Date: June 1, 2017 at 6:30pm
Location: Louisa Boren STEM K-8
Meeting Topic: Flip Herndon, Seattle Public Schools Associate Superintendent for Capital, Facilities, Enrollment Planning will present options to address capacity and enrollment issues that impact our school.
Why should I attend this meeting?
Seattle Public Schools formed a Capacity Management Task Force to address increases in current and projected enrollment, with a charter to prepare a report and set of recommendations to the Superintendent of Schools. An option under consideration by the District is the relocation of Louisa Boren STEM K-8 to the Schmitz Park elementary school building.
The Louisa Boren STEM K-8 PTA has serious concerns about the consequences of this option:
- In its current location, STEM is able to serve all of West Seattle. By contrast, the boundaries of Schmitz Park’s northwest location would negatively impact equitable access to the school for students in the community.
- STEM is the only option school in the Denny Middle School service area, and has a geographic zone aligned with West Seattle Elementary. That geozone would change if the school moves to Schmitz Park, which means placement of students from the less diverse, more affluent neighborhoods of West Seattle would take priority over students living in the central and south areas.
- The current capacity of the Schmitz Park building is 216 without portables. The public voted to approve the BEX IV levy, in part, to get children out of portables. Moving a school from an adequate site to one where 60% of students would be in portables disregards the wishes of the taxpayers and the goal of the District to provide permanent classrooms for West Seattle’s growing student population.
- STEM provides a unique project-based curriculum. The high demand for this type of curriculum, as demonstrated by our projected 2017-18 enrollment of 539 (and waitlist of 189), will continue to grow and can only be accommodated at Boren. STEM’s Special Education families depend on the valuable services offered at the school – any disruption to these services is unacceptable.
- Schmitz Park was designed as an elementary school and does not have the physical infrastructure to support middle school programs and activities.
- A move to Schmitz Park will create logistical hardships for families living in the southern neighborhoods of West Seattle, increase transportation costs for the school district, and increase vehicle traffic in the residential neighborhood surrounding the location.
In November 2013, the Seattle School Board acknowledged the value STEM K-5 provides to the diverse student population in West Seattle by voting to permanently locate the school at Boren and expand it to K-8. Since then, the school has continued to thrive and grow, expanding the programs and
services it offers to the community.
To remain accessible to all families who want a project-based STEM education for their children, the Boren building remains the right location for Louisa Boren STEM K-8.