Northwest Center and Cascade - What Will SPS Do?

I am in receipt of an e-mail sent out to the Board, the Superintendent, the Seattle City Council, Mayor Murray and a few others in leadership.  It is about a meeting about NW Center.  It includes no wording about Cascade nor does it invite any of Cascade's leadership.

It is from a NW Center parent; I am checking to see if this has been done through NW Center.

I find that sad because NW Center seems to have gained quite an upper-hand in this situation from various government officials (including Rep. Reuven Carlyle who is hosting this meeting).   I would love to know if Cascade is having a similar meeting and have an e-mail out to their principal to ask.

I find some of the wording to be not-so-fair to the situation.

They say:

"stop the eviction clock" - when it is not an eviction.  (They call it an eviction twice.) 

"honor our 28-year partnership"  - does NW Center have a written partnership agreement with SPS?  SPS Communications is not aware of any written partnership but it probably means based on the length of time NW Center has been in the building, NW Center believes it to be a partnership.

 (The district also had a very long-term agreement with the tenants at Cedar Park.  While that was a group of artists - and very different from the work NW Center does - I would need to know if SPS truly considered NW Center a partner and not a tenant.)

"bring all parties to the negotiation table; the City, District, and Northwest Center can craft a solution that keeps all programs intact" -  well, that would be everyone but Cascade.  Why would NW Center be part of a decision for Cascade? (emphasis mine)

They also say that their program should be "duplicated, not destroyed."  I do not believe this is the district's intent at all.  I do believe they are going to make a good-faith effort but to make it sound like this is some kind of goal seems wrong to me.

They say: ..."We request we request that the following parties make time to come to the negotiating table and not leave until an equitable solution is crafted:

• SPSD Superintendent Jose Banda

• SPSD Facilities Director Flip Herndon

• City Council Member Sally Bagshaw (Parks and Rec Committee Chair)

• City of Seattle Office for Education Director Holly Miller

• Northwest Center CEO Tom Everill

• NWC parent representative"

 Well, that's quite the power play but unfortunately Sally Bagshaw and Holly Miller have absolutely no say in this matter.  They can add their input from their respective point of views but that's about it.

They also say:

"Thanks to School Board Director Martin-Morris for this suggestion to bring all parties to a table."

Except that all parties are not at the table. Is this truly what Director Martin-Morris meant when he said "all parties?"

I truly understand the worry, the passion and the desire to keep this program alive.  I have said that I think it best to leave NW Center where it is, given its established program, fragile population and the work done on the building.

That said, it seems they are trying to marginalize the Cascade program.  Cascade IS an SPS program that I believe would likely grow if more parents knew of it AND they had a stable home.  They are doing good work as well.   

If I were the Board or Superintendent or district staff, I would not go to this meeting unless Cascade is included (if only to listen in).  I would also gently say that the expectation that one meeting would fix everything for NW Center is less-than-realistic.


Cascade parent said…
This is the first that anyone from Cascade, program director included, has heard of this meeting. Thank you for sharing this, hopefully Cascade's director will be able to find out a time and place so she too can attend this meeting as she now plans to do.

It is unfortunate that kids from both programs are caught up in this. I will say nothing more.

Thank you again.
lowell parent said…
What is the population of kids who use the Cascade program and NW center?
Anonymous said…

I'm sorry to be confused, but can you clarify a little more?

Is there a meeting actually scheduled, or is this NWC parent requesting a meeting?

And, forgive me here, but I'm not really sure I understand why you've posted concern about this meeting. Haven't you been advocating that SPS start talking to the City? Isn't this what this meeting would be?

OK, I get that maybe Cascade should be at the table, but am I missing something?

--Random Thought
Disappointed Again said…
To me, not including CPPP as a stakeholder is proof that NWC has been maligning CPPP this whole time.

Various posters have told me that it is my imagination and that NWC has been advocating for both parties. That NWC has not been the source for spreading misinformation about CPPP.

I understand that the parents have been told not to use various types of language, but I think that behind closed doors and with the media, that has been occurring.

If that were not the case, then CPPP would be included here. Who knows what misinformation will be used to reduce the value of CPPP and the children's needs if we are not invited to correct any misinformation.

The proof is in the pudding.

Thank you Melissa for raising this concern.
I find this very weird that this parent sends out what looks like a very official invite (given she's using Reuven Carlyle as the host) and the NW Center director didn't know about this. (The CEO is invited.) I have a call into the CEO.

I think it is an invitation but I suspect that Carlyle and the City Council are already on-board (otherwise why would this parent use their names?).

I think SPS should talk to the City about space, not any decision-making. That is not the City's role at all. That, and the fact that Cascade is seemingly not part of meeting that is very much about them as well, is what made my radar go off.

Again, no one is "right." It's a situation that needs to be dealt with but fairly.
mirmac1 said…
I am supportive of CPPC. As a member of the disability community, I am witness to a concerted PR effort for NWC that neglects to mention the population that CPPC serves very ably. Just because one side can work the influence and politics does not make their case more valid.

I appreciate that Melissa has tried to cast light upon the issue.

I ask again, is there any space at Lowell, at least for the interim until NWC (who does not contract directly with SPS for spEd services) can locate alternate, non-district space. I understand they are currently running some programs at the MLK/FAME building.
Anonymous said…
Really means a lot to hear concerns over including Cascade in these discussions. Thank you Melissa for looking critically at the situation and valuing the inclusion of a Cascade presence in this potential dialogue.

-SPS parent
kellie said…
I have said this on every thread about NWC and CPP.

Cascade was made homeless because they were not included in the BEX plan. The BEX plan left multiple communities in the wind with the "we will deal with that later." Now it is later and we find ourselves in the midst of damage control.

Throw Pinehurst into Lincoln, without any planning and don't worry about the domino effect of the next batch of folks the get shuffled.

Combine Pinehurst with Indian Heritage because both Pinehurst and Indian Heritage were made homeless as a result of BEX.

In the meantime, Cascade was shuffled over and over again and finally when it was clear that there was NOTHING in the SPS portfolio where they could land, the only option was to "evict" a long standing tenant that is effectively a para-school for the district that serves kids that SPS is also obligated to serve.

This is not planning this is damage control. I think the NWC holding such a meeting is right and appropriate. The NWC does not have an issue with CPP despite however many people want to make it look like they have an issue with other parents.

The NWC has an issue with SPS. They should marshall all of the resources they can to daylight their issues. NWC takes care of some of the most fragile children in our community and they are a sub contractor for SPS. They deserve some semblance of due process in this.

Now lest anyone thinks I am taking sides, I think CPP deserves the same thing.

SPS has behaved horribly to Cascade. They have treated them as badly as Pinehurst. Cascade is a critical and necessary service and it is shameful that a home for them was not on the BEX master plan.

So here is the issue. It is NOT NWC's problem that SPS forgot about Cascade. However, NWC is the collateral damage for SPS's omission.

I don't think it would be appropriate at all for this type of meeting to have CPP because NWC does not have a fight with CPP. This is the long standing history of pitting community against community.

Both NWC and CPP have an SPS problem. It is a distraction to pretend that they have a problem with each other.

Anonymous said…
@ Kellie:

Yes exactly.

Another Cascader said…
I would like to again point out that the district intended to take back the QA building regardless of what it put there. It needs the space, period. Even if a different solution is found for Cascade, they will use the building for one of the other like five options they were considering it for. It didn't kick out a program for CPPP. It is terminating a lease because it needs the space due to a growing crunch. Period. End of story. QA isn't the only building to be recently taken back by SPS.

"I don't think it would be appropriate at all for this type of meeting to have CPP because NWC does not have a fight with CPP. This is the long standing history of pitting community against community."

This isn't about a fight, it's about making an 'equitable solution for all parties'. Cascade is one of those parties.

But then, I am not surprised CPPP wasn't invited to the table when, had the PR machine not been churning, a headline to an article about this whole mess could have been




Anonymous said…
Thanks Mellissa for the elaboration. This is all clearly a politically sensitive and challenged situation.

And Kellie is right.

The problem is not between NWC and Cascade, and all of this talk about which is the more worthy program and who should REALLY have claim to that building is distraction from the real issue.

(BTW, Miramac, NWC IS contracted for 0-3 intervention services. King County DD is the third party administrator, but NWC IS one of 2-3 SPS providers for these legally required district services. Some of that work currently happens in the NWC building, and it won't end if they lose the building, because those services can be provided in kid's homes. But they are an SPS contractor... Anyway...)

Cascade did not get a home planned in BEX. So, Cascade advocated for themselves and had meetings with staff and others to have the NQA building promised to them, and staff neglected to communicate it to NWC or include them in the discussion. And this was not shared ANYWHERE that I could find in the Growth boundaries or Interim Capacity plans in the fall.

It's all awesome when you are on the inside of the closed door meeting and think you are getting what you want, and it sucks when you aren't. NWC wasn't included in those meetings that promised the building to Cascade, and that wasn't right either.

Who can really blame either community for any of their advocacy for their kids (our kids?!) and the fact that this conflict exists is because it is a game of musical chairs and the music is ending.

SPS planning (or lack there of) caused this situation.

I would again (as I've said before) encourage Cascade and NWC to collaborate with each other to focus the anger and frustration at this situation where it belongs instead of each other.

Go to these meetings together and find some solutions that work for everyone. And don't let SPS keep pitting kids against each other.

--Random thought
mirmac1 said…
I respect kellie's thorough knowledge of capacity and facility issues. I would just note that in my search for the SPS contract with NWC I came up empty. I believe SPS contracts with King County Developmental Disabilities Division for the latter to administer SPS's funding for birth to 3 services. KCDDD contracts with vendors and non-profits for a wide range of services for children and adults with disabilities.

Some may think that I am splitting hairs but one must make the distinction somewhere. kellie is correct that there is no good and evil here. So what is the criteria used when SPS blows it again? What I have seen is that the less-politically connected, the less affluent, and/or the less influential usually get kicked to the curb (e.g. Pinehurst, Indian Heritage, CPPC). One set of criteria I would use: is the facility used for a Seattle public school or some other purpose.
Anonymous said…
NWC Kids is a Childcare Center that has worked out a set-up with the county to provide some of the county provided early intervention special education services on-site. The NWC regular classroom teachers are not credentialed teachers, nor do they write or provide specially designed instruction (IEPs), that is done by credentialed therapists who come on-site to provide services. The NWC Kids program has great value (childcare can be tough to find for a special needs kid) but I don't like the way they are portraying themselves in the media as an organization that is picking up the slack for SPS. SPS is not required to provide full day childcare for young children with special needs. The county is responsible for covering those services/therapies, and they do it in many places throughout the city every day. I don't like the way SPS handled this, but I really dislike the way NWC is fighting for their cause.
mirmac1 said…
Random Thought, I see our posts crossed. To be clear, there is no direct contractual relationship between SPS and NWC.
kellie said…
@ Another Cascader,

You are NOT correct. I have been following the ins and out of all of the building inventory for over ten years. During the BEX process, the district had NO intention to taking back the QA building. The evidence is quite clear. When SPS laid out the six year plan and asked for the money, Queen Anne was NOT on the list.

There were many of us who quite loudly articulated that BEX was not enough and there was not enough property in that plan. At the time, it was determined that taking about QA was not a discussion at all.

It was only when it was clear that Indian Heritage and Cascade were completely omitted from BEX and homeless, did any conversation at all start about where to put Cascade.

Cascade has been slated in a wide variety of potential spots and only when every one of those spots was given away did SPS go back to inventory to see what could be taken back.

To be extra clear, this is not a case of Cascade pushing out NWC. This is a case of ZERO planning for Cascade such that this is now damage control and NWC is the collateral damage.

My track record on this is pretty clear. I have advocated for essentially every piece of property in the portfolio to be put back in service and for NEW property to be acquired on top of that.

Cascade deserves a long term stable home for the students it serves, just like every other school in the district. But stability is elusive when the district is simply out of space and growing at a rapid clip.

My point here is that NWC and CPP have more in common than not. Both programs provide critical and necessary services to students. Both programs deserve a home. This should not be an either / or conversation. This should be the moment when SPS finally admits that the are just out of space.
Cascade mom said…
Kellie, due to the issues that have already come from misinformation being passed on by NW parents (and possibly staff) about Cascade and their needs, it is very important that the program director of Cascade be present at any meetings in order to clear up or prevent any further misinformation and confusion.

As far as meeting that has been requested, no parents should be included in this meeting. If parents want to speak then that is what the school board meetings are for.

Anonymous said…
thanks Mirmac...

And, here is the BAR that explains the KCDD contract as the "Third Party administrator" for early intervention services:

and the link on their website where NWC is one of 3 providers for Seattle:

There is a contracted relationship with SPS for these services.

And further as Kellie points out, the NWC is also providing other services that arguably the district is legally on the hook to provide.

It isn't as simple as them being some random non-profit in that building. Both NWC and Cascade are important services for our kids, and both deserve respect and a place to grow and thrive.

--Random thought
Anonymous said…
amen Kellie:

"This should not be an either / or conversation. This should be the moment when SPS finally admits that the are just out of space."

--Random thought
kellie said…
@ mirmac,

I agree that a lot of this splitting hairs and when it comes to sped issues, sadly that is more the norm than not.

SPS's track record with disabled students is .... well let's just say not pretty for this conversation. But let's lay out a few uncomfortable issues here.

* The QA property is tiny and well outside the scope of the ed specs.
* There was no money in the budget to bring this building back into service and up to code.
* The building is so small that the operating costs would make it incredibly expensive on the operating fund.

The district kicked and screamed that Sandpoint elementary was way too small to be viable as a school and only re-opened the school when the NE was desperate. This property is about 50% the size of Sandpoint.

This building was not in the plan.

Then moving on to the students in the building and the services in the building. Whose responsibility is it? SPS, the County, the State?? The lines are definitely quite blurry for disabled students under 5.

That is why I think this is not a power thing but it is right and appropriate that the legislator for that area is paying attention. Ultimately these services are paid by the State of Washington through a variety of programs and as taxpayers, I would hope that our legislators cared about where those funds went and how those students are treated. I would deeply upset if Ruben Carlyle just left the NWC to fend for themselves.

I don't know how many more ways to say this. This NEVER should have gotten this far. I have watched way too many this parent group vs that parent group struggles over the years. All of them were ugly.
mirmac1 said…
Absolutely Random Thought. I did see on the KCDCC website the following:

Early Intervention Funding Sources

Federal law guarantees the following Part C entitlements at no cost to families:

Child Find/Referral
Service coordination (Family Resource Coordination )
Comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation/assessment
Development and ongoing review of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
Procedural safeguards for families (Parent Rights)

In King County, parents’ participation in payment for services is limited to assigning their insurance to the EI provider in order that the provider can bill for EI services.

Depending on the individual child and situation, services are paid for by various public and private funding sources, which can include:

Family’s insurance or Medicaid
IDEA Part C funds
King County Developmental Disabilities funds
Charitable Contributions
School districts

I am not fully-versed in the ins and outs of EI services, but it would seem that SPS assigns its Part C funds to KCDCC to administer. These funds are pooled with other sources to provide EI services through vendors selected by KCDCC.
Anonymous said…
Sorry if I'm being annoying by repeating the point, but particularly for TS and others that think that early intervention services aren't SPS's legal responsibility...

Please read the BAR in the link above, particularly sections VII and VIII.

--Random Thought
kellie said…
Cascade Mom

You are missing the point. This is not about Cascade vs NWC. This is about the district is out of space.

This is not about misinformation about Cascade or misinformation about NWC. Both Cascade and NWC provide critical services.

At least once a year, I look at a wide variety of the homeschool options in the region and I have looked at Cascade extensively as an option for one of my children, so I am beyond clear about the services provided.

And while all of sudden saying the word homeschool is now misinformation it has been the primary word used in conjunction with the program for years and it is the vernacular many parents use to describe programs like this. Edmond Heights is usually called the Edmonds Home Resource Center.

Cascade deserves a solid long term home and maybe Queen Anne is the perfect location for this. But trust me on this. If Cascade is placed on Queen Anne, it will be about 15 minutes before there is another conversation about the over-crowding on QA and maybe Cascade can go somewhere else a new neighborhood school can go in Queen Anne elementary.

mirmac1 said…
Sorry for the cross-post kellie. Yes, the battles are ugly. I can hardly stand sitting in those board meetings.

As parents of children with disabilities, you are I are deeply aware of the neglect of our kids' education.
Anonymous said…
Yes, Mirmac, AND, state and federal law requires school districts to provide these services. Really, read the BAR.

.."to ensure the services... ON BEHALF of the district"

and "Washington state has requires all school districts to provide these services..."

NWC and Boyer and one other agency are the subcontractors for these services.

"350 children are served through our program"

SPS uses KCDD as a third party administrator because they don't have the bandwidth to provide these services as they are required to by law. NWC is one of the contractors.

--Random thought
Cascade mom said…
Responding to Kellie's statement:

"Cascade did not get a home planned in BEX. So, Cascade advocated for themselves and had meetings with staff and others to have the NQA building promised to them, and staff neglected to communicate it to NWC or include them in the discussion. And this was not shared ANYWHERE that I could find in the Growth boundaries or Interim Capacity plans in the fall."

First of all, NW admin and staff knew that their building was being toured and SPS was considering not renewing the lease. Cascade and SPS toured QA multiple times last school year during school or should I say therapeutic daycare days. The higher ups of NW did not let staff and families there know what was happening apparently, the sat on this knowledge and have just in the last few months started looking at other facilities. There are emails from 2012 in which NW was CC'd regarding possible placement of Cascade or another interested program.

Cascadians, including the program director did not do anything out of the ordinary or try to bribe or use any influence to be awarded placement at QA as your statement eludes to. Cascade families wrote letters and spoke at as many school board meetings as we could, those are open to the public. We also invited as many SPS as we could to our program so they could see first hand. We did not flaunt our children's disabilities or public school struggles in the media, we did not ask for things to play out in the "court of public opinion" as NW's blog calls for them to do currently. And we sat here biting our tongue for over a month now as our program was belittled and dragged through the mud. What NW is allowing their families and board members to do with this smear campaign is unspeakable. My son will not be attending their teen program this summer!

SPS had and has no obligation to NW Center aside from their landlord-tenant obligations. They do not need to invite them to discuss or give feedback on who or how SPS uses QA, or even notify NW families of what is happening with the lease (that's NW's job)! Heck SPS has only ever notified their own schools of pending closures because it is law, even then they say nothing till close to the end of that school. With the way SPS treats their own school closures, why would a private school expect anything different?

I wish that NW had negotiated for a lease that offered them enough time to establish a new home, but they didn't. I feel bad for all kids involved and I pray that NW finds a home soon.
Cascade mom said…
oops, my last statement was to Random Thought, not Kellie. I apologize for the mix up.
-Cascade mom

Anonymous said…
@ mirmac,

yes, the battles are ugly so I can completely understand your (and Mel's) protecting the under-dog. In many of the battles the more affluent and more organized communities either appear or actually do come out ahead. Remember the Montlake-TOPS-Thurgood Marshall shuffle.

However, this is different.

In the past, it has been this neighborhood school getting closed instead of that neighborhood school or this neighborhood school vs this alternative school. But in all of those cases, it was a shuffling of communities but the basic core service of a homeroom and teacher and a nearby location were still on the table.

In this case, we have finally portable'd up the north end to a point that there is no way to squish a few more folks together to create a big enough empty space to place to place and entire program, so now we are looking at a battle of which services get to have a central location and which services either don't happen or get an inconvenient location.

There is a lot of pressure to centrally locate all city services and there just aren't a lot of central locations. I suspect the World School vs TT Minor debate is not over.

The district is out of space. It is time to ask for help. I, for one, am very pleased that Ruben Carlyle, et al are interested and willing to dig into these issues because the bottom line is that there are a lot of kids that get impacted by these decisions.
kellie said…
@ mirmac,

yes, the battles are ugly so I can completely understand your (and Mel's) protecting the under-dog. In many of the battles the more affluent and more organized communities either appear or actually do come out ahead. Remember the Montlake-TOPS-Thurgood Marshall shuffle.

However, this is different.

In the past, it has been this neighborhood school getting closed instead of that neighborhood school or this neighborhood school vs this alternative school. But in all of those cases, it was a shuffling of communities but the basic core service of a homeroom and teacher and a nearby location were still on the table.

In this case, we have finally portable'd up the north end to a point that there is no way to squish a few more folks together to create a big enough empty space to place to place and entire program, so now we are looking at a battle of which services get to have a central location and which services either don't happen or get an inconvenient location.

There is a lot of pressure to centrally locate all city services and there just aren't a lot of central locations. I suspect the World School vs TT Minor debate is not over.

The district is out of space. It is time to ask for help. I, for one, am very pleased that Ruben Carlyle, et al are interested and willing to dig into these issues because the bottom line is that there are a lot of kids that get impacted by these decisions.
Cascade mom said…
Kellie, unfortunately the misinformation that I refer to is not the word homeschool, the misinformation is for one the city counsel and SPS were both informed by NW families that Cascadian's had stated at a coffee meeting that QA is not big enough. There are other thing's as well, but there is no reason that our program director shouldn't be there when their main methods in pleading they deserve to stay in QA is by passing on misinformation, accusing SPS of making homeschooler's a priority over special needs children, and even threatening a lawsuit for violation of FAPE/IDEA if they end up homeless. The lawsuit having to do with the ALE's in WA not being equipped to house all student models.

Now tell me, does any of this sound like NW is approaching things from a "Cascade is not the enemy" mindset?
kellie said…
@ Cascade mom,

Glad you noticed that was not me.

I agree that Cascade has behaved perfectly appropriately in this process. Cascade should never have been left homeless in the BEX process and a long term home should have included in the BEX levy when the BEX levy displaced Cascade from Wilson Pacific.

Just basic good process would have ensured that there was a plan for every program that was displaced before the levy went to the voters. That did not happen and now we are here.

I refuse to get sucked into thinking that this is Cascade vs NWC.

In the same way that I think that Cascade should have been slotted into the long term plan before the decision to demolish and rebuild Wilson Pacific, I think that a plan to ensure continuity of services to disabled students should be in place BEFORE dislodging the service provider for these disabled services.

That seems like a simple statement. Know where you are going to send students BEFORE you make a decision to displace them.

kellie said…
@ Cascade mom,

I have been in many meetings where the phrase "QA is not big enough for ..." were uttered. The simple fact is that QA is tiny and the fact that it is tiny (aka not big enough) enters into nearly every conversation on the topic.

So yes, I think I can in good conscience extend NWC the benefit of the doubt that they heard that QA was not even big enough for Cascade.

IMHO, I think Cascade would fill every square inch it could get its hands on. The capacity pressures are very real. As schools get more and more crowded, the need for the services Cascade provides grows as well. There are many students who would have done very well in a right sized class room in a right sized building that are not doing well in crazy crowded buildings.

Anonymous said…
Cascade Parent--

That was my quote, not Kellie's BTW.

And I didn't say anything about bribery or anything necessarily shady. Cascades parent advocacy efforts worked, and the assignment of the building was not included in any of SPS board documentation that I saw. Please show me the links if I missed something, but I was following the whole show last fall pretty closely.

And, we'll have to agree to disagree about a few things.

I don't believe that this is simply a landlord-tenant issue and that NWC should have seen it coming and "negotiated better terms." Just because SPS has a history of giving communities little notice or transparent communication, doesn't make it right. That sounds a little too much like, "she had it coming to her"

When in a few years Cascade is facing eviction, will it be ok because you should have expected it? You do realize that all of the QA schools are full to overfull already, don't you?

These folks are your community, and this current situation is NOT NWC's doing. It is SPS's doing.

I feel like there is a bunch of blaming the victim going on here, when BOTH Cascade and NWC are victims here.

The more productive strategy would be to join forces and find solutions. For the sake of all of these kids, I truly hope that more Cascade parents and NWC parents will collaborate instead of pointing fingers.

--Random thought

Cascade mom said…
I agree Kellie. Why does Blogger have no like button? LoL
kellie said…
@ Cascade mom,

In the end, I can't speak for NWC as I am not a NWC parent.

But the basics here are pretty simple. Cascade has been treated very badly and finally thought they had a long term home. It is really reasonable that Cascade is shocked at the controversy here. Cascade has been involved in conversations to find a home for so long that it seems only natural that everyone else involved is aware of the situation. But it is unlikely that it is that clear cut.

I agree that NWC probably had good reason to expect that their lease would not be renewed in 2015. However, I do not believe that NWC was expecting the six month termination clause to be invoked prior to 2015.

The Hamlin Robinson School is very clear that their lease will not be extended past 2015 and they are planning accordingly. Westside School knew that their lease on EC Hughes was not very stable and they found another home, even after SPS made it clear they would reopen Fairmont Park instead. There seems to be a playbook in place with SPS tenants and they all seems to behave very similarly with the news that the lease will end.

IMHO, the intensity of the reaction from NWC indicates that this was surprising. I highly doubt that any organization that services fragile children would have as their Plan A, let's malign and disparage other kids when Plan could be let's keep our eyes open for new space.

As for individual parents, I have seen and heard way too many hateful and hurtful statements over the years about other people's kids. So I also have no doubt that surprised, frightened and reactive parents have said more than one insensitive and thoughtless thing.

The bottom line is that both NWC and Cascade provide critical services.
Cascade mom said…
I'm not familiar with the record system of those meetings and such, sorry Random.

We don't have to worry about eviction because we are an SPS school so they will just bounce us around like they do every SPS program, we have no lease agreement.(NW is not being evicted either)
I say this with my tongue-in-cheek, it is not ideal at all to know that SPS offers no PERMANENT solution. QA's size will help ensure that we won't be displaced for a traditional program and will prevent us from having to share with a non compatible program.

Do you remember who was saying QA is too small for us?
kellie said…
Cascade mom,

You made me laugh. It might be nice if QA's tiny size protected you from other people wanting the school. But that is just not the case.

Once QA Elementary is back in active service in the SPS portfolio, you can guarantee there will be neighborhood folks on Queen Anne that will start pressing for QA to be a neighborhood school.

It could be a pre-K school, it could be a K only school and take the K classes out of the neighboring schools, the options and rationale are endless. The process is ugly and over crowding brings out the worst in many people.

Anonymous said…
Cascade Mom--

I think I've heard it directly from a Cascade parent, actually. There are 10 classrooms being used at Wilson Pacific, right? There are only 8 at NQA, I've read/ heard. And, as Kellie points out, the population is increasing, so the number of kids that will want to be in Cascade is likely to grow. It sounds like Cascade will already be 2 classroom short when they move in, so I'm not sure that provides any stability for the program...

--random thought
Cascade mom said…
If I had my way SPS would be building us our own school. I haven't seen QA, but I'm trusting our admin on the size and what is needed for Cascade...we don't have options aside from a temporary placement sharing with 2 other schools at Van Asselt, which would result in a shrinking of our program due to the commute, and the students, like my son, who have PTSD from their public school experience.
"NWC wasn't included in those meetings that promised the building to Cascade, and that wasn't right either."

Agreed but this meeting is quite different. It involves multiple elected officials (including one hosting it) and an ask/demand on not leaving until an answer is found.

The district/Board needs to know what this will look like if they go off to this meeting and make a decision behind closed doors.

I think the City/County need to step up to the plate for NW Center.
mirmac1 said…
From a Contract law perspective, I see that SPS has an agreement with KCDCC. SPS cannot direct KCDCC subcontractors, nor selects them. SPS can only direct KCDCC. At least that how we work in the $MMM public contract biz and that has withheld considerable court scrutiny. I trust my 30 yrs experience.

My only point in beating the dead horse is to establish that NWC's relationship with SPS has at least one significant degree of separation, compared to CPPC's zero degrees. As a direct receipient of BEA funding CPPC is first in line in my book.

If NWC's recent effort bugs me it is because it too closely resembles the campaign carried out by K-5 Boren at STEM. Again, the Schmitz Park facility offered was "too small" in their eyes. They orchestrated a full court press lining up every semi-famous West Seattleite and minor elected official. Given that the Boren building had no immediate(ly obvious) assignment in the works, it seemed like a win-win for the adorable K-1 engineers in training. Unfortunately, the result has made the secondary capacity issues in WS far more problematic. Oh well, that politics.
lurker said…
Is the TT Minor building up for grab in 2015? Do you know when their lease expires?
mirmac1 said…
BTW, I do recall hearing QA mentioned as a possibility for CPPC at one of the many meetings I attended. It was in testimony at a public meeting, no secret negotiations there.
kellie said…
@ mirmac,

You are both missing the point and doing an excellent job of explaining why this issue has gone so far sideways and why almost everyone is missing the point.

This is NOT about who has priority of service from SPS and therefore who should be assigned to a building. Try this explanation and see if it helps.

The district can save millions of dollars every year by eliminating all substitute teachers. Substitutes cost a lot of money and we can't afford it. Besides, substitutes are not the real teachers and they are contractors. If a teacher is missing for some reason those students can work quietly in their classroom or go to another classroom.

While on the surface, this looks like it could save money, it is ridiculous and it can't work. Just because you get rid of substitute teachers does not mean that you have also eliminated the obligation to teach students.

SPS has an obligation to serve both the students at NWC and the students at Cascade. By terminating the lease for NWC and re-assigning the building to Cascade, they have not managed to simultaneously transfer the obligation to educate the Seattle students at NWC back to King County.

They have only weakened the means by which those students are receiving those services.

In many ways, this is no different from when Cascade was displaced from Wilson Pacific. The only difference is that now two years have gone by and the capacity issues have gotten worse and more people are paying attention.

I made just as much of a fuss about Cascade being homeless two years ago but it was impossible to hear that over the noise of the capacity crisis of the moment. Every capacity issue is years brewing before it becomes a crisis point. Cascade has been brewing for years now. NWC just happens to be the collateral damage in this round.
kellie said…
@ mirmac,

I also heard QA as a landing place for Cascade long before this happened and did not think much of it one way or another as it was one of dozens of possible landing places.

However, I did not know who was in the QA building. I did not know that NWC served students on the behalf of Seattle Schools and is effectively a para-school, like the EEU. I was treating this like Cedar Park and the Atwood Studios.

Cedar Park was an equally bad decision. But in the case of Cedar Park, there was not the direct displacement of mandatory services on the behalf of students that SPS is obligated to provide. Had I know that sooner, I would have made a fuss sooner.

Frankly, if NWC was just a generic non-profit doing "good things" I would agree with you. But that is just not the case.

This is not about either NWC or Cascade. It is about providing enough space for Both neighborhood students and critical alternative services.
mirmac1 said…
"@ mirmac,

You are both missing the point and doing an excellent job of explaining why this issue has gone so far sideways and why almost everyone is missing the point.

Glad to be of service : )
"As schools get more and more crowded, the need for the services Cascade provides grows as well."

Agreed, but

"If I had my way SPS would be building us our own school."

Get in line. I don't mean that in a snarky way but the need is great.

"... like my son, who have PTSD from their public school experience."

I'm curious. Your son has a documented case of PTSD from being in public school? Is that because of a disability he has that was not treated or because of treatment he received? That's a pretty serious charge. (Not saying I don't believe you, I just never heard of that before.)
d"As schools get more and more crowded, the need for the services Cascade provides grows as well."

Agreed, but

"If I had my way SPS would be building us our own school."

Get in line. I don't mean that in a snarky way but the need is great.

"... like my son, who have PTSD from their public school experience."

I'm curious. Your son has a documented case of PTSD from being in public school? Is that because of a disability he has that was not treated or because of treatment he received? That's a pretty serious charge. (Not saying I don't believe you, I just never heard of that before.)
Anonymous said…
This is ridiculous.

What school district announces a major capital campaign and tear down of current quarters without having a plan for long-time existing school programs? (Quietly sticking the Indian Heritage Program at Northgate Mall is equally disgusting as the CPPP disaster and needs further review.)

What school district, which presumably understands the permitting process since it goes through it all. the. time. boots a childcare/teaching program *that handles kids who receive services it is responsible for* without giving it enough advance notice to permit elsewhere and keep going?

And what school district blithely hunkers down and defends its actions in the face of wholesale exposure and rejection of its actions.

Asking again: What school district? Find one. This is highly abnormal, yet just another day of operations for SPS and the governance of SPS. I have not read a peep from any of the board members or the super on this. That's not leadership, that's failureship.

And why do we, the taxpayers of Seattle, allow this unacceptable behavior?

The bottom line is how can we, the taxpayers, stop this bad clown cartoon show? It has gone on far, far too long.

"Really Done"
Really Done, two things.

One, I, too, am getting to the point of "really done" with this district. Superintendents come and go, Board members come and go and yet, here we are.

Two, I was wondering out loud to my husband last night, "Is this the best they can truly do or is it worth it to look helpless and/or lackluster in order to help someone else's desire to take over the district?"

The thought has occurred to me because, while this is a difficult issue, there are too many smart people at SPS to not get this done better.
Joe Wolf said…
@ lurker:

The T.T. Minor building will become the new home for the World School. The current tenahts are leaving at the end of the next school year; then comes a year of site work (both internal mods to the existing building, and enclosure of the covered playcourt to provide spaces needed to meet the ed spec). World School will move from Meany to T.T. Minor Summer 2016.

At that point Meany will be completely vacant, and its BEX IV project to re-open Fall 2017 as a middle school will be completed.

The Board cast a formal vote oh the T.T. Minor/World School issue as outlined above at its 11.20.13 meeting.
Anonymous said…
I would agree with "Really Done" - and by that I mean, I've already moved one kid to private school. No other districts seem to have these kind of issues. I can't find one, even of comparable size and geographic/economic diversity. It seems to stem from lack of vision and leadership, IMHO. There is no long term planning, for as long as I have been here. We just careen from crisis to crisis and throw up bandaid solutions. Is there any hope that anyone is looking at birth rates, new construction, and demographic changes that would impact what the district will need in 5, 10, 15, 20 years? I truly hope so, and I know for a fact other districts are doing this. We seem to be an outlier. Everything surprises us.
-Also Done
response said…
Yes, a legitimate documented case of PTSD of traditional public school brought on by the open hostility of my son's former elementary school teacher and principal...and apparently this is becoming common in SPS, not sure about other districts.
There is way to much surrounding this diagnosis than I am willing to disclose in this forum, it's not the place. The good news is that my son is THRIVING at Cascade his former principal is being "promoted" to director of early education for SPS (she has no business principaling). As long as I don't drive by the former school, my son is great, but drive by it and it will make you want to cry. He is a Gen Ed student with an IEP for a learning disability and no traditional SPS schools don't do a portion of what dyslexic students need, Cascade however does.
Anonymous said…
Please understand that SPS doesn't give a rat's butt if you move your kid to private school. It welcomes it. It doesn't know how to handle the bodies it has. If all the posters on this blog threw up their hands and quit the system, SPS would still have more kids than it can handle. No doubt much of the downtown administration would privately cheer that we all were gone.

Yes, pulling a kid from the system may be the right choice for a family - and families have to do what they have to do for their children. Understandable and defensible. But know that getting one more (or 100 more) "whiners" out of the system just helps this system continue on its inadequate path of low expectations regarding its students, its employees and its taxpaying public.

I applaud NWCenter for taking their beef to state legislators. It's time people beyond those who post here understand just how messed up SPS administration is. Maybe someone other than parents can get traction with making SPS produce sane and strategic decisions.

Anonymous said…

I am under no illusions that the district cares whether or not we left for private. My point was I am "done". I did everything I could within the system, and was active at board meetings, on committees, and task forces. I saw no hope of change, and ultimately had to do what is best for my kid. However, I am still a taxpayer and have one more kid in the system. I would love to make a difference and a change. Frankly, I am quite in favor of a takeover by legislators - city or state. I think like many others, I just feel helpless. And I'm done with writing the board emails and making signs to hold at board meetings or spending hours on a taskforce. None of it made any discernible difference.
-Also done
Anonymous said…
This is robbing Peter to pay Paul!!

It's not a competition over who's more oppressed or deserving. Both schools have children who aren't able to be served in regular SPS schools for whatever reason, and BOTH are incredibly valuable in the fabric of what should be a continuum of offerings by SPS.

For the record, Cascade doesn't have a lot of SpEd (17 students out of 182, which is really 141), and, not a particularly high FR&L (32%). Hyperbole about how it's either full of SpEd kids or is rich is untrue, and is irrelevant. It is a school. Period.

For the record, NW Center is not a public school, but, it serves public school kids. The District MUST provide services to SpEd children birth-to-3 AND Preschool, so, if NW Center goes down, guess what - those same kids will wash up on SPS shores, and demand their services.

Sure, you can look at this as a cut-and-dried landlord/tenant thing, but, you'd be really, REALLY missing the point. BECAUSE EVERY SINGLE CHILD IN NW CENTER IS A PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENT AND IS ENTITLED TO A SEAT IN PUBLIC SCHOOL. If the District collapses this school - I mean, collapses the lease, then, all that means is that the District will have to find 8 homerooms close by. Hay, Lawton, Coe, Blaine and QAE are full. So, I guess to put those preschools in will mean MORE boundary redraws? The SpEd task force has focused on delivering services in a geographically sensitive way: SPS can't just kick SpEd around: it has got to stop treating SpEd and ELL like inventory pieces to move around. Don't look across the ship canal for empty home rooms for preschool rooms, there's no space. So,displacing NW Center will mean the dominoes fall in QA/Magnolia, and so more of those kids will be displaced.

Cascade has been in their home for years, and now needs a new home. They recently LOST their ability to provide high school services because of educational reasons. Their program should reestablish those courses, because that community needs them, which means they will only grown from their current 10 room use to more. QA only has 8 homerooms. I do not say this to disparage Cascade, it is just a fact. At the winter Board meetings, Cascade showed up asking for a home, so it's interesting that some now say this was promised to them long time ago. Again, not relevant.

Why the word 'home school' is so off-putting is odd: up until recently, that is what their school was called. Cascade has teachers and education plans, but parents are there 100% and it is parent-driven. None of that is relevant. It is a school, an ALE, and it needs space. Truly, in the long run, the Queen Anne building and location are a poor choice. They are just so desperate that they are overlooking the obvious shortcomings of that facility (too small, too difficult to get to for families from the S/SE).

The DeCatur building at Thornton Creek? It'll be vacant in 2 years. It is unspoken for. It's smallish, so it is not good for SPS, and yet, it's MUCH larger than QE (38,203 vs. 22,119 sq ft). It might be easier to get to for families from the S/SE (transfer to onto 76 or 71 from downtown or drive straight up I-5).


Why not house Cascade in the interim for 2 years, at Marshall or Lincoln while they wait for their permanent, forever home, the Decatur Building? Or, lease space for them at Magnuson, but, give them a proper home, one that can accommodate growth and stability over the real long term! And, leave NW Center as is. It's 8 homerooms on 2 acres. It serves an educational function that the District is responsible for.

I have no dog in this fight. I want the best for the entire community: SpEd kids and ALE kids. This shouldn't be either/or.

Where's Banda? Where's the Board? Better yet, where's the planning?

-got planning?
Anonymous said…
I think Banda and the Board have a secret air raid shelter in JSCEE where they've all headed because it's become too much for them. They're living on Top Ramen and getting dispatches by transistor radio, which is Up To Date technology for SPS! They've left a communications staffer or two guarding the door, and will re-emerge when given the All Clear (crisis resolved without their names attached).

As "Really Done" said: "Failureship not Leadership."

Anonymous said…
I went to the front of this blog and copied down a couple other names of people presumably hiding out down in the Air Raid Shelter. I assume they are down there, because otherwise (given that execs just got raises) we'd hear leadership from them on a matter that clearly touches their job function. Right? Right? Anyone? Bueller?....Bueller?....


Charles Wright, Deputy Superintendent -

Michael Tolley, Assistant Superintendent, Teaching&Learning

Pegi McEvy, Assistant Superintendent, Operations -

Flip Herndon, Assistant Superintendent, Capital, Facilities&Enrollment Planning

Kenneth Gotsch, Assistant Superintendent, Budget&Finance -

Anonymous said…
What do you suggest? Seriously, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to move forward and improve things. Are you suggesting we email those folks listed? Do you think that will do anything? How do you think the District can get turned around? We keep rotating school board members, and voting new ones in, but nothing seems to change. I think I'm with Charlie here. Is there a point where we acknowledge we are really powerless? My last hope is legislators and a take over.
-also done
Anonymous said…
reposting from 02/09
Cascade enrollment
0 ELL; 18 SpEd
60% White
16% Black
8% Hispanic
33% F&RL

The above #s are irrelevant. Our District is out of space. How did they let it get this bad? When they were closing schools, and the public begged them not to, what were they thinking? Were they thinking?

Imagine if North Beach and Sacajawea, 2 schools that were on their closure list, we indeed closed.

North Queen Anne building has 8 home rooms. 8. Cascade currently uses 10.

Cascade is a vital, all-city draw. It helps students in precarious situations. Including female students, who, for cultural reasons, the families would not send to a 'regular' school (certain nations actively discourage the education of girls, immigrants come with a cultural perspective). If Cascade was more centrally located, could it attract even more children, who might otherwise not get a chance to go to school? This program should grow, it must be supported. It is vital.

But, given that Queen Anne is NOT easy to get to, and, given the capacity constraint of 8 classrooms, IS THIS REALLY THE BEST, EVEN WORKABLE LONG TERM SOLUTION FOR CASCADE?

The World School, a high school, was just placed into an elementary school in the heart of the central district's growth. Time will tell if that decision will hold, or, if they have to be relocated AGAIN in 4 years. Yesler Terrace is building scads of apartments that will be filled with kids. And yet, World School was so leery of this District and their empty promises, even when they were told that this might not be in their best long-term interest, they held on to the property like a barnacle, because they wanted a permanent home. That is completely understandable, but it may boomerang back.

Does this District do solid long-term planning? Anyone who lived through the 2 rounds of closures knows the answer to that. It is disruptive to kids, families and communities and EXPENSIVE. And, it erodes public confidence.

Is this the best move for Cascade, or, is it a temporary patch? Given the ill fit between size and location and Cascades true needs, I say the latter.

It is true that QA is District property. It is true that they have a clause that says 6 month notice is all that is needed. But, stop and think. Is this really so cut-and-dried? Aren't the kids in the NW Center the kids of Seattle Public Schools? They are, because, SPS has a legal obligation to provide these children with a free and appropriate education.

This school is doing miracles with these frail children. Miracles. When doctors say your child will not walk, will not talk, and then through the efforts of the NW Center, the same child takes her first step at age 5, and, speaks her first word at age 7, what would you call that?

And, if that same child had been in the 'care' of SPS and the SPS SpEd team, would those same results have happened?

Consider the NW Center a defacto school of SPS, it's like a volunteer plant in a garden. It is there, helping children everyday that SPS does not seem to have the bandwidth to help.

Yes, SPS will clawback its other FEW properties still left. The Webster building in the Ballard, (if a museum moves, irreversible damage to children will not take place). Lake City, (the tenants there, accountants, etc, will be inconvenienced, but, they can find other space). Hughes in WS will be vacant. Oak Tree shopping mall is under an iron clad lease, and can't be taken back, same with the Wallingford center (these properties don't have a 'school building').

TT Minor is being taken back from a private school, but they don't have medically fragile kids, and they KNEW right at the get-go this this was temporary.

If NW center closes, is SPS prepared to take these kids and really do right by them, or, will it contract out to some 3rd NW Center, because SPS doesn't have the capacity or bandwidth to provide service?

-think long-term
Anonymous said…
@also done

Exactly! Emailing this District, Superintendent and/or Board is useless, so, don't waste the bytes!

Instead, email the Mayor and our State legislators, they are interested, and, while the Super does not have to answer to them, they have one heck of a bully pulpit, and, even better, they have money and facilities.

This we know: Banda won't listen to you, me, or any of us parents. Neither will the Board. So, don't waste your breath. Unflattering media attention, that will pique their interest. Go ahead and try that route. But really, the only thing that Banda will listen to is a bigger dog who's got a bigger bite. That is the ONLY thing that will get that man's attention. Something will teeth. And that is not you and me, that is the Legislature and City Hall.

Someone has got to step in, if for no other reason, than to get this District some FACILITIES because we are all out!

I feel sorry for staff.

-911 to Senators
Cascade mom said…
There are over 36 students on IEP's at Cascade currently receiving services. That is not counting 504 plans and those who have dropped IEP's because their kids no longer need resource room support due to the structure of Cascade. That is also not counting the number of gifted students who found SPS's programs inadequate for the gifted and talented and did not qualify for IEP's because their grades were "good"...
Anonymous said…
DistrictWatcher called out the board, but that's too generic. Where the (@**#@& is board member Sue Peters. This is her part of the district. Why are parents tearing each other apart when it is SPS leaders' job to fix this mess?

To answer Also Done's question, I'd email everyone you can think of, and then do it twice. Someone will eventually get annoyed and take action. Maybe.

Anonymous said…
A couple of observations and questions from a casual perspective:

1) I grew up on Queen Anne and spent my childhood in Rogers Park. North Queen Anne Elementary was always this odd, quiet facility buried in the woods on the north of end of the park. It is tiny. It is inaccessible. And over the years, I've followed it through all the BEX levy's to see what the district was going to do with it. And, like Kellie has mentioned, all I've ever seen is "this building is much too small, and the site is too inaccessible, for any public school use by SPS."

NWCenter certainly could have been led to believe they would be there "forever" as SPS had zero interest or use for this site.

2) Has anyone ever tried to even access this school? NWC uses a back entrance and small driveway off the east side of the school. But when you look at historical photos, the intended access was a staircase from the north side of the property to Florentia Street. The trees are so thick there, does this access still exist?

3) How much space is Cascade using at Wilson-Pacific? Previously, when reading facility summaries, Wilson-Pacific (which is a series of small classroom buildings frequently seen in California but rarely seen here) was only occupied by three groups: the homeschool program (Cascade) who used two or three classrooms, Indian Heritage, also using two classrooms, in a separate building, and SPS facilities, using most of a third building.

Given that Cascade could be in one of the small classroom buildings alone, have they expanded to use the space available? Someone mentioned they are using 10 classrooms now. If SPS reports say they are using 2-3 classrooms, when did they make such a jump?

4) I'm with Kellie all the way on this. This is a Cascade v. SPS issue, and NWC vs. SPS issue, not a Cascade v. SPS issue. My memory is like Kellie's, the district had no intent to ever use this space for district services as it is unsuitable for pretty much anything. NWC thought they were in for the long haul. SPS didn't plan for Cascade's placement, and they are out of room. Shame on SPS.

Anonymous said…
For those looking for a place to daylight these issues, please go to the Seattle Neighborhood Summit.

Saturday, April 5th
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Seattle Center, Pavilion Room

The city really needs to hear from families and taxpayers that schools matter.

- also done.

Anonymous said…
FYI, there seem to be more than one of us posting as @also done.
-Also done
mirmac1 said…
I understand Cascade's class schedules are staggered. I'd be surprised if they receive transportation. (Correct me if I'm wrong). If so, then the QA site seems like it could only work for a school like CPPC.

And i'm not convinced that it will become some kind of insanely popular draw like STEM or JSIS.

Lowell apparently has spare capacity for another year or so. Lowell is ADA compliant. Why could this not work as an interim site for NWC until it secures a permanent non-district facility. Or is the call for more time not the real issue?
Anonymous said…

Don't follow your logic. If the QA building is not readily accessible, and as Cascade does not get buses, then, it is a great fit? That means only families who want/need this ALE AND who have cars can access it? That makes no sense. That is precisely the reason the ALE school should be more centrally located so as to be accessible to more families, i.e, families dependent on Metro.

And, your Lowell suggestion. Did you talk to them (parents, PTA, administration), before volunteering their neighborhood's school? Lowell just got a chunk of Hay. Lowell's boundaries just doubled! Plus, with Stevens packed, there will probably be more boundary massages in Lowell's future. AND they just got made into a spectrum school site for the north central region. You sure they have that much space? Really?

Long term planning is what is needed. Not patches that can't hold.

As Kellie says, the only thing that fixes a capacity problem is MORE CAPACITY. If we can't build anymore than we all ready are, then, LEASE IT NOW.
Anonymous said…
"That is not counting 504 plans and those who have dropped IEP's because their kids no longer need resource room support due to the structure of Cascade. That is also not counting the number of gifted students who found SPS's programs inadequate for the gifted and talented and did not qualify for IEP's because their grades were "good""

It's also not counting a child like mine who is likely on the spectrum, but has gone directly from homeschooling to Cascade. If he were in a conventional classroom, I'm sure he'd have an IEP. But in Cascade, with the small class size, the amazingly supportive teachers, and my presence nearby, his issues don't interfere with his or his classmates' learning. He's thriving at Cascade. It's really an amazing place.

-Mama Marmot
Anonymous said…
First let me say that I have not read all the posts because all this anger redux between different school pops is really hard to read.

I just have a question and a small comment. When we were at the EEU, we were told about a school on Mercer Island that serves a Sped pop that have highly challenging needs. The tuition is incredibly high there because they need many many aides and doctors and nurses and therapists. It is not a SPS school, but SPS refers children there whom SPS does not have the ability to serve. SPS pays full tuitions and provide transportation from Seattle for these students. I do not know anything about NWC, but if it is a private school & the parents there pay their own tuitions; and this school have to close down, then SPS will HAVE TO provide a "free and appropriate education" for these kids somehow. Does SPS have the money and facility(ies) needed to do this- i.e. find the classrooms, equipt it properly, hire extra teachers, aides, nurses, therapists? It is possible that they would have to hire MANY additional staff, and pay them union rates, depending on how high-need the NWC kids are. ( I once saw a slight 8 yo kid take down two male teachers AND three male aides, and it all happened very quickly, he was calm one moment and then suddenly...). It is not easy to find such staff either, they have to be highly trained to not endanger the kids And be willing to possibly get punched and kicked and bitten.

So my comment is, perhaps we should consider ALL facets of this situation, we are talking about TWO populations of KIDS who are vulnerable here. Aside from compassion and ethics, to say we should ignore one group - because they are not SPS students or because they should have seen the eviction coming - could bring many unanticipated problems, considering that WSS & transportation is already being cut (no money) & the rapidly approaching increase in enrollment (no room). NWC is not refusing to move, they are asking for more Time, to find a place and get it licensed. Surely this is not unreasonable?
I can't see that forcing them to close will not be disastrous for us also. Those kids will have to come back into SPS schools, they have no other choice, pretty sure the few private schools that can serve them are full. And the staff, they will be unemployed, with bills and families to take care of: good people who CHOSE to work with high need kids.

Since, before this fiasco I used to hear Cascade referred to as a homeschooling program even by posters on this blog, that is what I thought the program was also; and I can assure you no NWC parents or staff have spoken to me. Perhaps NWC, if they did tell the Press this, (and they say they didn't, so maybe we shouldn't call them liars unless we can prove it) perhaps the press and the public had the same misconception. Ignorance is not evil intent.

The whole thing is painful for everyone, thinking of the other group as evil enemies will prob just make the problem worse.

Outside Box? said…
maybe we are all looking at this problem the wrong way. The only ideas that have been thrown out is to find a temproary buillding for both programs when what we are really concerned about is the special needs kids at NW center which totals 38 according to NW Center's petition website. And 15 of those are in the birth to 3 age group in which that program will not be effected so we are talking about 24 special needs students.

I think by law the district has to provide services for these kids? And it looks like from the same website, SPS is alreay providing some degree of service to these kids already. Can't they just expand services? I know the district has after school programs, in school programs and at home services.

I don't think the district is responsible for providing pre-school service which is 2/3rds of the students. I know no one from the district helped me find a pre school and I know in the past they have closed several pre-schools that were in schools such as Ballard, and Ingraham causing hardships on parents. So I wonder what is this really about and why so many politicians are involved?
Numericmama said…
Right, my kid is at CPPP and he will have an IEP. We have moved from homeschooling into public school and are in the process of being evaluated.

Unfortunately, it is a long process with a 4.5 month wait for our OT eval.

Then another month for our meetings at the school level.

But my kid is doing fine with the support at Cascade for the classes he is currently taking. And then when we have our results, the staff and I will figure out a plan.
Numericmama said…
So what to do?

CPPP loses it's space. Construction contracts are signed. I don't see that changing. It's really expensive. So I am going to assume it doesn't change.

WP is gone. Cascade is homeless. Cascade is gone.

* Poof *
mirmac1 said…
That's okay anonymous. It is logical that there is an accessible entrance currently used by NWC.

I don't expect everyone or you to agree with me. It is interesting how much those who disagree with me seek to refute my observations and opinion. If the facts, pure-hearted politicians and public opinion are on their side, what do they care what I think?

The costs to provide Birth to 3 services are partially covered by Part C Federal funds. NWC is one of three providers selected by King County DDD to deliver these services. SPS does not provide district facilities to Boyer or the Experimental Education Unit. In the interests of minimizing impact on children, I would support providing some relief to NWC by assisting their move to an interim space at Lowell, at least until 2015. During that time, they can LEASE some NOW (as anonymous puts it) or perhaps Amazon can provide some at no cost.

In any case, CPPC should not be thrown under the bus by anyone anymore.
Cascade mom said…
Let's clear up some things.

1. QA is not "inaccessible." It is on a busline, and has been accessed for 28 years by little yellow school buses, cars, and parents riding metro.

2. Cascade has functioned for years using 2 buildings at WP, but now that they no longer have the High School program (aside from running start) they don't necessarily need the 2 full buildings at WP.

3. Cascade's program is flexible and the days of classes can be worked to fit the space offered at QA. Currently classes and clubs meet various times and days in a 4 day work week, with an open Friday for clubs and field trips. If needed Fridays can be added into the schedule to accommodate classes, and the length and days each class meets can also be adjusted based on needs.

3.5. The one thing that cannot be altered when it comes to Cascade is the variety of schedules and down time students have. If a family has an hour between classes then they can do clubs, play, or work on homework or home subjects if they have any.

4. Cascade is NOT a homeschool and SPS actually faced legal ramifications because they tried to claim it as a homeschool resource center...that is a long story but if you want to know more I can share a video. Cascade students receive full public school credits for subjects both taken through the fully accredited teachers or for those subjects that the parents facilitate, but are overseen via the consulting teacher.
HBI students do not receive public school credits or a diploma, with the exception of classes taken through a public school or declared through and overseen by a consulting teacher. HBI students can attend ANY public school in their district if they have room in their desired class. HUGE difference.

5. Lowell, Lincoln, etc. were all an option for placement, but those schools will be filled to capacity. SPS clearly stated that no program placed in any facility will not be housed alone, meaning if the building houses 790 students and AP only takes up 420 then another program will be housed with it.
SPS took 2 years to evaluate Cascades needs and agree that Cascade's program does not belong in with a traditional school.

Bottom line, Queen Anne, is a perfect choice for Cascade's program and SPS's responsibility.

Anonymous said…
FWIW, the Slog posted something today about Cascade meeting with Banda and Herndon at 3 (so right now?).

Seattle Tweeter said…
This is something that you should definitely see:
mirmac1 said…
What a load of horse***

Not surprised Banda caves. That should be his middle name.

Wonder when he breaks ground on the Amazon school...?
NW mom said…
Mirmac, you made me laugh out loud. Banda's "solution" seems to benefit no one, really. NWC still has to go, and Cascade kids get to deal with asbestos clouds for 6 months.
watching said…
That is if Cascade accepts the proposal.
Frustrated further said…
I cannot believe that this is seriously Banda's response. As a NWC parent, I am horrified by this proposal. I am all for NWC getting more time in the building so we can make it work to find another place. BUT this has to be done in a way that harms neither program. Perhaps I am missing something, but I fail to understand how keeping Cascade on site while the building is torn down around them could possibly be done in a safe way. I stand with the Cascade families in being angry/disappointed/frustrated with Seattle Public Schools and the superintendent's foolish false solution.
NWC families and Cascade families can (hopefully) agree that SPS is not doing right by anyone. I can't help but assume that this is SPS pitting both programs against each other.
CascadeMom said…
Wilson pacific is an old building. There are asbestos warnings everywhere. The water is poisonous - kids have to bring water from home.

SPS wants to: move Cascade into another building on site. Then demolish all around it. Leaving no gym, no grass.
Cascademom said…
There are special needs kids, toddlers and babies. There's no air conditioner and single pane windows. I don't see how kids can thrive during 4 months of constant construction and zero outside space.
Concerned parent said…
Everyone is so concerned with the feelings of the NW Center kids, how they will handle the transition, and how fragile they are and how much they need the routine.
Did anyone ever stop to look at how many special needs students are actually there?
Here is the break down directly stated on their petition:

- Serves 110 children from 89 families

-- 38 of the children enrolled have special needs

-- 11 also attend developmental preschool at Seattle Public Schools

-- 15 SPS students are in the School-Age program. 13 have special needs.

-- 15 children receive early intervention services in their classrooms.

Cascade services 36 IEP's currently, and majority of those have sensory and attention deficit issues. Can you imagine what the noise will do to them? How hard 2 relocations will be? How upsetting it will be for Cascade kids to watch the demolition of their beloved school?

I understand the concern and NW not wanting to uproot so soon, but they will continue the 0-3 program services and the rest of the program is before and after school child care...These students are bussed to QA, they participate in public school classes, they are able to transition and adjust to different extents to transition, just as with Cascade students.

NW is really playing up the sympathy component, but they do have options as Van Asselt will be ready for kids this summer. I think we need to ask NW what exactly will take 2 years to get approved, is it the DSHS childcare approval or the City of Seattle Childcare approval? Is it something else? They are pretty non specific.

What about Cascade's kids who SPS IS obligated to look out for? We are not talking about before and after school care, we are talking about CORE ACADEMICS and their school day!!
Numericmama said…
Well, as a CPPP parent, I feel like my kids are already exposed to enough.

We already carry our own water because the water source is not safe.

In addition, we have some pretty "wonderful" allergies coming down from both sides of the family tree, including dust and mold.

Our gym has mold int it. That is not a good breathing situation. However, I am so happy to have a building that I am compromising. I let the kids go in the gym for two hours a week. And the PE teacher keeps the doors open so there is air circulation. I watch the kids and look for the black shadows under eyes and eye rubbing that would indicate that they were being triggered. So far I haven't seen enough that it negates the value of learning to move and stretch and run that our wonderful PE teacher brings to them.

But I can not be in the gym because my lymph nodes swell within a minute.

It's a tough situation, because the program is exactly what my kids need to thrive with their challenges, but at the same time I can not compromise their future health. There has got to be a better solution than this.
Numericmama said…
My husband also brought up this point when I explained the situation to him.

"Well, that's a lawsuit waiting to happen." asbestos:

I didn't even think about that. I know there is asbestos in the building. I also know that the building is old enough that there is lead.

Asbestos is especially insidious because there is no safe threshold for exposure. I am hedging my bets even being in WP that the fibers are contained. But once they are airborne because of construction, there is no safe place to be.

And the effects take between 20 to 30 years to show up. So all of a sudden my 40 year old and/or my 37 year old boys would get a bad cancer that would most likely kill them right at the age that they would be raising their kids. This is not an option.

Anonymous said…
I know many keep saying it over and over, but please, please Concerned Parent - Don't compare Cascade to NWC for Kids. It just lowers the whole conversation.

I totally agree that the NWC media machine and connections are out of control and the news has been one sided.

But, SPS has mangled this one and owes BOTH of us a win situation.

Cascade has been in a grossly inadequate building for years. Students deserve better.

Please, NWC families, know that CPPP is angry about the way it has been treated and the strong-arming by NWC with its legislative connections and large budget, BUT all Cascaders that I know, want your program to thrive.

Also, I appreciate the legislators banging on pots and taking a stand, but where is the solution? It's easy to cast stones at SPS (LARGE and EASY target), but here we are - What do YOU have to offer?

Side note - We've been at Cascade and Cascade. In Fall 2012 we were told that we would eventually be located at Queen Anne in Fall 2012 (don't think this was officially assigned by Board, though0> This was sidelined and apparently 'lost' with ALL the turnover and then Cascade was sidelined during the BEX conversations.

I think that Cascade would WELCOME another site, but there is not another place that meets the need of the families that I have heard of.

Cascade family3
Numericmama Mediaman said…
Second half of:

"Well, that's a lawsuit waiting to happen." - husband (or Mediaman)

Lead -

After our second son was born, it was extremely clear that our little tiny home was not going to cut it. We had two choices, remodel or move.

We researched remodeling. It would cost about $200K. We looked at moving and it would cost about $200K.

We decided to move because moving is easier than remodeling a teeny tiny home, and it would me the kids did not have to deal with construction.

The house was old enough that is contained (shock) LEAD PAINT. Which I am sure that WP also has.

It isn't just the paint chips that can be ingested that are dangerous, it is also the dust. The dust not only is in the air, but also it gets on clothing and shoes. We could not risk that our children would get lead poisoning from the dust in the air, or once it had settled into the door frames (and then spread in the air every time the door is opened) or in the window frames (which is again spread every time the window is opened.

If I was a bad parent - then I would go get a blood and hair lead test done now just in case CPPP stayed at WP next year, then I'd get another one done next June. I'll bet there would be a difference and we'd be rich!

Of course my sons would be compromised - but I'm not a bad parent, so I won't put my retirement on my children's health.

Anonymous said…
It could have been worse. Cascade could have been exiled to Northgate MALL with the Indian kids. Who in this town cried out when they were banished? No one. Who at SPS looked out for those at-risk kids? No one. Travesty.

Most districts do remodels on site with kids in place. The rat infestation and asbestos dust isn't likely to pack in new students during Open Enrollment, though. But, Cascade will probably muddle through for an additional 6 months before they get their "forever home" (which, psssst, won't be forever...because SPS doesn't "do" forever.)

If anyone thinks adding on to the QA facility to grow Cascade is a promise SPS will keep in the next 20 years, given the current BEX list, there is some swampland out in Carnation that I'd like to sell.

The Van Asselt offer to both parties was a canard. NW Center couldn't move there and serve its families anymore than Cascade could and that's maybe the one thing both programs can agree on at this point.

NW Center still has to move with haste if there is any hope to their getting permitted elsewhere. Their operating costs will almost certainly go up. Possibly way up. That program is taking pain too.

All in all, a lose-lose situation for students. Go SPS. You've lived up to expectations once again.

And finally, if Banda, who hasn't shown his face in public that anyone can much remember in the past 12 months is surprised that he doesn't have a "working" relationship with local politicians or the press, then his term looks to be very short and the employment of his communications staff (how many are there?) looks to be even shorter.

And finally, anyone see SPS Board members out there offering leadership with this issue? Don't they cover the entire geography of the city as well as have political relationships? Where especially were the board members who cover the geographic areas in question - Peters for Queen Anne and Peaslee for Wilson-Pacific. Not a peep from either. Like Banda, an unsavory case of Duck and Cover. Bah.


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