LivingUncategorized October 21, 2009

Not my general topic but inportant.

Hi Neighbors,

I don’t normally campaign or solicit letters, but the new school boundary proposed by the Seattle School District impacts us all. As you are likely aware, the North East cluster has a real issue with over-crowding in elementary, middle and high school. There has been much time and consideration spent addressing the issue and the proposed new plan involves resetting boundaries (map). We personally support this goal.  However, the new boundaries do not promote diversity, safety or walk ability –three of the six criteria considered for the plan. Why should you care? The new boundaries could impact you –even if you don’t have a child attending public schools!

We are asking for you to consider the following, and if compelled, send mail by October 30th asking the Seattle School board to REJECT the proposed boundaries.

Our family strongly supports the over-arching goals laid out by the Seattle Superintendent.  However there are several issues we believe need addressing before the School Board should elect this proposal.  The current plan includes the reopening of Sand Point Elementary school (the little elementary school tucked behind Pagaliacci pizza on Sand Point Way). The school board insists that equality, safety and walk ability were three of the six criteria for school assignment.  However the proposed boundaries for Sand Point Elementary would suggest otherwise:

1. Safety –all children in Hawthorne Hills will be assigned to Sandpoint Elementary, requiring children as young as five to cross Sand Point Way –a four lane, 40 mph road. Children from Windermere will NOT be a part of the Sand Point school population.  Even though this community is on the east side of Sand Point Way, lowering potential hazards for kids walking to school. In fact, the Laurelhurst elementary boundaries remained untouched in this proposal.

2. DiversitySand Point Elementary will draw a majority of its students from the UW student apartments near Magnuson Park & low income/transitional housing.  It is projected that approx. 33% of the school will be on the free lunch program, (for comparison, View Ridge, Laurelhurst & Bryant have less than 10% on free lunch). Many are projecting lower parent involvement and incremental funds for Sand Point compared to the other schools in the area. This puts Sand Point at a disadvantage

3. Walk ability/access –Asking families on the west side of Sand Point Way to cross a major thorough fare means walking will be unlikely.  Making matters worse, there is little infrastructure to allow for parents to drive and drop off children.  The district is asking for the city to update roads to allow better access.  This means additional dollars spent on new roads, etc.

If equality, safety and walk ability don’t pique your interest, consider that Sand Point as a reference school  will potentially lower home resale values in Hawthorne Hills as it makes our area less than ideal to families looking to purchase homes associated with a strong school.   Even though you aren’t directly impacted by the changes, you may see an indirect effect in the way of property value.

We encourage you to take a moment and review the proposed changes.  There is ample information available on the following web sites:

· Keep Our Kids Together (site committed to grandfathering siblings during the transition phase)

· Seattle School Board “Excellence for all” Plan

· Proposed boundary maps

If you agree this plan needs more consideration, PLEASE TAKE ACTION by October 30th. Email each of the board members and ask them to:

1. Reject the current boundaries. Ask them to consider pulling Sand Point Elementary population from Windermere and other neighborhoods to the South East of Sand Point Elementary

2. Consider grandfathering siblings during the five-year transition. The Seattle School Board should consider the needs of current families as well as future families. Early sample data shows that grandfathering siblings to the older child’s elementary school will have little impact on enrollment over the next five years.