This post contains links to analysis, information, and reactions concerning the current school closure plan. This plan overwhelmingly targets low income, special needs, and minority students and families. This plan does not take into account the negative impact on the community, nor does it adequately address its stated goals of addressing the budget deficit, or managing capacity. This plan certainly does not support the districts motto of “Excellence for All. To add insult to injury the plan does not include any planning for how all of the transitions will be carried out, or what changes will come with the new assignment plan. It is very important that we act to stop, and rethink this process now. There have been tons of public hearings and meetings with the school board members to no avail. It is time to engage the city and mobilize our constituencies. Talking has gotten us nowhere. Direct action and Legal action are called for. If we fail now, our city will continue with plans which will leave us with more of the same inequity that we have always had to face. For our selves and for our children we must change the direction that this city is moving in. Please say YES! to schools, and NO! to jails and injustice. Here are links to the data and information that I promised: (Please pay special attention to the first link, as it is a data driven analysis using the districts own data. I do though, encourage you to carefully read all of the included information)
http://andrehelmstetter.com/Letter From SPCC.pdf
If you have any questions or require more information, please feel free to contact me using the contact information below. Also myself, or another member of the group “Educators Students & Parents for a Better Vision of Seattle Schools” (ESP Vision) will be happy to meet with you or present at meetings and events.
Andre V. Helmstetter
email: [email protected]
Great links, Andre. It’s a lot to wade through- but worth the time. Families are working hard, with pretty limited public support, and I keep hoping that when people are informed, they’ll demand a better plan from the district.
FYI- “capacity management” has been touted (along w/ budget) as the driver for closing schools. The budget numbers have been debunked and the district no longer claims closures are about finances. Today, the district published its functional capacity numbers. Turns out we’re running at about 88%, not the 84% they have been claiming. After closures, schools will be at about 93% capacity. Not a lot of wiggle room. Especially for a GROWING student population in the central cluster.
Two weeks until the final vote. Anyone interested in helping to redirect these efforts, please let us know.
At City Hall Peter Newman, Prof. of Sustainability at Curi Univ. in Australia spoke about his new book “Resilent Cities”. One concept that is being implemented in cities worldwide and is catching on here is the “walking school bus”. The concept is that a “driver” walks a designated route picking up children for school along the way forming a group walk (walking school bus)to school. This eliminates the carbon footprint of a bus, eliminates needed bus transportation costs and helps eliminates the peril of finite oil based transportation. But what is of most importance is that children get much needed excersise, as well as other critical social interaction you do not get on a “cheese bus”. Obviously this means that schools have to be in reasonable walking distance to schools.
The direction of the Mayor is for Seattle to lower it’s carbon footprint , the schools district wants to lower costs and we are all concerned about the health costs of child obesity.
I wonder what a cost analysis, benefit to cost savings, (taking into consideration ALL benefits) would be if neighborhhood schools were left opened and “Walking Schools Buses” were implemented?
Local pedestrian group Feet First has a lot of expertise around Walking School Buses and Safe Routes to School. These programs have been very, very successful in many places and would be great for more places in Seattle. Bailey Gatzert did work on this very front a while back, and had excellent participation. This was all without really any high-level District involvement.