Quote from parent Ryan Simmons: To say the the Board is listening and that the parents are happy is DEFINITELY inaccurate.
The attached map demonstrates how the walk zones in the area overlay each other, I have attached a map developed by the community. This map clearly demonstrates that schools nearby each other with overlaying walk zones in less student dense areas have been positioned as neighborhood schools, which drives a much higher demand for busing than a normal neighborhood plan would. This can be corrected by sending at least 400 students to TT Minor, and at last grounding the area in a sustainable stable neighborhood school plan. TT Minor is not a good permanent home for the Seattle World School.
Since then it has been confirmed that almost 500 currently live in the TT Minor walk zone with the number projected to grow to 600 by 2017. All elected officials, not just School Board members, can influence the decision of the Board. Revised recommendations will go to the Board on November 6, and the final vote will be November 20.
The neighborhood was not in any way consulted during the process of developing a new proposal for the use of the TT Minor. Just in case you have questions about how the walk zones in the area overlay each other, I have attached a map developed by the community. This map clearly demonstrates that schools nearby each other with overlaying walk zones in less student dense areas have been positioned as neighborhood schools, which drives a much higher demand for busing than a normal neighborhood plan would. This can be corrected by sending at least 400 students to TT Minor, and at last grounding the area in a sustainable stable neighborhood school plan. TT Minor is not a good permanent home for the Seattle World School.
Given your own guiding principles of of walkable neighborhood schools and the fact that the child/student dense area covered by the TT Minor walk zone between E. Cherry and E. John/Thomas/Madison is not covered in any other walk zones, reopening TT Minor as a neighborhood school should be obvious to you. During the school closures, it was no secret that the neighborhood objected, and much of the neighborhood again requested that they continue to be guaranteed assignment to Stevens until TT Minor was available again. The date that the lease there would be up was never clear. These past actions in themselves, along with the number of students requiring transportation, should have made it clear that TT Minor as neighborhood school was still of great interest to the community, and yet there was no outreach to the community regarding the fact that the building would again be available. Why would the District even consider the perfectly located neighborhood elementary school facility. TT Minor, as a location for a non neighborhood based secondary program? That remains a mystery to all our neighborhood groups.
Neighborhood parents and community members were not in any of the discussions regarding where the Seattle World School would be located. In fact, it was TBD until the last minute before BEX IV went on the ballot. This neighborhood, including myself, support Seattle Schools and the students as much as any other neighborhood and would not want to be against a major BEX Levy.
Our neighborhood students have been sent to many different schools and there is not a PTSA representing this area, and it takes awhile for everyone to realize what is happening and the repercussions of the various proposals. Many of the parents concerned with the action to get TT Minor back as a neighborhood school include parents of preschool children, and this is there first dealings with the Seattle School District. The needs of this neighborhood are now. The children live here. The families deserve a sustainable neighborhood school.
ORGANIZING COMMENTS FROM ONE OF THE ORGANIZERS IS AS FOLLOWS: As Ryan and I found out last round, 2 minutes is an incredibly short amount of time to make an argument. You are really limited to one or two points. We got together the other day and brainstormed some ideas for speaking slots. If we can use these tomorrow, fantastic. Otherwise feel free to use them as email fodder.
(2) The community engagement process is a failure.
–We have complied with the methods SPS has put forth, as difficult as that has been for working parents. We have spoken at community meetings, emailed the board and Growth Boundaries email, testified at board meetings, and filled out surveys. None of these methods has been successful at getting the board to respond to our concerns.–Further, there is no transparency in how the board makes growth boundary decisions. The maps are released with no explanations or justifications; we are left wondering why lines were drawn in seemingly nonsensical ways. A real engagement process would involve dialogue between community groups and the board and collaboration through focus groups and facilitated meetings to develop a mutually agreeable plan. If decisions are being made in accordance with SPS guiding principles, there is no reason to withhold data. If SPS has something to hide, then they will continue with this closed-door process where constituents go to great effort to speak to impassive, immutable board members and staff.
TT Minor neighborhood parents who did attend a BEX planning discussion at Stevens were told that their questions were inappropriate.
This hopefully adds to the conversation.