BEX IV Update

From Superintendent Banda today:

Oct. 9, 2012

Dear Seattle Public Schools families, staff and community:
As you all know, Seattle Public Schools is growing. We may have 50,000 students by the end of this school year.

Today we are writing to update you on our enrollment growth challenges. We have two levies up for renewal in February 2013 – our Operations Levy and our Building Excellence (BEX IV) IV Capital Levy.

Our BEX IV levy will include a list of recommended projects for 2014-2021, which we are presenting to the School Board at a work session 5:45-7:15 p.m., Oct. 10 at the John Stanford Center. A final vote by the Board is expected in November.

Below is a summary of currently proposed projects under consideration for BEX IV:

·         Arbor Heights Elementary: Replace existing building with new/expanded facility by 2019. The school will be at an interim site starting in 2017. We understand the building is in need of replacement, but we will not have enough cash flow from levy funding to move this project up within BEX. However, we will analyze the pros and cons of other funding options to hopefully start this work sooner.

·         Bagley Elementary: Modernize and build an addition by 2020.

·         Fairmount Park building: Open this existing building with necessary upgrades, add classrooms and a lunchroom by 2014.

·         Jane Addams K-8: Move to Pinehurst K-8 and open Jane Addams building as a middle school by 2015. We will work with the Pinehurst community on next steps for the school.

·         Lincoln building: Modernize and open as a new high school by 2019.

·         Loyal Heights Elementary: Modernize and build addition by 2018.

·         Mann building: Modernize and build addition for NOVA by 2014

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

·         Northeast Seattle elementary school: To meet growing capacity, add K-5 school on Thornton Creek site by 2016.

·         Olympic Hills: Replace existing building with a new/expanded facility by 2017.

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

·         Schmitz Park Elementary: Replace existing Genesee Hill building with a new/expanded facility on the Genesee Hill site; relocate Schmitz Park to the new facility by 2015.

·         Wilson-Pacific: Replace building with a new elementary and a new middle school for additional capacity by 2017. We will work with the Cascade Parent Partnership Program and Middle College on determining new locations.

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

·         World School: We are continuing to work on finalizing a location.

These projects were chosen with four criteria in mind: 1) safety and security, 2) meeting capacity needs, 3) building condition and 4) maximizing flexibility for programs and services.

In addition, the BEX IV plan includes:

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

·         Seismic improvements: About 50 schools would receive seismic upgrades.

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

·         Science labs at Aki Kurose, Mercer, McClure and Eckstein middle schools.

·         Major preventive maintenance and infrastructure improvements.

·         Interim downtown school: Dependent upon external partnership funding.

·         Capacity flexibility: Building larger core facilities to provide for expansion and including academic program placement and services close to where families live.

The latest BEX IV list of possible projects totals about $675 million. Additional information is online at . We invite families and community members to attend a public meeting to learn more about the BEX projects and to offer public testimony.

·         Wednesday, Oct. 10, 4-6 p.m. – Board Work Session, John Stanford Center (information only, no public testimony).

·         Wednesday, Oct. 17, 4:15 p.m. – Regular School Board meeting, expected introduction of BEX IV list. Public testimony taken (prior sign-up required).

·         Wednesday, Oct. 24, 4-5 p.m. – BEX IV and Operations levies public comment session, John Stanford Center. Public testimony taken.

·         Wednesday, Nov. 7, 4:15 p.m. – School Board meeting, expected vote on BEX IV project list.
In the meantime, we continue to collect, record and review all input. Please send comments to


Anonymous said…
Jane Addams K-8 moving to Pinehurst? Is the Pinehurst building to be expanded? I think the Pinehurst building holds about 300 kids, and there are about 580 kids currently in the Jane Addams K-8 program.

-North End Mom
Patrick said…
Pinehurst?!? Pinehurst is a small school. Jane Addams had a waiting list this year, even for the much larger building it's in now. This is Not a Good Plan.
Anonymous said…
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pm said…
Ummmmm...what about APP???
Flibbertigibbet said…
By turning the Jane Addams building into a comprehensive middle school, if you base assignment areas along geographical proximity to the schools, you effectively make Eckstein go from a Free/Reduced Lunch rate of 20% down to 13%.

In doing so the school district is taking Eckstein - already the wealthiest middle school in the district (based on Free/Reduced Lunch rate) - and making it even more wealthy.

Anonymous said…
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Well, we all knew Pinehurst K-8 would go away someday. The wording here is quite weak in supporting it and if they do choose to keep it, it's yet another program in search of a home.

That said, it is a small campus and I can't imagine putting Jane Addams there.
Anonymous said…
Where is the powerbase of Seattle PTA and district PTA? Right around Eckstein doncha know. Bryant, View Ridge, Wedgwood.

Get real. These are the parents who are in the backrooms at JSCEE advocating for all children, oh yes, but most certainly also for their own. And their own aren't voting for BEX unless they see another middle school in the Northeast. It's the talk of the area or so I've been told.

The only building that fits the bill is Jane Addams. If you think otherwise then you don't know the symbiotic PTA district relationship.

One of the many reasons I am on my usual rant of rejecting the PTA as useful to most kids in the south end. Not to mention a good portion of the north.

Jane Addams should grab Pinehurst and be glad it isn't missing a chair when the music stops. The current Pinehurst population and our kids at World School don't have a chair. Or much of a prayer it seems.

Maureen said…
I wonder if they are planning to 'un K-8' Jane Addams and only send the K-5 to the Pinehurst building? They tried that with TOPS to Thurgood Marshall proposal about seven years ago. Does Pinehurst have room for portables? I can't find any of the old building capacity data (none of the old links to the SPS web site work anymore.) As proposed, it doesn't look like they will even be able to offer spots at JA to the Pinehurst kids. This stinks.
Benjamin Leis said…
What I don't get is even if they wanted to move JA to a K-5 why they wouldn't just move it into the new building on the Decatur site. That would make more sense than this current proposal.

Maureen said…
According to the '10-'11 School Report (shouldn't '11-'12 be out by now?), Pinehurst only has 85 students and 13 teachers. I wonder if 7 of them might be interested in creating a charter school? If I-1240 passes and they move fast, they might be able to lock in their building and an equal share of levy money. Wouldn't that be fun to watch?
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Jet City mom said…
I've saved all kinds of info from SPS on my hard drive- specially from about 4-6 yrs ago.
In 2005, the utilization rate analysis for Pinehurst indicated enrollment was 273 with or without portables.
Po3 said…
"Wouldn't that be fun to watch."

Almost makes me want to vote for charters to get a front row seat.

Anonymous said…
The arguments about Jane Addams having too large of a student enrollment to move it won't cut it.

Downtown will say the enrollment is a function of its current building size. No one gave Jane Addams the right to a huge program. Its current building allowed expansion. Now its next building won't. So Jane Addams will now have a small enrollment. But don't worry - NE parents will have their new middle school.

Agree with Southie on how this game is being played and on who the players are. Membership to the exclusive PTA hobnobbing club downtown has its benefits. The losers are AS1 - Pinehurst and the Jane Addams parents who should have known better than to believe district promises.

Maureen said…
Thanks Anonymous (who will be deleted)! I was wrong (only looked at the top of the school report). Pinehurst has 85 kids in K-5 and another 65 in 6-8. So a total of 150 in '10-'11. And Anonymous references OSPI to show it was 165 for '11-'12. (Very sloppy of me, 85 seemed way too small, but I didn't double check.)

Also, here's a repost of Pinehurst School History. Which says that enrollment peaked in 1952 with 5 portables.
Jet City mom said…
When is Whitman middle school going to get some love?
Maureen said…
Enrollment peaked at 560 (and in '54 not '52.). So maybe big enough for a chimney K-8 with portables?
Spruiter said…
The district lists the Pinehurst capacity at 251. The current Jane Addams population is almost 600 and growing. Moving Jane Addams to Pinehurst would require a rebuild, one that as currently planned wouldn't fit the whole school population as it is today.

Shrinking our population makes the NE capacity crunch even tighter - especially since as a smaller school, the middle school program is less viable - we won't continue to see the growth at middle school that we've seen (adding a third cohort at 6th grade this year).
Anonymous said…
Pinehurst for JA? Huh. Could possibly work, but poor Pinehurst community. They worked so hard to go around downtown's inept handling of their program. I hope those students get a fair shake in placement. This reminds me of Pathfinder and Cooper a few years ago. The Cooper kids got hosed in subsequent placement when Pathfinder took over.

Also, isn't JA environment-focused? Thornton Creek runs through the Northgate parking lot acouple of blocks away, but Pinehurst itself is a big cement block. No grass that I remember.


Anonymous said…
I agree with Flibbertigibbet - If they make Jane Addams a middle school and split NE Seattle in the only way it makes sense, Eckstein will be FULL of white, affluent students (about 12% FRL) and the new middle school will have a much higher FRL rate (approx 45% by some calculations unless wedgwood and viewridge feed into JA, but my guess is that isn't part of the plan.)

It amazes me that would be considered okay - to the district, to the city - and even to the NE parents that get to stay at Eckstein.

And if the capacity of Pinehurst is around 273 or so, that isn't even enough to have 2 classes per grade, K-5. That isn't downsizing the program, it's killing it.

~ Angry Parent who thinks the district is using inaccurate data AGAIN
Cynical said…
Sounds like the district is trying to strangle 2 option schools at once. They don't really believe in option Schools or K-8s. This is win-win for them.
Anonymous said…
@ Spruiter - What part of SPS Doesn't Care do you not get. Your middle school can't grow? Whatever. The students can go to the new Jane Addams middle school instead of your Jane Addams option school @ Pinehurst. There will be a lot of room now that you aren't there.

I'm sorry to be bitter and cynical and downright ornery. That's SPS's fault, not yours.

Perhaps you missed this from the previous thread: As usual, District Communications have been HORRID on letting communities know where they stand. Was there any advance news to these communities that they were likely to be messed with? No. No notice. It makes parents like me INSANE.

Anonymous said…
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Dude said…
Another poorly thought out plan to move Jane Addams K-8. The most successful new program in recent SPS history and some just seem to want to screw that up.

I just don't get the need for two more middle schools in the north end. One should be enough. And that's Wilson-Pacific.
Anonymous said…
@District Watcher

The district "promised" there would be no changes to the Jane Addams K-8 through the end of BEXIV planning in 2013. That one is in writing. Don't know if any other promises were.

- Also a district watcher

mirmac1 said…
"They don't really believe in option Schools or K-8s."

Oh! But they believe in Creative Approach Schools (makes them easier to charterize).
Eric B said…
The Pinehurst building will be expanded to a capacity in the 400s to accommodate Jane Addams. Yes, it's not as big as the current building, but the current building is desperately needed as a northeast comprehensive middle school.

We have a basic choice to make here. Are we going to wait 3-5 years for a new middle school to open or are we going to solve the problem we face now with the capacity that is available now? Not to mention that building another new school (since Wilson-Pacific is needed too) would cost upwards of $80 million and we have no lot to place it on.

Yes, it's bad for Pinehurst, and it's not great for Jane Addams. I'm not sure how that compares to a school that is 20%-30% over capacity now, with much more expected in the next year or two.

If you don't like this, please tell us what would be better that solves the gross overcrowding problem at Eckstein.

JAParent said…
@Districtwatcher - Believe me, the Jane Addams K-8 parents have NEVER believed the district's promises.
Anonymous said…
Charter schools are looking better and better.

- A Jane Addams parent
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
This is from a letter I sent to school board members today regarding middle school seats in the north end:


But today I am writing because our team has been looking at the Middle School numbers in the north end again, and seem to have come to the conclusion that this may be a much smaller problem than some of the “sky is falling” crowd would like us to believe.

Please consider the following:

• Using FACMAC’s stated high north end enrollment projection for the 2017-18 school year – we need 5269 middle school seats. I know that many people, including some of the District staff, question just how high this number should actually be – but I will work from the 5269 number for now.

• Then using SPS published program capacities (without portables), plus the new 1250 at Wilson Pacific MS – we have 5217 middle school seats available (assuming that JA is allowed to grow to 450 MS seats)

• That leaves a gap of only 52 students (1%) to house in portables – far below the targeted district wide average of 5%

• If you leave the 2011 portable capacity of 561 seats in place – we actually have available capacity for 509 MORE students than the FACMAC high number. This helps cover if the trajectory continues at a high rate for an additional year or two.

From these numbers, it seems that we are spending a huge amount of time and effort on a non-problem. The only reason we have a crisis is if the District and FACMAC are not considering the 1070 seats that exist in the Option Programs in their calculations. That would be a massive, unnecessary constraint in light of the many capacity issues the District is faced with. These Option Programs have proven to sustain their capacity – with continued growth pressure at both Salmon Bay and Jane Addams.

Based on this, an additional north end Middle School is not needed. If more permanent capacity is desired, enlarging Whitman and/or Eckstein to the size of the new Wilson Pacific Middle School can meet that need without the costs of constructing, establishing, and ongoing operation of a new program. Both campuses have ample space, especially if trading away some of their large portable numbers.

Using scarce BEX IV resources to solve a non-issue, or to totally eliminate portables in the north end, certainly seems like an unnecessary use of funds that are desperately needed in other areas of the district. Arbor Heights and many other programs are surely in greater need.

Thanks for your consideration.

Dan Suiter
Jane Addams Parent and BEX team member
Emerald, this BEX was supposed to be the middle school BEX with Whitman, Eckstein and Washington all getting "love". Ah, but the state of our really old buildings and overcapacity have overshadowed those needs so those schools? BEX V?
Anonymous said…
Can someone point me to where to find the district's building capacity? I've come across it before, yet not finding it today.

Charlie Mas said…

What huge changes all coming out of nowhere!

Jane Addams to Pinehurst!! Who asked for this? It won't fit. What are they thinking?

"work with the Pinehurst community"? What the heck does that mean? Next steps for the school? What could that mean?

What happens to the Schmitz Park building? They don't say.

Bagley is back on the list!!

Ooh! More communities that the District will "work with" - Middle College and CPPP

Green Lake and McGilvra are the schools that are getting the core facilities. Interesting. Do they plan to expand McGilvra? That whole "capacity flexibility" thing is still vague.

The "Interim Downtown School" is still on the list.

I don't know where these changes came from, but I know that they did not come from the community meetings. So if they are not listening to the community, then who are they listening to?
Jet City mom said…
They like to remove data almost as soon as they put it up.
Kinda reminds me of the stereotyped Soviet Union.
Anonymous said…
Well, it seems like they may have listened to the Bagley parents at the community meetings (congrats, Bagley)

-North End Mom
Eric B said…
Anonymous @ 4:48- No, I'm from the northwest, but I've seen the numbers from the northeast and heard parents talk about kids who don't use the bathrooms at Eckstein because they're too crowded and have become bully magnets. And that nasty stuff happens in the halls because there's no way to police that many kids packed into a too-small space.
Anonymous said…
With the current BEX proposal I can't help but assume that the district WANTS Pinehurst and Jane Addams to be the first conversion charters.

Further I have to wonder if the district secretly wants I-1240 to pass and is ensuring to lay the ground work for that to happen.

- Front Row Seats Might Not Be Too Hard To Come By
Anonymous said…
I am disheartened to see that the district isn't listening at all. They are working off of what capacity numbers, who knows. I do know that the Pinehurst Building holds 250 kids not large enough to hold Jane Addams 600 students currently. Where does the displaced Pinehurst community go when they move Jane Addams? Where do the displaced Jane Addams families go as they cap our enrollment? Back to the neighborhood assignements? Seems like we are re-creating an overcrowding elementary problem that Jane Addams was resolving?
Likely to VOTE NO on the BEX Levy.
Signed JA Parent since the beginning.
Charlie Mas said…
Even if I-1240 passed, the charter commission would not be up and running in time to save any of these schools.

They could become Creative Approach Schools and seek a waiver from the program placement policy and policy F21.00 which gives the superintendent the authority to move them. Of course, the Creative School Committee and the Board would have to approve that, so it won't happen either.

I'll ponder it, but I don't think that Jane Addams or Pinehurst has a hope in hell.

What's interesting to me is how the District's own data shows that the whole exercise is unnecessary. With these changes, the capacity in the north far exceeds the high projection.
Anonymous said…
Oh but Charlie,

Didn't you hear? We have state level legislation and we do not need to wait for Creative Approach. See HB 1546 (Innovative Schools)

and the RCWs that were added and modified with it's passage in the 2011 legislative session.

Innovative Schools opens the door to a first step in the Charter School conversion.

Savvy Washingtonian
Anonymous said…
I agree. Whitman needs so much work and we arent being considered because? We arent as affluent as Eckstein? Because mold and falling tiles are ok? Because downtown needs a school and that is the biggest issue? I give up. Vote yes on 1240 and let Whitman flip their building as well.
Anonymous said…
BTW - Thornton Creek is the only school in the Seattle district to be designated as an Innovative School. Curious that they haven't used it for anything...

- Savvy Washingtonian
NESeattleMom said…
"Capacity flexibility: Building larger core facilities to provide for expansion and including academic program placement and services close to where families live."

My question--what do you think this means? "academic program placement and services close to where families live"
dw said…
"If you don't like this, please tell us what would be better that solves the gross overcrowding problem at Eckstein."

How about moving the Wilson-Pacific construction up to the front of the line? Start design and demo as soon as BEX is approved and the bonds are available. That should have Wilson MS open by fall 2015. That would create immediate relief for Whitman AND Eckstein. It'd do more, I bet, than turning JA back into a middle school.

Why the Wilson-Pacific construction is so late -- 2017? -- is beyond me. We need a middle school in the north something bad.
dw said…
I am happy to see Bagley is back on the list, though a 2020 completion date means that no kid currently at Bagley will be around for its completion, nor will any incoming kindergartners next year.

By the time the modernization/extension is complete, Bagley will be 90 years old. As is, at 82, it's the oldest school in the Seattle system that's never been expanded or remodeled. It's a veritable Fenway Park of Seattle schools.
Anonymous said…
If wilson pacific was moved up and could be online for 2015, which is the same year they are saying JA would be converted to a MS, I would bet that you wouldn't even need to move the JA program (and if you did, you could do it at that point, without killing/disrupting both Pinehurst and JA right away. It's MUCH easier to work on a site (w-p) that is unoccupied rather than try to do a conversion while programs are still in the building.

~trying to come up with reasonable solutions
What is a comprehensive middle school?

I would have hoped at this stage in the game the plan would be subject to fine tuning. I'm mostly following Jane Addams but it seems in the last 3 revisions we've had it moving, staying put and moving elsewhere. This is late stage thrashing. Very worrying.
Anonymous said…
And while you're at it, build JA a K-8 on the Thorton Creek site - this would give TC parents a smaller MS option right in their neighborhood. I'm guessing they'd prefer the JA option to an assignment elementary - and it would still provide 450 elementary seats (close to the 500-650 a straight elementary would provide.)

~still searching for reasonable solutions
Anonymous said…
I will vote NO on any version of BEX IV that contains a downtown school.

The need for funding in other areas is so overwhelming, and the number are just not there to support a school at this time. I am not interested in handing over my own money to make a downtown developer's project look better. We need to focus on the kids who are already in overcrowded, moldy, crappy buildings.

- This Is Insanity Defined
Unknown said…
Welllll, this is all interesting.

As Charlie says, who is the district listening to because we all went to at least one community meeting.

As for 1240, I am going to fight to the bitter/sweet end. However, AFTER the election I will have much to say (especially about those who stood by and did nothing). You reap what you sow. And as we all learn, if you sow the wind, don't be surprised when you reap the whirlwind.

(And, I have never seen so many people positioning themselves to be on the Charter Commission.)
Anonymous said…
Well, as an 8-yr PinehurstK8 parent, I am tired, so tired, of this BS. This plan makes as much sense as last time (or am I thinking of the time before?), though, so maybe there's some hope? she says wanly.

Our fearless leader's words of support? His entire email said, "FYI, here's an email you'll get from SPS today." Wow, thanks.

~Nearly outta here
Anonymous said…
Jane Addams to pinehurst? How does that work? I've never voted against a chance to tax myself but now that ive seen the process there is no way I'm supporting this. SPS- try again.....there is no way I'm sending my $ to support APP and a wealthy Eckstein at the expense of a successful environmental science program that the district promised to support. Bagley- I'm happy for you. You deserve support as do the rest of you....just don't see the equity in this trade

-maple leaf dad
Josh Hayes said…
My first reaction to this, as an ELEVEN-year Pinehurst/AS1 parent, was laughter. Rueful laughter, and a shake of the head, because you can set your watch by the district coming after AS1; they hate it so.

And then they always act so surprised when we can't get our enrollment to bounce; puzzling, huh? It's irksome that we finally recruited some students from the local Muslim community (which is quite large, since the mosque is just a couple of blocks away) to Pinehurst. It's really hard to see this as anything other than an effort to get rid of AS1 and cripple JA. Go to the NORMAL schools, willya, they seem to be saying.
Anonymous said…
Am I missing something? Is Eckstein getting money in this latest proposal? Or are they just going to get some relief of their dangerous overcrowding that is going to get MUCH worse in the next few years.

I have nothing against Jane Adams and have many friends with kids who are students there and support their right to be upset and really was impressed at their tour. I do not, however support this bashing of Eckstein. It is not productive and does not make sense.

Eckstein and not wealthy mom (of a child with a disability battling the overcrowded halls)
Floor Pie said…
What will happen to the developmental preschool at Pinehurst? Will they move it, or just close it? Sad.
Dev Preschool Watcher said…
There will be no space for the developmental preschools at either Pinehurst or Jane Addams with the potential move of JA to the Pinehurst building - so that's 2 developmental preschool classes lost.
Spruiter said…
Looking at the presentation for tomorrow's work session:


Check out slide 14, which shows this plan OVERBUILDS by HUNDREDS of middle school seats in the north end.

I understand that Eckstein needs relief - but a 1250 seat middle school at Wilson Pacific will bring that relief.

The current plan to reopen Jane Addams as a middle school goes too far, and effectively cripples 2 option schools that both serve valuable roles in the north end. This is an unnecessary disruption for hundreds of families and a waste of money that could be better used to fix crumbling buildings.
Anonymous said…
What happened to the North Beach re-build ... replaced by Bagley & Loyal Heights additions?

NW Mom
Dude said…
No one is bashing Eckstein. Everyone agrees that there is a serious overcrowding problem there. But the solution needs to be fair and reasonable. Disrupting 500+ students and moving them to a site that is too small for the program? Disrupting another 180 students and putting them where??

And the numbers that Spruiter just posted show that the need is just not there (as I suspected in my previous post.) We are seriously going to overbuild middle school seats by 500 in the north? That's essentially the difference between a 900 seat comprehensive school and 450 seats that Jane Addams can currently have in middle school grades.

So I'll repeat - We are seriously going to overbuild middle school seats by 500??

And what if the enrollment ends up around the mid-range projection. 1000 extra seats. Yes, 1000! It's on page 21 of the document shared by Spruiter.

The real problem is not that we need capacity, besides a new Wilson-Pacific middle school. Eckstein needs relief now. So start an interim W-P at John Marshall as soon as possible. Build W-P as soon as possible. Then if more capacity is needed later, expand Eckstein by 300 with a new wing or annex. There would be plenty of room without all the portables.
Anonymous said…
I just looked at the district presentation and I think I understand why the sudden boot of JA and AS1/Pinehurst. Cashflow.

It looks like there won't be enough $$ in the levy early enough to begin construction on a Wilson Pacific solution to Eckstein overcrowding. And don't forget, West Seattle and other areas want their buildings started early too. (As does the Downtown Crowd, but don't get me started on that boondoggle of non-urgency. People need to be outraged that it is still showing its face when Solomonesque decisions are happening to existing school populations.)

Moving JA to Pinehurst and closing AS1/Pinehurst looks great to Facilities. Note that there is no $$ in the plan to upgrade Pinehurst (helloooo portables), so that's a "free" solution to making a middle school available at the current JA building. That's darn attractive.

And without anyone in charge of academics downtown right now except two fill-in bodies, there is no powerful advocate for the JA and AS1 programs.

From a Mitt Romney-CEO-bottom-line perspective, the jilt of JA and AS#1 is the least painful, most beneficial chess move for BEX. (I am not saying I agree with the perspective. I'm an Obama-backer.)

Anonymous said…
EdVoter----your argument makes sense, but you left out the key ingredient I've posted before: Access to Decisionmakers. Everyone is playing hardball behind the scenes...Example 1: downtown business and some of Queen Anne - and let's not forget board pres Michael DeBell, friend of Burgess and McGinn and downtown biz, won't support BEX without its downtown school (to which I say a pox on them and their 1 percenter myopic GIMME NOW view). So, the district, with tail between legs, leaves the downtown school on the BEX list. Doesn't even bother to defend it with a straight face. Makes me want to vomit and I will vote no based just on that.

Then we get to Hardball Part Two - The NE parents are saying they won't vote for BEX without an immediate middle school solution. They do have a point - the district botched projections so badly, for so long, despite so much community input, that Eckstein area residents are now cuthroat. They want their school NOW. The fact that a whole bunch of politicians and PTA players and plain old high net worth families live in the area cinches the deal. District darwinism says the smaller less powerful JA and Pinehurst populations get screwed. They've got no IOUs owed to them by JSCEE. And JSCEE has tried to kill Pinehurst for years anyhow.

The levy game is not for newbies. It rips the soul right out of well-meaning parents.

Charlie Mas said…
The BEX IV Plan update includes some moves that have never had any kind of public airing. Most surprising of all was the idea of moving Jane Addams K-8 (October 1 enrollment: 581) to the Pinehurst building (K-8 capacity: 265). How does the district plan to squeeze 581 students (and growing) into a space that can only hold 265? And where does the District imagine the 265 will go? Where did this idea come from? Why didn't anyone hear anything about it before this late date - at the Board work session to finalize the project list? Where's the transparency?

Almost as surprising were the charts included in this presentation.

The chart on slide 18 that shows the capacity of elementary schools in the southwest is misleading because it presumes that the District will be using the whole capacity of Boren (760). That's simply not the case at all. In fact, if the STEM program moves out of Boren and into Fairmount Park the new capacity at Fairmount Park will be full with no one in the Boren building. And, instead of being way ahead of the demand in 2014-2015 as the graph suggests, the area will be desperately behind the demand. It's very deceptive to count the Boren capacity when the building will be empty.

Slide 19 shows that the District intends to completely over-build in the north end ending with over 1,000 more elementary seats than even the high-range projection forecasts. At least one of these projects isn't needed. It is curious how you reckon that the move of the Jane Addams program to the Pinehurst building will somehow create capacity.

Slide 20 shows that the downtown elementary is completely unnecessary.

Slide 21 shows that the southeast region, which lost an addition to Mercer in the latest update, really needed it. It also shows that the District is headed for disaster with the middle schools in the southwest but has no plan or intention to steer away from that disaster. We are overbuilding elementary schools in the north while middle schools in the southeast and southwest need capacity.

Slide 22 shows that the proposed plan would result in a surplus of about 600 middle school seats in the north. Jane Addams, by the way, has two d's in it.

These slides show that the list of proposed projects has only a passing familiarity with the enrollment projections. It all makes me wonder what these people are thinking, but I guess I'll never know since they won't tell. They don't offer that kind of transparency.
Josh Hayes said…
I return to my original question: all this stuff seems predicated on the idea that the levy will pass. What happens if it fails to pass? Are all these plans simply, whoosh, out the window?

In cash-strapped times, voters might one day say no. (I certainly will vote no if that idiotic downtown school thing isn't dispatched before I fill in my ballot, for instance.) The district had better have made contingency plans for when the levy goes down, as well as plans for what to do if it passes. But have they?
NESeattleMom said…
Maple Leaf Dad,
Is the environmental science pragram at AS1? What are you referring to about Eckstein and APP?
Anonymous said…
"Interim downtown school: Dependent upon external partnership funding."

"...and including academic program placement and services close to where families live."

Here's what this means. Some upstanding downtown business interest will pony up with some "external partnership funding"... (or wait, maybe it will be the City of Seattle that somehow does it - that's right, the external partner doesn't have to be a private interest, we can empty the public coffers with both hands!) Note that the partner funding will be tiny, so SPS will still be on the hook for essentially an entire new school "downtown".

Close to where families live! After all, look at all of those families...downtown!

It's a done deal.

The rest of the city's population can just wrestle with the unbelievably unprofessional planning and analysis of whatever "staff" put together this witches brew.

Anonymous said…
And the other thing to watch out for (sorry for the double post) is that...pretty soon SPS will designate EVERYTHING an academic program. No longer will your child attend even your neighborhood school. Your child will attend the "School Name Here" PROGRAM located at the "School Name Here" BUILDING. Then SPS can do whatever it pleases, whenever it pleases, with neither rhyme nor reason. Oh...wait...I guess it already does that.

Eric B said…
All of this discussion of overbuilding the northeast misses a major point. The high projections are too low. That's true all over the north end. At virtually every school, the 2012-13 enrollment is above high projections. At John Rogers, enrollment is up something like 20% over LAST YEAR. As those students roll up into middle school, we'll need much more space than the high projections.

And to everyone who thinks this was decided on the basis of racism/classism, that Eckstein parents somehow wanted to exclude the poor huddled masses, I'm calling bullshit. I don't normally swear on this forum, but it's pure and simple bullshit and insults our intelligence. At every meeting I attended (and there were lots of them), there was discussion of numbers of seats needed, population growth, and where that growth was happening. If diversity came up at all (which was rare), it was about improving diversity at schools. Yes, putting in a comprehensive middle school at Jane Addams will likely reduce diversity at Eckstein. It will also put the new seats near where students live, which is the whole point of the exercise.

The Jane Addams building is needed now because Eckstein is overcrowded to the point of being unsafe now, and many more kids are on the way. Wilson-Pacific cannot come on line any sooner because the money won't be available until its current schedule, and because it takes time to start up a middle school. If you want to call that Romney-esque politics, that's your right, but I think it misses the point.
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
@ Eric B: If screwing not 1 but 2middle-to-low income populations eg Pinehurst and JA to mitigate the suffering of the wealthier white population isn't Romney-esque politics, then what is?

You can cite all the spreadsheets you want. You can pat yourself on the back for all the meetings you want. It only reinforces the point that you want to kill 2 school populations to fix a hard problem for a more privileged population. And you want to do it at the 11th hour of the process with NO NOTICE to our communities.

You can A) have a little liberal compassion and find another solution to the hard problem. Or B)perhaps you'd like the harder problem of not having BEX pass. You can only push the little people so far. My friends in Arbor Heights have the same mindset.

I Am Disgusted Near 130th

And PS The downtown school is the cincher on EdVoter's Romney Politics point. What a moneyed class farce.
NEDad said…
@ Eric B
I agree that the rhetoric about racism/classism and Eckstein is getting overblown, but regardless of intention, that financial inequity would be the result of this proposal.
mirmac1 said…
I will vote no on the levy and urge others to do the same. Let staff and board scramble to fix what they broke. Yeah, we'll have to eat the election costs but that is the ONLY way to get these folks to listen and respond. It will be re-presented at the next election - with the downtown goodie expunged.
kellie said…
I have explained the issue with the 2011 projections multiple times on multiple threads.

The short-short version is that reasonable people read high, medium and low as nouns, in a contextual sequence. They think the high projection was calculated aggressively to determine an upper limit that contrasts to a low projection that as calculated to be a bottom limit and that well ... medium would be the reasonable person's choice.

That was not the case.

The description was based on the result of the calculation
- average of 5 years from 5 years ago (shockingly this result was low)
- average of the last five years, 3 from old SAP and 2 from new - this was the medium result
- just using two years of NSAP data in isolation - high.

In other words, using highly probable NSAP data gives you a shockingly high number. Using very very old data from before the closures gives you low data.

Averaging those two gives you medium data.

So if the trends that started with the NSAP continue, it is very probable that the high numbers are actually quite low. And one year into the projections, enrollment is hundreds of students higher than the high number.
Lori said…
Thanks, Kellie, for that explanation. Is it fair to say then that upcoming cohorts are not fully accounted for in some of these projections if they are modeling from retrospective data?

For example, my 4th grader was part of a "bubble" that caught the district off guard when they entered Kindergarten. That year, every NE elementary school added a K class, some in late spring and against their will, to accommodate about 300 more K children than the district expected just in this one quadrant of the city. And, those bubbles continued in subsequent years. So, Eckstein is really just now starting to see the effects of these larger-than-normal cohorts, in my estimation, and crowding will only get worse as these cohorts age up. Projecting future enrollment seems doubly complicated by the change to neighborhood schools and normal growth that was already happening.
kellie said…
The problem with this BEX levy is ... significant to say the least.

IMHO, I believe everyone is asking the wrong questions. The question on the table is how to best spend $650 Million in order to fix capacity issues, fix safety issues and improve building conditions.

There is no answer to that question because it is $2 Billion problem. To do everything on the list is at least $2 Billion and might very well be more than that.

That means the question is how to best fill your $2 Billion dollar hole with a $100 Million shovel because you are only getting $100 Million per year with this levy.

I don' t have a good answer because there isn't a good answer. There are only answers that help some aspect and answers that don't even fix any aspect.
Anonymous said…
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kellie said…
Hi Lori,

That 4th grade "bubble" is a common misunderstanding. The Kindergarten cohort has been increasing in size for 11 years now. Every K class for 11 years has been larger than the previous year with one flat year.

The current 4th grade class was the "tipping point" that shifted total district wide enrollment because it was year 7 of continuous growth. In other words 6 years of smaller cohorts had graduated. Hence, there was now a bubble!

This is because the district presented all data as aggregate data and it was not possible to see the trend until you starting looking at cohorts, rather than total numbers.

Your 4th grader is NOT captured in the low number. Your 4th grader is captured in the medium number. The trend that followed the NSAP is only captured in the high numbers.

mirmac1 said…
"Anonymous said...
why was my comment deleted about schmitz park being illegal in having too many kids per sq foot?"

That is because those comments and the one above were not signed with a pseudonym.
Eric B is Cool said…
Eric B is right on.

Even if they build all this, there is not going to be enough seats over the next 10 to 20 years.

The North End almost approaching BOOM TIMES again.

Residential construction in the NW is growing exponentially.
Unknown said…
Anonymous, we take NO anonymous comments. Do read the instructions above this box and resubmit.
Dude said…
We are not building for the next 10 to 20 years. We are building for the next 6. Future BEX will address future needs. We can't agree on a 6 year projection, let alone 20 year.

And most likely the high projections will end up higher than reality. Many people often move out of Seattle when they have kids. That has not been happening lately. That trend will reverse as the economy strengthens and enrollment growth will slow.
Jet City mom said…
My H graduated from SPS in 1973, when enrollment was about 85,000 and the Seattle population was much smaller than it is now.

Why is it with school district enrollment of almost half that number, we don't have enough space?
Jet City mom said…
I've already considered the adding of tech classrooms, however SPS used to offer home ec., metal shop, wood shop, auto body, auto mechanics courses, all which take up a sizable footprint but which you would be hard pressed to find today - certainly not all at the same school as was common in the 70s.
Anonymous said…
@"Eric B is Cool":

What are you? His mother? No, Eric B. is not "cool". We all know about the overcrowding. We have known this was a problem for years. YEARS. That's why JA was opened in the first place. What we want are thoughtful, equitable SOLUTIONS from the District and from FACMAC. Eric B. fails to provide one.

First, if this 'solution' is all so clear to Eric B, then why is the closure of Pinehurst and displacement of JA to a too small, crumbling building sneaking into the planning queue THE DAY BEFORE the board workshop to finalize the BEX list and mere days before official entry of projects onto the board meeting agenda.

If this was such an onerous one-solution problem, then BEX FACMAC and the District could have telegraphed this option to the community weeks, no MONTHS ago. And don't use the historical status of Cedar Park (so can't move JA there) as an excuse. That started looking like a problematic issue a few months ago.

Therefore to punt JA and Pinehurst is either a Hail Mary last ditch solution to appease Eckstein (pathetic planning for a years-old issue), or this isn't a last minute was developed behind the scenes and sprung on us at the last minute so that we could not mount opposition. Even worse than the Hail Mary.

Not cool. Not cool at all.

Finally, Eric B. needs to stop using the future tense, like this boondoggle is a done deal, as in "Pinehurst WILL be expanded for JA", instead of the more realistic "Pinehurst WOULD be expanded."

This is far from a done deal.

"I Am Disgusted Near 130th"
Spruiter said…
I agree with Kellie that this issue is too big for the money we have available - which is why I maintain that re-purposing Jane Addams wastes $25 million and kills 2 valuable programs.

Based on current enrollment (this year's enrollment numbers, by cohort, rolling up at 100%) including APP students, building a 1250 seat middle school at Wilson Pacific gives us enough middle school seats to bring Eckstein and Whitman down to 1% in portables until the 2018-2019 school year (and keep Hamilton within building capacity.

If the cash flow isn't there to build Wilson Pacific right away - start the school at John Marshall, which was the original plan. Renovations have already begun there and it will be ready to receive students by 2014 - in time for the coming crunch.

The needs are too great to spend an extra $25 million to rebuild the Pinehurst building into a building that is too small for Jane Addams.
Erin from Bagley said…
I really don't think the enrollment trend will reverse. My generation of parents wants to stay closer to work. Gas prices are high and will continue to rise, and we tend to value access to community amenities. However, we also still value backyards, so I think the trend will be towards the North and South ends where there are more single family homes with backyards. The enrollment projections at our school have been low for the last 4 years, even before NSAP. And the popularity isn't because of Montessori (although that helps), the growth has been in our more traditional program because of NSAP.

I am relived that Bagley is back on BEX. Our community worked hard to show the district the issues and I'm glad they listened. My children will not be at Bagley to benefit from BEX, but I'm happy for the neighborhood. The Aurora Corridor really needs Bagley.

However, I'm troubled by the changes at AS1 and JA, and that Thornton Creek will still get a new elementary. I have no idea how they will move 1000 students in and out of the neighborhood surrounding Thornton Creek twice a day.

One more thing about Montessori - Bagley started Montessori because our school was going to be closed and we needed a program that would be attractive to the community to boost enrollment. The same is true for JSIS I think. Obviously the special programs have worked and I think it's time to treat them as option programs instead and expand them. The argument that Montessori is for rich white people is false for Bagley. It wasn't created to be exclusive, it was created to be inclusive and bring kids to our school. We have a large SpEd population and many of those kids are in Montessori because it works best for them. We as a community work hard to be one school with three programs, not three programs in one school.

Graham Hill Montessori worked differently because they had a preschool that fed into the Montessori program. The preschool was not free, so this created a disparity within the school. That is not the case for Bagley. I know that Graham Hill parents tried hard to unite the school, the differences in population between the two programs made that difficult.
Eric B said…
@Disgusted @ 130th- "Have a little liberal compassion and find another solution."

Again, this is bullshit. We looked for another solution. We looked at about half a dozen, and none of them worked. I'm not really clear on the rest of your point. Are you saying that it's OK to have massive overcrowding for rich white kids but not for anyone else? Because that's what it sounds like.

Just to be clear, I would dearly love to have BEX IV be a $1 billion program so that we could do this up right. I would love to not have to displace the children currently in Pinehurst and some of the kids (not all of them) at Jane Addams. But it doesn't work. We have a wave of kids in elementary school right now about to break over the middle schools. See Kellie's comments for more details. Eckstein is already grossly overcrowded, and we're talking about adding another couple hundred kids before Wilson-Pacific could open.

Now, if you have another comprehensive middle school building just sitting around waiting for a school population, by all means let's use it. If you have a real solution, lay it out. Don't tell the people who have spent a year trying to find a solution that the least bad option is like strapping the kids to the top of the car. Give us your solution.

Maureen said…
How much of the capacity at the Jane Addams building is being used? Could it be capped at 600 (chimney K-8) and co housed with a small middle school? Then start Pacific MS at John Marshall (800 capacity?) to soak up the coming surge? Then (eventually or alternately) move Addams K-8 to Marshall (obnoxious given how far from their base it is, but a great place for an Option School.)

Given what kellie and eric b say (and they know much more than I ever will), it sounds like we shouldn't be worried about over building in the north. Also, as kellie has pointed out before: you shouldn't count on running a neighborhood assignment plan at 100% of capacity.

I am worried that no one is properly tracking all of the kids in Option Schools and other programs (APP etc.). Are they building two seats for all of those kids (or rather building them one near their house and ignoring the fact that many will never sit there)?
Anonymous said…
Warning signs flashing here!!! I am following this discussion with interest. In Eric B's last post, he says "some" JA kids, not "all" would go to Pinehurst. What is that all about?

It is hard to judge the merit of the Jane Addams proposal without details. The slide deck doesn't seem to have any. I know enough about the district to not even try for a timely answer there. So Eric B. you appear to be the only person with details right now.

*Would JA cohort somehow be divided?
*Is Pinehurst a proposed temporary or permanent solution?
*How much money would need to go into Pinehurst to outfit it for Jane Addams? What type of renovations are needed? Classrooms? Common space?
*Are portables also part of the solution at Pinehurst?
*Does Pinehurst have outdoor recreation space? Someone earlier said it doesn't.
*Is it your feeling that the current Pinehurst program would be ended, or moved. We need someone to tell us what the district won't.
*Is Eckstein's footprint at capacity? Can it legally take more students, using portables. (I am not wondering whether this is a good idea, just whether it is possible.)

In defense of "Disgusted Near North 130th", it isn't really fair to demand a better solution when the people working on this for two years haven't provided one...and neither are they doing an especially good job at defending this last minute twist. But perhaps with answers to the details above, some different ideas might come to the surface, or the bloggers here can agree that JA to Pinehurst really is the only option.

"Trying to keep an open mind for the greater good. But admittedly struggling with how this is playing out."
Jet City mom said…
Erin from Bagley, from I can see, affordable single family homes are being torn down left & right & have been for at least ten years.
Two bedroom condos are what is replacing them.
The jobs that pay enough to buy a house in Seattle, aren't in Seattle.

Seattle's population, at 562,000, is substantial but is now only 16 percent of the metropolitan population of 3.5 million. Even suburban King has more than twice as many folks as Seattle. How can this be, one may ask, with the vast amount of redevelopment and construction? The answer is simple. Seattle's average household size is small, 2.17, as many families move to the slightly more affordable suburbs, or opt for houses instead of apartments, and affluent couples and singles outbid middle-class families for those houses and condos.

To learn more about our small household size, let's look at kinds of households, in Seattle versus suburbia. Seattle is off the chart! Here, like the U.S. as a whole, two-thirds of suburban households are families, 25 percent to 30 percent are singles, and 5 percent to 7 percent are unmarried partners or roommates. But in the city of Seattle, an astounding 44 percent of households are single persons. (Along with San Francisco, Seattle's singles percentage is the highest in the nation for a major city.) A very high 12 percent are unmarried partners (often de-facto families), only a little behind San Francisco. Only one-third of households are traditional husband-wife families.
Spruiter said…
The Jane Addams BEX task force has proposed using John Marshall as a potential location (for us or another program that is located closer to that neighborhood). District staff shut that proposal down as they say they will always need an interim site to accommodate building renovations. But now they say they need the seats at Jane Addams by 2015 - it sounds like they no longer feel like they can use John Marshall as an interim site - with no explanation why. For the past 6 months, the Jane Addams BEX Task force has been working on these issues and has proposed a number of alternative scenarios to district staff, only to be shut down repeatedly.

Many of us have not wanted to float our proposals on an open forum like this blog in an effort to be sensitive to other school communities potentially impacted. We are not coming in at the last minute on this issue.
suep. said…
This BEX plan is an indefensible mess. It won't be getting any votes in our household.

To those who have floated the idea that legalizing charters would somehow solve all this, keep in mind that charter schools need buildings too, and what we have here are major capacity problems (among other issues) that require more and better buildings in order to be solved.

Unless you're fine with the ugly scenarios that have played out in NYC and elsewhere in which privately run charters have taken over public school buildings and pushed existing schools out, adding charters to the SPS mix would not solve the capacity roulette game this district likes to play, and would likely only exacerbate it.
Eric B said…
@Trying to keep an open mind-

Answering to the best of my knowledge, but not speaking for any other group including FACMAC or staff.

* I said some JA kids, but not all because the program is currently at about 580 students and if I recall correctly, the modified Pinehurst building will take about 450 students (9 classes @ 50 students each), so there are about 130 kids who won't fit. I don't know how that decision gets made or who makes it.

* I would expect that Pinehurst is a permanent solution. However, if at some point down the road Jane Addams looked a lot like Pinehurst (very small program using a medium-sized space), I don't think there are any guarantees. If Jane Addams is successful and is filling classes, then I would be surprised if it got moved again.

* I don't remember what the budget for the Pinehurst renovation is. Those papers are at home, and I'm at work. I would expect (but am guessing) that they would cover a few items: more capacity/homerooms. Since Pinehurst is a K-8, they shouldn't need science labs and other thing, in theory at least.

* I don't know if portables are part of the solution for Jane Addams at Pinehurst. The capacity is needed at a near enough term that I'd be a little surprised if they weren't, but there's also not much space on site.

* Looking at Google Maps, it looks like there is a playground for K-5 kids and a smallish triangular grass field.

* I can't say if the current Pinehurst program will be ended or moved. The simplest thing for the District would be to end the program and give the students an option/priority to enroll at Broadview-Thompson. If it fit, Pinehurst could theoretically move into another building (eg Cedar Park). However, see the caveats below.

* I'm not an expert on Eckstein, so someone else may have better info. I would be very leery of putting more portables at Eckstein. It looks like they already have six portables on site plus an outbuilding, and I have heard crowding in the halls is a major problem. I'm not sure the building core (bathrooms, auditorium, gym, lunchroom, etc.) could support more students in portables.

More on Pinehurst. I'm probably going to get accused of being Romney again, but Pinehurst has stagnant enrollment when the rest of the area has grown. They say on their own website that they expect to have many new students enrolling after implementing a restructuring plan in 2009-2010. They went on to lose 39 students between the 09-10 school year and the 10-11 year. I understand that the District has not supported alternative schools, and things could have been different if they did, but the school is not being successful in attracting students.

PS I want to clarify that I am not, nor have I ever been, cool.
Eric B said…
@Spruiter, With Lincoln coming off the table to add to high school capacity, I believe that John Marshall is the only interim site left north of the Ship Canal. There are something like 40 schools in the north region, and they need renovations on about a 40-60 year cycle. With some renovations taking one year and some taking 2 years, this means that there will be at least one school in John Marshall as an interim site basically indefinitely. I'm not sure where the closest interim site south of the Ship Canal is, but that would become a nightmare for transportation. If there's another site that could accommodate interim populations, I'm all ears.
Anonymous said…
I think the number of portable classrooms at Eckstein is somewhere in the mid-teens. Many more than six. My kid's soccer games are at Eckstein, and driving around all the portables to get to the field can be a challenge.

Speaking of the Ecstein field. Why is it up for replacement in BEXIV? It looks pretty nice to me.

Also, I think you wrote something about John Rogers enrollment somewhere in this thread? The school grew by 24% this year! We took 3 kindergartens (the building is sized for 2-up), and added kids in the upper grades, too, especially 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

Lots of growth up this way.

-JR Mom
Anonymous said…
Eric B,

Are you a member of FACMAC?

If so, could you please (or could someone please) tell us how many APP parents are on the FACMAC committee?

FACMAC purports to be objective, but it seems very heavily skewed towards APP representation. If it isn't skewed, then full open disclosure of that would be nice.

Note that I'm not asking "how many of these people directly represent APP" because I know that some members are on the committee in a different capacity, but are also APP parents.

Anonymous said…
@ Eric B.:

Assured enrollment at B-T for Pinehurst is not a 1:1 trade. B-T is not an alternative program. It's a standard neighborhood program.

If you dissolved Pinehurst the kids there would quite likely go back into local comprehensive middle schools and grade schools, thus increasing capacity pressures in neighborhood schools. Or they'd ask for preference to Salmon Bay K8 or Thornton Creek K5 as mitigation for their program dissolving, and that would create a different set of issues.

Alt Mama

Jet City mom said…
The Jane Addams site is 20.63 acres. The building is 160,798 sq ft.( two stories)
My daughter was at Summit K12 for six years. During that time ( in 2000) fenced soccer fields were built on the south end facing Hale. In between the soccer fields and the building was a climber the parent group commissioned.
As well as a good sized parking lot with an enclosed shed on the west side of the school, there was a football field on th north side of site, as well as buildings for art studios, storage for civic light opera storage of sets.

When my D was there, Civic light Opera rented space as did, Pinehurst day care program, which took up one wing on the first floor. When the district decided to " reclaim" the building, both the day care facility were pushed out and Summit was told to increase enrollment without the district giving them support to do so.
The main building holds a gym with a climbing wall, cafeteria, library, with smaller rooms, full sized auditorium, black box theatre, dance studio, music rehearsal rooms with raked seating, and art rooms with multiple kilns.
Summit parent group commissioned the kilns, climbing wall, black box theatre, improvement to the auditorium sound system, a great deal of the library materials, & the play structure.

It made a pretty nice K-12.

Partial new roof was added in 2002, arts/science lab upgrades in 2003,

Wy not have the community that is currently there now, stay there & if they don't fill the space, allow another child care facility to move in?
Anonymous said…
So 130-ish kids give or take (they're just kids, no need to be exact on a number)from the Jane Addams program won't fit into Pinehurst even after a rennovation. And Eric B. says someone else at the District will tackle that part of this "solution"? Nor does he care much where the Pinehurst kids might fit back into the larger system?

And he doesn't want to be accused of being Romney strapping his dog on the roof of a car as a solution to overcrowding? That's the only funny part of this hatchet last minute proposal.

"I Am Disgusted Near 130th"
Patrick said…
Emeraldkitty: Why is it with school district enrollment of almost half that number, we don't have enough space?

A lot of schools that were open in the early 70s are now closed -- temporary sites like Lincoln and John Marshall, or given away like Queen Anne High and University Heights and Interlake Elementary. I'm sure there are more that I'm not listing.

It's tragic that any responsible official advocated or voted for giving away (or selling for peanuts) real estate in a city where it'll be next to impossible to get it again. At most, they should have been leased.
Josh Hayes said…
Alt Mama is definitely correct -- and the majority of Pinehurst students currently live east of I-5. This means, when they're thrown out of their building, they'll want to enroll at the overcrowded schools in the NE cluster, not Broadview-Thompson. Those who DO live west of the freeway will probably be looking for guaranteed entry to Salmon Bay.

This whole thing sounds to me like having two extra eggs to fit in your already-full cardboard container. Sure, you can take two out of the container, and slide your two extra in, but wait! What's this? I have two extra eggs again! How is this possible! [rolls eyes]

You don't make room by moving kids around. You make room by making room. Alleviating crowding at Eckstein by throwing other kids out of their school is what is proposed here. Let's not pretend it's anything else.
Anonymous said…
Eric, thank you for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us.

To your point of throwing other ideas out...did you discuss a scenario like this?

Cap Jane Addams at its current enrollment or even decrease its size for next year. The district could do this - it is an option program and could set whatever size it wants on it. This would be a temporary cap for a few years.

Scrunch up (a decidedly non-technical term) JA in its physical space in the building and move middle school APP there for now. Add portables to JA if necessary to accommodate both populations. There is a big footprint.

Use the space at Hamilton, a few (a FEW) additional portables at Eckstein, and the new Wilson-Pacific school @ John Marshall to slurp up (another non technical term) the incoming middle school tidal wave until WP gets built. That means the Board and Staff would have to do a redraw of middle school feeder patterns immediately. They have enough notice to do it for 2014, if not 2013 (next academic year)

Build Wilson Pacific larger (more wings? get creative) than currently projected as a standard middle school. Also allow additional room for APP middle school.

Move APP middle school to Wilson-Pacific when it is open. Uncap JA enrollment at that time.

Place additional programs during this time (if necessary) alongside Pinehurst K8. Like the homeschool resource center, for instance.

In something like this, all populations take a little pain, but no population bears all the pain, which is what it looks like is currently happening to JA and Pinehurst.

"Trying to keep an open mind for the greater good. But admittedly struggling with how this is playing out."

Anonymous said…
"Trying to keep an open mind" - good ideas.
Please remember that the Wilson-Pacific complex is slated to include the north-end APP elementary, which currently is 500+ kids "temporarily" at Lincoln. So having a 1250-seat middle school makes more than 1750 students on that property.

Mom of 2
Jet City mom said…
Patrick, I admit I am being a little facitious.
But with all the building we have done over the years, how many seats have been added, and how many taken away? does any one keep track?

I remember when University heights was open, but when was mcDonald closed?
I also remember when Lincoln & Queen Anne high schools were closed ( one in the south end & one in the north end, according to the district.)
James Monroe was also a jr high, as was Broadview Thompson.
TT minor was open, Horace Mann...
Anonymous said…
What happen to John Marshall for elementary APP?

another mom
Patrick said…
In addition to the other questions, I'd be interested in knowing how many kids were waiting for JA this year when the waiting lists were closed. What grades were they?

I like the plan from "Trying to keep an open mind for the greater good". Yes, Jane Addams has a large footprint and if needed could take quite a few portables. Especially now that the Nathan Hale renovation is done, such a big parking lot is no longer needed.

Moving Jane Addams to Pinehurst and kicking half the kids out should not even be on the table. As has been said, the school is a great fit for environmental science: the pond and creek nearby, garden, the greenhouse that was just finished a year ago.

Anonymous said…
@Mom of 2: APP may want to put their elementary kids there. But the District hasn't promised a thing. And even if it has, if you trust it, then you are naive.

With APP elementary on the Wilson Pacific property it would be a lot of kids, but as Eric keeps jamming on, there isn't much perfect about this BEX.

At least the "Keeping an Open Mind" proposal shows the liberal compassion I was asking for. And there may be other ideas out there when we turn the discussion from CEO spreadsheet numbers and a shove-this-baby-through-to-voters mentality to actual kids and their families.

"I Am Disgusted Near 130th"
Charlie Mas said…
Thank you, Kellie, for the reminder that the high and medium enrollment projections don't mean what they appear to mean and certainly don't mean what the District says they mean. Of course, that being the case, what is the point of using them, let alone showing them on these horrible charts and graphs?

Some numbers - actual numbers with clear labels and sources - would be nice, but I don't think we're going to get that and I don't think the Board is going to demand that.

There's a lot of stuff in this final update that surprises and mystifies us, but we can only guess about where it came from, what it means, or how in the world it is supposed to work. This evening we may get some of those answers, so it probably pays to hold off on the guessing for another six hours.

The most good we can do now is generate questions, not guesses, and hope that someone on the Board asks those questions (HA!) We, ourselves, will not get that chance.
Patrick said…
Patrick, I admit I am being a little facitious.
But with all the building we have done over the years, how many seats have been added, and how many taken away? does any one keep track?

I don't think the District keeps track of things that could make them look foolish. The BEX levies seem to have been renovations of worn-out buildings, seismic problems, etc., not intended to accommodate more students.
Charlie Mas said…
I can't help noticing that this recitation of the BEX IV plan is done entirely from an operations perspective. You'll notice that the list of projects is by building, not by school or program. For example, the reference to the Mann Building mentions NOVA, but the header is Mann, not NOVA. This is why K-5 STEM at Boren and APP are not mentioned - they are programs, not schools or buildings. The World School is the only program or school (rather than building) that gets a header.

Now maybe it's appropriate for a capital project to be viewed from an operations perspective, but I don't think so. We don't need these buildings for their own sake; we need them to house schools and programs. The schools and programs should be the driving force, not the buildings.
Jet City mom said…
Like the Center school.
"That trend will reverse as the economy strengthens and enrollment growth will slow."

Likely to be true and the reason the consultant demographer said for the sharp spike in enrollment.

Emerald Kity, in a word, technology. We need a lot more space for technology needs. And, as, well, a big priority is the ability to small-group. That said, I think we tend to overbuild in Seattle.

Suep is right. Charters BIGGEST need is facilities and yes, they want our buildings (even the new ones).

Ah the sports fields and playfields. Well, because of the high usage and our joint-use agreements with Parks, the fields are ALWAYS updated with every BTA/BEX.

APP Elementary at John Marshall? What about that scary freeway down the street (missing that both TOPS and JSIS are right NEXT to the freeway)?
Patrick is right; the BEX has been about renovations and additions, not so much about enrollment. This is a new and serious problem.

I do despair at what is playing out - how North Beach got bumped for Bagley, for example. I hope we hear answers today (I can't attend but I hope there is someone keeping good notes. If you want to write them up and send them, great.
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
This is sick! Parent at 130th, Shoreline SD is looking better and better. And Shoreline has a highly capable program and they are hosting an info night on Oct. 15th.

another mom
kellie said…
IMHO, Josh Hayes comment is spot on

"You don't make room by moving kids around. You make room by making room."

And that is the heart of the issue. In operations, we say, "you need room for the dominos to fall." That is the problem. The intense and nearly desperate need for NEW space in both West Seattle North and NE Seattle.

There are slivers of space that could theoretically be stitched together into space but that is not the same as actual space.

The problem is that NEW space costs money and takes time to open and we are out of both. All of the easy (and relatively cheap) spaces were already put back into the system as part of the NSAP.

The district thought opening those five schools would get them to BEX. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Sadly, all of the proposals to essentially disband option programs and send the students back to their neighborhoods, seems to conveniently omit that there isn't any space for these students at the attendance area schools either.

Jane Addams draws (shockingly) a large number of John Roger's families since it is so close, JR is over capacity. I love the two egg analogy. It is very apt.
Jet City mom said…
I knew technology would be brought up but seriously in what way?
Larger classrooms so that there is room for thirty five computer desks?
What exactly does " technology" mean, and has the increased $$$$ spent on supporting it paid off?
Oh, I didn't say spending the money on tech paid off; I said a lot gets spent.

No, not for computer labs because the district has moved away from that. But every school has to have a number of computers, a server, someone to service that server, printers, extra cooling for all those machines, etc. Not to mention software and those expensive contracts that follow their purchase.
Patrick said…
Anonymous said...

In the John Marshall closure report, it was stated that the site is not suitable for elementary. From a health perspective, it's proximity to the freeway and lack of open play space away from the freeway make it unsuitable. What makes it ideal location wise - just off of I-5 - is also what makes it unsuitable.

And it's just fine if middle school students get exposed to excessive exhaust, brake dust, and other nastiness? I vote we move JSCEE there instead.
Jan said…
This feels to me like one of the (unstated) goals is to simply end the program at Pinehurst -- because it has failed to grow, and underutilizes space (which just won't fly in dire times -- which these are). Allow me to leave totally aside the District's culpability/responsibility in helping make that school more successful -- because I don't know enough to speak accurately. I only know what I have read from the blog over several years.

But, why does JA -- which doesn't fit into Pinehurst -- get pulled in? If they need space, and JA is already FILLING its space -- why don't they just make Pinehurst a temporary middle school, until they can open a middle school at WP?

THEN, they can figure out whether there is anywhere, in the entire District, that can take Pinehurst -- including either Marshall or Lincoln as temporary sites. Given where we are in the space crunch -- it seems to me that if you are a "small" program -- and have no immediate prospects of growth -- you had darned well better find yourself a "small" space -- or you will get run over -- which is what is happening now.

Does Cedar Park fit Pinehurst's size better? Is there any other building where they could cohouse the program? If not -- I cannot see how it survives, because "underusing" space is just a magnet for trouble right now. It was only a minor "money issue" in the bad old days of shrinking enrollment. Now, it is a much bigger, less defensible position.
Jan said…
I guess I left out, above, that JA would stay put (at least unless and until they build or remodel something to be a K-8 that fits it, at which point, they could swap it out with a middle school). I just don't see why JA becomes a dominoe here. Why not just cut straight to the chase and make Pinehurst a middle school, at least temporarily, while other north end schools are built?
Anonymous said…
When I looked into Shoreline's highly capable program years ago, they were not testing out of district students.

Testing for entrance into the Highly Capable Program is only for students currently enrolled in the district and residents of Shoreline.

-just fyi
kellie said…
"That trend will reverse as the economy strengthens and enrollment growth will slow."

That is a very popular notion and one supported by the outside demographer. However, it is unlikely to be true.

Gas prices have doubled and are unlikely to go back down when the economy strengthens. Gas prices change the suburban commuter economics.

But most importantly for Seattle, in many way the "guaranteed assignment plan" has created more choice for families than the old choice plan. Under the old plan, you could never be confident that you really lived close enough to a school to get in. Now you can move and be guaranteed that school. For anyone who can move, you have actual choice.

This means that the district has to deal with all the actual demand for space. They can't turn people away.

Moreover, I think it is notable that NONE of the enrollment projections factor in any NEW growth. The "high" projections simply calculates that the current post NSAP situation stays the same.

If there was a scenario that actually calculated future-possible growth, those numbers would be scary.
Jan said…
Patrick -- I thought the BIG issue with Marshall was the lack of playspace. The idea that you can traipse all those kids up to the Greenlake playground twice a day (or three times, if you have noon recess), in all sorts of weather, etc., is just untenable.

In terms of pollution -- we already have LOTS of schools very close to freeways, including TOPS (can't get much closer), Cleveland, etc. And frankly, if I HAD to deal with big exposure issues (not clear to me how bad they really are -- I have never read up on this), and they were my kids, I would rather expose each of them for 3 years when there is no recess issue (i.e. -- you can close windows and put in air filters) than for 6 years during a time when they have to play outside. I am not saying any of this is great -- it is a "lesser of two evils" argument. But unless you just buy into a "no recess" elementary school, I can't see that you could use Marshall for elementary.
Josh Hayes said…
It's not a terrible idea, Jan, but Pinehurst is such a dinky little place. We started there when AS1 enrollment was over 270 and it was PACKED, and that was with no computer lab and a "library" space carved out of a classroom. It's just not workable for anything claiming to be a comprehensive, even if temporary, middle school.

It's also, sad to say, a dump. (But of course, it's OUR dump, which makes a difference!) Unless the district wants to march kids in there at gunpoint, they'll have to tear it down and build a new building there, and the money's just not there for that. (Got a GREAT climbing wall, though!) The triangular shape of the lot makes it awkward to imagine a larger building (two stories, maybe?) working well there for 500 students, but I'm not an architect. Perhaps it could be figured out.

It's disheartening, of course, to see one's school slated for destruction, especially when we've bumped up enrollment this year and, I was told by our 7th/8th language arts teacher, had the highest reading MSP scores of any 8th grade in SPS last year. See what academic performance gets you?
Patrick said…
Jan, that's a good idea if Pinehurst is to be closed, it could be the seed of the middle school to be at Wilson-Pacific. Hold 6th grade only in 2013, then 6th-7th in 2014, then 6th-8th in 2015. That lets the new principal hire a few teachers a year, rather than trying to have a school for 1,200 all ready to go at once.

I sympathize with Pinehurst, it always hurts to have a school closed. Yet a small program can't occupy a medium-sized school indefinitely. I hope the district will do something better for them than "go to your neighborhood school".
kellie said…
Here is a rather obvious but easily overlooked issue.

You don't start a "comprehensive" school as a seed. The entire point of a comprehensive school is that the school is well ... um ... comprehensive. A comprehensive school needs to be a certain size to be successful. In other words, it must be bigger than a breadbox in order to have departments with department heads, electives, after school sports, etc.

You have to have a substantial student population. I am not certain what that size would be but Salmon Bay with 360 students is not considered comprehensive. I just don't see any way to start a "comprehensive" school in an interim location. There are all types of things that can be done in an interim location but none of them are comprehensive.

If the problem is not enough comprehensive middle school seats, then a solution must include ... comprehensive middle school seats.
Eric B said…
@Trying to keep an open mind,

I don't think that particular scenario was looked at, but I'd have to go back and look. Just looking it over now, I see a few substantial flaws:

* Hamilton APP is ~400-500 students if I recall correctly. JA currently occupies about 560 seats in a ~800-seat building. Scrunching JA up to fit in either bumps 150-250 JA students out of the building, or requires ~6-10 portables. Bumping that number of students out is worse than what happens at Pinehurst, and adding more than 4 portables requires a Master Use Permit, which takes lots of time and is subject to neighborhood review.

* Per people who know Eckstein better than me, there isn't much (if any) space for more portables there.

* Wholesale redrawing boundaries for this year has been taken off the table by the Board. There are some good reasons for this (lack of predictability, since we will redraw again when the schools start opening) and bad reasons (it's hard and difficult politically since there are always people who lose).

* I believe that much of the enrollment growth in the current Eckstein area is north of the school, so boundaries would have to be moved to very close to Eckstein to make it all work. That gets especially politically difficult.

I don't know if those flaws together are enough to be fatal. The political ones are driven by the Board, and are way above my pay grade. I do appreciate the effort to come up with solutions.

@Winston, yes I am on FACMAC. I'm working from memory, but I think there are 1 or 2 "official" APP reps on FACMAC, although there may be more parents of APP students on the committee. I'm not privy to the full resume of everyone there, so I don't want to speculate any further.
Anonymous said…
Just a quick comment to a question that was asked earlier, about where did Jane Addams land with waitlists after Oct. 1. We ended with 25 kids still on the Kindergarten wait list. We added a 3rd cohort in 6th so we were able to open up and bring in the remaining waitlisted 6th graders. So with that said, if our main draw on the elementary side is from John Rogers, Sac, and Olympic Hills and John Rogers had to add a 3rd K classroom this year and they are over capacity do they still expect JR to grow with a 3 up model? They are built to support a 2 up model. If Jane Addams is taking a lot of that heat off of JR but they are over capacity at K and JA has a waitlist still at K. Moving JA and capping them at whatever small enrollment is chosen really just makes another problem bigger. I know, I know, MS is a huge capacity issue but please lets not lose site of the fact that there is more to this than Eckstein being overcrowded. We have offered the district several solutions from portables to a wing expansion to ensure we take the MS capacity issue with some pain to us but at the same time helping us to maintain our programs success and not generating more pressure at the grade school level. All taken by the district with a nod and a smile--then to get this news is just maddening. We have worked around the clock doing capacity studies of our school, low cost to moderate cost solutions that could expand our capacity. All it did in the end was hurt our program and expose the short sightedness of the district.

JA Parent from the beginnning
Anonymous said…
to Eric B, Please remember MS seats are differently calculated than K-8. I am sure you know that. So please just for the record, Jane Addams K-8 doesn't have extra space. High ceilings and large hallways yes. The way Jane Addams is configured, we can not add any more classrooms without updates via construction. That would get us to a true 3 up model maybe 3/4 with some additional work to more walls, closets and rooms that cannot hold a classroom currently. Including a locker room with many showers and a room with the floor covered in a ramp. Also, we house a developmental preschool of an additional 25. So don't forget about that.

JA parent from the beginning
Jan said…
Throwing out another idea (sorry if these seem half baked, but I am a CD girl so don't know the N and NE issues, and don't have the chops of Kellie, Eric, Melissa, and others who comment more cogently). Anyway --

In the back of my mind all afternoon has been Kellie's post about how we cannot "solve" a 2 billion dollar problem with 600 million dollars. We just can't. Then, you add the "two egg" example. And --

It begins to make me wonder whether we are not, in the NE, at least, over the edge. Sort of like Wiley Coyote, when he is suspended in space, and looks behind him to where the cliff ended. Since booting Pinehurst out means all THOSE kids need seats, and shoving JA into the Pinehurst space shears off a hundred and fifty or so more -- who all need seats -- and none of these seats exist -- are we actually at the point where what needs to be done is that we have to double up and go to "shifts" in at least one north end middle school (I am thinking it would need to be Eckstein -- since that is the one that is most on fire) until space comes on line?

Dreadful thought, I know, but isn't that where the two egg example gets you (you actually CAN fit 14 eggs in a 12-egg carton for 6 hours a day each, if you do it 7 at a time!) I also have a feeling that nothing would sharpen the senses of levy voters (and even the downtown school clamorer) as much as something as dire as the need to run a school on split shifts until more space can be built.

Could it be this bad? Are we there?
kellie said…
@ Jan

While I don't think we are at shifts just yet. If BEX fails, we will be there. So yes, it is that over crowded.
Jan, you little ray of sunshine :)
EricB - thank you for your involvement. As always no good deed goes unpunished:)
Anonymous said…
@Kellie you are not being very clear. First you say the only way to create more space is to create more space. Then you say we are not dire enough to need shifts yet. So what is YOUR preferred solution to NE middle school 'crisis'. Where are the students supposed to go from now until Wilson Pacific opens. I am certainly interested in hearing whether or not you concur with Eric B. or whether you have a third way of thinking. Right now you only point out problems.

"I Am Disgusted Near 130th"
Anonymous said…
I did like one of the original proposals to build a new school for JA at the Cedar Park site. In large part JA is a neighborhood school. The Cedar Park site would have given them their own space but east of the hood vs. west of the hood. But, still their own space and in their own hood.

But then Cedar Park was declared historic (very clever move by a NIMBY neighborhood) which made the removal of the decayed current structure, or remodel or addition prohibitively expensive to include in BEX IV. This may be too far out of the box, but what about physically moving the newly designated historic structure to a new site? I know I watch too much HGTV, (or at least my husband thinks so) but I saw an episode where they moved an enormous three story home from the Central District down to the ferry docks, to a barge, to a new location out in the San Juan’s for $200k. Move the Cedar Park structure or only the fa├žade if that is all that is required to preserve historic to a different location. Maybe, to Magnuson or even Seattle Center to create a museum to Paul Thiery – the architect of the Space Needle and Cedar Park Elementary. I wish SPS would investigate as it very well may be reasonably cost effective to move the structure, give a new home to JA within their neighborhood, and expand middle school space in the NE without being prohibitively expensive.

I’m not in the camp that adding Wilson Pacific to help the NE, N, and NW will be enough. I am not a number crunching wiz but just based on personal experience and observation if the high projections from the District are just based on the first few years of the NSAP then they are wrong in regard to the NE and the high is way, way too low.

I’m extrapolating based on my children’s elementary school. Even if the high numbers are used the estimates will miss the mark so the current seats being added will not be overbuild. In our current NE elementary K class, 16% of the K students are families that moved to the area from outside of the state mid to late summer. These families did research on the public schools within SPS and intentionally chose to move into the boundary of their desired school. As they had several contenders both north and south I am comfortable in my presumption that our school is not the only school experiencing the same inflow based on the guarantees of the NSAP. Even my daughter’s third grade class is almost a third new families to the area. And a more easily dismissed observation…homes for sale in our area have almost been exclusively homes of retired couples with no children, or other residents with no children. Each and every sale has been to a family with either school age children plus preschool age children, or families with multiple preschool age children.

Based on how SPS does their projections currently they have no idea these kids have moved into the area or in what year they will make a show at their attendance area elementary/middle school/high school. The bubble of the bubble is going to burst in just a couple of years if my neighborhood is any indication, and none of this is on the District’s radar.

Jet City mom said…
"While I don't think we are at shifts just yet. If BEX fails, we will be there. So yes, it is that over crowded."

I attended Lake Washington schools in the 70's with double shifting.

Not fun. But if we plan for it, we can make it work, & if we don't need the plan then all the better.

But I'm not voting for it.
Anonymous said…
If the move of JA to Pinehurst goes through it is the very likely end of both programs.

JA has a great Principal, which means the current families will likely stay with JA even if they have to be bussed to the Pinehurst location. But, also very likely low additions of families at the entry level as the school will no longer be in the neighborhood it currently serves. Neighborhood kids attending JA could not walk to school at Pinehurst.

Versus the death of these two programs could the current Pinehurst population and one of the currently displaced schools co-exist? Pinehurst and World School or Pinehurst and Home School?

Just seems like a more reasonable alternative vs. squishing the JA program into a site that cannot accommodate their already existing enrollment and effectively killing both the JA and Pinehurst schools.

Anonymous said…
@Step J
It is my understanding that the neighborhood didn't initiate the landmark process at Cedar Park. SPS did.

I remember an article in the Seattle Times about a very cool Paul Thiry home in Normandy Park that was for sale for $1, if they could find a buyer that could move it (by barge, since it was waterfront). I don't think they ever found a buyer. Moving a school built pretty much of solid cement would be interesting, to say the least.

Like your school, many of the new kids at John Rogers were from families who had just moved to the area, and I agree that this type of data is not on the District's radar.

-JR Mom
kellie said…
@ "I Am Disgusted Near 130th"

There is a concept of too much and too little. Shifts double the capacity of a building. The burden of this doubled capacity is shifted from capital costs to structural costs. 6am - noon and noon - 6pm are not anyone's first choices for a middle school schedule.

Then there is the issue of which schools go to the shift schedule. If it is some but not all, there will be increased pressure on the schools with a "traditional/typical" schedule.

So that is why, IMO, shifts are the move you make when you are out of all options. I think we are dangerously close to there but not there yet.
Anonymous said…
What about reopening Magnolia elementary for the APP program? I know it is not in the north end but it's not so far away; and APP gets bus transportation so it would not cost the district extra. Then all of the Wilson Pacific campus could be built for the middle school cohort, except maybe with a wing for the Indian Heritage school so they don't get tossed about.

kellie said…
@ StephJ

The phenomenon you describe can be captured in the enrollment projections.

The projections are quite simply

Birth to K ratio to determine K enrollment multiplied by a cohort survival rate for each grade progression.

Both phenomena that you describe would simply show up as larger numbers. For example, historically there has been a huge drop from 5th to 6th grade. However for the last two years of the NSAP, the cohort survival rate was 96%. This does not mean that 96% of the 5th graders moved up. It just means that after the "swirl" of student moving in and out 6th grade was 96% of the size of 5th grade.

That is why there is so much pressure on middle schools.

It is possible for that number to be over !00% as it is for the enrollment jump from 8th to 9th grade. There is always a pop of a few hundred students at that grade.

The challenge is that best practice is to use an average of 5 years of enrollment data. This is mostly because enrollment trends tend to be gradual.

There is kind of a trap here. Follow best practices and your numbers are likely too low. Follow the trend line and your numbers could be too high and you over-build.
Unknown said…
Someone said Kellie was only "pointing out problems."

First, that's because ALL there is for facilities - problems. Just as many of you feel confused, those of us who look at this in-depth, we are worried AND confused. There is almost no real way for sure to know what to do.

There ARE things that should NOT happen but I don't think the district is listening (see downtown school). I hope voters are listening (see 1240 because again, it will screw things up EVEN more. And, understand that for some people if there are charters, they will NOT be voting for a levy that will give money to charters.)

Second, there have been some comments almost as if Charlie, Eric, Kellie and myself should be accomplishing more. Kids, we are just volunteer activists, doing our best. I wish we had power and the ability to move mountains. We don't but we do have a small bully pulpit to both raise awareness and try to find answers from the larger community.

I don't feel upset when I hear blame and unhappiness (although I think it misdirected and really should go to the district ) but we all understand the frustration.
Jan said…
StepJ's point about the death of BOTH the Pinehurst and the JA programs was sort of the impetus for my comments above. I would love to see Pinehurst survive -- but think that it will only happen if they can make like a beehive and sort of swarm somewhere else -- somewhere where they are not surrounded by any excess capacity that could cause them to be ousted again -- or at least again soon. They have become extremely vulnerable, being an alt in the first place, then being housed in a building where they don't take all the available space, and aren't demonstrably growing to fill it. They are sort of looking like a raw pork chop in a yard of hungry dogs! I love alts! But - run, Pinehurst, run!!!

But, why we are also moving JA in a manner that will severely injure it makes far less sense. I guess I get Kellie's point on comprehensives. If you can fit a whole comprehensive middle school, lock, stock and barrel, in that space, immediately, with virtually no work -- and a comprehensive middle school is, in fact, what you need, well -- there you go! On the other hand, to destroy a thriving, growing, successful K-8 (by amputating a huge part of it) to accomplish that? Geez. We are pretty clearly in Sophie's Choice land here! Who decided which kid lives, and which one dies -- and why?

This iteration of BEX has the same "so now we are finally acknowledging the truth" feeling that I got when they blasted the APP fourth and fifth grades to Lincoln, having suddenly (Eureka!) concluded that they could not, after all, somehow magically house 700 kids at Lowell. It is nice to be talking the "true truth" instead of the "pretend truth" (pish tosh -- a room divider here, a few bookcases there, a music class in the hall, and voila!). But now that we are being more realistic about exactly which kids have literally no place to go to school -- is there no possible solution that preserves all of JA in the long term (even if they had to be nomads for a year or two)? Because I recall the destruction of Cooper, and it still feels horrible.
KG said…
As a new parent to Pinehurst with a kindergartner, I am disheartened by the last minute proposal to essentially close the Pinehurst school with no input from our community.

@Eric B I'm not sure if the BEX Committee has 2012/2013 enrollment information, though from what I can see our school is growing. Last year there were 9 kindergarters who were in a K/1 class. This year we have 21 kindergartners in their own class. That is more than double growth in that grade. With a larger incoming kindergarten class this year, and a lot them have younger siblings, the school population will inevitably grow.

Has a proposal been considered to increase the middle school enrollment at Pinehurst and Jane Addams to eleviate Eckstein's overcapacity? It doesn't make sense to make room for middle schoolers at the cost of overcrowding all the Northeast elementaries with the kids displaced from Pinehurst and Jane Addams. Are there any Northeast elementaries at undercapacity to support the hundreds of displaced students?

It is irresponsible for the District to propose closing Pinehurst that has a proven program for success without even presenting an option for moving the school to a vacant school building in the area, such as Cedar Park. It is sad that the District does not consider the impacts to our kids when they are taken away from a school, teachers, and community they love and the friends they made, for a shell game.

When I checked out nearby assignment elementary schools, they all seemed to be at overcapacity. I chose Pinehurst since it's walking distance from our house, it has a great program, it's a small school with small class sizes, it has a great close-knit community, and they emphasize physical activity more than any other school I visited. They have P.E. everyday and 3 recesses which I think is great to get our kids active and combat childhood obesity. The kids play at the two playgrounds at the school and also a nearby city park, Pinehurst Playfield.

Before the District makes the drastic decision to displace Pinehurst and move Jane Addams as a smaller school, I ask that they seriously consider input from both communities based on facts and not assumptions.
Anonymous said…

Jane Addams has made several proposals to the District about expanding middle school capacity there. (We've also pushed on the fact that all neighborhood elementary schools are over capacity in the NE, but the district seems to keep ignoring that fact.) You've seen the result of those efforts in this latest proposal. Nice to know the district and FACMAC are both listening - and that FACMAC is so objective (I heard that at least a quarter of FACMAC members have a kid in APP. Would love if someone could verify that).

Jan said…
Flibbertigibbet: A couple of things.
First, I concur with everything KG has said -- but if I were at Pinehurst, I would be worried that a train no one told them about is leaving/has left the station. They need to fluff themselves up really big, and talk really loud, really fast -- if they want to push back on this. I don't like what the District is doing -- but I have seen them eat small schools/schools they don't think are growing/schools whose buildings they want for someone else -- it isn't pretty. It's actually pretty awful.

On FACMAC, I guess if you really want APP parent numbers, have at it, but this is kind of disheartening. Many APP parents have kids in regular programs and/or SPED (I did) and advocate for ALL kids; many with APP kids advocate for all kids anyway -- the way I assume you would if you were on FACMAC -- being APP parents doesn't make them hard-hearted; moreover, the crowding problem in the NE and N is certainly not caused by APP kids (yeah, I guess they are "back north" but ONLY because they got booted out of their school in one of the most diabolically botched failures of capacity planning ever -- and in any case, they are north end kids; don't they belong north as much as anyone?); and finally, once again, it becomes a matter of my kid versus yours, north kids versus south, alt kids versus attendance, sped kids against neurotypicals, etc. etc. etc. We would all do better, and accomplish more, if it was "our kids, ALL our kids -- against a bad combination of scarcity (space and money) and bad management." Because isn't that really the battle? We have a whole city of kids to raise, and we don't have enough money to do it well, and until recently we had dreadfully bad management and a ridiculously bad board (not all, but a majority of 4). When we battle each other, the District just gloms onto the idea that somebody out there is "winning" and "happy," tells themselves with a shrug that you can't please everybody, and moves on to the next ham-handed decision. This is how many of the bad NSAP decisions were made.

If Kellie is right -- if this is a 2 billion dollar problem with a six hundred million dollar solution -- we all lose - because we can't fix a 2 billion dollar capacity/capital improvement problem with 6 hundred million. They are all our kids, and a whole bunch of them will lose -- so we ALL lose. The best we can do is try to figure out how to minimize the losses. That means -- NO bad decisions. NO decisions that are political pandering, or based on flat out stupid wrong data (assuming better data is available -- yes, even from (gasp) parents) that will have to be undone at great monetary cost. I am struggling to see how destroying Pinehurst AND JA (for all intents and purposes) could possibly be the "least bad" solution, though I am not sure what solution is better. But how does counting the number of parents on FACMAC with APP kids help, even a tiny bit?
Josh Hayes said…
KG, I think JA can handle some more middle school students, and I know Pinehurst could fit in a couple of dozen, but that's not a solution because both are "option" schools -- the district can't simply assign kids there: families have to choose to go there.

I'm also uncomfortable with the suggestion that FACMAC members would be biased because of their kids' school situation. Sure, we advocate for our kids when that's our job, but when we're tapped to advocate for ALL kids in SPS, I trust my fellow parents to do the best, unbiased job they can.
Benjamin Leis said…
@Josh Hayes.

As long as JA can fill the allotted middle school seats its not an issue whether its an option school or not. Its taking pressure off of the quadrant as a whole. The data from this year's 6th grade cohort seems to support that this is perfectly possible.

Patrick said…
JA is already turning kids away. They are doing as much as possible to take pressure off the schools in the NE. If the District would like them to do more, they could renovate to add classroom capacity or add portables.

The District doesn't seem to have a plan for accommodating the K-5 kids who would decide not to follow Jane Addams to Pinehurst, or who wouldn't chose JA is future years. The neighborhood elementaries around JA are full.
Anonymous said…
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I don't see any FACMAC minutes less than a year old?. Could you send a link?
Rufus X said…
Didn't get far enough into the site to find those minutes because I was distracted by this relic: Excellence for All!

"Enrollment has hovered
around 45,000 students during the last decade, although SPS’ demographers predict a
gradual decline over the next several years (due to a declining number of school-age
children in the city as a whole, not to a decrease in the District’s market share). Declining
enrollment led to school closures in the 1980s and in 2006."
Anonymous said…
Does anyone know why we can't just build a new building for JA K-8 immediately north of JA? There is a huge upper field, plus the area the greenhouse is on, plus too many parking lots! If the greenhouse is removed, it seems like more than enough space! I hope people are still reading this thread and that someone in the know can speak to this.

Unknown said…
The greenhouse - with its retractable roof - isn't going anywhere. Honestly, you are right but you see from my first sentence what we spend money on.
mirmac1 said…
Rufus X

Ah! What a gem! There's Goodloe-Johnson making things up to suit her prepackaged, Ed Reform "Strategic Plan"! Goes to show what those from out of town (and have indicated no interest in getting to know our city), can really fudge things up - to put it mildly.

Now, I believe Mr. Banda is no MGJ (PTL!) He is stuck between a rock (DeBell/LEV/A4E and the downtownies) and a hard place (the proverbial great unwashed). His personal history is one I can relate to, so I still hold out hope he will grow those cajones and do the right thing.
mirmac1 said…
I don't mean grow boxlike percussion instruments, I meant cojones... Oy
Kristin said…
If parents "have to choose" to go to JA or Pinehurst why aren't they? If it is such a big problem that their middle school is so crowded?

I'm also surprised that I don't see mentioned that the current Kindergarten class at Pinehurst is DOUBLE what it was last year.

I think it is a sick irony that two schools that are NOT contributing to the overcrowding of the Eckstein middle school are paying the price when we would be happy to just absorb some of the crowd. Personally I chose Pinehurst BECAUSE of the K-8 and at the time I lived near it. Now I'm there for community and friends that our family has made with people at the school.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the homeschooling option...that is what I would be tempted to do if they displace us like they did Summit.

My family came from the South end to the North end recently and have spoken to the board before over the district changes (we were <1m from a school yet assigned to another & had to bus)...guess it's time to practice my loud voice.
Kristin said…
Also I just confirmed with someone at the office that the capacity for our building as is, is only 240 and we are at 181 enrolled (Preschool & K-8 included in that number).

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