Topic: Seattle School Board
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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 6, 2013 at 6:21 PM
Sue Peters’ lead over Suzanne Dale Estey for a seat on the Seattle School Board has grown slightly.
In Tuesday night’s returns, the split was about 51.5 percent to 48.2 percent. On Wednesday, it widened to 51.8 percent to 47.9 percent.
For Peters, the good news is that more of the new votes – about 53.5 percent — went her way, compared with 46.5 percent for Dale Estey.
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.
June 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM
Suzanne Dale Estey, a public affairs and economic development consultant, has taken an early lead in fundraising for her campaign for a seat on the Seattle School board, reporting about $20,000 in contributions.
Sue Peters, a parent activist and freelance writer, has raised about $1,000 total, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. Dean McColgan, director of development for the Museum of Flight and former Federal Way councilman, has no contributions yet listed.
The three are running for the seat now held by Michael DeBell, who is not seeking re-election in District IV, which covers Queen Anne, Magnolia and Ballard.
In the other school board race, educational consultant Stephan Blanford has raised about $4,800 and his two opponents – LaCrese Green and Olu Thomas – list none to date.
They are running for the post now held by School Board President Kay Smith-Blum, who decided to step down after one term. She holds the seat in District V, which covers the center part of Seattle.
Primary elections will be held in August. School board candidates run in their districts in the primary, then the two top voter-getters run citywide in the general election in November.
May 8, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Seattle School Board President Kay Smith-Blum said Wednesday that she has withdrawn her application for an open seat on the Washington State Board of Education.
Smith-Blum was one of six finalists for an open seat on that 16-member board, which is a statewide advocacy and policy body.
If she had been selected, Smith-Blum would have had to cut short her term on the school board, which otherwise wouldn’t end until November. On Monday, she said she hadn’t yet decided whether to seek a second four-year term on the school board. She also has said she is interested in applying for other State Board posts that will be open in January.
If Smith-Blum doesn’t seek a second term on the Seattle school board, two seats in the fall election will be up for grabs, without an incumbent in the race. Michael DeBell, the board’s most-senior member, announced this week that he won’t seek a third term.
DeBell has served as the board’s president or vice president for five of his eight years in that post. He said he is proud of the work he’s been able to achieve on the board, including working to keep the board focused on policy and oversight without getting involved in district management. He intends to continue in public life in some role, just a new one.
Betty Patu, who also is up for reelection, has announced she will seek a second term.
The filing period opens next week.
May 6, 2013 at 4:33 PM
Just a few months after she was elected president of the Seattle School Board, Kay Smith-Blum may be leaving to join the Washington State Board of Education.
Smith-Blum said she submitted an application for a vacant state board position about a week ago, largely because she is interested in being considered for some future Board of Education posts that will open in January. But she has been named one of six finalists for the current open position. She said she was surprised but pleased that she is a finalist and she will be interviewed tomorrow. She said she hasn’t decided what to do if she is offered the position.
If she is selected for the State Board position and accepts it, Smith-Blum would resign from her position on the Seattle School Board.
One factor in her decision, she said, is time. The clothing store she owns with her husband, Butch Blum, has some new opportunities that they may want to pursue.
Smith-Blum said she sees a seat on the State Board as a possible way ”to stay in the education conversation without having to make the volume of time commitment that I would have to make to the Seattle School Board.”
Even if she doesn’t get or accept the State Board post, Smith-Blum also is weighing whether to seek re-election to the Seattle School Board later this year.
“I have a lot going on,” she said, “and I’ve been very reflective about whether or not I can commit another four years at the level of commitment that I have been happy to make these last four years.”
Smith-Blum joined the Seattle School Board in 2009 representing the district that includes the Central Area, Capitol Hill and part of downtown. Last year, she served as the board’s vice president and was recently elected president.
May 6, 2013 at 10:59 AM
Michael DeBell, who has served on the Seattle School Board for the past eight years, has decided not to seek a third term, saying he’s interested in doing something new.
DeBell’s board seat is one of three that will be on the ballot this year, along with the ones now held by Board President Kay Smith-Blum and Vice President Betty Patu. Both are in their first terms. Patu has said she plans to run for re-election. Smith-Blum has not made an announcement yet. The filing period for candidates begins next week.
DeBell spent five of his eight years on the board as its president or vice president. In his tenure, he has worked with four superintendents and 15 different colleagues. He has been on the board through two rounds of school closures, the decision to return to a more neighborhood-based system of assigning students to schools, the financial scandal involving the district’s small business program, and layoffs that stemmed from reductions in state funding. During his tenure, the district also passed several school levies by big margins, and negotiated new systems of evaluating teachers and principals.
DeBell said he is proudest of the move to the new neighborhood assignment system which he credits, in part, with the enrollment boom that the district is experiencing.
He said he doesn’t know what he might do next, but hopes to continue to be in public life in some capacity.
December 12, 2012 at 7:56 PM
In a 4-3 vote, the Seattle School Board has selected Kay Smith-Blum as its next president. She’ll serve a one-year term.
Smith-Blum, who was the board’s vice president for the past year, replaces Michael DeBell. She was supported by the board’s newest members — Sharon Peaslee and Marty McLaren — as well as Betty Patu.
Smith-Blum, the president and CEO of the Butch Blum clothing store, joined the board in 2009 after many years as a Seattle Public Schools parent and school activist.
Board member Sherry Carr was also nominated as president, supported by DeBell and Harium Martin-Morris, but fell one vote short.
Betty Patu, who has also served since 2009, was unanimously elected vice president, and Sharon Peaslee, who joined the board in 2011, was selected as the third member of the board’s executive committee, as member-at-large.
November 6, 2012 at 4:27 PM
About 300 of Rainier Beach High’s 400 students walked out of class for about an hour Tuesday to protest the fact that their school isn’t scheduled to be remodeled under the school district’s upcoming construction levy.
The students marched peacefully around the block, according to a letter to parents from Rainier Beach Principal Dwane Chappelle, and they were out of class for about an hour.
The walkout occurred a day before the Seattle School Board will vote on a construction proposal that will go before voters in February. The board members are expected to ask voters to approve a six-year, $695 million package of projects that reflect months of discussions with staff, school board members and the public.
Different schools have come on and off the list during those discussions. The push to add Rainier Beach is the latest twist.
Seniors Brett Leslie and Kumar Nessenbaum, two of six students who organized the march, said Rainier Beach is the only high school that hasn’t received a full renovation since it was built. They see the school’s absence from the levy as one more sign that the district doesn’t care about Rainier Beach.
“We’re in 98118, the most diverse zip code in the country,” Nessenbaum said. “We want students to come here. We have so much potential.”
Leslie and Nessenbaum say they expect about 100 students to show up at Wednesday’s school board meeting to urge the board to add Rainier Beach to the levy list. And they say they won’t stop there.
“The vote is in February,” Leslie said. The board members “should definitely have time to change their decision by then.”
Principal Chappelle told parents that the current levy plan does include some money for earthquake-safety improvements at Rainier Beach and that district leaders have said the school may receive major improvements under under a levy that is expected to go before voters in 2016. The school also underwent $500,000 in renovations in 2008, he said.
October 4, 2012 at 5:04 PM
Seattle parent Rita Green has filed a petition seeking to recall Seattle School Board member Sherry Carr, saying Carr voted for a plan to create innovative schools in Seattle even though Carr questioned whether part of it was proper.
The election won’t go forward unless King County Superior Court agrees that Green’s allegations, if true, would mean Carr is guilty of wrongful conduct or violated her oath of office. Two years ago, a King County Superior Court judge blocked an attempt to recall five school board members, saying the allegations against them were not serious enough. That case centered around the board’s decision to extend the contract of then-Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson even though they knew state auditors had uncovered problems with district policies and finances.
Green’s complaint focuses on Carr’s vote to allow some Seattle schools to become Creative Approach Schools, which could be exempted from many district policies. Carr was among the school board members who voted to approve a memorandum of understanding for such schools, even though she questioned whether it should allow the district’s superintendent to waive district policy rather than the board. A King County Superior Court judge has already ruled that the board cannot give up that power.
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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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