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With an eye on future closures, Seattle Public Schools begins series of ‘Well-resourced Schools’ community meetings

The 2023 Garfield High School graduation ceremony at Memorial Stadium (Image: SPS)

Seattle Public Schools will begin a series of meetings Tuesday night in the Central District that it says will be used to gather feedback from “students, families, staff, and community partners” as it starts a painful budget process it says could result in campus closures.

But the “Well-resourced Schools” community meetings aren’t exactly being portrayed as such serious business. Instead, SPS is focusing the meetings on the resources students and families say they want in their public schools — many of which won’t be available or could need to be cut as a statewide funding pinch tightens.

“We are developing a shared understanding of what resources, programs, services, and learning experiences make up a well-resourced school,” the SPS invite for the sessions reads. The first meeting will be held Tuesday night at Garfield High School.

In March, CHS reported on the looming budget deficit that has SPS promising no closures until 2024 but serious belt-tightening as it expects a decade of lower enrollment. Changes in state funding and a forecast for a continued near-term drop in enrollment had the district scrambling to cover a $131 million budget deficit for the coming school year with continued financial shortfalls on the way. Some of those holes have been patched like at the Central District’s Washington Middle School where family-pushback has saved valued programs.

But bigger cuts could be ahead as the district collects feedback from families and students about the resources and services they need. The resulting reports could boost some campuses by adding missing components while dooming others in order to make the dollars balance out.

“Information and recommendations gathered during this engagement will be shared with the SPS community this fall,” the district writes. “Thank you for being a part of building a definition of well-resourced schools. Your feedback is essential!”

The full announcement on the August sessions is below.

 

Dear SPS families and staff,

You are invited to join Seattle Public Schools (SPS) for an upcoming community meeting. During these meetings, senior leaders will connect with our community to envision what a well-resourced school looks like. Your feedback will help guide future district planning.

Community Meetings

Central: Garfield High School commons (please note this event location has moved from John Stanford Center), Tuesday, Aug. 8, 6 p.m.
Interpretation will be available in Cantonese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese
Location: 400 23rd Ave. Seattle, WA 98122

Southwest: Madison Middle School commons/lunchroom, Thursday, Aug. 10, 6 p.m.
Interpretation will be available in: Spanish and Vietnamese.
Location: 3429 45th Ave. SW Seattle, 98116

Southeast: South Shore PreK-8 rotunda/lunchroom, Monday, Aug. 14, 6 p.m.
Interpretation will be available in: Cantonese, Somali, and Spanish.
Location: 4800 S Henderson St. Seattle, 98118

Northeast: Nathan Hale High School commons/lunchroom, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 6 p.m.
Interpretation will be available in: ASL and Spanish.
Location: 10750 30th Ave. NE Seattle, 98125

Northwest: Robert Eagle Staff Middle School commons, Thursday, Aug. 17, 6 p.m.
Interpretation will be available in: Cantonese and Spanish
Location: 1330 N 90th St. Seattle, 98103

Online: Teams Meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 5:30 p.m.
Interpretation will be available in: Amharic, ASL, Cantonese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
A link to this meeting will be shared by Monday, Aug. 28.

Learn more about the Well-Resourced Schools Community Conversations.

 

 

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4 Comments
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Melissa White
Melissa White
11 months ago

Hi! Parent of a student at Washington Middle School here. You mentioned that parent push back saved programs at Washington Middle School, but that’s not really true. The TAF program has been cut, and approximately 13 teacher and staff positions have gone away. Efforts to save the music program have resulted in additional funding, but the school has not staffed that teacher position yet or even posted the job as available. So far, none of the cuts has been reversed at WMS.

newyorkisrainin
newyorkisrainin
11 months ago
Reply to  Melissa White

This is a critical note. It’d be nice if our local legacy paper (ST) did a better job covering this stuff.

newyorkisrainin
newyorkisrainin
11 months ago

SPS is so unserious. Yes, let’s ask a bunch of already overburdened students, parents and guardians to volunteer and show up to tell us what they’ve already said a million other times about what the resources and services they need in school… and then we won’t provide them, in fact, we’ll probably continue to cut programs that are most treasured and successful!

How many well-paid administrators does it take to have 6 community meetings I wonder…

Goog
Goog
11 months ago

Not to mention, they did every single one of these meetings at 6pm (or 5:30pm) which is great for families with 9-5 jobs, but what about the other families where parents work different hours, such as at night? It’s giving INEQUITY.