By now, you’re probably aware that school capacity is a big issue at the Seattle Public School District. Apparently, people are still having kids! More increase is projected, so the crowding is only going to get worse. The District has been hosting a series of meetings over the past year on what to do. Our NE Seattle and Wedgwood-area elementary and middle school buildings are beyond the capacity they were designed for and multiple portable units are being added. To address this, the District is looking at both short and long-term solutions.
Short Term (2013-2014) Capacity
On December 11th the District is hosting a community meeting at the John Stanford Building auditorium from 7-8:30PM to discuss their short term capacity management proposal. According to information shared at the December 5th board work session on short term capacity management, it looks like a new portable is planned for View Ridge Elementary and may be required at Wedgwood Elementary. If you can’t make it to the December 11th meeting, a NE Seattle Capacity Management Community meeting will be held on December 17th at Olympic Hills Elementary from 6:30-8 PM.
Long Term Capacity
In November, the District formally adopted a $694.9 million Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) Levy proposal to be voted on in February 2013 (along with a $559.1 million Operations Levy…that’s $1.25 billion). It is well known to some in Wedgwood that part of the District’s proposed long term solution to the growing capacity is a new school that is proposed to be constructed adjacent to Thornton Creek Elementary School, although language has been formally adopted by the school board in the BEX IV levy to allow some more flexibility on its location should another suitable site be identified. The adopted text is as follows:
“Northeast Seattle elementary school: To meet growing capacity, add K-5 school on Thornton Creek site by 2016 or equivalent additional seating capacity at another location.”
Now that the BEX IV Levy proposal has formally been approved, here’s a little bit on what the levy will do in the Wedgwood area if approved:
- A new K-5 school would be built at the Thornton Creek site or some place similar, to be open by 2016.
- Thornton Creek School would get new athletic field improvements (although its not clear if this is a result of the new school proposed on the ball fields)!
- 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…
Not all of the proposed improvements have been welcomed with open arms by everyone in Wedgwood, but it’s because of these improvements and the pressing need to pass the Operations Levy, representing 27% of the District’s budget, that Schools First is hoping to emphasize how important these two levys are.