Short and Long Term School District Capacity Management Decisions Coming Soon

As we’ve previously written about, the School District is in the midst of a discussion on what to do about overcrowded schools in both the short and long term.  In the next few weeks, some decisions will be made by the School Board and by the voters of Seattle.

Short Term Capacity Management

This Thursday, January 31 (5 PM at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence Auditorium), the School Board will vote during a special meeting on what to do to address short term capacity management.  The vote had been delayed until the Board could review updated attendance forecasts which were to come out this week.  One of the more controversial aspects of their decision will be on how they address overcrowding at Eckstein Middle School.  While we are not experts on this subject, there appears to be 3 options before the School District, although this is the proposal that appears to be before the District to approve as part of this action/motion.  Also, here is the agenda for the special meeting for those interested in attending.

Long Term Capacity Management

Ballots should have been delivered to your mailbox now for the upcoming election on Proposition 1 and 2.  If passed, Proposition 1 would provide approximately 25% of the School Districts operations budget while Proposition 2 would fund capital improvements which is known as the Building Excellence IV levy (BEX IV).  You’ve likely heard that part of BEX IV would include construction of a new K-5 elementary school in Northeast Seattle.  The new school was proposed for the present site of the Thornton Creek Elementary School playfields, but a grassroots campaign of local residents successfully lobbied the District to broaden the language to allow more time for other sites to be evaluated.  However, we are currently unaware of any other potential sites besides the Thornton Creek Elementary playfields that the District has evaluated as alternative sites.

While the new Northeast K-5 school is a contentious issue for many Wedgwoodians (see Comments Section of our 2013 Priorities Poll and this post), it should be noted that there’s more in the BEX IV levy than just the new school.  If Proposition 2 is passed, these other improvements would be coming to our neighborhood schools:

  • Thornton Creek School would get new athletic field improvements (although it is not clear if this is a result of the new school proposed on the ballfields)!
  • Eckstein would get a new science lab!
  • Eckstein, View Ridge Elementary, and Wedgwood Elementary School would get seismic upgrades!
  • Eckstein, View Ridge Elementary, and Wedgwood Elementary School would get new track and/or playfield upgrades!
  • Eckstein would get its roof worked on!
  • And a variety of technology upgrades…

The WCC has been asked to oppose BEX IV by those who are part of the grassroots effort to stop it.  They have done an absolutely wonderful job advocating their position to us and the District.  The WCC’s position on this issue has not changed.  To read more about the WCC’s position on BEX IV, please read the bottom of this post.  Despite our unwillingness to support or oppose the BEX IV levy, we have reached out to Lucy Morello to remind the District that the Wedgwood community expects to be part of the project design process should the voters approve Proposition 2.  We were assured by Ms. Morello that “Yes, we (the District) very much want the community represented on the School Design Team Committee (SDT) for the NE Seattle K-5 school.”

One way or another, long-term capacity management choices will be made by the voters on February 12th.

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