Although Seattle Public Schools officials say their decision is final, the district will still hold a public meeting Wednesday night on placing a program for high-school students who are recovering from alcohol or drug abuse next door to a Queen Anne elementary school.
The program, called the Interagency Recovery School, is scheduled to open in February in a building that was once the gymnasium in the former Queen Anne High School, located across the street from the back side of John Hay Elementary.
That proximity has some parents worried about possible gang influences and violence in the neighborhood.
“We would support this type of program, even (in) Queen Anne, but just not 25 feet away from an elementary school,” said Christina Economou, parent of a first grader at John Hay.
Niesha Fort, mother of a first grader at John Hay, faulted the district for not talking with parents sooner, saying district officials never gave the Queen Anne community a heads up about their plans.
Opponents have collected about 640 signatures in an online petition, asking the district to move the program.
But another group of parents and community members have gathered about 850 signatures in support of the school.
The district says it has exhausted all its options and that the program’s location is not up for discussion.
“We are so strapped for space,” said Tom Redman, facilities communication coordinator for the district. “This is the location that fits and makes sense, and one that we could repurpose for a reasonable price.”
Former Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda approved the location for the recovery program, Redman said. It was not introduced in a public meeting because program placements do not require a vote of the full school board, he said.
Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled to run from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the John Hay school cafeteria at 201 Garfield St. It is intended for parents and neighbors living near the school, Redman said.