With future growth hinging on levy vote, schools make capacity plans for near-term

Every year around this time, Seattle Public Schools plans for the nearly unplannable — how to accomodate extra students in the short-term at Seattle’s elementary, middle and high schools. The short-term plan discussed by the school board Wednesday night had something last year’s capacity planning didn’t require — a plan for overcapacity at a Capitol Hill school.

The data behind the contingency plan for Capitol Hill’s Stevens Elementary wasn’t available but a SPS document shows that — if enrollment this spring pushes the school’s population over its limits — the district’s plan is to add the first portable unit to the 18th at Galer campus. The neighborhood’s main public high school, Garfield in the Central District, is planned to be able to handle whatever population central Seattle throws at it with its existing classrooms.

For the long-term, the district has a roster of planned projects and additions including a 2017 re-opening of 19th and John’s Meany Middle School. CHS reported on the demographic trends and impact from neighborhood improvement like light rail that were behind the Meany plan. First, voters will have to approve the next school levy to pay for all of this. That vote will come in February.

Either way, thanks to that possible portable unit, the district has a plan for next school year.

4 thoughts on “With future growth hinging on levy vote, schools make capacity plans for near-term

  1. We have two kids at Stevens, and we’ve always been told that there’s some sort of state law that would prevent any portables from being used there, because there’s a requirement for a certain minimum amount of playground space that every school must have. I don’t know the details beyond that, but that’s what we were told in the past as a reason for why they couldn’t add a portable when we had to lose our Spanish classroom in order to squeeze in another kindergarten class a few years ago.

  2. If they put a portable on Stevens’ already too-small playground, there will not only be more kids required to play there, but less space for them to play. Not to mention the shrinking of our teaching space for our PE program.

  3. How can this be a good plan for kids at Stevens? As a parent of students here, I know it’s a bad plan. I believe the current enrollment is at 430 students. Students deserve their first school experience to be one where nurturing and learning happens. This is not a factory.
    This photo is of students on the Stevens play court. It is PACKED with kids playing before school and at recess times. How many bad ideas does SPS need to propose that dont work? (transportation, MAP Testing, mismanagement of needed funds, selling mlk elem) before people realize SPS decisions are poor. Portables will allow SPS to shoehorn more kids into an already crowded population. Realize that it isn’t just a classroom added-it’s resources needed to support those students too. Increasing enrollment taxes an already overworked staff, tightens the schedule for kids to eat lunch (or not even eat-as my kids complain about) and inevitably fighting will increase with less space to move. Don’t get me started on the traffic and unsafe behaviors of drivers (yes, even people “just” dropping off but coming close to clipping students walking to school)
    For the the previous poster “Wave”, It’d be beneficial to find the rule about playground space, as it seems to be forgotten in this decision making process
    The article ends with “at least there is a plan”. Unfortunately, portables are not a good plan for the current or future Stevens community!

  4. As it is there is also no arts classroom and while there is a music room, it is used for choral music instruction.

    Why is the afterschool childcare center not considered for these uses instead of a preschool daycare during school hours?