I'll do the School Board meeting in two parts because even though the Growth Boundary amendments were the big show, many other interesting things were said at the meeting.
But to the Growth Boundaries. HUGE thank you to Kellie LaRue who sat thru the whole thing (something like 6+ hours; I wimped out at 4 hours) and reported back on the votes.
I'll pause here to submit that there seem to be things that people always disagree on:
- separate classes for gifted students versus everyone in the same class
- grandfathering students at current school versus full roll-out at a new school
- neighborhood enrollment versus choice enrollment
the district cannot ever make everyone happy or even satisfied.
Parents bring their own values and beliefs into these processes and all
the Board can do is listen to ALL groups via any manner of
communication, examine costs, ask hard questions, compare and contrast
and then make the best decision they can.
I will also
point out the courage and thoughtfulness of the entire Board last
night. That they listened to the input of communities means that yes,
YOU can make a difference. In fact, Director Geary gave praise to the
far north-end communities who answered a question - with community input
and data - that she had asked at the last Board meeting two weeks ago.
As I previously reported, there had been some additional amendments added with a sheet at the meeting that staff had created on possible issues/outcomes for some amendments. They had suggested voting first on Amendment 11 which was transportation for grandfathered students and which would influence other amendments.
So the Board did address Amendment 11 first. Ashley Davies, head of
Enrollment, said that there was an equity issue because if the
grandfathered students without transportation, some students would not
be able to get to school without district transportation, leaving only
the students with other means of transport to go the school they started
One of pleasures/annoyances of being an old-timer to this district is that when there are a large number of amendments, that the Board hauls whoever is the head of Legal (in this case, the adorable Noel Treat) to explain Robert's Rules of Order. So Mr. Treat went over how they could vote on amendments in any order, could pull amendments but only before there was no discussion, otherwise, the Chair would have to do it if it was requested after discussion of an amendment. (I say Mr. Treat is adorable because at the end of his careful explanation, he said, "Good luck" and the room burst into laughter. He also noted he had brought his full copy of Robert's Rules of Order.)
From Kellie LaRue's reporting:
Amendment 11 passed. 6-1 (I believe with Director Blanford voting against because of worries over the budget which is valid reason.)
Amendment # 1B passed, so the areas attached to Greenlake elementary
stay in Greenlake elementary. This also directs staff to do a more
extensive review of Greenlake's boundaries prior to next year's vote.
Amendment #2 passed, so Greenlake will go to Eckstein for middle school, not Hamilton.
Amendment #3 passed, area 126 stays in West Woodland and Hamilton.
Amendment #4 passed. Area 124 stays in West Woodland and Hamilton.
Amendment #5A passed and 5B was removed. Cedar Park is now an
option school. This is a huge victory for community engagement. A few
months ago, I thought it would be impossible to roll back a plan that
re-segregated the entire north end and geo-split 800 students, who are
mostly FRL and historically underserved.
Amendment 6A passed and 6B was removed. This changes means that
all of the original school boundaries will be maintained related to the
opening of Cedar Park as an option school.
Amendment #7, regarding area 117 was removed.
regarding grandfathering 4th and 5th graders was removed. Amendment #8
was removed because all of the previous amendments reversed the 800
elementary students who were scheduled to be geo-split.
Amendment #9 is being deferred to the Student Assignment Plan vote. This
amendment would have grandfathered all rising 8th graders at their
current middle school.
Amendment #10 was also deferred to the Student Assignment Plan.
Amendment #12 was modified to remove the mitigation priority for Whitman
and Washington. This is so that the mitigation conversation is done as a
whole and not piecemeal.
Amendment #12 now simply clarifies
that the HCC pathways are Hamilton, Eagle Staff and JAMS as per the 2013
Growth Boundaries and the Student Assignment Plan that will be
introduced at the Ops Committee tomorrow.
Amendment 12 passed. So HCC families can plan on Eagle Staff as their new location.
They just passed the Bar with all the amendments. It is now done.
The Growth Boundaries plan with amendments was passed 6-1.
Other LaRue Notes:
potential split at Cascadia will be addressed as part of the SAP, any
grandfathering issues with Cascadia will be addressed during that time.
There has been community feedback both to
support grandfathering 8th graders and to support geo-splitting 8th
graders. Accordingly, Dir Peters wanted to allow a little more time for
discussion. Therefore, the issue of grandfathering v geo-splitting
middle school students will be handled as part of that vote, currently
scheduled for Jan 4th.
There is a potential split of Cascadia and whether a second HCC site
should be assignment or option. This is another messy one and I would expect that the SAP meetings will get a lot of feedback on this topic.
There are 5 community meetings regarding
the Student Assignment Plan, so mark your calendars if you want to
express your concerns regarding geo-splits or grandfathering at middle
From North-End Mom
The passage of the School Board-amended Growth Boundaries BAR prevented
the reassignment in 2017 of over 800 kids enrolled in attendance area
schools, with the largest boundary change areas falling in
higher-poverty neighborhoods. These students will now be allowed to
stay in their established school communities, without the forced
disruption of their educational and socio-emotional supports.
of the decisions made last night, school communities throughout the
north-end, including several title 1 schools, will be allowed to remain
The amended plan will allow the Olympic Hills community
to move, intact, into their new building which was specifically-designed
to serve their high-needs population, with its health center, preschool
and childcare spaces and small group instruction areas. Olympic Hills
added a 4th kindergarten this year, and should have no problem growing
into their new building without the need for highly-disruptive
The decisions made by the Board last night will put
an option school at Cedar Park, instead of an assignment school. The
staff-recommended attendance area boundaries for Cedar Park EXACTLY
MATCH the boundaries for Census Tract #1, which has the highest
non-white population of any census tract in North Seattle, and includes
extremely high-poverty neighborhoods. I have no doubt that the planning
principal for Cedar Park is excellent, but it is not best practices to
intentionally set up a segregated, high-poverty school when there are
other options available.
The decisions made by the Board last
night will halt a boundary change plan which would have segregated
students of color into Cedar Park, and, to a lesser degree, into Olympic
Hills, while gentrifying the surrounding schools (John Rogers,
Sacajawea, Olympic View, etc...). For these schools, which highly-value
diversity, and work incredibly hard to close achievement and
opportunity gaps, this is a very big deal.
After reading some of
the comments above, I did some digging. There are 14 students of
American Indian/Alaskan Native heritage currently attending schools
which would have experienced boundary changes if the Board had not
passed amendments 5A and 6A, along with about 900 students who identify
as either Black, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander. Would these kids have
been re-assigned if the boundary changes had gone through? I have no
idea, since we were never provided a demographic breakdown of each
boundary change area. Regardless of if they had been reassigned or not,
their school communities would have been impacted by the large-scale
boundary changes and subsequent re-structuring of both their student
populations and school budgets.