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No comprehensive high schools to close this year

December 18th, 2008 at 6:06 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Seattle Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson stated at a school board meeting last night that closure of Seattle’s comprehensive high schools is now off the table for this year, as are mergers such as the previously suggested options to merge Aki Kurose Middle School and the Center School with Rainier Beach High School.

The even earlier proposal to merge Cleveland High School with Rainier Beach had already been rejected.

Goodloe-Johnson did say that closure of one of the traditional high schools might need to happen sometime in the next few years, given the budget woes of the District.

Some high-school-aged students still face closure or relocation of their programs, however; Summit K-12 is currently on the superintendent’s “preferred” list for closure, while NOVA and SBOC are on the list for relocation.

The superintendent’s final recommendations will be announced January 6, and on January 7 there will be a school board meeting at which a motion to close/move schools is planned to be introduced. The District posts news about this process at their Capacity Management website, http://www.seattleschools.org/area/capacity/index.dxml.


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School closure plan changes yet again: Rainier Beach/Cleveland merger off the table, for now

December 10th, 2008 at 4:16 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Photo by Claudia Snell.

Photo by Claudia Snell.

Seattle school superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson has announced another revised slate of recommendations for school closures and program relocations.

The recently proposed merger between Rainier Beach and Cleveland high schools is apparently off the table again. (Amber Campbell at the Rainier Valley Post posts a possible reason why: the potential gang violence, according to several unnamed Seattle Police Department South Precinct sources, would have been significant.) Instead, one potential option is to close Aki Kurose Middle School, moving those students to Rainier Beach, which would then have a 6-12 comprehensive performing arts program. Another involves discontinuing the Center School program and moving its students from Seattle Center to Rainier Beach.

The African-American Academy is still scheduled for closure, with students from Van Asselt to move into that building.

More »


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School closures and unintended consequences

December 5th, 2008 at 2:51 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

The P-I has a follow-up article on the proposed Rainier Beach/Cleveland high school merger and the response of the community:

“The possible merger is troubling for some South Seattle parents, who say their schools are disproportionately targeted in the plan, and that disputes between rival gangs at the high schools could escalate with the change. They also wonder about class size at Cleveland and the fate of Rainier Beach’s powerhouse athletics.”

The Times has additional background on Rainier Beach, and a comparison chart between the two schools. The article mentions that “District staff members say they continue to evaluate the feasibility of combining the two schools, and haven’t ruled out moving Cleveland to Rainier Beach instead of the other way around.” Cleveland’s building was completely remodeled last year for $68 million.

Also on the school closure topic, former School Board member and Seattle Times reporter Dick Lilly suggests in a Crosscut editorial that closing schools such as Van Asselt that serve low-income families may drive those low-income families — in many cases, renters who are more easily able to pack up and move — out of the city.


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School closure plans revised: Rainier Beach may merge with Cleveland

December 4th, 2008 at 3:02 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Just one week after Seattle Public Schools’ controversial proposals to close buildings and relocate programs, the plans have been changed. At a School Board meeting last night, Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson announced new proposals for consideration, including merging Rainier Beach High School into Beacon Hill’s Cleveland High School, eliminating Summit K-12 entirely, or moving students from several programs into the RBHS building, including Aki Kurose Middle School and displaced middle school-aged kids from three other programs on the chopping block: Meany Middle School, the African-American Academy, and Summit. (Here is the superintendent’s slide show of the recommendations, and this blog post discusses School Board reactions to the presentation.)

These changes would save the district an estimated $3.6 million, but with the district’s expected budget gap up to $37.1 million — $13 million higher than previously estimated — it seems there will be a long way to go.

Blogger Sable Verity suggests that the RBHS closure was always a given:

“This is all a part of the ORIGINAL, mostly UNDOCUMENTED South East Initiative. That planned called for RBHS to merge with Aki, to become a performing arts academy. Problem is, the district didn’t want to front the money and actually invest, they wanted someone else to come in and set up shop. Problem is, after the TAF debacle, folks were leery (’cept the brave and righteous souls at Broadway Bound) of doing business with SPS.

“Can’t say that I blame them.”

Community workshops to discuss the proposals are scheduled for tonight 6:30 – 8:30 pm at District headquarters in Sodo, 2445 Third Avenue South, and this Saturday, December 6, 9:30 – 11:30 am, at the Filipino Community Center, 5740 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South. A hearing about the previously announced Van Asselt building closure proposal is December 15, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Van Asselt Elementary, 7201 Beacon Avenue South. Stay tuned to this SPD page for updates on added hearings and forums.

Comments may also be emailed to capacity@seattleschools.org or snail-mailed to: School Board, P.O. Box 34165, MS 11-010, Seattle, WA 98124-1165.


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Beacon Bits: Gentrification, school closures, and mice

November 18th, 2008 at 3:50 pm | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Recycle your old computers and benefit Union Gospel Mission at the same time, this Friday and Saturday at 660 South Othello Street . Photo by Leif K-Brooks.

Recycle your old computers and benefit Union Gospel Mission at the same time, this Friday and Saturday. Photo by Leif K-Brooks.


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Beacon Bits: Blog love, salad love, touchdown!

October 25th, 2008 at 4:03 am | 2 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Franklin High School, where they are celebrating today. Photo by Justin Baeder.

Franklin High School, where they are celebrating today. Photo by Justin Baeder.

Beacon Bits are collections of useful or interesting links or other tidbits that we’ll post periodically.


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