Monday, October 24, 2016

Seattle Schools' Boundary Changes

I wanted to put up the thread in response to this query:
Anonymous curious said...
I know Kellie has tried to explain, but I am still pretty clueless. The board is voting on Boundaries 11/2, correct? I've received no responses from SPS or the board related to boundaries. Given all the distractions lately, I'm not sure what we still need to advocate for and by when. Is there a list of new board amendments somewhere? I found the staff amendments, but they don't seem to address anything that matters.

I'm mainly curious if anyone is suggesting to eliminate some of the geo-splits since they move so many kids from one packed house to another. I am also curious if any feeder patterns are changing for north-end middle schools.


10/24/16, 10:17 AM
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BloggerThen I answered:
 Melissa Westbrook said...
Curious, the Board said at the last board meeting that they are reading the e-mails but I don't think they have time to answer them.

My advice is to:
- e-mail them again and get friends/parents from your school to do so
- or, start a petition and get it to them
- I do not believe the amendments will be public until next Monday, the 31st. Staff asked for the Board to get them to staff for vetting ASAP but wordsmithing can take time.
-go to the Work Session on Wednesday (it starts at 4:30 pm). Get there at 4pm and buttonhole as many directors as you can.
- go to Director Burke's meeting on Saturday at the Fremont Library from 11am - 1 pm. I suspect it will be a very crowded meeting.
10/24/16, 10:47 AM
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Anonymous Green Lake Parent said... (bold mine)
Curious -

I was at Director Geary's community meeting yesterday. The Board Directors are working on developing amendments this week. Based on what was said at the meeting, I would recommend emailing them again this week (and/or taking the other actions Melissa suggested). There are so many issues going on and they need to keep hearing from parents. Director Geary confirmed they are reading their email, even if they don't have time to reply.

- Green Lake Parent
10/24/16, 12:25 PM
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Anonymous curious said...
Thanks Melissa and Green Lake parent. I just don't even know what to advocate for at this point. Is it worthwhile sending a note saying 800+ kids shouldn't be moved around just to enact a plan created years ago? Is it insane to think they could redraw all these boundaries at this point? Really, that's what should be done. Or, not change them at all. I don't know what's possible. The biggest impact on my family will be middle schools in a year since our elementary is not changing. However, I do realize the huge ripple effects.
Readers, you do not have to write amendments yourself.   But you can express concern over large issues like:
- moving 800 kids around in one region
- lack of feeder patterns from elementary to middle to high school, especially in the north end with a new middle and a new high school coming on-line
- creating Cedar Park to be a majority F/RL and ELL population, creating inequities from the start, especially when the schools who would lose those students - John Rogers, Sacajwea, Olympic Hills and Olympic View - DON'T want to lose those students.  
If you are map-savvy, by all means, do help the Board out with how these impacts could play out and/or what your ideas are.  
But as Kellie LaRue said elsewhere, the amendments are likely to come online on Friday.  It might not be until Monday for some.  Flip Herndon expressly asked that staff see amendments as soon as they can so that amendments can be vetted.  
Sign-ups for public testimony for the Board meeting next Wednesday, Nov. 3rd, start at 8 am at either; 206-252-0040 or
boardagenda@seattleschools.org

78 comments:

kellie said...

This mess is rather messy but I will attempt to introduce some basics.

There are two votes - Growth Boundaries and Student Assignment. Nov 2 is the Growth Boundaries Vote. This will be followed very quickly by the Student Assignment Plan. The SAP will be introduced to ops on Nov 17, to the board on Dec 7 and then voted on Jan 4.

Some of the issues could be addressed with either plan and some can ONLY be addressed during growth boundaries.

The Board Office has confirmed that they will post all the amendment on Friday. However, there is no confirmed information about which directors are introducing which amendments. I really wish we had simple simple clarity on the themes of the amendments as that would empower parents and PTAs to more effectively focus their time and energy.

kellie said...

The elementary geo-split problem must be addressed via board amendment to the Growth Boundaries Plan. As there are 14 schools with boundary changes, this will most likely be more than one amendment.

The middle school feeder pattern issue can be addressed either during Growth Boundaries or during Student Assignment. That makes this topic more squishy.

The HCC middle school pathway issue must be addressed via an amendment to Growth Boundaries as it is critical to establishing boundaries. This one is the simplest pieces of the puzzle as staff has confirmed that their intention is to clarify that HCC will be placed at Eagle Staff. This is likely a simple procedural issue and it is so simple that I wish there would be an official statement on this topic.

A timeline for boundaries for Lincoln must be addressed via board amendment to Growth Boundaries. Staff currently plans to do the boundaries are part of the 2019 plan, but it really needs to be done as part of the 2018 plan. This issue could easily get lost under the intensity of the geo-split for elementary students and this issue will impact at least 4,000 families and needs to be done sooner, rather than later.

A Geo-zone for Licton Springs could be handed as either Growth Boundaries or Student Assignment. It would be procedurally better if done with Growth Boundaries but it could be either.

kellie said...

Thanks Mel for starting this thread. There are a lot of communities out there are very confused about how to proceed. While it was good that there will be three weeks in between introduction and the vote, so that the board can really think about the amendments, we are now at the mid point of this process and there has been no new information from the district in response to all of the community concerns.

At least here we can share information.

Anonymous said...

I know that Director Pinkham has asked for the demographics of all elementary boundary change/geo-split areas, and a race and equity analysis of the change areas was recommended by the Capacity Management Task Force, but I can't find that information posted anywhere.

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, there's a meeting at Lincoln on Lincoln Thursday at 6:30 pm, complete with Director Burke and Enrollment staff. That would be a great time to advocate for pathways and boundaries for that area.

Green Lake Parent said...

I asked Director Geary at her community meeting yesterday, what we (parent communities) should do during this time while we are waiting to see what the amendments will be. She said we should continue emailing the Board this week. They still want input. And, I can't help but feel like there is SO much going on (elementary boundaries, middle school boundaries, almost no grandfathering, Cascadia over crowding, Thorton Creek survey, Cedar Park decisions, lack of info about HCC pathways, etc., etc.), that it's easy for topics/issues to get lost or forgotten. I encourage everyone to continuing being vocal!

I'm also not completely confident that amendments will all be ready by Friday. It felt like there was still a lot in the works.

-Green Lake Parent

Green Lake Parent said...

I also wanted to mention that I wrote to the district and requested that Attachments D & E that were suppose to be posted as part of the Growth Boundaries BAR, but never were, be posted/shared publicly (perhaps others wrote as well).

I received an email that they are now posted here:
http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14729184

Attachment E "Growth Boundaries Community Meeting Comments" is 62 pages!

Personally I found Attachment D "Grandfathering and Fiscal Impact Data" to be overly simplistic. In my opinion, this is just high level quick and dirty -- no real valuable analysis here.

-Green Lake Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Green Lake Parent, the BAR also indicated there would be analysis of transportation costs. Wonder what happened to that.

kellie said...

Thanks for posting that information.

"Enrollment Planning has estimated that up to an additional 21 portables would be required to grandfather all current elementary students (within 2017-18 change areas) at their current attendance area school. In 2016-17, one portable costs approximately $160,000. This would result in an additional estimated cost of $3,360,000. A more detailed analysis would need to be conducted given the lot restrictions of some buildings; additional portable placement may not be possible at certain sites."

There are 15 change areas, covering 14 elementary schools involved so that is an estimate of 1-2 portables per school. However, the 21 portables number is not broken down. It is theoretically possible, but highly improbable that 21 portables would be required.

The number is most likely is based on the total possible amount if students were grandfathered AND the boundaries were changed. People have been asking for the boundaries to remain the same, not grandfathering, and that would change the numbers significantly.

Also those numbers for portables include other variables that are not on the chart. For example, are any of the receiving schools, most of which are equally crowded, going to need portables. How many of that 21 would be required for class size reduction.



kellie said...

These short reports that do not include the math are crazy making. The report also says

"Transportation has estimated an additional 10 buses would be required to bus transportation-eligible elementary students to their attendance area school, if grandfathering outside of staff recommendations occurs. In 2016-17, one bus costs approximately $68,000. This would result in an additional estimated cost of $680,000."

However, in original BAR, the fiscal impact section states that the impact on transpiration is unknown and would be calculated after the vote.

The current boundary change plan is not cost neutral as there are some students being moved from a walkable school to a bus required school and vice versa.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Board's busy schedule, when are they scheduled to vote on the 20 minutes addition to the school day issue?

NW Mom

Anonymous said...

They included the grandfathering/geo-split chart in Attachment D. They give the number of portables currently used at the schools with change areas that are slated to lose students to another school.

The table was constructed so that it isn't easy to tell how many portables the schools receiving students has in place.

For instance, in order to fill Cedar Park, which has 8 portables, they are planning to geo-split kids out of John Rogers (5 portables) and Olympic Hills (new BEXIV building - no portables).

Now, SPS staff will argue that the portables at Cedar Park are better than your typical portable, because they are on foundations, have mid-mod shed roofs and big windows, but they still lack plumbing/classroom sinks, and no additional restrooms were added to accommodate the kids in the 8 portables...and the building still lacks a library. John Rogers may be on the verge of collapse, due to deferred maintenance, but at least it has a library!

But then again, it is all about the $$$, and the portables at Cedar Park are already paid for, so the plan is deemed fiscally responsible. Never mind that there are actual kids involved.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Never mind that there are actual kids involved -

sigh... personally, I've always thought this was the unofficial motto of the Central admin folk - perhaps not intentionally (one hopes) but its so often demonstrated in planning and/or lack thereof that it's hard not to go there.


reader47

Walk to School Advocate said...

The reason John Rogers, Sacajwea, Olympic Hills and Olympic View don't want to lose the F/RL and ELL students is because those students are part of their school families and PTAs. No one wants to lose cherished kids. And it would be extremely rude to advocate for anything else. At the same time, a lot of families whose kids are assigned to those specific schools have opted to send their kids to private schools because the amount of money a school population has affects the amount of money a PTA can earn. Parents at poorer schools don't have the kind of money to even afford to host an auction, let alone buy a bunch of stuff at the auction to pay for critical school services. Parents do not have "matching funds" from their employers for PTA donations.

Once you've seen what the kids at rich-PTA schools like (in the NE) View Ridge and Bryant and Wedgwood and Thornton Creek are getting, it's sad to send your kid to an underfunded school. If the legislature would fulfill their constitutional paramount duty and fund all the schools in WA state amply as they are obligated to do, that would be another matter. But if PTAs are going to be asked to fund everything from PE teachers to librarians to nurses to library books to recess monitors, schools need PTAs that can earn money.

At the same time, the demographics of a school should match the demographics of the neighborhood the school is in. Sacajawea, for example, has a 3-block-wide assignment zone that closely follows Lake City Way northward for, like, 40 blocks or something. That's a ridiculous shape for a school assignment zone. And draws a groups of students that is not representative demographically speaking of the population who lives around the school. What the heck were they thinking? (The old principal was trying hard to get free all day kindergarten, that's what they were thinking.) Three blocks wide and a zillion blocks long along a major highway with no sidewalk? Basically no one can walk to Sacajawea with its current zone shape. The Thornton Creek ravine cuts the school off to the north, Lake City Way (no sidewalks!!!) to the east. It makes tremendous sense to draw boundaries around schools so that kids can walk to neighborhood schools.

Anonymous said...

@Walk to School Advocate

The long-skinny boundaries in the NNE allow for more diversity at our attendance area schools. This is something that is actually valued by many families (including ours).

I'm not sure I follow your logic, are you saying it would be better to draw boundaries so that schools are more segregated in terms of FRL, ELL, etc??? (i.e. like the current plan for 2017-18, which segregates most of the FRL and ELL kids into Cedar Park and Olympic Hills).

Due to the number of barriers in the area (creeks, ravines, major highways, busy arterial streets, lack of sidewalks, etc...), it is almost impossible for every student to walk to their "neighborhood" school, regardless of how boundaries are drawn, so, IMO, they may as well be drawn as equitably as possible.

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

But if they are taking some portables away because of new construction, doesn't that make the cost go down?

curious said...

Thanks for posting this. It's really helpful. Regarding attachment D, how can Whitman be 250 kids +/- under capacity and be using 8 portables? What happens when they hit that 1100 capacity figure? Am I reading that wrong, is it an error?

Anonymous said...

@Melissa

I think there could be portables freed up at Hamilton (the temporarily-placed ones), and maybe at Washington and Whitman (if any of them are newer/usable)? We were told last Spring that there were no plans to remove the 5 portables from John Rogers, but who knows if that is still the plan?

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Is anyone going to the Lincoln meeting who could take good notes? I'd like to go to another event but I feel like the Lincoln meeting is important.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln meeting: Thursday, Oct. 27, 6:30-8:30, @Lincoln.

fyi

Anonymous said...

What buildings are coming online over the next 2-3 years? Any rabbits out there that could be pulled out as an unknown option to give capacity relief to Cascadia, besides the so far speculated Decatur and Cedar Park? For example, I've heard rumors that the Nordic Heritage building could be in the mix. If so, when? Is there a plan for that building?

What is the planned occupancy for John Marshall over the next 3-5 years?

Grasping 4Straws

kellie said...

Per the BEX IV timeline, John Marshall will be in use until Fall of 2020 and then reverts to Interim.

Loyal Heights is in John Marshall now and the expanded Loyal Heights will open in Fall 2018. Bagley is scheduled for John Marshall until their new addition opens in Fall 2020.

This could change depending on how things shape up with BEX V planning. BEX V is scheduled to go to the voters in Feb 2019, so I would expect that in 2018, some of the plans may be altered to adapt to 2018 circumstances and updated BEX planning.

For example, Thornton Creek was originally slated to go to Lincoln for the two years of construction. However, due to capacity constraints at Lincoln, TC remained onsite during the two years of construction.

The Nordic Heritage Building will most likely be included in BEX V. BEX V projects will cover projections from as early as 2019 to 2026,

The timeline for BEX projects is very tight and it is very hard for staff to add anything else. However, it may be possible to accelerate something that would be near the front of BEX V if there was sufficient funding from the State of Washington via a distressed facilities grant or other one time funding secured by the Seattle Delegation.

Walk to School Advocate said...

@North-end Mom

It doesn't make sense to gerrymander the assignment zones for a relatively poor school like Sacajawea to bring in more socioeconomic diversity if you're not going to gerrymander the assignment zones for View Ridge, Bryant, Wedgwood, North Beach, etc. If Seattle believes in socioeconomic diversity at schools, the city will work toward affordable housing in ALL neighborhoods and until that happens maybe gerrymander ALL the school assignment zones so that rich and poor and middle class kids all go to school together at all schools north and south, east and west. Currently Seattle CLEARLY does not believe in this. So, if View Ridge and North Beach and West Woodland are not being gerrymandered into 3-block-wide 50-block-long strip mall assignment zones, I don't see why Sacajawea has been. Diversity is noble, but it allows the school district to lull itself into a belief that kids' needs are being met. If we stop the gerrymandering and schools become more reflective of the neighborhoods they're in (i.e. socioeconomically segregated), it would suddenly make sense to put extra money into poorer schools. Maybe put in a washing machine and a dryer and a real food pantry and help the kids get coats to wear and find them a safe, warm place to go on teacher development days. Oh, and, you know, educate the kids.

Anonymous said...

So, in 3-4 years (2020) the Nordic Heritage and John Marshall buildings could be available for HCC or othe neighborhood capacity management needs?

Grasping 4Straws

Anonymous said...

What about in Queen Anne? Isn't there a little building there that could be used?

Straw game

Lynn said...

Speaking of distressed schools grants from the legislature, I saw this comment on page 24 of attachment E in the document linked by Green Lake Parent above:

Cedar Park was never intended to be a 400 person school. For the district, in terms of mitigation, you need more space than that. I'm Rep. Gerry Pollet. I advocated for the money for Cedar Park. It was suppose to be a swing school (interim site) until it opened as a 200 student school once John Rogers was re‐built or Lake City elementary was re‐opened. Where is the mitigation commitment? Also, where is the district on requesting future money for mitigation? Time is running out to request money from the legislature for more construction support. You only have 30 days and I haven't seen anything.

He made this comment 10/5/16. Has the district requested any future money from the legislature?

kellie said...

@ Melissa,

I was questioning the math around portables for several reasons.

I think what staff prepared was not a probable cost analysis but rather an upper risk limit analysis. In other words, what is the maximum cost, if SPS was required to purchase and place new portables for the maximum number of impacted students. As such, I agree with that number as the maximum risk exposure.

SPS has purchased large number of portables every year since 2009 and we have over 200 portables district wide. Some of those are not very portable any longer but some of them are very portable. The four portables at Hamilton were permitted for only one year and they need to moved elsewhere next year. There are also still portables at the Old Schmitz Park budding that could be re-deployed.



Anonymous said...

200 students sounds about right for that school. Did Gerry want Cedar Park to be a neighborhood school?

Straw man

kellie said...

@ Lynn,

Gerry Pollet has been an incredibly gift to SPS. He has worked consistently to get additional money and to always be available.

Cedar Park was not part of the BEX IV plan, Gerry had secured the money to make Cedar Park an interim facility so that BOTH Olympic Hills and John Rogers could be rebuilt. It was a shock to many when at the very last moment, Cedar Park became an attendance area school under Growth Boundaries.

It would be excellent if Gerry could secure funds to accelerate the rebuild of John Rogers as that would actually solve multiple capacity and segregation/integration problems. John Rogers has been on the BEX planning list for many cycles. It was a strong candidate for BEX II and was promised to be at the front of BEX III. Then BEX III became the high school BEX and it was promised that JR would be on BEX IV. Then BEX IV became the capacity BEX and John Rogers was pushed once again to the front of BEX V.

kellie said...

Back in 2012, when this funding was secured, Tracy Libros had recommended that Cedar Park become a montessori school. She felt that was the best option based on the very small size of the building. I suspect that Rep Pollet had expected that to be the eventual goal.

Melissa Westbrook said...

As I recall, a parent at the last board meeting asked for the Board to get the funds to renovate John Rogers via the legislature.

The small building on Queen Anne is being used (I think) by Interagency.

BEX V is going to need funds for that new high school at Seattle Center. I'm pretty sure the Mayor and the Superintendent would love to get that done. That's going to be at least $100-110M.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I just want to note that the cost of these buildings seems high to me. I remember asking my husband how much the new Computer Science & Engineering building at UW cost. It was $63M. You can compare that to Roosevelt which was about $93M. (Yes, I know Roosevelt was a historical rebuild but still.)

Lynn said...

Maybe Straw game is referring to the building housing Cascade Parent Partnership.

Anonymous said...

Is there a small site west of I5 that could be used for an HCC grades 1-2 if the Decatur building was used to serve the NE HCC grades 1-2?

TC

Anonymous said...

@Walk

The current long-skinny boundaries for Sacajawea pre-date my involvement in SPS, and I don't know why they were drawn the way that they were drawn. Sacajawea is located close to Lake City Way, and not far from Olympic View (to the west), so its attendance area has east-west constraints. I guess they could have drawn the Sacajawea boundaries east of Lake City Way, taking some of John Rogers or Wedgwood's attendance areas, but that certainly wouldn't make things any more walkable than they are now.

Here are some FRL numbers (dated May 2016, from OSPI):

Sacajawea, 25.7% FRL
Olympic View, 38.6% FRL
John Rogers, 40.2% FRL
Olympic Hills, 74.6% FRL

The official FRL estimate for Cedar Park is 69%. In my opinion, this is very conservative, because it includes portions of the Cedar Park attendance area that would go private rather than send kids to a school with high FRL.

Under the 2017-18 growth boundaries plan, almost all the FRL and ELL kids in the region will be assigned to either Cedar Park or Olympic Hills, instead of being distributed between four schools (as they are now). As a consequence of opening Cedar Park as an attendance area school, the FRL and ELL population of John Rogers, Sacajawea, and possibly Olympic View will drop sharply. More importantly, actual kids will be re-assigned to a different "neighborhood" school mid-way through elementary school, and many of these kids qualify for FRL and/or ELL, and are least-equipped to handle the transition.


-North-end Mom



Anonymous said...

Oh, and it would be awesome if funds could be found for a John Rogers rebuild...

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

When will the Magnolia building re-open? Could it be used for HCC?

-also curious

Green Lake Parent said...

Found something new... One of the attachments to the October 21st Friday Memo, which was posted today, is a write up from Enrollment Planing to the Board with staff analysis of various alternatives to each (or many) of the Growth Boundary 2017-2018 changes:

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/Friday%20Memos/2016-17/Oct%2021/20161021_FridayMemo_17-18_GrowthBoundaryReviewSummary.pdf

-Green Lake Parent

kellie said...

Mel, Can you please start another thread with the Friday memo, that has staff's response to the community feedback. The memo is ten full pages and just chock full of logical inconsistencies.

For example, it would take 21 portables to grandfather everyone, but only 11 portables to grandfather everyone except John Rogers and Olympic Hills. Therefore implying that Olympic Hill and John Rogers will need 10 of the 21 portables to grandfather their two schools. Except that Olympic Hills is moving into a brand new huge building. How is that possible?? It means that you can't trust the rest of the analysis.

My favorite little part. Area 66 is one of the easiest places to just say yes. Area 66 is a small area of 43 students that is 19% ELL and 62% FRL, being geo-split from McClure to Meany. Meany is going to be 95% split from Washington and therefore all of the programming focus will be matching Washington and there will be little attention paid to this small group. These McClure students just want to be grandfathered at the school that has plenty of space for them.

The reason why this is no OK, is because it would be "inconsistent." Never mind that during the 2013 geo-splits some areas were split and other grandfathered based on capacity. Also never mind that Whitman was promised grandfathering. Now we are going to be concerned about consistency and split these 43 students away from a school that has over 100 empty seats.



Anonymous said...

At least the memo makes it very clear that HCC will be placed at Eagle Staff and will be geosplit from Hamilton.

That section doesn't contain any "options" making it clear that it is a done deal.


- go Eagle Staff

Anonymous said...

For those of you following the ever-growing list of "what to do with the "extra" kids at Cascadia," there is a new option in the above-mentioned Friday memo:

"Option 8: Cascadia split and Olympic Hills serves as an Option Site for HCC similar to Fairmount Park.
North end boundary changes would still be implemented in order to provide capacity relief. Requestsfor testing have already ended and historically very few students in this area are eligible for HCC, so itis not likely that many students from this area would attend HCC in the first year. More families in the northeast may start testing since there is an option closer to them. Keeps HCC integrated rather than creating another standalone HCC school. The Olympic Hills community were not planning on housing HCC in their building, so this would be new information that would have to be communicated and the school would have to plan for this."

Is there no memory of how this idea was received when Director Peaslee proposed it back in 2013? That they would resurrect this repulsive and convoluted plan to split the high-poverty kids out of Olympic Hills in order to make room for HCC kids in the shiny new building is beyond comprehension!

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

What? Where did this option 8 come from? The District? Bizarre.

Straw game

Anonymous said...

THE FRIDAY MEMO IS SHOCKING. We are at Olympic Hills. I think it's due to our community's advocacy for Cedar Park that someone at the central office has resurrected this horrible plan from 2013 to take OH from the students it's designed for and give over so much space to HCC. As we told the district a few years back, please, no. It's not that we think HCC doesn't have value, we don't want a segregated environment where the almost-all-white HCC kids are self-contained, with almost all non-white kids in classes down the hall. This is wrong. By the way, Olympic Hills was just named by the puget sound business journal as the top school in the puget sound area. Please don't shatter a winning, gap-busting recipe. It just seems like reataliation.

Please Let OH Succeed

Walk to School Advocate said...

@North-end Mom

The student mobility percentage from SPS's data for 2014-15 (that's the latest I could find) show that kids were flooding out of Sacajawea and John Rogers. This is a measure of how many students move in and out of the school. It is calculated by dividing the number of students that enter and exit a school (excluding graduates) after the October 1 headcount by the October 1 headcount.

This annual churn of children leaving a school can be a sign of housing insecurity or parents who changed jobs. But a school like Sacajawea is small enough that you can actually know everyone who left and where they went. Kids typically leave Sacajawea occasionally for housing insecurity reasons, but more often to get into a better school (basically any school in the list below with a lower mobility number). Kids tend not to leave the better schools.

Student Mobility for 2014-15
Olympic Hills 25%
Sacajawea 17%
John Rogers 17%
Olympic View 12%
Wedgwood 6%
Hazel Wolf 6%
Bryant 5%
View Ridge 5%
Thornton Creek 4%

Losing 17% of your student population every year sucks. Kids make friends who leave. You end up with split classes because you can't fill a class. It's like a sinking ship.

In Seattle the PTA has to pay for everything because the state is in contempt of court for not meeting its obligations. If you gerrymander the assignment zone to artificially redistribute F/RL kids from far away, you lower the amount of money the PTA can make and the school begins to fail compared to other non-gerrymandered surrounding schools. And then the kids start bailing out. 17% of kids each year is a lot of kids to lose. I would imagine that the proposed assignment zone change will fix that year-after-year bleed of 17% and bring it down closer to 10%. So although a number of kids will have to transition to a new school once, it's not like that hasn't already been happening with Sac. every year for ages. I don't think they're so ill-equipped to handle the transition. They're tough kids. I think they'll do great. And hopefully people will do great by them. And hopefully after the new zone goes into effect, more kids at Sac. will stay put year after year.

Also, the new zone is WAY, WAY, WAY more walkable. No one was walking to Sacajawea from NE 125th St! That's 29 blocks!!! The revised assignment zone only extends about 19 blocks (it's only a 30 minute walk--just over a mile). And most of the kids will obviously live closer than the farthest point. So--WAY more walkable.

I don't know anything about Olympic Hills. Hopefully their churn rate will go down, too.

Anonymous said...

Olympic Hills would be nothing like Fairmont Park. Look at the data and the potential make up of both schools. Do the stickers around Thurgood Marshall amuse SPS so much that they want to play with fire in the northend? This is just mean gaming of sweet kids' lives. Not okay.

Option school Cedar Park with HCC, find an AL option school in the central to NW area, and call it game over.

Straw game

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will start that thread.

You might want to get masses of people to the next Board meeting. This is about to get very, very real.

Anonymous said...

This is insane! They just partnered with the Cascadia PTA with survey options to gather feedback, none of which included Olympic Hills. This was just last week. They are off the rails crazy disfunctional.

Straw game

Anonymous said...

Straw game-- Cedar Park is not logical for HCC. The heat map of HCC qualified kids shows most in the north end live within a mile of... Decatur. Families in the Cedar Park area deserve a legit option school to access, especially the ELL families that have been traditionally shut out of SPS option schools.

OHCP

Anonymous said...

@ Walk

Yep, if you draw out all the high-density rental housing, section 8, SHA, and otherwise, you end up with much more "stable" schools.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Why can't Cedar Park be really good neighborhood school?

Do the white neighbors not want a high percentage FRL school in their neighborhood? If they move all the kids to OH and open Cedar Park as an option school, who do they expect will come?

Just Sayin'

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

Re-posting for Anonymous:
Just Sayin' you may not know the site or history of cedar park so here's in a nutshell-- the site is super small with 8 portables. OH at CP is so crammed even closets are being used for teaching, there's only 1 bathroom each gender, and lunch is impossible. New permits are for almost 550 new multifamily units in CP attendance area alone. As a neighborhood school the site can't be capped in enrollment. And it's not like other sites where more portables can be added. The only way it can work is to cap, and at SPS we only do that with option schools. Many of the neighbors of CP of all colors and backgrounds would like an option school. The community there now would work to recruit local families, especially families who haven't traditionally had access. Come out and visit and talk to us if you have questions or are interested.
Momof2

Walk to School Advocate said...

@North-end Mom

Drawing a geographical assignment zone for a school around the school is just good sense. It's actually the way the vast majority of geographical assignment zones in the city look. It cuts down on transportation costs. It increases community. It encourages walking. Pretty much only Alki, Thurgood Marshall and Sacajawea had crazy landing strip shapes. Drawing the assignment zones to increase stability is wonderful. Increased stability is wonderful. It doesn't make schools more "stable," it makes them more stable. Stable is good for kids.

Green Lake Parent said...

One of many things that bother me about the document is that it doesn't include any analysis of alternatives for Eagle Staff's boundaries so that Whitman's enrollment doesn't see a drastic drop to half it's current size next year. Is this on anyone's radar?! Board or SPS staff???

-Green Lake Parent

Anonymous said...

A comment on the $68,000 per school bus number from Transportation.

On the face of this, that's true - a BRAND NEW school bus costs about $68,000. However, the current vendor, First Student, has buses all over the country and could very easily bring in the additional 10 buses discussed from other places and a considerably lower cost. Not to mention that there are ALREADY 10 EXTRA buses available right now. Someone is hoping no one questions those numbers but the reality is acquiring 10 extra buses DOES NOT HAVE TO COST $680,000

gamesmenship pure and simple

reader47

kellie said...

@ Green Lake Parent,

I am hoping you can help me with something.

On the grandfathering recommendation sheet that you posted at the top of this thread, Greenlake’s capacity WITH PORTABLES is 319, presuming that there is K-2 class size reduction next year.

However, the capacity sheet used at the Capacity committee meeting in September, states Greenlake’s capacity is 430 now and 387 with full K-2 class size reduction.

I think this 319 capacity number is causing the no grandfathering recommendation. But that is a HUGE swing 319-387-430. Any insight?

Anonymous said...

@Kellie

There is a similar discrepancy with Sacajawea's stated capacity.

From the spreadsheet provided to the CMTF (Sept 17th meeting docs), Sac's capacity this year is 280, and will drop to 236 for 2017-18, when full K-3 class size reductions kick in.

The 2017-18 capacity listed for Sacajawea on the grandfathering table is only 217 (including 5 portables). Why the drop from 236 to 217?

-North-end Mom

kellie said...

Ooops. The Greenlake number should have been 375, not 387.

The point is still the same. The grandfathering recommendations are based on 319 at Greenlake and their capacity is much higher.

Same with Sac. Their grandfathering recommendations are based on 217 but their capacity is also much higher.

Anonymous said...

The Cedar Park facility is about the same size as Sacajawea, but we were told that a school under 300 students would not be "viable," so the Cedar Park boundaries were drawn west of Lake City Way, splitting Olympic Hills. How is it that having well under 300 kids enrolled is OK for Sacajawea, but not for Cedar Park?

go figure

Melissa Westbrook said...

All of you are now seeing what happens in these kinds of situations.

You are told one capacity and then it changes.

You are told no small schools and yet they allow it for some schools.

It is a shell game in many ways so that the district can drive to what it truly wants to do.

I attended the community meeting last night on next year's budget. We may be in a grave situation because of McCleary but staff only presented issues that they wanted to cover. I'll have more on this today.

PLEASE write to the Board and tell them about these disparities.

Lynn said...

reader47,

$68,000 is what First Student charges us for the use of a bus and the services of a driver each year.

Viewlands parent said...

I am not sure why the district memo says that Viewlands can't have any more portables. We were supposed to have three added 2016-2017 but had two added when the district cancelled a teacher in June. Why can't they add that very same portable 2017-2018? Viewlands did reduce K,1,2 class sizes per McCleary this school year. Why if we already have 11 portables did they choose Viewlands as one of the schools to do class size reductions? We are an attendance area school so the district will always be shuffling things to make room for students. So there must be other options considering it is a rapidly growing school. When Viewlands reopened in 2011 it was predicted to open with 80 students. It opened with 180 students and was allowed to fill gradually. Now five years later we have 400 students. Not sure what the long term thinking is for Viewlands but moving students from Viewlands to Olympic View and filling with Broadview Thompson and Whitman kids doesn't add up.

Anonymous said...

Can Kellie or Melissa (or another well informed person) explain why the Lincoln timeline for boundaries must be addressed in a board amendment at the Nov. 2 Growth Boundaries vote versus the Student Assignment Plan for a vote on Jan. 4?

Perhaps someone can articulate what is supposed to happen at the Growth Boundaries vote versus the SAP vote?

The lack of transparency around even the timelines and criteria for decisions being made that will affect Seattle students and families for years to come is simply stunning. There seems to be zero attempt to explain WHY the district is making the decisions they're making.

Concerned Hamilton and Cascadia parent



kellie said...

@ Concerned parent.

This may sound pedantic but ... Growth Boundaries are about boundaries. Student Assignment is about Student Assignment. While they are interconnected, there are clear distinctions. As we have a geographic based assignment plan, that means, boundaries first, programs second.

At the moment Lincoln has neither "boundaries" nor any students "assigned" to it. Therefore it would seem like either would work. However, in the logic puzzle, boundaries come before assignment, which is why this needs to be addressed in the "Growth Boundaries Vote."

kellie said...


Here is what this would look-like.

Because we have a geographic assignment plan with certain rules and restrictions based on geography, step 1 is to draw the geographic boundary / the viable range for the boundary for the school. After the boundary range has been established, then you will know if the natural geographic boundary will fill the school or not fill the school.

After you have that range established, then you know if you can add programs. For example, Ingraham is in the far NW corner of the district. Even if you draw the largest possible boundary around the school that would go all the way to the doors of Nathan Hale and Ballard, there would not be enough students to fill the school. Therefore, Ingraham is a ideal location for IB and IBX and those programs give a "good reason" for students to travel further to this program.

You first need to establish the natural boundaries for Lincoln for the rest of the logic puzzle to fill in. IMHO, that needs to happen as soon as possible, because if you draw the largest possible boundaries for Lincoln, you will not come close to filling the school. In theory you could draw a boundary that went all the way to doors of Ballard, Roosevelt and Garfield. If you drew boundaries that extreme, you could possibly fill the school.

However, those boundaries would be extreme and would relocate hundreds of students who are walking distance to their current high school. So that is not going to happen.

This math needs to happen asap, so that the part that is programs and assignment can begin with real data, not wishful thinking. And all of the math ... starts with boundaries.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to address the "walk to school advocate" from a few days ago. I think that you might be conflating diversity and economics, assuming that diversity is only provided by low income families. To give some back story, Sacajawea's boundaries were created by the School Board. The idea was that students avoided crossing busy streets like Lake City Way. It used to be a thing with the District but since I5 and Aurora are no longer considered barriers to walk to school maybe there is room to discuss a change in the future. I'd also like to assure you that we have a high number of students that walk to school, ravine or no ravine. We give a small auction party every year mostly because it's fun to hang out. As our population doesn't go too much for "big ticket items" we've narrowed it down to getting together and bidding on kids art and doing a couple of paddle raises. Otherwise, we do a direct ask and our kids raise 1/3 of our budget by running their hearts out in our Move-a-thon. It's their school and they take pride in supporting it.

If you'd like to come see us and what we're about (because it kinda seems like you don't know much about who and what we are), I'd love to give you a personal tour. I'm the Volunteer Coordinator funded by a PTA that manages to create a pretty cool, all-inclusive school by working in partnership with our teachers and staff. I provide tours after our Monday assembly at 8:45 am. Please let me know if you're coming, and I'll be ready to show you just what a small school can do. amschlossman@seattleschools.org Ann Schlossman

Anonymous said...

The current 66ers should be allowed to grandfather at McClure. I worry not enough people will fight for that population. I am happy to see the principal taking a stance. I am shocked the district is getting ahead of the MASSIVE bubble currently in 4th grade in QA and Magnolia.
Ts

Lynn said...

Area 66 reminds me of the 7th grade Eckstein and JAMS area students who pleaded with the board to be allowed to remain at HIMS for their final year. They were not allowed to stay. Parents demanded a geo-split rather than a roll up for their middle school students. Kids were pulled out of Eckstein and equity demanded that HIMS students had to go too.

Meany's reopening will be different. The families I know whose kids will be assigned to Meany next year are happy about it. Area 66 students should be able to remain at McClure. As for programming, I expect Meany will offer a reduced number of electives due to its size - the smallest middle school in the district. It won't look much like Washington.

Washington is losing 300 students next year. Has the administration shared how that will affect programming? Students who are required to take math support or reading classes already have limited access to electives. How many general education students will be able to take music and world language classes? The principal's response to this is predictable.

The WMS/Meany situation is worse than Cedar Park. The high FRL general education population at Washington is staying behind in the unrenovated building and will be greatly outnumbered by a high performing, low poverty population in self-contained classes. Many of them will only interact in sixth grade PE and health.

Anonymous said...

Kellie;

Will you be attending the Lincoln High School meeting tonight at 6:30 to share your expertise and wisdom? Please say "yes"! Regardless, what would you recommend we parents advocate for to ensure Lincoln is well thought out, well planned and well implemented?

Meantime, I want to follow up on something you said above:

"You first need to establish the natural boundaries for Lincoln for the rest of the logic puzzle to fill in. IMHO, that needs to happen as soon as possible, because if you draw the largest possible boundaries for Lincoln, you will not come close to filling the school. In theory you could draw a boundary that went all the way to doors of Ballard, Roosevelt and Garfield. If you drew boundaries that extreme, you could possibly fill the school.

However, those boundaries would be extreme and would relocate hundreds of students who are walking distance to their current high school. So that is not going to happen."

Perhaps I'm being dense, but why do you say "if you draw the largest possible boundaries for Lincoln, you will not come close to filling the school"? What makes sense for Lincoln boundaries? Has the district said it will open Lincoln as a full 9-12 school the day it opens in fall 2019 or will it roll up from 9th grade up? Has the district said anything about what happens to 11th and 12th graders from Ingraham IB (or Roosevelt) since Lincoln will open in this year's 8th graders' junior years?

My understanding from talking to Ingraham IB coordinators is that there is NO way Lincoln can open as an IB high school on day one because it's a five-year accreditation process. So where's the "equity" in yanking kids from the IB program to populate Lincoln?

It seems pretty clear the writing is on the wall that Lincoln will become an "international" school, given JSIS, McDonald and Hamilton feeders. Every other international high school in this city has an IB program.

Concerned Hamilton and Cascadia parent

kellie said...

@ Lynn,

Area 66 is not at all like the situation your are describing.

At the start of JAMS, it was 50/50 Hamilton and Eckstein geo-splits. However, 100% of the Eckstein students who applied via open enrollment were returned to Eckstein the following year, because there was space.

The Eckstein students were split BECAUSE the HIMS students were split, not the other way around.

Hamilton was the school that desperately needed relief, while Eckstein could have worked for students to stay. Because they couldn't grandfather at Hamilton, they wouldn't grandfather at Eckstein.

The Meany situation is 95/5. It is 95% Washington and 5% McClure and the only reason there is any McClure is because of the fact that a portion of Queen Anne was moved to Lowell and therefore a new feeder pattern.

In this case, it is a small numbers of students, who will absolutely be able to stay at McClure via open enrollment because McClure has 100 empty seats.


kellie said...

@ concerned parent,

I don't know if I can be any clearer in this format.

As soon as people take a few minutes and really look at the high school map, particularly one of the full color maps, the boundaries take a very obvious shape because of Seattle's unusual geography and all of the natural choke points.

kellie said...

@ concerned parent,

You raise several very astute and critical questions. Right now, it really the time to gather these questions.

Staff's plan is to defer the boundary conversation until the 2019 growth boundaries. However, the longer there are no boundaries, the more theoretical these conversations are. I support drawing the boundaries as soon as possible, as that will cause the conversation to be more concrete with known constituents.

I highly doubt that Lincoln will be IB due to the concerns you have raised. However, I do think that north end HCC will be geo-split to Lincoln. This then makes a very interesting challenge when the "international" schools are in Wallingford.

The sooner these competing priorities are daylighted, the sooner, we can make a plan for the kids who are involved.

At the moment, staff has said the plan is to split 9, 10 and 11 and leave 12th grade in place. However, based on how quickly the promise to grandfather students at Whitman was broken ... I would not have any confidence in that plan.

My best guess is that once an SDAT is formed for Lincoln, then the geo-split plan will be formulated.


Anonymous said...

Kellie:

To clarify your comment: "the plan is to split 9, 10 and 11 and leave 12th grade in place. However, based on how quickly the promise to grandfather students at Whitman was broken ... I would not have any confidence in that plan."

You are referring ONLY to north end HCC students being geo-split between Ingraham and Lincoln? (Not sure how Garfield fits into this picture, if at all.)What about nonHCC juniors pursuing IB at Ingraham or enrolled at Roosevelt? Will they be yanked back? Is there anything in writing to this effect that we can see?

In any case, sounds like staff has already declared that Lincoln will open as a 9-12 school versus a roll up--that right?

Thanks so much, again, for clarifying a really murky situation.

Concerned Hamilton and Cascadia parent

Anonymous said...

@ kellie, the BEX page says they already have a Lincoln SDAT in place, which has met 6 times. Are you referring to a different type of team, or an SDAT-phase 2 type team that works on programming as opposed to facilities?

Also, you say the place to start is with natural boundaries, then figure out what you can put there. Maybe it's implied as part of the process, but doesn't it make more sense to consider both at the same time to some extent? In other words, before drawing a big Lincoln boundary, get a sense as to other capacity issues that need to be solved by Lincoln. Garfield's overcrowding, for example. If you start with the premise that the HCC pathway to Garfield needs to be eliminated and these kids (or some portion of them) need to be rerouted to Lincoln instead, figure out approximately how big that Lincoln HCC cohort will be before determining how big to make the Lincoln neighborhood boundary.

HF

kellie said...

I have run out of way to state that an assignment plan that is based on geographic boundaries always starts with boundaries.

Naturally, there is always some back and forth between programming and boundaries in the process of establishing the final boundary. That said, the process of a geographic based assignment plan always starts with the geography. Once people start looking at the maps, certain constraints become ... rather obvious.

There are some schools that always need to have an extra program, just because of where they are physically located. These programs have often been called "magnet" programs because they are designed to attract people who would not ordinarily go to the school based geography.

That is why I keep asserting that the boundary process needs to be started. Once the boundary process is started, then the natural conversation about programming will start. However, until the boundary process, the entire conversation about programming is only based on conjecture and supposition.

kellie said...

@ concerned parent,

I think you are trying to read the tea leaves here and there simply just isn't enough information for even conjecture and speculation.

There are only three options for opening a high school.

* 9th and 10th grade only
* 9th, 10th and 11th grade only or
* all four years.

All three options can make a "viable cohort" and there are pros and cons to each choice. However, the important question is "viable cohort for WHAT?"

Now I am going to sound like a broken record ... you can't evaluate the pros and cons until .... there are boundaries. Boundaries define every aspect of program placement and geo-splitting. Until there is a defined constituency, it is nothing but speculation.


Walk to School Advocate said...

@Ann Schlossman

My kids are some of the many Sac kids who were there and left for a school with a PTA that could fund stuff (stuff the government should be paying for but isn't), one that wasn't hemorrhaging kids every year like Sacajawea. They left for a school that let them go outside for recess even if it's raining instead of making them sit still at their desks in unattended classrooms. It rains a lot in Seattle. They switched to a school that could be academically more rigorous.

We loved the racial and religious diversity at Sacajawea and were sad to give up so much of it when we switched schools. We adored quite a few of the F/RL kids we knew and still worry about a couple and remember them in our prayers to this day. One of those ELL kids is going to end up ruling the world, someday. A few of those other kids are going to end up in jail for sure. But, you know, they're kids. They deserve an education.

You sound like a wonderful addition to the school. Thank you for your kind invitation, but we already know more than we want to about Sac. It needs more rigorous academics, kids to be allowed outdoors even on rainy days, and a PTA that can make up for all the countless things the government should be providing to kids. Redrawing the assignment zone to a sensible shape can only help with that.

Anonymous said...

to Walk to School from Ann

I was most likely at Sac with you during some difficult transitions. I committed myself and my second child to Sacajawea despite living 2 blocks away from the New Hazel Wolf site. I did that for many reasons but have not regretted it in the least. Both are excellent schools and I was privileged to be able to make an informed decision. Go Wolf Pack!

I have watched my daughter who was at Sacajawea k5 and at least 8 of her fellow students soar with ease through JAMS rigourous HCC classes.

Are we perfect, no. Can we give our children everything, no. No school can. But we try.

A lot has changed at Sacajawea because a lot of people have put their time, money and resources into the school. I understand the painful process your family has gone throuh but please do not disrepct us because of experiences in the past.

If you are not willing to see how things have changed--for example we go outside during recesses unless of torrential downpour--then please refrain from using us as an example. We are not "poor sacajawea". We are Sacajawea Strong. By making inaccurate statements about this "small" school, you are making it harder for us to provide an excellent education to all our students in the face of many obstacles.

I'm impressed by this forums dominating culture of respect, information and open-ness. We all need to stand together to work to get the District and the Legislation to fund education. We cannot be separted by past pains and current assumptions. I think that the most powerful result of the strike was the amazing Soup for Teachers group. I am so deeply grateful for all those who are doing much outside school walls so that I and others can work within the school walls.