Yes to the Seattle Council PTSA's Suggestion on the Board Agenda

This just came across my desk and, at this point, I agree.  The agenda is a mess (not to mention the Growth Boundaries plan.  There's now even some mystery motion to change the agenda (with no explanation of what).

PTA members,

As you know, the position of Seattle Council PTSA is that Seattle Public Schools should only change the boundaries connected to the most critical capacity issues for 2014-15, and the district should delay future boundary changes until a community engagement process that works for all families can be implemented. In order to make this happen we are proposing the following for the 11/20/2013 School Board Meeting:

  1. Realign the amendments to match the appropriate plan (either the Growth Boundaries Plan or the Capacity Management Plan) and move the sequence of the proposals on the agenda to vote for the Intermediate Capacity Management Plan prior to the Growth Boundaries Plan (it is reversed on the current agenda).
  2. FIRST vote for the Intermediate Capacity Management Plan and related amendments
  3. THEN vote "no" on the Growth Boundaries Plan

This change on the agenda would allow the school board directors to vote for the Intermediate Capacity Management Plan first (i.e. the critical issues), as amended, and then vote NO on the Growth Boundaries Plan.  This action would allow a chance to go back and do more analysis on the long term plan.

To request this change to the agenda please email the school board(,  the superintendent (, and the growth boundaries planning team ( urging them to change the agenda as proposed above.
The more people who push for this, the more likely it is to happen!


Anonymous said…
I don't fully get this, though. I assume the biggest critical issue in the north is the creation of JAMS. Don't we have to create the "growth boundaries" for that new school in order to pass the interim plan?

It's possible that I misunderstand the whole project. I can no longer follow any of the pieces.

Amy T.
Lynn said…

The new changes are highlighted in purple and are amendments that are being removed by the author(s) - plus two new amendments added.
Anonymous said…
Amy T--

GREAT question. You are not alone in the confusion. This plan keeps being talked about as if it is an annual plan dealing with only next year.

But it isn't just dealing with next year. It is a major long range plan with lots of impacts.

This is the first time this district is trying to set a long range plan like this, at least in the past 10 years or so.

Most districts take 1-2 years to develop a long range plan, and they do boundary re-draws only every few decades. This process started in April, with the first version only released in September. The plan has changed dramatically since it was presented in community meetings, and most people have no idea how they will be impacted.

The bottom line is that the growth boundaries plan is a long range plan (out to 2020). It is not required to open JAMS next year or any of the other "MUST haves" for next year. Most of what is in there does not take effect for some time, and there are significant issues within the plan.

What needs to happen is the Intermediate Capacity plan, which will take care of managing next year.

There really is no pressing need to vote in a long range plan now, particularly when it has so many problems. It should NOT be adopted in this current Frankenstein state. It isn't ready. But it would have long lasting impacts.

It's sort of like we are being served a thanksgiving turkey that is raw in the middle. The smart thing to do would be to cook it for longer.

I too stand with the SCPTA on this position.

Take care of what needs to be done for next year and vote on the Intermediate Capacity plan.

Vote NO on the Growth boundaries plan and continue to work it.

Carol Simmons said…
This is the first time I have called in at 8:00 a.m. to speak on an Action item (number 3) "Special Education Correction Plan Approval" and have been put on the waitlist .....good grief. So many folks speaking on Proposed Growth Boundaries. Should have signed up under Growth Boundaries/Indian Heritage School/World School/Special Education correction plan/Closure of Pinehurst/Jane Adams/ etc. There are 25 speakers scheduled for Public Testimony and 39 on the Wait List We will be at the meeting until dawn. Don't forget to come to the Rally at 3:30 today to support Native Education.
mirmac1 said…

I'll be there!
Anonymous said…
I'm with Amy. If they approve the capacity management plan, which includes opening JAMS next year, how can they not also address boundaries? We need to know which kids will actually go there before open enrollment, and we need that information to plan the school, too. How can they realistically approve one piece but not the other?

Benjamin Leis said…
I also believe that the north end middle school capacity issues need to be solved this year. Hamilton will not fit next year without extra space. Basically this means the district must follow through opening JAMS to create space and with all the feeder decisions associated with it. There are several other way out there alternatives that have been floated but the staff have consistently said no to them. So either we go forward on the one semi possible path or have the board go off on a tangent that they haven't looked liked they are prepared to do.

Many of the other other decisions like Dearborn Park however could be tabled without immediate impacts.


carmaig said…
I'm with Melissa and Eden. I wrote an email to Board@_, Supertendent@_, and asking them to support the SCPTSA proposal. In my email I wrote

The Seattle Council PTSA rightly contends that SPS needs to implement a community engagement process that works for all families before further changing boundaries. Ideally the district would also figure out ways to acquire additional property to address capacity before focusing on boundary change. I would also urge SPS to, before considering long term boundary changes, implement much needed reform to our advanced learning programs and policies as these programs, especially APP, currently have a considerable impact on boundary and capacity issues.

I urge others to email an endorsement of the SCPTSA plan Melissa asap to the Board, Superintendent, and GrowthBoundries mailboxes. I know from experience 11th hour emails sometimes do make a difference ;~)
Anonymous said…
If I'm reading the agenda documents correctly, the board would need to rewrite both the growth boundary item and the interim capacity item in order to vote on just the 2014-15 steps.

I'm not sure how the ptsa's request could be fulfilled without doing that.

Anonymous said…
If you support the SCPTSA's proposal, please email the board. No matter what the Board does or doesn't do, they're leaving loose ends.
- Just Sayin'
Anonymous said…
I think APP and Dearborn Park are minor details in the greater scheme of things. The new plan appears to be able to solve the larger capacity problems at hand (middle school overcrowding). There has been a public process (though not ideal) shaping the plan and most of the kinks have been worked out. Voting down the plan now after the official public process has occurred seems wrong. The school board would look like fools for doing that, so I think that's unlikely to happen. I say keep advocating for changes you want to the current plan and...

- move forward!
Anonymous said…
Agrement with other comments that it is not clear what the PTSA's position is on recommendations in the Intermediate Capacity Plan that would require clear boundary definitions, such as JAMS. Are they recommending that current 2013-2014 boundaries would apply to whichever schools are designated as feeder schools to JAMS (and would those be the latest list defined in the Superintendents's Plan--i.e. Sacajawea, Rogers, Olympic Hills). Also, how would the recommended vote affect any district proposed changes (or board Amendments) to APP Middle School defintions.

I agree that the agenda is a fact the whole process in it's numerous last minute iterations has been a mess. This also impacts the success potential for a school like JAMS which has been left with a very short planning/implementation timeframe for a comprehensive middle school that will transfer hundreds of kids from existing successful programs (including mine) to a big unknown. I just want to make sure I am clear on what the PTSA is proposing.

Anonymous said…

BTW, KUOW just did a spot on this mess:

Anonymous said…
RE: the PTSA letter and confusion around what they are asking...

IT IS CONFUSING! Because it is a mess.

The deal is that the GB plan is a long range multi-year plan based on unreliable enrollment projections.

Yes, will there need to be assignment changes for next year to open up JAMS. Yes, next years assignments need to be decided.

But that doesn't mean that all of other changes for the next 5-7 years need to be nailed down right now, especially when there is incomplete information about how many kids and what types of programs.

The intermediate capacity motion on the table will set up what NEEDs to be set up to be ready for open enrollment next year.

The Growth Boundary BAR in not a required action and it is so full of problems and issues that voting it in is a very bad idea. It isn't ready.

The two can, and should be pulled apart. The SCPTSA is right.

Please write your letters to the Superintendent and CC the board.

Here's mine if you want to plagiarize, please feel invited:

Subject: Revise Agenda--ONLY 2014-15 critical capacity issues for Nov 20 vote

Dear Superintendent Banda,

I am a member and I agree with the Seattle Council PTSA. The public has not had the ability to provide input in this plan for a wide variety of reasons that have previously been detailed. Public engagement has not occurred in this Growth Boundaries planning process and the current plan on the table is incomplete. The board should only change the boundaries connected to the most critical capacity issues for 2014-15, and the district should delay future boundary changes until a community engagement process that works for all families can be implemented.

1. Realign the amendments to match the appropriate plan (either the Growth Boundaries Plan or the Capacity Management Plan).
2. Move the sequence of the proposals on the agenda to vote for the Intermediate Capacity Management Plan prior to the Growth Boundaries Plan (it is reversed on the current agenda).
3. FIRST vote for the Intermediate Capacity Management Plan and related amendments

This change on the agenda would allow the school board directors to vote in the Intermediate Capacity Management Plan, thereby approving the most critical issues for 2014-15. It would also allow the Growth Boundaries work to continue and allow for meaningful public engagement.

Thank you,

Anonymous said…
Like others, my head is spinning...what will the interim capacity plan do to APP, Eckstein (specifically Wedgwood families), and JAMS?

Anonymous said…
I am wondering the same thing as dizzy. Can anyone respond re what the impact would be on Wedgwood/JAMS/APP?

-Don't Get it

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