls in the whole building? Four lunch periods? I'd be willing to bet there's a lot of hurry-up at SP by staff if only because of the sheer logistics of getting everything done in a day.
I'll jump in here and say that telling SP - or any school community - to suck it up for a couple of years, in the state they are in currently, seems vastly unfair. But that appears to be what the district is saying.