BEX IV Updates From District

Link to BEX IV Work Session presentation scheduled for tomorrow from 4-6 p.m. at JSCEE.
Dear Seattle Public School families, staff and community:

We opened our doors to about 49,500 students last week and had a great start to our 2012-13 school year.  We spent time in several schools and it was wonderful to see our students already engaged in learning.

Seattle Public Schools is growing!
Anticipating approximately 1,000 new students this year, we have been working hard to address our enrollment growth challenges. Projections show continued year-to-year increases in our enrollment for the next five years and beyond. We estimate an enrollment of more than 57,000 students by the 2021-22 school year, if current trends continue.

Part of our long-term solution to meet the demands of this growing enrollment is the continuation of our capital levies, including the Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) Capital Levy, to be submitted to Seattle voters in February 2013. This levy would provide capital funding for six years (2014-2019) and would help with necessary remodeling and replacement of existing buildings, along with new/expanded school facilities.

This status report provides you with our updated BEX IV project list. We want your feedback on this latest proposal, and will be sharing the list at three upcoming community meetings. The School Board is expected to vote on the final BEX IV list in early November.

What are we doing to plan for this growth?
During the summer, we have been doing in-depth work reviewing a variety of potential capital projects, all of which were screened using four important criteria established by the School Board.  These criteria require that proposed projects address issues surrounding:

1) safety and security                    2) meeting capacity needs
3) building condition                     4) maximizing flexibility for programs and services

In putting together a proposed Building Excellence plan, our staff is continuing an extensive review process. During the past spring and summer, we have:

·Conducted community engagement in April to receive ideas and feedback from the public.

·Solicited input from school principals, the Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee (FACMAC), District program staff and our School Board.

·Analyzed new enrollment projections and demographic data from several different sources.

·Updated project cost estimates from construction estimators, architects and engineers.

·Continued to analyze and update school building capacity numbers.

What is the latest proposal for BEX IV projects?
Based on the variety of suggestions we received last spring and the resulting analysis of data, estimates and projections this summer, the district has revised and refined the proposed list of potential BEX IV projects.  It's important to note the project list shown below is not final.  We will continue to take into consideration future feedback and input from our staff, advisory committee and community before the final recommendation is sent to the Board for consideration and approval this fall.  The following is a summary of currently proposed projects under consideration for BEX IV:

· Arbor Heights Elementary:
  Replace existing building with new/expanded facility by 2019.  (Seriously?  Seven more years of the crappiest building the district?)

·Fairmount Park: Open this existing building with necessary upgrades, add classrooms and a lunchroom by 2014 (They are opening Boren and yet they need this by 2014?  Is this where K5 STEM is going?)
·Lincoln building: Modernize and open as a new high school by 2019

·Mann building: Modernize and construct a new addition for NOVA by 2014

·Meany Middle School: Reconfigure for a comprehensive central region middle school by 2017

·Mercer Middle School: Build an addition to meet enrollment projections by 2019

·North Beach Elementary: Replace the existing building and add capacity by 2018

·Northeast Seattle elementary school: To meet growing capacity, add K-5 school on Thornton Creek site.  (Why another school?  Why not just expand Thorton Creek?  And how come Laurelhurst is underenrolled?)
·Olympic Hills K-5: Replace existing building with a new/expanded facility by 2017 (So no K-8 now?)

·Queen Anne Elementary: Build classroom and gym addition to the building by 2019

·Schmitz Park: Replace existing Genesee Hill building with a new/expanded facility on the Genesee Hill site; relocate Schmitz Park to the new facility by 2015 (Either Fairmount Park or Schmitz Park but both before Arbor Heights?)
· Wilson-Pacific: Replace building with a new elementary and middle school for additional capacity by 2017

·Wing Luke Elementary: Replace existing building with a new/expanded facility by 2020

·World School:  Determine a permanent location in the Central area by mid-September 2012 (Odd, they have clearly been talking about TT Minor but want to keep their cards close to their vest.)
During the construction period, we will house students at interim sites, including Boren, Columbia, the original Van Asselt building, Lincoln and John Marshall. In addition, this plan builds flexibility for housing instructional programs such as Accelerated Placement Program (APP).   (Okay, I'll bite.  Where is APP at Lincoln going?)
The following two schools were on the list of possible projects last spring, but are not currently being recommended:

Jane Addams K-8:  Will not move to Cedar Park

·Daniel Bagley Elementary:  Because of revised enrollment forecasts, it has been determined that additional capacity is not needed to the degree originally projected.
What other possible BEX IV projects are under consideration?

·Technology improvements: Wireless in every school and needed hardware upgrades.

·Seismic Improvements: A total of 67 schools would receive seismic upgrades.

·Lunchroom and core facilities: Currently planning lunchrooms at Green Lake and McGilvra elementary schools.

·Major preventive maintenance and infrastructure improvements.

·Interim downtown school: dependent upon external partnership funding.  (No kidding and good call.  Again, get Amazon or Vulcan to roll it out year by year in one of their new buildings and once we know there is land to build it, they can do it first thing in BEX V.)
·Capacity flexibility:  Building stronger core facilities to provide for expansion and including academic program placement and services close to where families live.  (No idea what they are talking about.)

The latest BEX IV list of possible projects totals about $650 million. Additional information is online at

In addition to meetings with staff, FACMAC and the School Board, we will have another important round of community meetings later in September to present updated information and ask for feedback. You are invited to attend one of these meetings:

· Thursday, Sept. 20, 6:30-8 p.m. at Whitman Middle School

· Monday,   Sept. 24, 6:30- 8 p.m. at Madison Middle School

· Thursday, Sept. 27, 6:30-8 p.m. at McClure Middle School

In the meantime, we continue to collect, record and review all input. Send comments to

José Banda                                                           
Pegi McEvoy, Assistant Superintendent for Operations

Keep in mind that if I-1240 passes and a conversion charter occurs, all bets are off.
In this initiative, an approved charter can take over ANY existing school, failing or not, with a simple majority of signatures from parents OR teachers.

For example, an elementary school could have 18 teachers. Only 10 would have to sign a petition to flip the entire school community.

And then, for ANY levies approved while they were a district school – including BEX IV – an equal portion will go to them.

So if BEX IV is about $650M and we have say, 95 schools, divided those and that conversion charter would get a check, straight up, for $6.8M. That would really change what could be done. Probably wireless upgrades would go, maybe even the upgrades to Fairmont Park.

Worth considering as you cast your vote in November. I-1240 WILL impact our district in ways, big and small and, as well, send ripples throughout the district.

Question:  Which BEX IV meeting will you be attending? 


Brand New to SPS said…
This gives me a chance to ask my question about how 1240 would impact a school like Jane Addams. JA is staying put for now, but let's say SPS comes back in a year or two to say they're turning the building into a middle school and disbanding JA. Would JA have an option to prevent that by becoming a charter school?
Well, Brand New, that was one of the scenarios that Charlie spun.

Unhappy teachers? They can threaten the district to allow a charter to take over.

Unhappy parents? Ditto.

Of course, you would NOT have much power AFTER the takeover (and 1240 doesn't give staff or parents anything) so that would be quite the deal with the devil.

You trade the devil you know for the one you completely don't know (and would likely have no elected power to appeal to).
Charlie Mas said…
I think Brand New is correct, that if the Jane Addams community decided to convert the school - either by parent trigger or teacher trigger - the District would no longer have the authority to relocate or close the program. That could be a path to preserving the school if it were threatened.

Mel expresses a concern that the community would then be under the potentially less responsive authority of a charter school management company. That's a risk.

There are, of course, other risks. Even if the JA community pulls the trigger, there is no guarantee that the school would actually convert. Even conversion charters need to submit their application to an authorizer, get approval, and be one of the first eight approved charters of the year passed along to the state board. There's no assurance that either of those things will happen.

I'm not sure how the District would respond to a failed conversion. Would they be bitter and vengeful or would they be conciliatory?

If they were going to be conciliatory, wouldn't they have done it before the situation escalated to the point that the community pulled the trigger?

If they were conciliatory, wouldn't that just encourage other communities to do the same?

I'm thinking bitter and vengeful.
Charlie Mas said…
"Capacity flexibility: Building stronger core facilities to provide for expansion and including academic program placement and services close to where families live."

This can't mean what it appears to mean. The words indicate that the District wants to expand cafeterias and bathrooms at schools all around the district so they could add portables to those schools without over-taxing the common areas. But that's not only ridiculously expensive; it's stupid. Why gamble so much money on where programs might go in some indeterminate future? Why not just spend that money and do that work when and where they need to do it?
Anonymous said…
The South Lake Union school still seems like they're trying to slip it into the mix. You know...the land gets donated by business and then the district is on the hook for building the facility. No. Not this time.

Additionally slippery:
No promise to put APP at Wilson-Pacific. None at all.

Putting Arbor Heights at the bottom of the barrel for fixes. Will the money be repurposed by that point? Betting parents should give it even odds.

Charlie Mas said…
I see that they have become squishy on the capacity of the new elementary schools. It was 500 each, then 650, now 500-650.

The capacity of the new middle school at Meany has increased from 700 to 850. Yet, somehow, they are going to house it at Columbia for three years. Columbia is a tiny building (stated capacity 302 for elementary) and could not possibly hold one-third of a middle school this size. Remember, this will be an attendance area school and the default assignment for every student living in the attendance area.

The capacity of the new middle school at Pacific has increased from 1,000 to 1,250.

The capacity of the World School now shows as 460, which is still less than the 600 that the World School projects. Even at 460, along with the 850 planned for the co-located middle school, that's 1310 for the Meany building. Is that realistic?

They are expecting Interagency to be in the Old Van Asselt building until 2018 and then go... where? There is no high school opening then.

They are expecting northend elementary APP to stay at Lincoln until 2017 and then go... to Wilson, I presume. Olympic Hills also opens that year, so they could split it between them.

Their math is odd. They say that they are adding capacity for 2,416 high school students with BEX IV, but they are actually only adding capacity for 1600. They are counting The NOVA Project at the Mann building and the World School as all new capacity as if those schools didn't already exist. Unless they are saying that they are going to more than double the size of NOVA when they put it back into the Mann building and make it a school for 700 students. I don't think NOVA can be scaled in that way.

BEX IV has a strong emphasis on completely new construction. Whereas the district previously did a lot of historical renovations, they now just tear it down and build new: Wilson-Pacific, Arbor Heights, Wing Luke, Genessee Hill, North Beach, and Olympic Hills.

There is still $5m allocated to the downtown school.
Eric B said…
There's a perception that you have to go to a charter management company to get your charter school. While that's probably the most common route, it's not the only approach. I know of at least one school in Idaho that was formed by a group of former teachers and some community members. With that local power comes a need for lots of local vigilance to keep standards high and keep the flat earth crowd out.

It can be done, but it's hard. Even in that school, the charter board governing the school is self-selected. There's no elections, so parent control is still somewhat limited.
Charlie, your comment about conversions made me go back and re-read the conversion passage in the initiative.

So yes, the charter has to include its petition in its application to an authorizer. I had thought the petition came AFTER the approval. But again, there is no requirement for charters to make what they are doing public so you, as a parent or teacher at school, might not have any idea this was happening. (These should be public documents so I suppose someone could indeed ask to see all applications.)

Keep in mind that there is a lot of talk about helping at-risk kids.

I'll remind you that a charter can be designed to do that but because it is open to any child, there is no guarantee who walks through that door.
Patrick said…
"Capacity flexibility: Building stronger core facilities to provide for expansion and including academic program placement and services close to where families live."

This can't mean what it appears to mean. The words indicate that the District wants to expand cafeterias and bathrooms at schools all around the district so they could add portables to those schools without over-taxing the common areas. But that's not only ridiculously expensive; it's stupid. Why gamble so much money on where programs might go in some indeterminate future? Why not just spend that money and do that work when and where they need to do it?

Aren't there already schools where there are so many portables that the cafeterias and bathrooms are overwhelmed?
Anonymous said…
Charlie, Melissa:

Assuming the downtown school comes off the Bex list, and assuming you were thus going to vote yes on Bex in Feb 2013, IF the charters are passed in Nov, then, would you still vote yes to Bex? True, no Seattle school might apply for charter approval, let alone succeed in getting charter status, but it Derek's like there are 14 SPS schools that could convert their creative approach school application paperwork into a charter request document and see if they get to be one of the first 9... if charters pass. Do, a whole lot of ifs, but, would you vote yes to Bex if charter bill passes?

Anonymous said…
In theory, this poor worded "capacity flexibility" applies to the new construction/re-builds. It is a way for the district to under-commit on new projects, because of the intense fear on the part of the board to over-building.

Remember, that during the tenure of this board 4 of the 7 current members voted to close schools. The board and the staff have to reconcile that their best recommendations, not so long ago, was closing schools because long term enrollment was trending down and expected to never trend any other way.

The legacy of "enrollment is declining" does not seem to be mitigated by the fact that enrollment was never truly declining. So they are adopting "flexibility" in new builds so that it will be easier to add portables and expand a building from 500 to 650 "if needed in the future."

Most of the recent construction was built in a way to optimize all of the available land so that portables could NOT be added. That was a plan based on the never ending declining enrollment. In the north end, think about Bryant and Hamilton. Both schools are over-subscribed and recently rebuilt. However, there is no possibility of adding portables because of lot coverage issues.

So it is a very poorly worded criteria because they combined two notions - stronger core facilities (for later capacity expansion) and closer to home (which is a teaching and learning ideal, not a facilities/capacity goal)

- north seattle parent
Anonymous said…
Incredulous says:

5 million for a downtown school when my school's kids eat at 10:30 in the morning and in their rooms because we are so constrained by our facility?

Hell no.

And the middle school capacity in the Northeast? They didn't solve it. They punted it.

And APP in the North? They'll never move it to Wilson Pacific. It will be full of neighborhood kids and then there will be no space, plus APP will be kicked out of Lincoln for construction. The writing is on the wall.

And what is going on at Thornton Creek? 2 entirely different schools on one footprint? How does that make sense. Isn't TC currently oversubscribed with portables that will have to go away for a nonTC program?

The list is very frustrating.

Anonymous said…
In an interesting side note on this "core" vs "flex" notion. When Hamilton was rebuilt, it was built for about 850 with some "flex" space that could be used if needed but that flex space was intended to be a temporary resource for year to year flex.

It is very interesting that this "flex" space is now considered to be core capacity. So this shows that in the past, the district did attempt "capacity flexibility." However, because they fail to document these decisions in a transparent manner, the story can and does easily change.

I would suspect that this will continue. Melissa's work over the years has documented some of this. I only know about the Hamilton issue because I went to planning meetings about that rebuild, when APP was split.

I know about much of the "flexibility" of the core South Shore building because of this blog and the comments at the time of construction that South Shore could be a 1,000 seat middle school or a 750 seat K8.

Bottom line - capacity flexibility means whatever the facilities folks thinks it means this year.

- north seattle parent
Anonymous said…
I'm curious about the timeline. Does this mean there will be no additional NE Seattle middle school capacity until 2017? Or will they rework boundaries and put people who would attend Wilson Pacific in temporary facilities before then?

Have a daughter in 6th grade at Eckstein which is way crowded and her class wasn't even a large class (3 classes) as opposed to my 2 coming behind her (4 classes and 5 classes). Numbers started skyrocketing for the current 4th grade class, so my guess is they will need extra room 3 years in advance of 2017.

Any feedback would be appreciated

Curious mom of 3 NE Seattle kids

Lori said…
Curious Mom, one plan I heard last year for middle school capacity in the NE was to house the kids who will ultimately go to Wilson Pacific in the John Marshall building under the freeway until WP is built.

Slide 16 of the presentation lists Marshall as an interim site, although it does not state for whom. I first read the slide to mean it would be an interim site for elementary school, but I think really the slide is just too unclear to know without asking whoever presents this at various community meetings.
Anonymous said…
Whether people think it is a good idea for the District to plan for a Downtown school (and personally, I think it is), I believe it's a terrible precedent to say that we'll only fund a school for Downtown's families if local businesses and residents pay for it too, even if those businesses are Amazon and Vulcan.

We don't insist that local businesses in NE Seattle pay for their new schools. No, the whole city chips in and pays for it even though most of us don't directly benefit, why do we treat Downtown so differently?

As a city we have an obligation to educate our kids, even the ones living Downtown (and not rely upon corporate and private interests to do it for us). They should have a school like every other neighborhood in this city and we should pay for it.

-North Seattle Parent
Patrick said…
North Seattle Parent, but NE Seattle has been needing more schools for a dozen years or more and they haven't built them yet. The schools around downtown have plenty of room for the kids who live there now, and some growth. Building a school based on speculation that families with kids might move there instead of funding buildings that are already badly needed is favoritism to the real estate developer.

If they want to set aside some land under short-term lease in case a demand actually develops, I'm find with that.
katie said…
North Seattle Parent

I also think that a downtown school is not a bad idea. However, I don't think there is a district anywhere in the US that builds brand new schools with levy funds. For the most part, brand new schools (as opposed to rebuilt or repurposed or some other re- word) are needed because of actual population growth that is typically caused by development. As such most new schools are paid for with impact fees, state new building funds or federal money - not levy money.

So what is "odd" about the whole downtown school business is that there never was a school there. So the downtown association is asking for something that is new because of all the other "new stuff" that is downtown. So it is very different and as such much of the burden really should be on downtown.

This is even more so, when the bulk of their argument is that they want a school so that families don't need to "cross I5 to go to school." That's right. That is the argument because right now there is more than enough space for families downtown to go to Lowell or Queen Anne, etc.

I think it is an atypical use of levy funds to build a school for "possible-future-potential" needs. But I wouldn't be completely opposed to this idea were it not for the fact that the district has REFUSED to open a new school in the north end until after it was proven that every single school was full AND there were portables everywhere AND all the art rooms, etc were turned into classrooms.

So beyond atypical, it is simply inappropriate to build capacity on spec in one part of town when North Seattle and West Seattle are clearly bursting at the seems.
Brand New to SPS said…
Melissa & Charlie - Thanks for the input.

While it does seem like a nice option to break off from SPS to prevent closure, a lot of things would have to line up perfectly (with the way 1240 is written) and that seems very, very unlikely to occur.
Anonymous said…
The presentation, including the bar graphs of enrollment vs capacity look like they have been altered since posted yesterday.

North End Mom
Benjamin Leis said…
@Katie - A small quibble with your post. Actually there was a school Cascade located in South Lake Union historically speaking. The building which was quite lovely was torn down
I think around 1949.

The current Cascade playground is all that's left of it.

Charlie Mas said…
It's true that developers in the suburbs pay "impact fees" to underwrite the cost of public resources needed to support the additional population. Streets, streetlights, sewers, and schools.

So when developers put thousands of residential units in Belltown and Lower Queen Anne, the City didn't demand any impact fees at all? That seems almost negligent.
Unknown said…
FYI, Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center says she believes that 37 out of 40 of the charters would be conversion schools.

So given that charters are an urban thing, that's a lot of flipped schools. (I find the idea laughable but who knows?)

But just to keep in mind - conversion charters get their share of levies pass even BEFORE they were converted. They would get their share of BEX IV and the operations levy.

So the mess that is BEX IV (and I went to the Work Sesision and came away wondering what was happening) can only get worse with the appearance of any conversion charters.

If that happens, all bets are off what will happen with BEX IV.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stu said…
·Capacity flexibility: Building stronger core facilities to provide for expansion and including academic program placement and services close to where families live. (No idea what they are talking about.)

I read it way differently than others . . . to me, this seems like a clear path to split APP into more parts. I mean, it clearly says "program placement" and "close to where families live."

Charlie Mas said…
Here's something that I've been wondering...

Who will be assigned to the new middle school at Meany?

Won't it have a service area that covers Montlake, McGilvra, Lowell, and Stevens, leaving Bailey-Batzert, Thurgood Marshall, Leschi, and Muir in the Washington service area?

How will this alter the demographics?

Bailey-Gatzert is 4% White of 349
Thurgood Marshall, 39% of 411
Leschi, 17% of 350
Muir, 20% of 416

That totals a White population of 21% of 1526

Montlake 67% of 251
McGilvra 74% of 269
Lowell 63% of 545
Stevens 51% of 383

That's a 63% White population out of 1448.

All of the four feeder schools for Washington are less than 40% White, the District average. All of the four feeder schools for Meany are more than 50% White.

Washington, right now, is 27% White of 1,061.

Meany is going to be a very White school and Washington is going to be a very non-White school. even more than it is now.

The segregation would be even worse if Washington were not designated as the APP site.

Has anyone thought about how this change will exacerbate segregation?
Charlie Mas said…
Oh! And how will the financial PTA support be divided between Meany and Washington. Consider the difference in FRL enrollment between the two new attendance areas.

If you think the north/south APP division created equity issues, just look at this.
Magua said…
The downtown school is a nice idea... for someday. This capital levy is about providing money for changes that are urgently needed now. It's not really about planning.

The downtown school idea is poorly conceived, at best. The Downtown Association is proposing a South Lake Union "neighborhood" school. And yet if you look closely, the "neighborhood" they describe extends from South Lake Union to Georgetown. That's not a neighborhood; that's a substantial swath of the city.

While it would be nice if there was enough money for longer-term planning in this BEX, there's not. We need to use that money to attempt to address urgent issues, and then, because funds are limited, we need to decide which urgent issues won't be funded.
Anonymous said…
I know there are a lot of pressing needs throughout the city, especially in the north end where I live, but I actually think leasing space in a Downtown building for an interim Downtown School while longer term solutions are explored is actually a pretty efficient and cost effective way for the District to serve a lot of kids for not a lot of money in a relatively short period of time. Especially when compared to the cost in time and capital of constructing the new elementary schools that are included in the levy.

Also, I would mention that I have seen the map and Downtown extends to include parts of Pioneer Square and SODO, not Georgetown, which is significantly further away. And while the Downtown neighborhood may seem large, I think it only makes the fact there isn't a single public school in this "large swath of the city" all the more glaring.

-North Seattle Parent
katie said…
North Seattle Parent -

I think a list of all the poor geographic coverage district wide would be incredibly helpful to prioritize this downtown argument. Again, I am actually sympathetic to a downtown school. Provided that the "special" logic applied downtown is applied district wide.

While it is true that there is a big swath of downtown with no elementary school, there are other parts of the city with an equally glaring lack of coverage.

IMO, the most glaring example of this is Queen Anne High School. Garfield is the only central high school with no school in QA/Mag.

The next glaring example is north end middle school. The district extends all the way to 145th. Yet all three north end schools are in the lower part of the area. This geographic argument is why I think Jane Addams as a middle schools keeps coming back on the table over and over again.

Moving onto elementary, there are also big swaths of the city without a "local" elementary school and those areas have much higher kid density than a business core. West Seattle has a bunch of areas where students are busses great distances because there are not enough local schools.

The only reason downtown is even able to make their argument is that they conveniently draw their lines to exclude Lowell, Queen Anne, etc.

If downtown gets a "local school" because lowell is just too far, then there should be a list of every neighborhood without a nearby school.
katie said…
Thank you Ben. That is a good point.

However, I think that there are still schools quite proximate to Cascade as well as schools that cover that area quite efficiently between Lowell and the TOPS geozone.

My main point is that there are typically pots of money for ongoing school issues that are distinct from pots of money for school growth issues. The downtown association's argument is growth based. I object to a growth based argument asking for money that is typically used for maintenance issues.

Why isn't the downtown association looking at state money that is earmarked for the building of new schools? Why aren't they looking at federal money earmarked for revitalization of urban cores?

Why are they so focused on the pot of money that is needed for building maintenance?

I don't object at all to a downtown school. However, i strongly object to using this pot of money to do it.
Carol Simmons said…
Thank you Charlie for posting the demographics of the change, and the potential for exacerbating segregation in the District. To your knowledge is this being discussed/considered/addressed? Will the BOC World School be housed at Meany? Has this been decided?

Anonymous said…
Bagley is now off the BEXIV list, but let me share some things about our thriving level 5 school:

We only have one girls’ and one boys’ bathroom for our whole building of almost 400 students and they are both on the first floor of a 2 story building.
The district itself rated our building as a 3.53 (out of 5 and 5 is the worst), which is worse than half of the elementary schools that are still on the BEXIV list.
We, too, are over-capacity. We have a K class this year with 30 students and two K/1 classes at 28 and 29.
We have classrooms of 6-year-old students in portables and they have to walk outside to go inside to the bathroom.
We have ceiling tiles falling on children in our bathrooms.
We have three lunches because our lunchroom is too small.
Our gym is too small.

We are furious and suspicious. We seem to be being sacrificed for a mega elementary school at Wilson Pacific.

WHY is our district optimizing new schools and doing so little to help our aging infrastructure?

We don’t want to be a portable farm with two bathrooms.

A downtown elementary school? Are you kidding me?!

FRUSTRATED Bagley Parent

Benjamin Leis said…
Re:Bagley. If they build a new elementary school at Wilson Pacific potentially the overcrowding at Bagley will be alleviated. The two sites are extremely close to each other and the attendance areas would get adjusted IF its a regular school. The big "IF" is that the district is being very mum on how they would use the site and if APP is getting moved there.

Otherwise Bagley makes sense under the following logic.

1) This levy is aimed at the demographic crisis and all major expenses are meant to increase capacity.

2) Bagley is landmarked and can't be torn down which seems to be the preferred mechanism for achieving #1.

3) Adding any capacity there seems redundant if you're building out 12 blocks to the north.

So it falls under the category of "just" needing a renovation which is out of scope for this time. Its the same situation viz a viz Whitman MS.


Charlie Mas said…
Although there is no mention of it on the BEX IV update, the District has already agreed to move the World School to T T Minor. The Friends of the World School are trying to get the District to commit to some kind of actual binding agreement on that and some other issues.

It's pretty clear from the numbers presented that the World School cannot stay at Meany. If it did there would be 850 students in the middle school and 600 World School students all on the same property. That 1450 students at the Meany building and that won't work.
Charlie Mas said…
There are a few references here about managing capacity through program placement.

At the same time the District says that they will place programs where students live.

These two statements are irreconcilable. They know that. Now you know it, too.
Maureen said…
Related to Charlie's Meany vs. Washington data: Does anyone out there have any insight into Seattle University's Youth Initiative (SUYI)?

It sounds like an excellent program:

The Seattle University Youth Initiative is a long-term commitment by Seattle University faculty, staff and students from all disciplines to join with parents, the Seattle School District, the City of Seattle, foundations, faith communities and more than 30 community organizations to help children of Seattle succeed in school and life.

From what I understand, SUYI is focused on Bailey Gatzert, Washington Middle School and Garfield. The initiative seems to be modeled on the Harlem Childrens Zone.

If I were them, I would be looking into what it would take to create a charter school (or two or three). The new Meany Middle School (as Charlie has defined it), it seems to me, would make it easier to get their application for WMS approved.
Erin from Bagley said…

While I agree with you about a new elementary at WP alleviating the overcrowding at Bagley, the issues at Bagley go far beyond our current overcrowding. We have been almost on the BEX list multiple times and keep getting pushed off. The maintenance issues have gotten so bad that the parents and city had to replace the blacktop in the play area because kids were losing their teeth and the district wasn't maintaining the asphalt. Our gym/cafeteria has been too small long before we got overcapacity and even for 300 kids one set of bathrooms is two few. No matter what the district plans to do with the school after 2017 it needs maintenance and an overhaul, seismic issues addressed, and a more modern gym and cafeteria.

Bagley is a fantastic school, consistently meets or exceeds district standards and instead of being treated equally we are ignored and neglected. If they will do this to Bagley, they will do it anywhere. Be warned.

And as for WP, where is the plan for the Indian Heritage School and APP? The district needs to keep Bagley (the building) in good shape to maintain its investment. Ignoring the building is short sighted and foolish. All estimations show enrollment in the north end will continue to increase - we need the capacity of Bagley. If you are a north end parent, it's entirely possible that the district will turn Bagley into an interim site that your kids may need to attend. Do you want your kids there in 5 years with no upgrades? Do you want Bagley to become the money pit that the McDonald school or Viewlands became due to district neglect and waste more district money? What about the Aurora corridor as a community? I live right between WP and Bagley and I know the damage neglecting a school building has done to the neighborhood. The Aurora corridor deserves a well maintained school in both locations.

Sorry for the rant, Ben. You aren't really the object of my anger and I'm not really trying to direct it to you so my apologies if it comes across that way. I'm mad at the district and their continued neglect of a great community and school.
Charlie Mas said…
Here's the FRL comparison between the four elementary schools that will likely feed to Meany and the four elementary schools that will likely feed to Washington:

Washington Schools:
Bailey-Gatzert - 349, 91% FRL
Leschi - 350, 64% FRL
T Marshall - 411, 40% FRL
J Muir - 416, 56% FRL

Washington Total: 1526, 62% FRL

Meany Schools:
Lowell - 545, 16% FRL
McGilvra - 269, 7% FRL
Montlake - 251, 13% FRL
Stevens - 383, 35% FRL

Meany Total: 1448, 19%

As with the White demographic, the difference is striking. The Meany school with the highest concentration of poverty (Stevens at 35%) has less than the Washington school with the least (T. Marshall at 40%).

These numbers pretty obviously include the Lowell at Lincoln students among the Lowell numbers, and that will create some adjustment, now that those students are no longer part of the mix, but the differences between the two schools will remain stark.

Let's remember, also, that Meany will have a Spectrum program. All attendance area middle schools are required to have a Spectrum program.
Anonymous said…

Maureen said "Does anyone out there have any insight into Seattle University's Youth Initiative (SUYI)?"
A side note:
As part of its Youth Initiative Seattle University is opening up a Middle College High School branch to replace the long gone original MCHS @ Seattle Central Community College.
It *has* opened but unfortunately the MCHS -Seattle University students are in limbo at the old WILSON - PACIFIC building until the District *chooses* to finish negotiating the Memorandum of Agreement with S.U.

--Modern Sound in Rio
Anonymous said…
"Capacity flexibility: Building stronger core facilities to provide for expansion and including academic program placement and services close to where families live. (No idea what they are talking about.)

I read it way differently than others . . . to me, this seems like a clear path to split APP into more parts. I mean, it clearly says "program placement" and "close to where families live. ". Stu

I read this the same way as Stu. Bring APP to each school like Federal Way does (with gifted self-contained multi-grade classes) and the district saves so much money on transportation, while freeing up space in neighborhood schools. Wouldn't APP parents prefer their kids be served in their neighborhood school anyway?
Confused Again
Anonymous said…
How does spreading APP free up space in neighborhood schools? For North End APP, for example, a lot of those kids are from the NE, and if they moved back to their neighborhood schools (Bryant, etc.), there is literally no room.

If there was a valid APP program in my neighborhood school, which ensured common curriculum across all the other APP programs in all the other schools, and my child (like all kids, everywhere) was able to work up to their potential, I might be for it. This has never been the case in SPS (Spectrum, ALO, the lack of coherency even within APP), and there is no evidence that any such coherency is being planned or supported. Or at least, there is *nothing* forthcoming from the District about the future of Advanced Learning. There never has been in our 5 years in the program.

- Doubtful

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