Green Dot Site Likely in SW Seattle

West Seattle Blog editor, Tracy Record, has discovered that it appears Green Dot is trying to remodel a church building in the Roxbury area of West Seattle. 

Reviewing city permit application files today, we discovered a just-filed early-stage proposal to remodel and add to what is currently the Jesus Center/Freedom Church building at 35th/Roxbury, in the name of Los Angeles-based Pacific Charter School Development

The one document publicly visible in the Department of Planning and Development system so far, dated December 31st, is a roughed-out site plan, showing the addition primarily along the Roxbury side of the 2 1/3-acre site.

I note that the Pacific Charter School Development is a capital building/renovation group funded by the Gates Foundation, the NewSchools Venture Fund, Broad Foundation, Walton Foundation - in short, ALL the usual suspects.  It's based on this:
Venture Philanthropy

These organizations support PCSD’s adherence to the “triple bottom line” philosophy embraced by some of today’s most creative and result-focused philanthropists: green, sustainable financially, and incorporating the highest possible social return on their invested dollars.

Green Dot is planning to open multiple schools over the next few years and Pacific has partnered with Green Dot to build several of these facilities. For more information, visit

The CEO of Pacific, John Sun, has this on his Linked-In page:

• Oversee facilities development in Los Angeles, Boston, Memphis, and Seattle/Tacoma 
• Established Seattle office to serve the Washington State charter school sector
• Build relationships with public charter school leaders to support their facilities needs
• Develop partnerships with local elected officials, school district leadership and other key stakeholders
• Defined PCSD growth strategy that will increase public charter schools’ ability to access public bond funding, allow PCSD to serve new geographies and increase PCSD revenues

For a Green Dot school in Tacoma they have leased a former elementary, John R. Rogers Elementary from "a PCSD subsidiary" which is then subleasing to Green Dot Washington.

I have a call into The Jesus Center as they seem to still be an active church with fitness center. 


mirmac1 said…
UGH! That's my neighborhood. Nearby schools are Roxhill, Westside, Explorer West and Arbor Heights.

I forget but weren't there many scandals about charters leasing space, creating profits for affiliated development companies...? If any one has a link, please post.
parent of 8th grader in West Seattle said…
This looks like it is the old Safeway building. From Green Dot's website about the Seattle School:

Seattle 6-12 School
School location: South Seattle (site to be determined)
Opening: August 2016
Grades served in 2016: 6
Grades served at full enrollment: 6-12
Total projected student enrollment: 1200 students

Is this how the school district is planning on dealing with the middle school/high school capacity issues? Let the charters in?
mirmac1 said…
Oy! I am reminded that a medical marijuana clinic and separate dispensary are across the street.
Watching said…
Former SPS staffer- Cordell Carter- is a registered agent with Puget Sound Charter School Development and he sits on First Place's Board. He was a MGJ hire.



Address: 4315 S. Webster Street
Seattle, WA 98118

Address Types: Registered Agent

Registered Agent: Cordell Carter

Filing Date: October 15, 2014

File Number: 603444530
cific Charter School Deveopment
Anonymous said…
@ 8th grade parent.
Yes, that's exactly how the enrollment crisis will be solved. Watch the neighborhood flock to Green Dot. Seriously. The losers will be the SPS middle-high schools. Fewer kids, fewer dollars, less reason to invest in the SPS staff, programs and buildings and meantime a pumped up by CA and Gates Green Dot offering. Let the death cycle for SPS in the SW commence. Just like the privateers want.

Lori said…
If I'm remembering the numbers, we're going to be about 2,000 high school seats short north of the ship canal in 2019, *after* Lincoln re-opens.

I find it very interesting that the first few charter schools in Seattle are likely to be highschools (the one in the ID and now this 6-12 in SW Seattle), but I'm having trouble seeing how this solves the capacity problems unless we draw some very weird boundaries and/or move programs currently housed in north and central Seattle to the schools further south that either already have some space or might have space after these charters open.

It would be interesting to see the high school projections for 2016 and beyond for the entire district (not just north end), then factor in these two schools and see how it changes.
mirmac1 said…
Yes Watching, I saw his election to the First Place board during the meltdown. He was described as an expert in "fund development".
Po3 said…
Wow, 1200 is a pretty big school. But if they pull from all around the city like Nova and Center then I can see how MS/HS overcapacity could be eased up a bit.

I honestly don't understand how the $$$ works, do charter kids take their $$$ w/ them from the public to the charter school? How does the funding work for private school kids going to charter schools?
Anonymous said…
If we're going to be about 2000 seats short for north end HS seats after Lincoln reopens and fills, then we'll likely be even MORE than 2000 seats short in the years immediately prior to its reopening. Green Dot looks to be doing a roll-up, so won't see its first class of 9th graders until 2019--which won't provide any relief in the short term. Summit looks like the only new HS seats that will come online before then, aside from whatever super secret plans the district is hatching...

Half Full
Oy said…
According to the W. Seattle Blog comment section, the community isn't thrilled to have Green Dot in this location.

It is interesting to watch. There is not a lot of noise/publicity around this building. It happens quietly.
Po3, theoretically, every K-12 child in the state has state education dollars attached to them (about $5300K).

Some parents choose private so those dollars are not used.

Charters are public schools so the dollars follow the kid. (This is the argument pro-charter people are happy to give.)

So your local district public school loses 50 kids and loses those dollars (with seemingly no kids to replace them) so you can see how it would be a whammy for a school and a dent for a district. (Seattle is filled up so they might be somewhat relieved but Tacoma is furious because of the money they estimate they may lose in the next couple of years, about $5M.)

That's how districts lose money. The state doesn't, districts do.

Charters, because some portion of those state dollars go to the state authorizer for oversight, don't get the entire amount. BUT, they are not hiring unionized people saving themselves many thousands of dollars.

This issue of facilities is probably the largest one for charters and why Gates set up this group to help facilitate finding and renovating buildings.

You will see - as California and others have -that you end up with far fewer "homegrown" charters because of the heavy lift it involves. If you are not a Gates-annointed charter, you won't get the help that a Summit or Green Dot will.
Lori said…
I want to clarify my earlier numbers about high school capacity north of the ship canal. I found the FACMAC letter from May 2014, and here's what they estimated for the northend plus QA/Magnolia:

The shortage grows each year, reaching an estimated 1625 seats for the 2018-2019 school year.

After Lincoln opens, we are still short about 500 seats for the 2019-2020 school year. By 2022, the shortage is severe again, estimated at 1750 seats. Their analysis included option seats.

The document can be found here:
Anonymous said…
And tell me again what the problem with opening "charter" seats is? ????

It takes money "away" from SPS???? Money that won't be used to educate kids? District says that kids cost more to educate than they receive (eg. McCleary). So, isn't taking kids out a savings? Hard to see how that's a problem.

Josh Hayes said…
Lori, the historical pattern of charter schools is that they don't try to compete with schools where families are by and large happy. The major problem most people have with the north-end schools is that they're crowded, not anything to do with instruction or facilities per se. I really don't think a charter could compete up there - and where would they put it?

And "Reading", by that logic if the district had no enrollment at all, they'd be rolling in the dough, right? Since every kid costs more to educate than the state forks over? Something's wrong with that reasoning.
I'm with Josh on Reading's statement. Makes no sense.
Eric B said…
@Reading, your comment makes sense until you start looking at the realities of funding a school, especially an elementary. Let's say for the sake of argument that you have a K-5 school of 300 students, 50 in each grade. That fits really nicely with two classes per grade, 25 students in each class. So far, so good.

Now, let's say a charter opens up nearby. It pulls 5% of the students from our hypothetical school. That's 15 students or ~$75K in state money. That's roughly the cost of a full-time teacher. Once you add in the operations levy money the charter will eventually get too, it's definitely 1 to 1.5 full time salaries lost from the school's budget.

When you go back to class sizes, each grade is now 47 or 48 students. That's a hair small for two classes per grade (at least how SPS does it), but way to big for 1.5 classes per grade and mixed-age learning.

The school is now stuck. They've lost a teacher's worth of revenue, but they can't cut a teacher. That's how charters bleed money out of schools.
Upset said…
When funding is short, Sugar Daddy Gates hands over millions of dollars to charter school operations for set-up costs.

How will this help schools like Franklin High School with 70% FRL population? Schools are able to fund services when enrollment is high, taking dollars from public schools hurts the remaining students.

Let's remember: There are 20,000-30,000 homeless students in Wa. State and the number is growing by 500 each year.
Lori said…
Josh, I agree. I don't think these planned charters help the capacity problem at the high school level. Others upthread seemed to think so, but I completely agree with your assessment.

What I see/worry will happen is that these charters open up spaces at southend schools that can't afford to lose students (as Eric B explains), and, when the capacity situation breaks up north, we're going to need to bus kids from the north to the schools that have room, which will be in the south end.

Nothing wrong with that per se, except it's the opposite of a neighborhood school system, which the district has been trying to create. The commutes alone, on public transportation, will be tough, especially if bells time remain as they are now.

It's all speculation on my part, of course. Maybe there's a viable plan in the works that ensures that every north end high school student has a spot somewhat near to home and doesn't involved split shifts or year-round schooling. I will state again that it just astounds me that there is so little community engagement happening on this issue. The same northend families who spent years not knowing how they were gonna resolve the middle school capacity situation are now staring down the barrel of the high school mess, with no plan or stated vision yet.
Anonymous said…
Ditto what Lori said re: the lack of community engagement on HS capacity issues. Their continued silence on the issue is incredibly frustrating.

At the beginning of the school year an SPS staffer told me they wouldn't have their new 5-yr projections available until May 2015. Let's just hope they follow through with that, and that the projections appear to be accurate--and that they then use the data to move forward WITH the community!

Charlie Mas said…
The funny thing about this, of course, is that there is a vacant school building right by there, E C Hughes.

Of course E. C. Hughes couldn't hold anything like 1,200 students and it isn't set up to serve as a high school - no science labs, etc.

But folks have been saying that a middle/high school capacity crunch is coming to West Seattle and the District will need to expand Chief Sealth into the Denny space and move Denny into Boren and it was therefore foolish to allow STEM K-8 to have Boren.

So, if that's the case, then why didn't the District buy this church and convert it to a middle school as the new location for Denny when Sealth expands or as the new location for STEM? If the District needs property, then why aren't they finding it when the charters can?
Anonymous said…
So isn't the Principal of Interagency a sitting member of the Green Dot board? So when the issue of space, allocation and budget comes up maybe they can turn those into charters and use those resources.

- Jus Sayin
Anonymous said…
From the Green Dot Website:

Green Dot in the News

<Back to News
Green Dot Schools Earn Top Rankings in U.S. News & World Report's Annual Survey of High Schools
Posted 04/24/2013 05:25PM
Los Angeles – Six Green Dot Public Schools campuses are among the top high schools in the country, according to the annual U.S. News & World Report’s list of America’s Best High Schools released today. Four schools – Ánimo Jackie Robinson Charter High School, Ánimo South Los Angeles Charter High School, Ánimo Venice Charter High School and Oscar de la Hoya Ánimo Charter High School – earned their top nationwide rankings for the second year in a row. Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School and Ánimo Pat Brown Charter High School also earned national recognition from U.S. News.

“We are honored our schools continue to earn top rankings,” said Green Dot CEO Marco Petruzzi, noting Green Dot uses an academic model designed to create small, safe, high-performing learning environments to meet individual student needs at all of its 18 schools. “This recognition is a tribute to the hard work of our students, parents, teachers and administrators at all of our schools in our mission to prepare students for college, leadership and life.”

Petruzzi added that last year Green Dot graduated more than 1,400 students, sending nearly 1,300 on to college, the most of any charter school organization in the nation. In its 13-year history, Green Dot schools have graduated more than 6,500 students with more than 90% being accepted to college.

According to U.S. News & World Report, schools are evaluated on two key principles: that a great high school must serve all its students well, not just those bound for college, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes.

U.S. News uses three tiers of evaluation to determine its rankings: 1) whether a school’s students are performing better than their peers; 2) whether its least-advantage students are outperforming similar students in their state; and 3) how well the school is preparing students for college. Those schools ranking among the top 100 in the nation produced the highest college-level achievement for the greatest percentage of students, according to U.S. News.

For its 2013 Best High Schools rankings, U.S. News analyzed information from 21,776 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia using data from the 2010-2011 school year and ranked six Green Dot Public Schools among the top eight percent of public high schools in the nation.

For more information, visit

Parents reading this might be very interested in a school like this. 1200 students seems a lot bigger than their other schools and small classes they tout. How much do they cherry pick their students and how many leave before graduation?

Anonymous said…
this is a lovely essay about the Green Dot "phenomena" yes it sounds great.. or not

- charter sucks
Anonymous said…
And here is another horror story about the promise and the reality of charters from the school district that exists no more in NOLA due to this

-charter sucks
Anonymous said…
Or another series of articles about Green Dot.

And why is a Seattle Principal on their board

- charter sucks
Anonymous said…
Oh I am no Green Dot or Charter school fan, I just thought it was interesting that some of their schools make the best high schools in the nation list. I did read the Diane Ravitch article and noted that this Green Dot High School did not make the list.

Anonymous said…
US News and World Reports are not a news journal it is business journal that games the ranks of their "lists" When LA Times does an investigative series on Green Dot and finds problems, when other issues are found in other communities note that they don't respond to those. Why? because they game the system. Here are some links to tell you what BS those "lists" are

or the way the "lists" are made..

This is a reflection of American's stupidity and need to rank and list crap based on nothing. Whoever pays for the survey gets the results they want or need.

So you get what you pay for and the hedge funds ensure that.

Yes the Green Dot website I am sure has unbiased and balanced information that reflects some of the allegations, investigations and issues that former staff and media have made.

- charter sucks
Anonymous said…
Yes, I agree with you on the lists but a lot of parents give them value for high schools and colleges.

Anonymous said…
Yes as Parents are experts and read lists put together by corrupt and secretive sources. Yes you get what you pay for and if you pay enough you get enough. The UW Hospitals are on the US News lists as "best" yet when you actually look at their Medicare rating notsogood. Remember money buys influence and people believe the money trail as actually researching and asking questions about the veracity of how the data was obtained and the financial source takes time, effort and intelligence. Qualities that lack in many of the sherple.

- Hates Charters
Unknown said…
I have lived in this neighborhood my whole life. When Safeway attempted to build a store, several attempts were made to buy out neighbors finally they and the neighbors agreed to an addendum made by Safeway and the City that no building could be built higher than the existing. I believe this was filed with city. Because when Safeway tried to sell, many wanted to build up but couldn't according to the agreement. If anybody knows how I can find out, we need to see if this is true. I agree with mirmac that having to marijuana stores across the street from each other may be a reason to not choose this location, I hope so. DO NOT WANT this in my neighborhood. If anybody has any ideas how to stop this, I'm in.
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