Friday, June 09, 2006

The Stories Behind the Story

Why was Rainier View Elementary, a school with low enrollment and low WASL scores, in a building in poor condition, on the closure list last year but not on the closure list this year?

The answer is one of the stories behind the story that are uncovered when you start asking questions about apparently nonsensical recommendations.

Emerson Elementary, which is on the closure list this year, is in a building that has been recently renovated. So why doesn't the district close Rainier View Elementary and move those students into Emerson? Because the district desperately needs to cut money from the Capital budget.

The New School has been promised a new building. By closing Emerson and moving those students into Rainier View and other southeast cluster schools, the district can then offer the Emerson building to the New School, thereby saving 55 million dollars from the Capital budget.

Of course, this also keeps the New School from being a K-8 school as promised. The New School has been extremely popular with south Seattle parents, and so has the idea of K-8 schools.

So why does Raj support this recommendation to move the New School to the Emerson building which keeps the New School from becoming a K-8? It’s all about the money, specifically the Capital dollars that will be saved.

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