Friday, May 26, 2017

Plans for Future Magnolia and Queen Anne Assignment

From the district:
Dear Seattle Public Schools families and staff,
As you may know, Magnolia Elementary School is scheduled to open in Fall 2018. Opening this school will help relieve capacity challenges and accommodate future growth at Catharine Blaine K-8, Coe Elementary, and Lawton Elementary schools. Additional information is available on the Seattle Public Schools Magnolia Elementary School Boundaries webpage.

In order to alleviate overcrowding at schools in Magnolia and Queen Anne, new boundaries will have to be established to assign students to the new school, requiring changes to the existing school boundaries in these neighborhoods. Options are being explored, and no decisions have been made.

We invite you to participate in this survey to share your feedback about potential Magnolia Elementary School boundary scenarios, by 5:00 p.m., Friday, June 2. Scenario maps and considerations for each option are provided for your review here. Your feedback is important to us and will be shared with District leadership and the School Board, but please note that this survey is not a vote. The School Board is expected to make the final boundaries decision in November 2017.

Comments may also be shared by emailing growthboundaries@seattleschools.org or schoolboard@seattleschools.org.

Thank you,
Growth Boundaries
Seattle Public Schools
On the Growth Boundaries page:

Anticipated Timeline

  • March – June 2017: Additional community engagement
  • September 2017: Draft proposal presented to School Board Operations Committee
  • September – October 2017: Share information with community on proposal to School Board.
  • October 2017: Introduction of proposed Magnolia boundaries (and related changes) to School Board.
  • November 2017: School Board action on Magnolia boundaries (and related changes).
1) Had no idea there was someone called "Growth Boundaries" working at the district.  This is a public entity; there should be a name there.

2)  There are 13(!) scenarios of boundaries.  I cannot imagine this amount of choices elsewhere and so I find this odd.  Some involve no changes for some schools and dramatic change for others.  Why that would be in the mix is puzzling.  How is that fair?  One would leave the McClure region with no Option School.

3) Parents have a little more than a week to weigh in (and this right before a three-day holiday weekend). 

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

The 13 scenarios grew out of parent complaints. Original scenarios A-F addressed only the schools that were directly impacted in Magnolia, Lawton and Blaine, and border school, Coe. Coe is very overcrowded and having some of that boundary redrawn to new Magnolia school would provide much needed relief.

BUT - because some Coe families would be reassigned to Magnolia school which would require busing, a very vocal but small contingent of these Coe families attended the first meeting for just Lawton, Blaine, and Coe and pushed for including all of QA and Magnolia in the discussion. This includes their strong advocacy to change Queen Anne Elementary to an attendance area school instead of staying an Option school. The idea is that all QA hill kids get to stay on QA. Hence, scenarios G and H. Unfortunately, these two scenarios don't solve Coe's problem of overcrowding without crazy boundaries for Coe, Hay, and QAE.

SPS held Another meeting - more ideas- now there are scenarios I-M.

It's insanity - most families will have no idea how to read the maps, let alone understand which scenario is best for the entire area (QA and Magnolia). I'm not sure how any data coming out of the survey could be trusted as likely only the vocal parents from each side of the issue will take the time to comment and their voices have already been heard.

It's a real mess - and a peek into the future of what the Lincoln boundary issue will/can look like when it comes down to the nitty gritty. Enrollment seems to be very much swayed by angry determined parents and not so much by just looking at the data. Where do kids live, what are the right boundaries that fill the schools with the least amount of disruption to families, lowest costs in terms of transportation, and forecasting future needs.

QA Parent

(hopefully-not-ex)Coe parent said...

As one of the "vocal" parents who has been pushing for alternatives, the insanity we've been fighting is the district's proposal to send us across Interbay, over 2 miles of driving, further than 4 other elementary schools, to put us in the new Magnolia Elementary school when we currently walk 4 short blocks to Coe. Sure, on the map, we're only 1 mile away -- if we had wings. But Magnolia and Queen Anne are two separate islands separated by 3 bridges -- it's insanity to break up neighborhoods and send kids across this industrial barrier when there is capacity for all Queen Anne children to go to neighborhood schools in Queen Anne.

And we are fighting extra hard because the houses across the street are in, while we are out. We have never, ever driven to school -- we're too close. Even on our slower days we're there in 7 minutes. Would you not fight to stay in a good school 4 blocks away, over going to an unknown school over 2 miles away through an industrial zone and morning gridlock?

The point is, Magnolia as a whole has far more capacity than Queen Anne, with a new school coming online. Queen Anne Elementary, as an option school, needs to temporarily move out of the neighborhood for remodeling anyway -- why not move them to a permanent home in Magnolia once, preserve their option program, and relieve the capacity issues on Queen Anne Hill?

QAE parents seem to want it both ways -- they want their option program, and they want it in their neighborhood. They are choosing to have an alternative curriculum, and they are demanding it in their neighborhood -- and taking that choice away from me. How is that fair? Do they want their option program, or do they want to go to school in their neighborhood? Option M gives them that choice.

As it is, there are several other issues with QAE's recommendations to their parents. They are suggesting these values as supporting the maps that cut us off -- but each of them might support Option M even better than their preferred options:

"Equitable access to option schools"

Right now there is not equitable access to QAE. Coe families get in, if they apply, above families from any other neighborhood -- and right now families on Queen Anne Hill get preference over the rest of the city. Moving the option program to Blaine opens up capacity so that students from all over the city may attend.

"Equitable access to services and programs"

Many of the proposed options would set up Magnolia Elementary with the "poorest" parts of Magnolia and Queen Anne, with a far weaker PTA than what would be left at Coe. Many more kids would have to sit through traffic jams going across Interbay at rush hour, not to mention afterschool and evening programs with a significant physical barrier between some families and their schools. Neighborhood children should have access to schools in their neighborhood, and not have to traverse crowded traffic jams with no possible walking or biking routes -- for programs that take place after bus hours, this significantly raises the bar of access to services and programs, especially for 1-car or 0-car families.

"Other (a write-in): SPS honoring published policy is that once admitted to an option school, a student is entitled to attend that school until the highest grade"

The big win with Option M is that Blaine becomes a K-8 option school, whereas QAE is only K-5. This allows option school students to stay in their program for 3 additional years. None of the other options provide this.

The current "M" option is a good one, and the only one with some potential of resolving this issue for the next 5 years -- with Expedia moving in and Amazon still hiring, we're only going to get more crowded in both neighborhoods -- let's at least get a plan in place that gives us some growing room.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the first commenter wasn't at the first meeting with SPS over the boundaries or they would realize that it was a couple hundred people from Coe, Blaine and Lawton with a very loud and clear message that the options presented (A-F) didn't work. And according to SPS there was only about 50 people who attended the QAE SPS meeting and about 12 people at the SPS Hay meeting, which shows the level of interest from those schools. I've heard people say it just moves a few people. Some of those plans move over 700 kids?!?? And some of those kids move to a different neighborhood. The latest options splitting up QA, while not perfect can be tweaked to be good options.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully not ex -Coe,

You realize that your advocacy to keep YOUR student at Coe is pushing out other Coe students, right? If you were on the east side of Coe instead of the west side, would you be singing a different tune? Do you think the families west of Gilman who currently go to Coe agree with you about scenario M? Don't paint it as if scenario M is good for everyone, it isn't. NONE of these scenarios are good for everyone. The problem is there aren't enough schools.

Don't paint it as if the entire Coe community agrees with you. We don't.

QA parent (notice there isn't a E at the end)

Anonymous said...

@QA parent (notice there isn't a E at the end)
I agree no solution is perfect. We should push for modifications to these options from the district. But you have to realize that it is an ENTIRELY different story if you get to stay in YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD rather than being shipped off to Magnolia for elementary school. We are your neighbors. We are asking to stay in a neighborhood school – No different than you.

It is deplorable that the District wants to cut ALL of the West and North families from their neighborhood school (any neighborhood school), and then disrupt the lives of Lawton and Blaine children to make room for Coe kids. We are asking for Queen Anne kids to stay on Queen Anne.

In the District's own presentation in May, it showed there are ENOUGH seats between Coe, Hay, and QAE for all of the neighborhood children, right now. It is mind-blogging that SPS would bus approximately 156 out-of-area, option school children to Queen Anne Elementary and then plan to bus approximately 85-285 neighborhood Coe children to Magnolia for elementary school. Logic should be applied to this situation.

- Of the QAE students, 148 are zoned to Hay and 109 are zoned to Coe. In total, that is 257 of 428, or 60% (according to 2015-2016 data) of the QAE population comes from the neighborhood of Queen Anne.
- There are currently 156 spaces at QAE held by kids who do not live on Queen Anne.
- Around 60 of the children at QAE are from the Magnolia neighborhood.
- In these options A-F, the District proposes moving 85-285 kids from Coe.
- 147 Lawton children would be moved to Blaine to make room for Coe kids.
- Between 328-383 kids would be pulled from Blaine to Magnolia Elementary.
- That is a total of 560-815 Coe, Lawton, and Blaine kids being moved around the region instead of 428 QAE kids. Option M makes sense. Moving the option program to Magnolia is less disruptive to all the neighborhood families in the region.

When you factor in QAE’s added capacity after the renovation (100 seats), an addition at Coe Elementary (225 seats), and a Hay modification (?# seats), there is even more long-term capacity. The district has to think about what’s fair to ALL the neighborhood children.

Queen Anne Mom, also a gardener

Anonymous said...

@QA parent (notice there isn't a E at the end)
Option M allows for a larger geo-zone, for more out-of-area kids to attend, and even extra grades with 6th-8th if placed at Blaine. Right now, QAE's enrollment formula is skewed to Coe and Hay families. By moving the option program to Magnolia, more out-of-area kids could possibly attend.

Queen Anne Mom, also a gardener


Anonymous said...

If Coe and other schools have the right to ask their families to advocate for what they think are the right scenarios for QA and Magnolia students and families, then why doesn't QAE have the same right? You many not agree with the rationale but that doesn't make their stance wrong. They likely considered and discussed all possible scenarios and had to pick what made the most sense to them and their community wants and needs.

I also notice the possible ex-Coe parent never answered the question. Would they still advocate for scenario M if they were living west of Gilman? Or east of 3rd Ave? Maybe those of us in that position want to stay at Coe. Our kids are happy there.

I don't mind the arguments that are being made, but say what they really are, a personal preference that keeps YOU at your current school, not some magnanimous attempt at making life better for everyone. There is NO scenario that does that - not until there is another elementary school opened beyond Magnolia.

Also - many Lawton and Blaine families are opposed to Option M. They don't believe an option school in Magnolia will relieve the pressure on their schools. Are they being selfish and unreasonable, too?


QA parent (still no E)

Anonymous said...

@QA parent (still no E)
I have not said anyone is being selfish and unreasonable, so don't bother trying to cast that light. I have been advocating for neighborhood children to stay in neighborhood schools. With these boundary changes, West and North Coe kids are left without a neighborhood school! At least, you would be on Queen Anne hill.

If an option school is a better fit for a child, then a parent is clearly choosing the program over proximity. QAE parents want convenience while others are bused, want an enrollment cap while other schools are crowded, want their special program when Coe and Hay are more academically rigorous. It is not fair to everyone else who lives in the neighborhood when the capacity problem is here. We can’t afford to have an option school in the neighborhood anymore. It should be moved. And, I have news for you: an option program can be moved. It happens all the time. Just ask HCC.

As for Magnolia, they do not have the capacity problems that Queen Anne does. In fact, the parents that I have asked are fine with an option school being in Magnolia, so I guess it depends who you talk to.

When you look at the numbers, Option M makes sense. I am not asking you or anyone else to move. I am asking the District to solve the bigger problem. A total of 560-815 Coe, Lawton, and Blaine kids being moved around the region instead of 257 QAE kids who live on Queen Anne (156 are already transported, and 60 are from Magnolia, so they would actually be closer.) Option M makes sense. If the District is asking what is less disruptive to families, then Option M is it.

Cheers.

Queen Anne Mom, also a gardener

(hopefully-not-ex)Coe parent said...

@QA parent:
> You realize that your advocacy to keep YOUR student at Coe is pushing out other Coe students, right?

Of course nobody wants to get pushed out of a great school. Part of the problem here is that so many people want to be at Coe -- but the fact is, Coe is 80 kids over capacity today, and this is the biggest priority for the school district to resolve. Somebody is going to lose out, unfortunately.

> If you were on the east side of Coe instead of the west side, would you be singing a different tune?

I would certainly be unhappy about it. But I would understand -- if my commute went from 4 blocks to 12 blocks, I wouldn't be thrilled. But that's not the same as what is happening to the west side of Queen Anne in most of these options -- we're not talking about going from 4 blocks to 12 blocks, more like 4 blocks to 55. With a bridge to cross. We're a one car family by choice, and regular bikers. That's not an option for an elementary school-aged kid to go to Magnolia Elementary from West Queen Anne, for school. What, are we supposed to buy another car now to attend school activities?

> Do you think the families west of Gilman who currently go to Coe agree with you about scenario M?

I do think cutting off the neighborhood below Gilman is stupid. There can't be enough kids in that section to significantly impact the count at Coe -- I would argue for keeping them in, at least as far south as the Magnolia bridge.

> Don't paint it as if scenario M is good for everyone, it isn't. NONE of these scenarios are good for everyone. The problem is there aren't enough schools.

Yes, I agree with this. Not just not enough schools -- there's also enough difference between the schools that we're all fighting to stay in Coe. If the surrounding schools were as good, and they weren't being so absurd about how they draw these boundaries, we wouldn't be so up in arms. If the option school were better than the neighborhood schools, we wouldn't have this problem -- people would be fighting to have it in their neighborhood, and to get into that, instead of into the neighborhood school. It's pretty telling that that's not the case...

Anonymous said...

55 blocks??? in what universe is it 55 blocks from Coe to Magnolia door-to-door? It's 2.4 miles and a 10 minute drive.

And the railroad track, industrial barrier, and/or bridge argument is so tired... it is a street, with sidewalks and railings and a Starbucks, and play fields, and condos, and Red Mill burger right along the road. It isn't a scary "looking both ways and dashing across...OMG RAILROAD TRACKS!" situation. We live in a city - and that thousands of kids in Seattle cross these kind of barriers and much worse every day to get to school.

Of course it's an option to go to school from West Queen Anne to Magnolia. You just don't WANT to do it. There is a school bus. Thousands of kids take one every day. People in the city who don't have cars find a way to get their kids to and from school.

For those clinging tightly to QA kids should go to school on QA hill... it's starting to sound like all that is wanted is a gated-type community on QA HILL that's only for those who live there and nothing else will do.

With Option M, Coe, Lawton, and Magnolia are still over capacity. SO if the assumption is that the QAE program moves there, then those 430 kids go to Blaine and there are only 70 K-5 seats left. But at least an additional 150 students from Magnolia and 60 students from Lawton would have to opt in to the Blaine option in order to make the math work and alleviate crowding at Magnolia and Lawton. So how does M solve the problem again?

Even if there WAS room for the 210 kids from Mag/Lawton + QAE current kids at Blaine, which Mag/Lawton families are going to move schools to make that scenario work? Any scenarios beyond A-F are soley at the expense of significantly more neighbors/kids having to move than if A-F were still the only options on the table.

And if it's a brand new option school, not QAE... Those parents you spoke with at Lawton and Blaine who are fine with an option school being in Magnolia, are they the ones who will move to the option school in order to alleviate crowding at their current school? Are they going to sign up and make sure it's a great school that people will voluntarily leave their neighborhood school for to attend? Or find an inspirational leader that people will follow to the new school?

Again, A-F are best and really, only C, D, and E pencil out.

Scenario C - all 4 schools are under capacity AND there there is extra room at Blaine for more middle schoolers.

Scenario D - all 4 schools are well under capacity.

Scenario E - all for school close to their capacity - Coe way under which leaves room for growth.

Here's the issue. Every family that is impacted will have their own emotional, compelling reason not to move. And stating over and over that YOUR reason is more important doesn't make it true. It makes it different. Not more important.

Change is hard - but every single year in Seattle kids are zoned in/out of schools. SPS is growing at 1,000 kids a year. What is happening with Magnolia opening is NOT a unique situation. If you end up having to switch schools, you can get angry about how your "unfair is more unfair" OR you can use it as a learning opportunity for your whole family, make new friends with those scary people across the railroad tracks.


QA Parent

Anonymous said...

Hopefully not ex coe parent

"Yes, I agree with this. Not just not enough schools -- there's also enough difference between the schools that we're all fighting to stay in Coe. If the surrounding schools were as good, and they weren't being so absurd about how they draw these boundaries, we wouldn't be so up in arms. If the option school were better than the neighborhood schools, we wouldn't have this problem -- people would be fighting to have it in their neighborhood, and to get into that, instead of into the neighborhood school. It's pretty telling that that's not the case..."

Do you have data to back this up? Surrounding schools aren't as good as Coe? Please share your metrics. Define "better" - because there are families of at least 428 option school kids who CHOSE to be there that think it's better. The fact that there are waitlists every year says that people are wanting to get in. And they may just have a different definition than you.

QA Parent

Anonymous said...

I think moving QAE (option school) to Magnolia is an excellent idea.

Mag mom

Anonymous said...

@QA parent (notice there isn't a E at the end)
Basic math here....There are 22 blocks in a mile. At 2.5miles to Magnolia Elementary, that is 55 blocks.

Next, the drive: It has never been a 10minute drive, but maybe that’s because I work. So probably, 25-30min in rush hour.

Okay, I guess you never read the New Yorker article about Seattle since you clearly don’t know what will happen to Interbay if a catastrophe happens. An industrial area with 33 railroad tracks, accessible by two bridges, and full of panhandlers and homeless encampments is NOT a safe place in my opinion.

Next, so you equate advocating for neighborhood children to go to a neighborhood school = to living in a gated community, huh? Your paranoid world view is really very sad. Clearly, you see the world in such dark terms, but REALITY is that I am advocating for neighborhood children to go to a neighborhood school. Period.

Strictly by the numbers, the option program should move to Magnolia:
- 257 kids live on QA and go to the option program
- 156 kids out-of-area kids transport to the hill already for the option program
- 60 kids live in Magnolia already and go to the option program
- 216 kids already take transport to QAE, but your precious kids (257) shouldn’t have to move to Magnolia, huh?

You want to disrupt the lives of Coe, Lawton, and Blaine kids... a total of 560-815 Coe, Lawton, and Blaine kids instead of your 257 from QAE.

Options H, J, and M make the most sense for the long-term for the Queen Anne community, families, and children.

Option H – Blaine, Lawton, Magnolia Elementary, and Queen Anne Elementary have resident counts under K-5 right size capacity, which leaves room for future growth. Blaine, Coe, Hay, Lawton and Queen Anne Elementary, ALL have decreased transportation costs. Coe and Hay are have resident counts only a little over (38 for Coe and 16 for Hay) K-5 right size capacity. That might change with tweaking blocks.

Option J – Move QAE/option program to Magnolia. Queen Anne Elementary becomes a neighborhood school increasing the capacity on the hill. Hay and QAE as a neighborhood school have resident counts under K-5 right size capacity, which leaves room for future growth. Blaine, Coe and Lawton have resident counts over K-5 right size capacity, by very little (150 for Blaine, 69 for Lawton, and 4 for Coe). Some Blaine children would choose the option program in Magnolia, so K-5 residents counts over right-size capacity would be reduced at Blaine.

Option M – Moves QAE/option program to Magnolia. Hay and QAE have resident counts under K-5 right size capacity, which leaves room for future growth. Coe, Lawton and Magnolia have resident counts over K-5 right size capacity by very little (4 for Coe, 69 for Lawton, and 133 for Magnolia). Expected some Lawton or Magnolia kids would choose the option program if in Magnolia. More out-of-area children might attend with a larger geo-zone as well, so it would be more equitable access to education. Blaine would come in-line with all the other k-8 in the district which are all option programs.

What is most important is that every neighborhood child has a neighborhood school to go to. The impact of moving ALL of the West and North kids off Queen Anne hill (many of whom walk to school now) is NOT proportional to moving an option program which retains it’s special curriculum, it’s teachers, its students. These west and north children lose their neighborhood school, their extra classes (art, tech, walk to math, etc) their teachers, their friends, and their community. The option school would retain all of that, but be in a different location and in fact, it might gain a few extra years of curriculum.

Option M makes the most sense. Moving the option program to Magnolia is less disruptive to all the neighborhood families in the region.

Try to be charitable QA parent (notice there isn't a E at the end), you might find life is a little brighter than you perceive.

Queen Anne Mom, also a gardener

QA Dad said...

It's striking to me that some of the parents resistant to the original A-E plans make Interbay and Magnolia sound like some sort of post-apocalyptic landscape. It is farther, sure, and there are some sketchy motorhomes here and there, but really? This is Magnolia we are talking about, right?? Our elementary school kids are not going to be fighting off wild dogs or escaping gangs.

(hopefully-not-ex)Coe parent said...

Not exactly post-apocalyptic, but would you want your 1st grader riding their bike across Interbay?

If we lived in Magnolia, we would want our elementary-school aged kids to stay in the neighborhood, not have to travel on a major arterial. There is plenty of capacity on both hills -- why take away the option for families to go to their neighborhood school?

If you're in the option school now, is it because you think the program is great, or because the school is a few blocks away? Why do you get to push people out of the neighborhood AND get some special curriculum? If you think the program is so great, why aren't you willing to drive to Magnolia to attend it?

Personally I value the proximity of my child's school above going to an option program. It's pure hypocrisy that many option school parents are so opposed to moving their school -- do they care about proximity, or do they care about their program? Simple choice. At least they have one. We aren't advocating for closing their school -- the district has proposed several options that do. We are advocating for moving it to a neighborhood that has capacity, and also re-opens up their ability to enroll students from the ENTIRE CITY, not just Queen Anne. How is that a bad thing?