Seattle school Superintendent José Banda is recommending closure of Seattle’s oldest alternative school, Pinehurst K-8, at the end of the school year, citing low enrollment and high costs of operating the program.
Enrollment at the K-8 school in Northeast Seattle has dropped from 273 students in 2005 to about 150 this year, not including about 30 children in a special education preschool also at Pinehurst. The low enrollment means that the annual per student cost for operating Pinehurst is $8,150, more than 50 percent higher than other K-8 Seattle schools, according to Banda.
Supporters argue that enrollment has dropped because the district has scared parents away with talk of closure for several years.
Pinehurst, which offers mixed age and grade classrooms, emphasizes connecting what happens in class with real-world social concerns such as anti-discrimination and environmental education.
The district has long planned to demolish the existing building and construct a new school for Jane Addams K-8 at the Pinehurst site, but Pinehurst supporters are hoping to find a new home for the school, which opened in 1970. The district has explored various options for relocation, but officials say they have not found a viable alternative to closure.
The superintendent won’t make a final recommendation until Nov. 6, with a school board vote scheduled for Nov. 20.
Meanwhile, the public will have ample opportunity to weigh in on Pinehurst’s fate, including at a public meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Nathan Hale High School to discuss the district’s proposed new boundaries and school assignment plans.
The first of two public hearings specifically addressing Pinehurst will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Pinehurst building, 11530 12th Ave. Northeast.