I wanted to share this letter I wrote to all of the Seattle School Board members with the community. It includes links to a very informative analysis of the closure plan by a parent named Meg Diaz, as well as a link to the Online petition asking the school board members to vote no on the proposal:
Members of the Seattle School Board,
My name is Andre Helmstetter and I have a daughter at TT Minor. Any of you who have met me know that I have been very actively opposing the current school closure plan. I am writing this email to share some information with you about the plan that you may or may not already have. There are two parts.
1. A parent named Meg Diaz has done a wonderful analysis of the closure plan and the information within should be very interesting to you as you make your decision on whether or not to vote for this plan. Below is a link to the analysis:
2. A group called Educators, Students, and Parents for a better Vision of Seattle Schools (ESP Vision) has posted an online petition asking for citizens of the Seattle area to oppose the current closure plan. There are currently 850 signatures. The petition has been online for three days. Below is a link to the petition:
I think that it is clear that there need to be changes to the Seattle school system. I have met very few parents who disagree with that. Most people I talk to are actually even OK if the right plan includes some school closures. Even if it is their own school. Where the problems lies is in the current proposal. The data simply does not suggest that this proposal will make a significant positive impact for students or families in any of the clusters. Nor does it seem to address the current financial crisis, take into account future growth or the transitional impact on students, families, and programs. We have not all lost our minds. I will be the first to admit that my first reaction was to the proposed closure of my daughters school. However, after attending meeting after meeting, talking to countless parents and community members, meeting with board members, digging through tons of data, and basically living and breathing this proposal since it’s introduction I have developed a more mature understanding of the problems and the proposed solutions. After all of this, I can only come to one conclusion. The current plan is seriously flawed and will have a negative affect on students, families, and communities as well as be a flagrant abuse of tax payer dollars. As stewards of the district I believe that each of you has your heart in the right place. I believe that you want to see a stellar school district as much as the rest of us. I also believe that you can only make choices based on the data you are given or have time to dredge up yourselves. You are busy, as are the rest of us. In acknowledging this, I implore you to continue to reach out to your constituents and to take seriously our questions and the data we have worked so hard to compile. Further, I ask that you vote no on this proposal. Yes changes need to be made. The current plan does not address those changes. Lets work together to make smart, sustainable, long term changes that will result in great schools for our children, create public trust for the district, and make Seattle a beacon of competent progressive education.
Andre V. Helmstetter