Friday, December 05, 2008

Cooper, Rainier Beach, New School Now Mentioned

In the Superintendent's presentation at this Wednesday's Board meeting, she mentioned several additional schools that may be impacted by the closure and consolidation plans: Cooper, Rainier Beach, New School, and probably others that I'm forgetting at the moment.

If any parents/staff/students/community members from those schools (and of course all the others already mentioned) would like to join this blog as temporary contributors during the closure process, please e-mail me. So far we have Summit K-12, AS#1, Arbor Heights and Lowell represented by temporary contributors who have taken me up on this offer. Ideally, I'd like to get voices from all the impacted schools. Spread the word and encourage those you know to contact me.

Cooper parents are already organizing and, according to the West Seattle Blog, have a meeting scheduled for tonight: School-closure fight: Meeting tonight at Cooper Elementary.

Rainier Beach is getting a lot of media coverage, including today's article in the Seattle PI: Proposal to close Rainier Beach HS stuns.

I haven't heard anything from the New School yet. I'm not even sure I understand what Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was recommending when she said "change the grade span." Does this mean making it K-12 or K-5?


This excerpt from the Seattle PI article today makes it clear that the list of impacted schools may continue to change or grow. (emphasis added by me)

Holly Ferguson, director of policy and government relations for the district, said Thursday that she can't say for certain that more schools won't be added to the closure list before the School Board approves a final plan in late January.

District staff still is evaluating a number of schools. In other words, no school is condemned for certain yet -- and no school is safe. "I can't say yes or no," Ferguson said. "If we find ... another school we can close, we might very well put another school on the list."


Melissa Westbrook said...

Reading that comment by Holly Ferguson took me aback because is she suggesting the timeline will change? No, just that more schools might have less time to make their case and participate in community engagement.

My take on the New School issue is that the district said they are building the South Shore building to house a K-8 or middle school. So they are building it to 1,000 students in case it's a middle school. However, I greatly doubt that New School, even with Pre-K, ever imagined itself to be 1,000 kids.

So yes, the District has suddenly awoken to the fact that they are ADDING capacity to the south end at precisely the time they are trying to cut back on capacity.

And I know some people will hate me for saying this but yes, I told you so. If the district had moved or closed AAA sooner, we could have put New School in their building (just down the road a mile away) and given the money to Pathfinder for a new building (because frankly, whether it's Arbor Heights or Cooper, neither is a middle school with lockers and science labs).

So now they will have this extra capacity at New School so they may be saying that they will close an elementary and move it into New School or close it and absorb its students. I doubt they are saying New School would be K-12 as they are trying to kick Summit K-12 to the curb.

Also, on KUOW today, the district spokesperson said that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson had wanted to start this process later but the budget woes forced her to start now. Huh? I never heard this before. Where did it come from?

dan dempsey said...

OK now I am even more confused than usual...
"Dr. Goodloe-Johnson had wanted to start this process later but the budget woes forced her to start now." Huh? I never heard this before. Where did it come from?

The district knew they were running a 12 million deficit and raised MG-J's salary. They must have realized that a closure plan was needed and been at work on it. So is MG-J saying she wished she could have delayed this so the public would have had even less time to respond?

Lets just add some other schools to the list to close say in early or mid January so those parents will have almost no time to respond.

This appears to be another typical SPS plan to suppress public engagement.

When Harium ran for school board he mentioned being able to keep more building locations open with shared non-SPS tenants. This plan has actually improved academic performance in urban schools when carefully planned.

Oh well.... carefully planned that leaves the SPS out as they have not even considered this idea.

There appears to be no thought toward academic improvement being considered with these closures.

zb said...

Looking at the numbers, what struck me is that there's really no excess capacity in elementary school (+200). There's mis-location of capacity, but not overcapacity.

High school, on the other hand, seems to have a fair amount of excess capacity (+2999). Clearly they have to close a high school.

I get the impression that another criterion is that they want to close small buildings, separately from decreasing capacity (the plan, for example, to try to retain the RHS building even if they close the high school).