School Board Candidate’s Forum for the Central District/Capitol Hill area

District 5 SPS School Board Candidate Forum

When: Monday, July 20 from 7 – 8:30pm
Where: Garfield Community Center
2323 East Cherry Street, corner of 23rd

Why: Of the 11 Central Cluster schools, seven experienced closure and/or program movement. Parents are concerned about the impact on their schools next year, as well as district-wide policies around a new student assignment plan, curriculum adoption and alignment, equitable program access, teacher effectiveness/quality teacher retention, and genuine communication and partnership with Seattle Public School families.

This is an opportunity for the community to ask the candidates in District 5 about how they intend to shape the policy decisions that will come before them if they are elected to the school board.

Who: The school board directors govern our district. It matters who gets elected! The board works with district administrators to set policy and make decisions, including the superintendent who reports to the board and carries out our board’s vision and direction.

The Candidates: Three candidates are challenging incumbent Mary Bass for the central cluster school board director seat:
Mary Bass – [email protected]
Joanna Cullen
Andre Helmstetter
Kay Smith-Blum

The Primary Election: We vote by school board district in the August 18 Primary. It’s a non-partisan race in which we will nominate two of the four candidates to move on to the General Election. We vote city-wide for all school board candidates in the November 3 General. Those elected serve four-year terms.

Don’t forget to register to vote!
July 18 is the deadline for registering online
Or you can register up until Monday, August 3 in person at the King County Elections Office.

Seven Police Cars at Garfield High School

I live across the street from the football field and there are seven police cars in the parking lot adjacent to the football field. I don’t know what is happening but I did hear earlier what I thought were firecrackers.

9:00 PM, Thursday, July 9th.

Introduction to Architecture and Design for Kids

Hello all.

I am an architect, a mom of a Nova student and we live in the Central District.

This summer, I am offering summer sessions for kids and teens on different subjects in architecture. These classes allow the students to create their own design solutions while learning more about their built environment.

There are partial and full scholarships available on an as-needed basis.

For additional information please visit my blog at

Saving Our Schools

I have grave concerns about the closing of three schools in the Central District and Capitol Hill areas. According to demographic studies, there will be an influx of families into these areas within the next few years. There is a projected population growth between 2007 and 2012 of 31%-100% for school aged children in our central Seattle neighborhoods. Our community will need more schools, not less.

Another concern is abandoned property. If Nova is moved, for example, there will be an abandoned building taking up an entire block that will stand vacant until the School Board determines its’ fate. If it is decided that the property is to be sold, with the economy the way it is now, it will take two or three years to negotiate and sell. That could be 2-4 years with yet another abandoned, fenced-in building in the Central District and across the street from Garfield High School. Not a good solution for the neighborhood or the Nova school.
It is also obvious that no one has taken the time to work out the cost of taking an existing school that was designed to hold one school and remodel it to accommodate two schools equitably as the School Board is planning to do to Meany and other schools. There would need to be two main offices, two sets of teachers’ lounges and teachers’ offices. The cost of remodeling a school so that it functions properly for two completely different programs can be significant and probably as much as the cost to either renovate an existing school such as Nova or construct another building. If the school board decides that it is too costly to remodel a school to accommodate two school programs, then no one would benefit from the move.

Looking at the proposal for the central, southeast and Montlake areas, it is obvious that much was not taken into consideration. The school boards’ plan to close schools is a knee jerk reaction and not an appropriate long term solution to this financial situation. We need to calmly and logically come up with a plan that meets the needs of our students now and in the future.