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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 17, 2008 at 11:56 AM

School closures

What next?

The recent story about cuts to after-school programs speaks to an issue happening right here in our local communities [“After-school cuts stir fears of kids home alone,” Nation & World, Dec. 12]. The story cited programs in other states experiencing budget cuts, but we don’t need to look further than our neighborhood after-school programs to see how the deepening recession is impacting where kids spend their time once the school bell rings.

We have all heard about the proposed school closures the Seattle School Board and superintendent are considering right now. These closures and relocation of programs will not only impact kids and families during the school day, but also before and after school. Every site proposed for closure and re-purposing houses at least one out-of-school-time program that provides critical services to the school community. If the schools are closed, where will kids who rely on out-of-school-time programming go?

Especially with the recent rise in youth violence, we need these programs, which provide a safe and enriching place, more than ever. And our families need the support of after-school programs as many parents find themselves working longer hours or juggling several jobs to make ends meet.

While budgets need to be balanced, we must preserve the safety-net of programs like after-school services that foster healthy communities.

— Danielle Baer, Seattle

Save the Center

Seattle Public Schools plans to close or move the Center School to Rainier Beach High School, despite a growing number of families in North Seattle. Why don’t they expand schools where there is demand, instead of forcing students into empty seats?

The loss of this school will leave a hole in neighborhoods that badly need a high school. Do they really want more parents screaming to get their children into Ballard High School? The elementary schools are overflowing now and the pressure will grow with the students.

The Center School is a hidden jewel in the district and its location at the Seattle Center is what makes it unique. Students work closely with arts organizations like the Seattle Repertory Theatre and parents are highly involved. Why not expand upon this success and make the school a citywide magnet program?

We are in tough times but the school district needs to make smart decisions. They shouldn’t kill the Center School. They should keep it right where it is.

— Georgi Krom, Seattle

Comments | More in Economy, Education

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