Thursday, May 25, 2006

Savings Estimates Questionable

Supposedly about 4.5 million dollars will be saved by closing 12 Seattle schools. However, the district admits this doesn’t take into account initial mothballing costs. It also doesn’t take into account millions of dollars needed to:

  • Renovate two elementary school buildings (High Point and Thurgood Marshall) to accommodate two K-8 programs (Pathfinder and TOPS).
  • Renovate the decrepit Wilson Pacific building to accommodate the Summit K-12 program
  • Renovate many (as yet unnamed) buildings to accommodate the three autism programs in the districts (Viewlands, Thurgood Marshall and Graham Hill), all of which are in buildings targeted for closure.

The rationale of saving money also does not address the real costs incurred just from discussing the closure issue over and over. With each family that leaves Seattle Public Schools in frustration and disgust, so does money the state provides to the district on a per pupil basis.

And future school levies are doomed if schools like Graham Hill, which have been recently renovated at a cost of more than $4 million dollars, are left empty as recommended.

This school closure plan is short sighted. It will cost a lot of money in the long run.