Tensions — and general confusion — arose at a Seattle Public Schools Operations Committee meeting on Monday night regarding the status of the Horace Mann building.
The Nova Alternative High School is set to open in the E Cherry Mann building next year, but groups operating under the More 4 Mann coalition have been using the space for various activities, including outdoor movie events, mentoring programs, vocational training, and other programs.
The groups were told to vacate by Aug. 15, then Aug. 30, and most recently by Sept. 18 so renovations could begin to stay on track for a Nova return next fall. More 4 Mann continues to operate out of the building, which has raised the hackles of some in the community.
The issue arose at the Operations Committee meeting, and though the meeting minutes
haven’t been published yet, we have a (admittedly one-sided) recap from the Seattle Schools Community Forum Blog. The site asserts that “the district has no idea who is in the building or what they are doing” and that “It is STILL unclear when anyone will leave the Mann building.” Meanwhile, signs and a makeshift barricade have appeared along the chain-link fence at the Horace Mann building.
The blog entry further explains that “[General Counsel] Ron English admitted [thecontinued building use by More 4 Mann] is costing the district in construction delays, about $1,000 a day (and [School Board Member Michael] DeBell called that low).”
The More 4 Mann folks have been mum on the topic with us, despite our best efforts to find out their side of the story. One of More 4 Mann’s leaders, Wyking Garrett of Umojafest PEACE Center, told us in an email that “Educational programs are in transition to an interim space.” This is perhaps in reference to a portable unit offered to the groups by the district, but we have no further details on this from More 4 Mann.
Recent tweets from the More 4 Mann Twitter feed read “Forces on school board trying tostop More4Mann,” and “More 4 Mann is about More than Mann bldg. It’s about justice for African American children and families being abused by Seattle Schools.”
We’ll continue following these developments closely.