Community Post

The Seattle School District Plans for the Future of Neighborhood Schools

Another important round of community meetings on Seattle School Levy is coming up beginning tomorrow and going into next week.  None are at a location in the Central District.  However, our schools will be affected by this planning and the implementation of the plan if the levy passes and anyone of them is intended for the entire District.  Plan to attend one.  Note that middle school assignments will be affected by the reopening of Meany,  The Mann building is also part of the most current proposals, as is a Central area location for the World School.  The meetings are as posted below:

  • Thursday, September 20, 6:30-8 p.m. at Whitman Middle School, 
  • Monday, Sept. 24, 6:30- 8 p.m. at Madison Middle School
  • Thursday,  and Sept. 27, 6:30-8 p.m. at McClure Middle School

If you are not able to attend these meeting, additional information and many documents can be found online at  The Seattle School District will continue to collect, record and review all comments. Send comments to [email protected]

The proposed list of potential BEX IV (Building Excellence Capital Levy) projects presented in September was revised and totaled around $650 million about 100,000 million less than the proposal circulated last spring. For instance TT Minor has been removed from the list and the Central Area location for the World School has not been determined. The final recommendation will be sent to the Board for approval this fall for the February ballot. It is  important to note the project list shown below is not final:

  • Arbor Heights Elementary: Replace existing building with new/expanded facility by 2019. Fairmount Park: Open this existing building with necessary upgrades, add classrooms and a lunchroom by 2014 Lincoln building: Modernize and open as a new high school by 2019. 
  • Mann building: Modernize and construct a new addition for NOVA by 2014.
  • Meany Middle School: Reconfigure for a comprehensive central region middle school by 2017. Mercer Middle School: Build an addition to meet enrollment projections by 2019. 
  • North Beach Elementary: Replace the existing building and add capacity by 2018 Northeast Seattle elementary school: To meet growing capacity, add K-5 school on Thornton Creek site. Olympic Hills K-5: Replace existing building with a new/expanded facility by 2017. 
  • Queen Anne Elementary: Build classroom and gym addition to the building by 2019. 
  • Schmitz Park: Replace existing Genesee Hill building with a new/expanded facility on the Genesee Hill site; relocate Schmitz Park to the new facility by 2015.
  • Wilson-Pacific: Replace building with a new elementary and middle school for additional capacity by 2017. 
  • Wing Luke Elementary: Replace existing building with a new/expanded facility by 2020. 
  • World School: Determine a permanent location in the Central area by mid-September 2012.
  • Lincoln High School: Funding to reopen Lincoln for 1600 students in 2019-2020 is included.
  • Downtown School: Some funding for an interim downtown school is also included.

Reopening Meany will definitely impact the current student assignment plan for all the Central Area residents, since all middle school students here are currently guaranteed a seat at Washington Middle School.  It will also affect the boundaries and programs for Washington Middle School.  The current boundaries for our schools are not well-matched to the available capacity in terms of the populations residing within each assignment area and the capacity at the associated building.  Currently BEX IV planning has not addressed how those assignment area boundaries will be redrawn.

Beyond educating our children, public schools play an important role in neighborhood identity and cohesiveness.  All of Seattle property owners pay for Capital Levies, BEX IV through property taxes. Landlords usually adjust rents accordingly. We all have a stake in good schools for our neighborhoods. During the past decade, the Seattle School District has moved to a neighborhood assignment plan with only a few alternatives.  Ensuring that our neighborhoods have great schools is important to all who live here.  Commenting and asking questions are important to the process. 

4 thoughts on “The Seattle School District Plans for the Future of Neighborhood Schools

  1. Happy to hear that NOVA will be getting back into Horace Mann. Opening Meany middle school in 5 years sounds like another good idea. Washington Middle School is a beast with more than a thousand students currently attending. Thanks for the post Joanna.

  2. Often popular comprehensive middle schools Eckstein and Washington have at least 1000 students. Whitman’s enrollment is around 900 to 1000. And most that offer a good number programs serve around 850 to 900 students. Are there enough students in the area to ensure robust programs for all the planned space at middle school? That might be the question.

    The new Seattle Schools Superintendent is moving toward larger elementary schools. Size by itself does not have to detrimental if designed and managed accordingly. Remember Meany was a small middle school when it closed. Also be sure to examine numbers to see the effect on all the programs at the middle schools in the area. At a certain point a smaller middle school cannot offer the number of programs that a larger one can. Remember there is also middle school space at Madorna, for those wanting a very small middle school. How will the assignments be drawn? Is there some assurance that assignments won’t be drawn in a way that creates schools of privilege and those less so? Will racial and class segregation be increased? Ask.

  3. No meeting in the CD? What do you expect. Decades of polite racism. The School Board mantra is “in the CD you do not need a diploma to go to prison”. No different with the Parks Dept. or SDOT or SPU. Get used to NO it is all we ever hear.