SNOWBRUARY 2019 — Wednesday update: Snow routes, schools closed (parents sad), levies renewed (kids happy)

Banks of dirty, wet snow line the edges of Capitol HIll’s streets while sidewalks remain a slushy mess. Cars probably won’t be spinning out once they make it to the street but the new spectator sport is watching people try to dig their cars out. Maybe lend a hand. Here are some wrap-up notes on Snowbruary 2019’s Wednesday.

  • Snow routes: Metro will restore most of its service and buses will operate on snow routes Wednesday morning “on a route-by-route basis,” the county says:
    Riders are encouraged to visit Metro’s MetroWinter.com website for route specific information on Wednesday morning before traveling and sign up for alerts. Online updates are underway for over 200 bus routes and will be available by Wednesday morning.

  • No school: If the parents, grandparents, guardians, and child care pros in your life seem a little rundown, consider that Wednesday is yet another snow day. While the main streets are mostly clear, the soppy conditions moved Seattle Public Schools to declare yet another snow day:
    Schools will be closed on Wednesday, Feb. 13 due to adverse weather conditions. We thank the City of Seattle for their continued and diligent efforts to clear roads including many near our schools. Yet, many sidewalks and walkways are not cleared of ice and slush, and side streets in the north and south ends of the district continue to be icy. All activities, athletics and public meetings are canceled. There will be no preschool or Head Start.
    As for make-up days, the district reminds there are two scheduled — June 21 and 24 — but says the state won’t consider any waiver requests “until after the threat of further weather closures has passed.” UPDATE: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Wednesday the city has been working with Seattle Public School and King County Metro “to discuss immediate next steps to try and get our children back into schools as quickly as possible.” Seattle Schools has workers out clearing sidewalks near its campuses and SDOT road crews are out again pre-treating roads in anticipation of another freeze Wednesday night. As for garbage, crews are out for Monday/Tuesday customers Wednesday with other customers on a one-day delay.
  • Levies: The district is declaring victory in Tuesday’s vote on two school levies. “These two levy replacements will help fund critical day-to-day operations for Seattle Public Schools, including salaries, textbooks and materials, as well as the rebuild of eight aging schools, improved safety and security, increased technology access, and added capacity across our district,” a statement on the successful votes reads.

 

Don’t let wintry weather wipe out your vote on Seattle school levies — Ballots due Tuesday

It’s cold out there but don’t let that get in the way of your civic duty.

Ballots are due by Tuesday night for the February special election vote on two Seattle Public Schools levies.

You have until 8 PM Tuesday to get your ballot postmarked or dropped into one of the county’s drop boxes — including the one waiting for you on the iced bricks of Seattle Central.

The levies are needed to replace two levies previously passed by voters but set to expire. The first is renewal of the Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy and the second renews the Building Excellence V (BEX V) Capital Levy. Continue reading

North Capitol Hill neighbors appeal Holy Names underground parking decision

Homeowners near Capitol Hill’s Holy Names Academy have filed an appeal to halt approval of a planned 237-car underground parking garage below a new, two-story gymnasium on the school’s 21st Ave E campus on environmental grounds.

The appeal based in State Environmental Policy Act requirements follows last month’s decision by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections allowing the project to move forward. Continue reading

District holding informational meetings prior to February Seattle school levy renewal votes

Seattle Public Schools is holding public meetings to discuss two levies on the ballot in February’s special election. Thursday night brings the session closest to Capitol Hill at Montlake Elementary:

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will host three community meetings in January to provide information and answer questions about two levies that Seattle voters will consider in a special
election on Feb. 12, 2019. The two levies are the Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) and the Building Excellence V Capital Levy (BEX V). If approved, the two levies will replace two expiring levies that voters previously approved in 2013 and 2016. Continue reading

More parking? How you can help answer Seattle Central’s next big development question

SCC also has hopes of expanding north (Image: CHS)

Anyone who wants a say in what will happen to the built environment along Broadway around Seattle Central College now has their chance. The community oversight committee which reviews proposed changes to the college is looking for a new member — or two. The school’s reach extends farther into the neighborhood than you might think. And there’s a massive decision on parking on the horizon.

Seattle has a master plan which governs land use on a large scale all around the city. Some places, generally hospitals and colleges, have their own separate plan which fits into the larger plan. Typically, these institutions are in what would otherwise be a residential area, and so need a degree of special treatment.

“We kind of give them a bubble,” said Maureen Sheehan, of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

Each of these institutions has a corresponding advisory committee, made up of people who live or work in the neighborhood. When the institution wants to make a change, for example, to build or demolish a building, the plan is presented to the committee. Continue reading

City says Capitol Hill high school’s underground parking garage project can move forward

Capitol Hill private high school Holy Names can move ahead with its plans for a, 237-car underground parking garage below a new, two-story gymnasium, and a new 32-space surface parking lot on the northern edge of its E Aloha at 21st Ave E campus after a city finding that the projects are within bounds of state environmental law.

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections issued the determination of “non-significance” late last month. Any appeal of the decision must be filed by Thursday.

In a statement on the decision, Liz Swift, head of school, did not announce a start date for construction but said the work would take 16 to 18 months to complete. Continue reading

Parents in scramble after Seattle Academy announces plans to shutter Mother’s Place daycare

A stressful weekend has yielded a reported extension but parents at Capitol Hill daycare Mother’s Place have been in a scramble after 12th Ave property owner Seattle Academy’s sudden decision to close the facility.

In a letter to Mother’s Place families sent Thursday, the academy’s head of school Rob Phillips informed parents that the academy was preparing to shutter the daycare facility it has owned since buying the property and business in 2011.

“This decision was made by reviewing Seattle Academy’s mission, the desire to bring Seattle Academy programmatic elements together on one block, impact to our communities, responsibilities of day care ownership and our continued need to house Seattle Academy’s expanded programs,” Phillips wrote.

The letter said the academy would cease operations at the daycare at the end of June, a timeline families told CHS was too abrupt to allow them the time necessary to find a replacement source of care for their children and a schedule, many parents said, was unfair to the staff, some of whom have been part of Mother’s Place for more than 20 years. Continue reading

Tutu’s Pantry and the Backpack Brigade help keep Capitol Hill school kids fed

Can by can, donations help Tutu’s Pantry keep kids fed (Image: CHS)

Hundreds of students at local schools don’t have reliable access to food, particularly on weekends, and a network of volunteer-run organizations has stepped in to assist them.

There are a number of programs in place to help students from lower income families get meals during school. Most common is the free and reduced meals program administered by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The federal government helps provide funding that gives children from families below a certain income threshold (this year in Seattle, for a family of four, it is an annual income of less than $46,435 for reduced price meals and $32,630 for free meals) access to breakfast and lunch every school day. Across the district, 34% of students qualify for the program.

Then the weekend comes, and that assistance dries up.

So Seattle schools have developed a patchwork of parent-run groups to help fill the gap. Typically, the programs provide needy students with a backpack full of food on Friday to help get them through the weekend, though the specifics can vary greatly by school.

At Stevens Elementary, which serves children in North Capitol Hill, the program is known as Tutu’s Pantry.  Tutu’s Pantry provide backpacks on Fridays and larger boxes of food in advance of longer breaks. They also try to accommodate dietary restrictions.

It might be difficult to imagine that a school flanked by multi-million dollar homes has children in it who are food-insecure. “A lot of the families that we serve are struggling,” said Lori Bugaj, who runs Stevens’ program.

Continue reading

With John/Thomas corridor work underway, 2019 will bring $2.2M Safe Routes to School pedestrian improvements across Capitol Hill

Guess what? What’s safer for students will also be safer for everybody crossing 15th Ave E (Images: CHS)

Students walking to Capitol Hill’s Lowell Elementary and Meany Middle School should be greeted by a number of safety improvements on their way to school next year.

The Safe Routes to School program is administered by the Seattle Department of Transportation with an eye toward making it easier and safer for children to walk and bike to school. In a 2016 report, program officials touted 18 projects at schools around the city. Projects range from installing speed bumps to rebuilding or installing sidewalks and other pedestrian safety enhancements.

In the coming year, SDOT projects it will make improvements at 31 schools around Seattle. Capitol Hill will get in on the program with a grab-bag of safety measures on streets and at intersections around Lowell and Meany, which may begin construction in the summer of 2019. Continue reading

E Olive Way fostering two growing Capitol Hill industries — legal pot… and kids

The International Montessori Academy’s Yimin Chen

E Olive Way has a little something for everyone. For parents in search of a multilingual education for their young children, starting this month, the curving street is now home to a new International Montessori Academy.

Work has completed to transform a new-era but unsuccessful Chinese restaurant and the  Bellevue-based provider of Mandarin Chinese, French, or Spanish language immersion and Montessori education for elementary school-age children is set to fully open this month, school founder Yimin Chen tells CHS.

“The construction delay set us back a little bit,” Chen said. “Some families had to withdraw because of the delay.” But the typical City of Seattle permit issues and contractor scheduling challenges have not dampened demand. There has been a small group of day care kids putting the newly re-built out space through its spaces. Soon, daily classes will begin. Continue reading