School Capacity News – Short & Long Term

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.

2 Replies to “School Capacity News – Short & Long Term”

  1. The Levy that we will be voting on will not be addressing major maintenance issues around the Seattle schools. I have gone to many, many meetings where teachers have stood up and complained about serious problems in their schools. Ones that should be dealt with immediately because of the seriousness of them. The Board has failed to listen, work with educators and the public to address serious maintenance problems that are also health concerns. The Board is ignoring these issues and not even considering them until far in the future. The capacity issue is partly an attempt to get kids out of the portables. My daughter loves portables! Do you trust the Board to tell you what they THINK capacity will be. Most of the schools closed not too long ago have been reopened and cost us a lot of money. The Board makes very bad decisions, is not listening to our call to fix what is broken first, before putting a second elementary school on the property of another elementary school. A group is working on a far better plan and we want to fix the schools existing first. Do not vote on this Levy as it is. It does not make sense and does not take care of our kids now. I am not voting for a school levy for the first time. I urge you to do the same.

  2. I just listened to an interview on KUOW with Greg Wong, SchoolsFirst President, and Chris Jackins, Chair of Good Schools – NO Prop 2, regarding the BEX IV Levy. I support Proposition 1, but am part of a group mobilizing the Thornton Creek School (TCS) neighborhood to vote No on Proposition 2, the Capital Levy

    Greg Wong said, talk to the neighborhoods getting these new schools, they are thrilled. Some may be but the Thornton Creek School neighbors are dismayed and we are voting NO.

    Visualize this: Two schools, 1000 K-5 students, a small-scale residential neighborhood, narrow local access streets, limited sidewalks. Is that what we want as our neighborhood school?

    Our neighborhood is not an Urban Village, we do not have new housing being built. Look to the north, to Lake City. Lake City is designated as an Urban Village. Permits for multi-family housing have been are are being issued that increase density. But, there is no coordination between the city and the school district to add the necessary school capacity to compliment the housing growth.

    The BEX IV CIP Levy, Proposition 2 is a FLAWED plan. Our neighborhood wants to send a strong message to the District:
    we do not want our tax dollars to pay for a flawed plan. Go back and look at your plan again; do a better job; then bring it back to the voters in 2 or 3 months.

    Greg Wong asked us to TRUST the district. He said they had a very thorough community process in coming up with this plan.

    NOT SO, the TCS neighbors did not know about the plan for our neighborhood until a parent at the school found out about it 3 or 4 days before the end of the comment period for responding to the EIS. She and her family wrote a white paper, carried copies door-to-door throughout the community around the school. That was how much community process our neighborhood was part of.

    There is so much more to object to….
    Please, vote NO on Proposition 2.

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