Community Post

TT Minor building to be leased out to private school

Seattle School Board member Kay Smith-Blum dropped a bombshell at the Squire Park Community Council meeting this weekend, saying that the private Hamlin Robinson school was about to enter a contract to lease the school from the district.

Located at the top of the hill at 18th & Union, TT Minor was closed after the 2008/2009 school year after an emotional battle between parents and the district, and now sits empty with its windows boarded up. The stated reason for the closure was low enrollment and expense of operating the old building.

Hamlin Robinson focuses on students with language problems such as dyslexia, and has outgrown their existing facility in South Seattle. They were one of four organizations who placed a bid to take over the old MLK school in Madison Valley, but have notified the district that they’re withdrawing from that in favor of a deal on TT Minor.

Smith-Blum stressed that the TT Minor property was going to be leased, not sold, and that this was the only option for the district to avoid the property reverting to city control after a 2-year vacancy. Hamlin Robinson was the only organization that made a lease proposal for the TT Minor building. The term of the lease will be for 3-5 years.

The long-term question is whether population growth in the Central District will support reopening TT Minor as a public school at a future date. Supporters of the school have always argued that the district was ignoring the number of new families in the area around the school and would be forced to reopen it as other neighborhood schools became overcrowded.

Smith-Blum said that was a definite possibility as the district has been relying on data from the 2000 census to drive their growth predictions. She said that the 2010 census will give them much more accuracy, and she’s also pushing to specifically count the young siblings of existing students and include those in the district’s projections.

If the local population does ever warrant re-opening TT Minor, Smith-Blum said that the district will retain the right to take the school back within 18 months of providing notice to the lessee.

0 thoughts on “TT Minor building to be leased out to private school

  1. This is an excellent school program that helps kids with learning disabilities; unfortunately it is expensive but if these services were available to all kids who struggle with reading, we could seriously reduce the dropout rate. We used it for our dyslexic child in a summer program and it was well worth the cost.

  2. Anyone know the future of the historic Mann school building on Cherry across from Garfield? It also was in the district’s RFP process.

  3. Estimates range as high as 20% of the population being affected by dyslexia and related language learning difficulties. It transcends all racial boundaries. A majority of our prison populations are believed to be dyslexic. Dropouts, unemployable individuals and a broad range of other social ills are said to be associated with dyslexia. The presence of Hamlin Robinson School will be an immense blessing for our city.

  4. …and even better that it will be occupied as a school with what sounds like a pretty good program. My husband grew up dyslexic in the ’70s and had a really hard time of it, in spite of being very intelligent. I’m glad to hear of this program. An active building will be great for this spot, too. Boarded up buildings don’t add anything to a neighborhood. I hope the Mann building gets a new use soon (we live really close to that one).

  5. A blessing perhaps to those dyslexic children whose parents can pay private school tuition.

  6. and the names of the interested parties were not disclosed. I suggest you contact Kay Smith-Blum, [email protected] for direction on how to get information regarding the Mann building.

    In regard to the TT Minor site, emember that Hamlin Robinson is a private organization, not a part of the public education system which serves many of the students who could not afford Hamlin.

  7. Perhaps another way to look at this is to realize that Hamlin Robinson is a non-profit organization and without the small tuition (compared with most private schools) they would not exist. It is because of the failure of our public schools to educate students with learning impairments that there is a need for Hamlin Robinson which as I understand it, is the only school in the state of Washington specializing in educating those with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. They also offer as many scholarships as they and their donors can afford. It’s my understanding that along with the move to TT Minor will come increased enrollment and a greater number of scholarships and financial aid opportunities.

  8. Costs are greater because of the specialized training for the teachers and the very small classes. They do accept donations and those dollars are tax deductible. Perhaps we could show our appreciation with some community donations to their scholarship fund. The public schools are clueless when it comes to this training although it has been proved to produce readers at a young age among all kids, including those who have not been diagnosed with dyslexia. I have often thought this type of teaching would be beneficial in the early grades at public school but the public schools are difficult to change. The help they offer with reading specialists is not as effective as
    the program at Hamlin Robinson.

  9. Hello, folks, friend, and familys, As an 1985 minority-student, I am real proud of this School systems plans and ability to remain as one with it’s original orders(owners). I have seen in Michigan, where I’m located now too many elementry schools closed. I can honestly tell you that I never will forget going to a 5th grade science-project contest durring the evening time, and I am still amazed by some of the things that were made by even peers of my own, back then at T.T.Minor, I Love the Central-District and T.T.Minor (to me) is like(Sacred-Ground)it’s community-capital for familys.

  10. I am very curious to find out who all applied to the TT Minor space as I know that a daycare that services over 40 families in the Capital Hill/Central District/Madrona neighborhood applied and considering they are one of a few fully licensed day cares that serve infants-preschool and did not get considered would be a shame as cronic shortages of daycare–especially for infants is of great concern for everyone!

  11. While I do not argue with the mission of any of these non-profits, non-profits are still private organizations. Now I have found that the person or organization who holds the lease is then creating a consortium of services, possibly a Prek-3, day care/s, and Hamlin Robinson. I suppose that they are all sort of series of sub-leases,

    It is good that the building is not vacant. Remember that there is some strife regarding how the school assignment plan will continue to identify a school for this community. If we want to empower youth we begin by ensuring that the families have access to a great and stable school. There is no substitute for that.

  12. Agreed, Joanna. I absolutely appreciate the good work done by the HR school, but my respect for the program doesn’t alleviate my distress at the closing of schools and continued shuffling of so many of our students.

    Also, though Director Smith Blum assured the SPCC that she is advocating a short-term lease, I’m skeptical that HR or any other school or day care is looking at establishing programs in the TT building, then moving in three years. I’ve been through two school moves now- wouldn’t wish it on any school community.

    I hope to do some follow up on the lease proposals at the Mann building. Curious to know if anyone has already taken those steps? Asking Director SB or someone in SPS facilities or property management?

  13. Do you have any idea whether neighborhood residents will still have access to the grounds – maybe after school hours? The playground, field and basketball nets have been super popular with people who live in the neighborhood…

  14. Right now observe the popularity of the grassy area as a de-facto off leash area for the dogs.