Community Post

School superintendent recommends First AME get MLK school building

The large audience in yesterday’s school board finance committee meeting had proponents from each of the four groups that have been competing for the right to take over the old Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary building in Madison Valley. With school staff expected to release their recommendation on a choice between the four, some portion of the audience was going to be elated, the others disappointed.

District lawyer Ron English walked the committee through the staff’s analysis of the proposals, and said that three of the four proposals were viable.

District staff came to the conclusion that the only unworkable proposal was CADA’s plan to keep only 33% of the property that contains the school gym and auditorium, leaving the rest for the Bush School to build play fields. Ron English said that they looked at all the possible configurations of soccer fields and determined that there was no way to make the two plans fit together.

From there the decision came down to two questions: revenue to the district vs. value to the community. Here’s how it came out:

  • First AME – $2.4 million to the district, $50,000 value to the community per year due to low rental rate for community space and a pledge to allow free use of the gym
  • [email protected] – $2.5 million to the district, $23,200 annual value to the community due to higher rental rates and what staff said was less total space given to social services and youth education
  • Bush School – $3.0 million to the district, $20,000 annual value to the community due to offering of community use of the playfield after school hours

The staff recommendation, blessed by Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson, was to accept the proposal from First AME, based mainly on their higher perceived value to the community. First AME also received a lot of credit for the organizational stability and community presence that is derived from their 125 year history in the Central District.

The four school board members in attendance carefully concurred with the recommendation. Kay Smith-Blum said she wished that the district had never surplused the building in the first place, but agreed that “First AME has the strongest benefit to the community”. Peter Maier said he was also comfortable with the recommendation, saying it was “important that it includes a substantial community use benefit in terms of free use of gym and reduced rental rates.”

Adrienne Bailey, Madison Valley resident and leader of the [email protected] group, said that she wasn’t surprised by the outcome, but pledged to fight on. They plan to mount a major lobbying campaign to the full school board in the next month, arguing that the district analysis was flawed and that their plan has the largest total value to the district and community.

Bailey felt especially burned by the issue of rental rates, as her group had done a lot of research and work to put together a financial plan that would be both viable and appropriate for the market. But in the end they were penalized for that as their higher rental rate of $7-$12 per square foot was higher than the $6 per square foot that was pledged by First AME.

State Senator Adam Kline worked with both [email protected] and FIrst AME back at the beginning of this process to try and get them to submit a combined bid. But a deal could not be reached, and the two organizations gave separate bids to the district. When asked whether [email protected] thought they could work together with First AME if they end up getting the building, community members said it was possible, but may be difficult given conflicting priorities between the two groups.

0 thoughts on “School superintendent recommends First AME get MLK school building

  1. As relieved as I am that Bush School isn’t getting the property, I would really prefer not to have an established religious organization putting together a community center. The [email protected] group at least is not tied to one religious organization and represents people from around the Central District and Madison Valley, not just a particular user group. Youth support and community growth DO NOT need to be tied to a church, no matter how loose that tie may be.

  2. I AM GLAD AN ORGANIZATION THAT HAS BEEN IN THE COMMUNITY FOR OVER 125 YEARS WILL BE GETTING THE PROPERTY!!!! REGARDLESS THAT IT’S A CHURCH..THE FACT THAT THE MAIN GOAL IS TO HELP FAMILIES AND VETERANS IS THE MAIN FOCUS. AND FOR THE COMMENT THAT MOST OF THE COMMUNITY DOES NOT WANT THEM??? WHAT DOES THEM MEAN???

  3. some people aren’t comfortable going to a church for support and help because of what it has and can represent in our culture. i still think a more neutral organization would be best for our community, though i am sure what AME does is important and of value.

  4. Just because something has been around for 125 years doesn’t mean it’s a good thing, necessarily.

  5. It means most of the neighbors and residents of madison valley do not want a church taking over that building! AME has not been in our neighborhood and is still not. Bush has been here 90+ years, and [email protected] has support of neighbors too, AME has not gathered any neighborhood support.

  6. In 1st ame bid they list lots of seattle parks dept. activities for kids, is the city planning on sending kids to a church organization?

  7. MOST AGENCIES THAT OFFER ASSISTANCE ARE CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO JOIN OR BECOME A MEMBER OF AN ORGANIZATION IN ORDER TO RECEIVE ASSISTANCE! FOR EXAMPLE..CATHOLIC COMMUNITY SERVICES OFFER FINANCIAL/FOOD/SUPPORT ASSISTANCE…THEY ARE IN THE COMMUNITY AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE CATHOLIC TO RECEIVE SERVICES FROM THE ORGANIZATION. AS FAR AS BUSH..THAT SCHOOL IS NO WHERE NEAR DIVERSE OR REACH OUT TO THE COMMUNITY. IT’S AN OVERPRICED PRIVATE SCHOOL THAT CATER TO THE WEALTHY. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THE DIVERSITY STATS FOR THAT SCHOOL. WHEN HAS BUSH HELPED THE COMMUNITY?

  8. I believe the best proposal for the Community Center won the nod to administer the Activities for Youth. Most people committing has not read the proposals. Delivering services to a Community Center has nothing to do with Religion but rather meeting a need for serving Youth and a particular Community. Read First then give a Qualitative Opinion. First AME Church will serve this Community very well. Some of the people making comments have not lived in this Community very long. I am a long time resident of this area.

  9. If they will be talking about God, I will not be attending. Plain and simple. I was born and raised in this neighborhood, and have nothing against churches or people who attend church, but I wouldn’t send my kid to a church for educational services. I don’t see this as serving the broad community for this reason and I don’t see it as an appropriate use of a public school building (and I feel the same way about the Bush school proposal–private schools and churches are fine but do not serve all, by design).

  10. you work for the church , I have live in this (harrison) neighborhood for 60 years, 1st ame was never part of it.

  11. YOU REALLY SHOULD CHECK THE FACTS woweww, BUSH HAS SCHOLARSHIPS AND A HIGH % OF ITS STUDENTS GET THEM. BUSH IS MORE DIVERSE THAN THE OLD MLK SCHOOL WAS. MLK WAS 90% BLACK, IS THAT DIVERSE?
    (EVEN THOUGH THE AREA AROUND THE SCHOOL IS MOSTLY WHITE)

  12. will it now be the policy of the city to send youth to church sponsored programs. why is the state giving a church $2.5 million to buy a building, i thought there was a separation of the 2?

  13. LOL! THE AREA (AS YOU CALL IT) AROUND THE SCHOOL CHOSE TO BUS THEIR STUDENTS OUT OF THE AREA MISTER. I AM JUST AMAZED OF THE RACISTS POSTS ON THIS SITE. AMAZING HOW A GROUP DECIDES THAT WHEN THEY MOVE INTO A NEIGHBORHOOD THAT IT’S THEIRS!! RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL!!!! THE STATEMENT “THEM” IN AN EARLIER POSTS STILL RUBS ME THE WRONG WAY!! JUST PLAIN IGNORANCE!!

  14. This Board has never voted against anything the Superintendent has recommended in the 3 years she has been here. I would not look for this to change.

  15. There are too many families, children, changes to the District plans, and to the neighborhood to make this a wise move. I’m sorry, but I just wonder where the churches are when schools are being closed and programs are clearly not being developed in a way that attract and serve a good number of students. Even CADA could do the area some good by advocating for good walkable areas with schools that serve the families here.

    All the children in this community deserve good schools and good programs that respond to the diversity of the area. This should not be difficult to deliver under good leadership. There are many families and children in the area seeking good programs and under the plan for neighborhood schools the District should be able to deliver desirable programs that serve most families in these very livable walkable neighborhoods.

    Although it would be at a late stage the Board and the District could come to a different conclusion and find a way to temporarily lease this space while the idea where and how the philosophy of neighborhood schools would best be implemented here.

    This along with some of the statements made by Board members make the fate of TT Minor questionable. Look at the map and the demographics and answer the question. Where are our neighborhood schools? Where are our walk zones?

  16. I couldn’t agree more. Why sell? So many family’s children I know are in over crowded classrooms – of 28-30, or more! We need to keep these schools, not sell them. SPS will never be able to buy them back once they figure out and adjust their numbers to the true populations, not projected numbers. These numbers have been underestimated for years. They really do need more facility space. Why sell off at (what we hope!) is the bottom of the real estate market? SPS Fire Sale?!!!

  17. Wowo said “AMAZING HOW A GROUP DECIDES THAT WHEN THEY MOVE INTO A NEIGHBORHOOD THAT IT’S THEIRS!! ” hahaha who’s should it be? are you talking about the residents or ame?

  18. Why is the State of WA giving a church 2.5 million dollars to buy this building? I do not pay taxes so the money can be given to a church!

  19. From my grade school grammar lessons, it is obvious that “them” refereed to the church, and before you can bring race into it, tims probably means ANY church that would try to take that school and State taxpayer money.

  20. so, the state is billions of dollars short, what should we do about it? I know lets give a church 2.5 mil to buy a building to spread their message. Never mind that this could be taken care of by the private sector (Bush school bidding 3 mil.) and still keep public access, we are Kline, Petegrew and Santos, we need the money and votes of this church. Damn the deficit we need the political support.

  21. After the school closed I believe both representatives and the Senator took cred for the state grant, especially true for Sharon Tamiko Santos. At the time I think the neighborhood thought of the grant as something that would enable a smaller community group to organize to create a community center.

    In the meantime, all should direct their concerns to Pettigrew, Santos and Kline. Don’t forget to contact the School Board. Kay Smith-Blum is especially influential in this process since the school is located in her Director District.
    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    Representative Eric Pettigrew
    District Office:
    219 First Ave S Ste 205
    Seattle, WA 98104
    (206) 587-5543

    Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos
    District office:
    219 First Ave. S., Suite 205
    Seattle, WA 98104
    (206) 587-5549
    Senator Kline
    Olympia Office: (360) 786-7688
    Sen. Adam Kline
    PO Box 40437
    Olympia, WA 98504-0437
    Staff Contacts:
    Bryn Houghton, Legislative Assistant
    (360) 786-7688 or [email protected]
    All:
    Olympia office:
    PO Box 40600
    434A Legislative Building
    Olympia, WA 98504-0600
    (360) 786-7944

    Toll-free Hotline: 1-800-562-6000

    Sherry Carr, Chair [email protected]

    Peter Maier – member [email protected]

    Michael DeBell – member [email protected]

    Sr Administrative Assistant for the School board [email protected]

    Other School Board Directors:

    Harium Martin-Morris – District III [email protected]

    Kay Smith-Blum – District [email protected]

    Steve Sundquist….
    read more
    br/>read more
    District [email protected]

  22. Actually I went to Meany/Madrona and Garfield, that is where i learned how to write using the small letters as well as the caps.

  23. I wanted to read the First AME’s proposal, and, fortunately, it was posted last year on CDN–it’s linked from here:

    http://centraldistrictnews.com/2009/11/04/four-proposals-com

    Anyone here on CDN live close to any of the First AME facilities? Sounds like they know what they’re doing, as far as running institutional facilities is concerned. But, I would appreciate hearing if any of their direct neighbors can corroborate that with their own firsthand experiences.

  24. Are you SURE that everyone knows you don’t have to be part of a church organization or specific religion to receive services from organizations like the Catholic Community Services or others? I think people caught up in the religious circles forget that those outside of them don’t see themselves as welcome in some of those congregations or organizations, nor do they understand that some groups are very welcoming. Even if the curriculum or classes offered don’t specifically relate to religion that does not mean that people who are not religious will feel comfortable spending time in such a place. It just doesn’t make sense to give it to a group based out of a church when it can be given to a secular organization made up of community members.

  25. Seattle has had an intentional history of keeping public facilities in the public domain. Yes, the closure of many schools is something to fight, and I support the efforts to bring TT Minor back into operation as a public school. But, MLK has been too small to function as anything but an overflow school for many years before it closed. It did, however, function as a center of my community throughout our history.

    Now to the issue of what to do with the school. The intent of the SUAC (while conditioning many uses), and the intent of the State funding, is that this public facility should be a community center. From my POV that leaves the Bush School proposal completely inimical to the preservation of places and spaces for community use.

    I live in Madison Valley, and while a supporter, I am not part of the [email protected] group. But, I have watched the [email protected] put together a proposal, establish partnerships and create a plan that I believe will result in that facility being an incredible amenity to our greater community — just like many citizen groups have done in the north end and West Seattle.

    First AME, granted, is an experienced provider of services to youth and families. They serve their constituency and have a stellar record of providing the services that they have a track record in – social services for the families who participate in their programs. Their proposal contains elements, however, that they do not excel in and they have not provided organizations that have actual experience in those areas, or have assumed that entities so ‘suggested’ have the capacity to deliver. I believe that proposal promises whatever it needs to in order to acquire state funding.

    Consider a Veterans Service Center. Will it be a person in an office who has a list of telephone numbers for a returning veteran to call? Will that service be really just provided in the context of a returning veteran who happens to be the parent of a child in the First AME childcare center? That to me is the definition of useless runaround.

    Rather will the Veterans Service Center be a physical space provided to an organization that has a proven track record of daily doing the work of helping those who have served their country reintegrate into their community? That is who [email protected] has commitment from.

    Consider programs for the arts. Where are the programs in the arts in the First AME proposal? [email protected] has partners who are organizations that exclusively focus on specific programs – in dance, in ceramics and in visual arts.

    I could go on and on, but I will wrap with this. Why is it that a group composed mainly of working neighborhood people and parents, who use up all of their spare time to create a solid sustainable plan for a real community center, are viewed as somehow less competent than professional non-profit religiously based service providers?

    Have we truly come to the point where citizen participation is meaningless in the face of private institutional entities of any ilk?

  26. I just hope someone will try to stop the state from giving our (taxpayers) 2.5million to a church organization, and ktkeller is right, 1st ame is saying whatever they need to get the money and property, because once they have it they know they can do whatever they want with it.

  27. HERE WE GO AGAIN WITH SCHOOL DISTRICT ORGANIZED CRIME ATTORNEY RON ENGLISH AT THE CENTER OF ANOTHER SCANDAL. THROW IN THE UNLAWFUL LEASE OF HORACE MANN SCHOOL TO PEOPLES INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH WITH NO FUNCTIONAL PROGRAM LIKE JUST FIRST AME CHURCH. RON ENGLISH IS MAKING SURE DISFUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY WASTE NEEDED SPACE FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN YOUTH CULTURAL / COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT -ADVANCEMENT PROGRAMS LIKE THOSE EXISTING AT EL CENTRO DE LA RAZA, THE ASIAN COUNSELING AND REFERRAL CENTER, WING LUKE MUSEUM, ASIAN ART MUSEUM, DAYBREAK STAR ETC? RON ENGLISH IS A CANCER ON THE SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND THE CITY OF SEATTLE IN GENERAL. HE SHOULD HAVE LONG BEEN TERMINATED WITH PREJUDICE CONCERNING THE FRAUDULENT TRANSFER OF COLMAN COLMAN SCHOOL TO THE NORM RICE / FIRST AME CHURCH / BREAKFAST CLUB / URBAN LEAGUE ORGANIZED CRIME RICO RACKETEERING VAMPIRE CLIQUE MASQUERADING AS DOWNTOWN APPOINTED “BLACK COMMUNITY LEADERS”. WHERE IS JAMES “GUNSLINGER” KELLY AND EDWIN PRATT WHEN THEY ARE NEEDED? THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES! Omari Tahrir Founder / Vice President African American Heritage Museum and Culture Center at the former Colman School site. ([email protected]).
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  28. CRIMINAL SCHOOL DISTRICT ATTORNEY RON ENGLISH IS AT THE CENTER OF THE FRAUDULENT SALES OF ML KING AND COLMAN SCHOOLS TO NORM RICE’S / KERRY KILLINGERS ORGANIZED CRIME RICO RACKETEERING NETWORK THAT INCLUDES THE JAMES ‘GUNSLINGER’ KELLY’S “URBAN LEAGUE VILLAGE” AND FIRST “FRED STEPHENS” AME /BREAKFAST CLUB MOBSTERS. THE KEY “HITMEN” ARE RON ENGLISH, NORM RICE AND FRED STEPHENS. KEY SUPPORT DEMOPUBLICANS ARE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL wannabe govenor ROB ‘GARY IKEDA’ McKENNA, GARY ‘FRED STEPHENS’ LOCKE, 7th district CONGESTEDMAN JIM McDERMOTT AND OF COURSE THE DRAGON LADY WORN OUT GOVENOR CHRIST GREGORY. THESE OLD SCHOOL BUILDINGS ARE THE MOBSTERS PRIVATE AND PUBLIC “MONEY CATCHERS”. THE FRAUDULENT SALE OF COLMAN SCHOOL FROM UNDER THE YOUTH ANTI-CRIME FULL EMPLOYMENT ORIENTED AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND CULTURE CENTER ANTI-GENTRIFICATION “AFRICATOWN” POSITIVE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT TO NORM RICE’S CRIMNAL PRO-GENTRIFICATION ANTI-YOUTH URBAN LEAGUE CRIME FAMILY NETTED OVER $23,000,000. NOW THAT NORM RICE’S URBAN LEAGUE HAS BEEN PUBLICLY EXPOSED AS CORRUPT AND BANKRUPT, HE SHIFTS HIS RACKETEERING OPERATIONS TO HIS COMBINED CHURCH STATE ORGANIZED CRIME FAMILY TO SNARE ML KING SCHOOL TO STILL HOW MANY MILLIONS MORE IN THE NAME OF A “BLACK YOUTH ORIENTED COMMUNITY CENTER” IN THE VIRTUALLY ALL WHITE VALLEY WHILE THE AWARD WINNING BUSH SCHOOL IS LAND LOCKED PREVENTING EXPANSION? NO THE “BLACK YOUTH ANTI-CRIME COMMUNITY CENTER SHOULD BE IN THE FORMER COLMAN SCHOOL BUILDING AND NOT 36 CONDOS /AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS. RON “OLD BOY NETWORK” ENGLISH, NORM “SCANDAL” RICE, JAMES “GUNSLINGER” KELLY, FRED “STATECHURCH” STEPHENS,AND OTHER CRIMINAL PARTICIPANTS NEED TO BE FEDERALLY PROSECUTED AND EXECUTED FOR CRIMES AGAINST THE COMMUNITY!!!
    Omari Tahrir Founder/Vice President of AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND CULTURE CENTER AT THE COLMAN SCHOOL SITE ([email protected])