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December 4, 2013 at 7:16 PM
In a 4-3 vote, the Seattle School Board has selected Sharon Peaslee as its next president. She’ll serve a one-year term.
Peaslee, who produces video and web-based programs through her production company, Flying Lula Productions, joined the board in 2011 and served on the executive committee last year as the member-at-large.
She replaces Kay Smith-Blum, who did not run for re-election this year. Peaslee was supported by new board member Sue Peters as well as Marty McLaren and Betty Patu.
Patu, who joined the board in 2009, was unanimously re-elected as vice president. Peaslee noted that she would have supported Patu for president, but Patu expressed concerns about the time commitment.
The board also unanimously elected McLaren, who joined the board in 2011, as the third member of the board’s executive committee, as member-at-large.
Board member Sherry Carr also was nominated as president, supported by new member Stephan Blanford and Harium Martin-Morris, but she fell one vote short.
Carr also was nominated for president in last year’s election, when Smith-Blum won on a 4-3 vote.
November 1, 2013 at 2:48 PM
The Seattle school district’s third version of a proposed overhaul of school-assignment boundaries changes the middle schools for academically advanced students living north of the Ship Canal.
Students in the Accelerated Progress Program (APP) would advance from Wilson-Pacific Elementary school to either Eckstein, Whitman or Hamilton middle schools, said district enrollment manager Tracy Libros. Eventually, APP could be phased out of Hamilton. The previous version of the plan had APP students going to Wilson-Pacific Middle School, Jane Addams Middle School or Hamilton.
The district still proposes to speed up the conversion of Jane Addams to a middle school next fall by moving the K-8 program housed there now to the former John Marshall alternative-high school until a new building is ready.
The district planned to post the revisions Friday night on the district’s website in advance of the school board meeting next Wednesday, when the proposal will be formally introduced. The board will vote on the plan Nov. 20.
The overhaul is a complex revision of boundary maps to ease overcrowding, make room for even more growth and fit new schools into an already complicated student-assignment plan. The district released its first draft in September and then updated it last month after considering feedback from a series of a public meetings.
Most of the changes will be phased in over several years as schools are renovated or built new.
October 30, 2013 at 7:11 PM
The community groups that have been operating out of the Seattle school district’s Horace Mann building in the Central Area rent-free since the summer are still there and it’s costing the district an estimated $1,000 a day in delayed construction work.
The district has a lease agreement with the groups, now known as the Africatown Center for Education and Innovation, to rent space in another district building a few miles away, the Columbia Annex, but the lease still must be approved by the school board at its Nov. 6 meeting.
The district had to repair some fixtures at the new location and settle other lease details such as insurance requirements with the organization, which has delayed getting the lease before the school board for approval, said Lesley Rogers, the district’s chief communications officer.
The district has asked Africatown Center to leave Horace Mann as soon as possible. The organization was expected to meet Wednesday evening to discuss whether that was feasible, said Pegi McEvoy, assistant superintendent for operations.
She said the group has told the district that it doesn’t have anywhere to store equipment and would prefer to remain at Horace Mann until the school board approves the lease on the new location.
Meanwhile, the clock is running on the Horace Mann renovations. The district still believes the work can be completed on time, but the delay could cost extra.
On Sept. 18, the school board approved an $8 million contract with Construction Service Inc. to renovate the Horace Mann building so that Nova Alternative High School can move in next fall.
The district estimates that the delay could cost $1,000 a day, starting from when the board approved the contract, Rogers said. The final amount would have to be negotiated with Construction Service, Rogers said.
‘Whether Africatown Center can stay put until the lease is finalized is the subject of continued negotiations, school officials said.
The district has agreed to lease two rooms at the Columbia Annex for a total of $187.50 a month, plus utilities. Africatown Center also will pay a standard security deposit and provide proof of insurance, McEvoy said.
She anticipates that the organization will meet the criteria for the standard discount offered in all leases for activities that support the district’s educational mission.
The Columbia Annex is a three-room building that was part of Ranier Vista School until the school closed in 1971. Then it was used for Head Start classes until 2000.
October 18, 2013 at 4:40 PM
Nine Garfield High School students have been suspended for their roles in a hazing incident last month, according to the Seattle school district.
In a news release Friday afternoon, the district said six students received suspensions of from five to nine days and are already back in school. Another student was suspended for 15 day and two others for 20 days. They are due back on Oct. 26 and Nov. 4 respectively.
Initially on Oct. 4, the district banned 11 students from campus while it investigated, but two of the 11 turned out to be misidentified and their record was cleared.
The others received credit for the time they spent out of school since Oct. 4. But they will not be allowed to attend school dances this year, including senior prom, or to participate in the high school’s Purple and White Day activities in the spring.
All the suspended students are appealing, according to the district.
The discipline stems from an incident on Sept. 27 when Garfield Principal Ted Howard and a group of police officers broke up an after-school gathering of about 100 students at the Arboretum. Underclassmen were being paddled, wearing diapers and eggs were thrown at them.
Howard, who is African American, told parents in an email that students were drinking beer and hard liquor, and that when they saw him, several shouted profanities as they ran away and one called him by a racial slur.
October 7, 2013 at 2:43 PM
The Seattle school district banned 11 Garfield High School students suspected of participating in a recent off-campus hazing incident until officials decide if discipline is warranted.
The students were told Friday not to return to class on Monday. Such “emergency expulsions” generally don’t last longer than two weeks, said Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman Teresa Wippel.
“It’s not an official disciplinary action. It just removes students from the school environment while the investigation is being conducted,” Wippel said. “They are banned from coming on campus and they also can’t participate in any sports or extracurricular activities while they’re emergency expelled. So they’re not supposed to have any contact with Garfield at all.”
Eight of the 11 students also have been identified by Seattle police as suspects in the incident, Wippel said.
Garfield Principal Ted Howard and a group of police officers broke up a large student gathering after school on Sept. 27 at the Washington Park Arboretum. They discovered underclassmen were being paddled, wearing diapers, having eggs thrown at them and shoe polish put on them.
In an email to parents, Howard said the group of about 100 students was drinking “hard alcohol and beer.”
Wippel said that Howard recognized some of the students’ faces, though others ran before he could identify them and some were wearing disguises.
Wippel said Howard and other school officials are investigating each of the 11 students on a case by case basis to decide if further discipline is warranted.
September 27, 2013 at 9:46 AM
The Mercer Island School Board will ask voters in February to pass a $98.8 million bond to build a new elementary school and improve other buildings to ease overcrowding.
The board voted unanimously Thursday to approve the bond for the Feb. 11 special election, according to the district.
More than 60 percent of voters rejected the district’s request for a $196.3 million bond in April 2012. The money would have paid to rebuild the school district’s three elementary schools and its middle school, and upgrade its high school.
The new plan is more conservative. The district wants to build one new elementary school at the North Mercer campus, add classrooms and lab spaces, commons and cafeteria, gym, music rooms and administrative space to Islander Middle School, and build 10 more classrooms at Mercer Island High School.
The state would contribute an additional $3.8 million in matching funds, according to the district.
Voters should receive ballots for the mail election sometime in late January or early February.
September 24, 2013 at 1:31 PM
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.
September 8, 2013 at 4:05 PM
Snoqualmie Valley School District teachers reached a tentative contract agreement with the district Sunday, likely averting a strike that would have left classrooms empty.
After the 3 p.m. deadline passed, the Snoqualmie district proposed another offer late in the afternoon for the union negotiating team to review. Teachers will gather to ratify the three-year contract tonight at Mount Si High School, said Dale Folkerts, union spokesman. Part of the contract gives teachers 2 percent raises each year.
Negotiations began in April and the teachers’ contract expired Aug. 31 without a new deal. The union represents 353 teachers in the Snoqualmie district, which serves about 6,200 students from Fall City, North Bend and Snoqualmie.
The union says the big issue is class size in the district’s five elementary schools. Teachers want limits on the number of students per class, not just extra money for teachers who are assigned classes that exceed target enrollments.
On its website, the district says it has set boundaries for class sizes in elementary schools, although the limits are listed as “targets.” For example, a kindergarten class would have a target enrollment of 25 or fewer students. If the district added more students, the teacher would receive $600 or a planning day each trimester.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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