Seattle Schools director Kay Smith-Blum announced Wednesday she was withdrawing her proposed amendment to the New Student Assignment plan that would have re-drawn the southern boundary for attending Stevens Elementary at Madison. Smith-Blum outlines the reasoning behind the amendment and acknowledges the “upheaval” further change would mean for the neighborhood in the e-mail announcement we have included below.
First, I have withdrawn my amendment from tonight’s agenda. I greatly appreciate your input and sincerely apologize for any anxiety caused. My amendment would NOT have reassigned any student, but I appreciate neighbors who would like to see their children continue to be assigned to the same school and greatly appreciate the upheaval the NSAP/TT Minor closure has had on the neighborhood. The numbers the board received LAST NIGHT from Tracy Libros show that Steven’s enrollment will be up from the already 111% capacity, and do not include siblings of current Steven’s parents who now live outside of the Steven’s area. There will be even more families disappointed next Fall if we cannot accommodate their incoming K siblings.
As one consituent who wrote me in the last few days put it: “The attendance area that was assigned to Stevens last year contains too many families with children, relative to the size of the Stevens building. This year’s crop of kindergarteners filled three classrooms (with large class sizes). The school does not have enough classrooms to host 3 classes per grade K-5, so this is not a sustainable attendance area over time.”
It is the lack of sustainability that is of deep concern to me, that and the fact we cannot claw back TT Minor for another 3 full school years because of the contract with Hamlin Robinson.
Madrona K-8 has ample capacity to host additional students, which it needs to fuel the renewal efforts of the new principal and the Board is committed to supporting an arts and music focus at the school. I am hopeful that some of the incoming SPS students from your neighborhood will want to build this community despite the withdrawal of my amendment.
These are the reasons I proposed the amendment. Staff was reluctant to set off a myriad of boundary changes, but Stevens & Lowell are the ONLY schools on the “watch list” shown at the OPS committee in December, that don’t have a new school or available school to open (the other 5 watch list schools like West Seattle elementary have closed schools that can or are being reopened this year and next to alleviate their overcrowding).
Thank you for all of your messages, they were each read with thought and care and I will continue to search for ways to make each school strong in it’s academic offerings as well as find solutions for the overcrowding which impairs our academic outcomes.
Director, Position 5