Lake City Neighborhood Alliance advocates for Olympic Hills and Cedar Park students

On March 10 the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance membership voted overwhelmingly to advocate for our Lake City students by writing a letter to Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Nyland and the Board of Directors. Please see the text of the letter below:

March 22, 2016
Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland
Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors

Dear Dr. Nyland and Board Members, I am writing on behalf of the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance (LCNA), an alliance of organizations with the mission to protect and enhance the quality of life in the greater Lake City area. LCNA is comprised of 27 member groups representing neighborhood, business, faith, school, special-issue, and serviceprovider groups throughout Lake City. Like you, each member organization cares deeply about the education, safety, and well-being of all students in our community. At LCNA’s March 10th meeting, we held a discussion about some of the proposed changes in our neighborhood schools, especially the elementary schools. That discussion raised a number of concerns. Our membership voted overwhelmingly to advocate for the following issues:

1. CAPACITY MANAGEMENT. Adjust boundaries so that enrollment is consistent with building capacity, with a reasonable amount of space set aside to accommodate enrollment growth at all schools. The enrollment numbers that were presented to us implied overcrowding in one school and significant under-enrollment in another.

2. RACIAL, ETHNIC, AND SOCIOECONOMIC EQUITY. Adjust boundaries so that English Language Learners (ELL) and Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL)- qualified students are more evenly-distributed between multiple schools and not concentrated at Olympic Hills Elementary School (ES) and Cedar Park ES. There are two major boundary areas of concern: (a) The “slice” of the Little Brook neighborhood (with high numbers of ELL and FRL students), just west of Lake City Way NE to 30th Avenue NE and between NE 123rd Street and NE 145th Street, would be reassigned from Olympic Hills ES to Cedar Park ES. We strongly support that students in this “slice” continue attending Olympic Hills ES. (b) The southern boundary of the Cedar Park ES attendance area reassigns a significant population of students who qualify for ELL and FRL to Cedar Park ES. Of specific concern are the approximately 70 ELL students now assigned to John Rogers ES, but under the geo-split model, would be reassigned immediately to Cedar Park ES, resulting in the sudden loss of needed support staff at John Rogers ES. We urge you to readjust that boundary so that these students remain at John Rogers ES.

3. WALKABILITY AND SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL. The Cedar Park boundary should not cross major arterials, such as Lake City Way NE (State Route 522!) Page 2 and NE 125th Streets. The walk zone should be drawn at 35th Avenue NE and NE 125th Street.

4. STUDENT REASSIGNMENTS. Using the geo-split model is too disruptive for students. The rollup model has been used for the opening of all new Seattle attendance-area elementary schools since 2010. As part of the roll-up model, allow all elementary school age siblings to attend the same elementary school.

5. IMPROVEMENTS FOR CEDAR PARK ES. In its current state, the Cedar Park ES facility is substandard. Explore the possibility of using Cedar Park ES for something other than an attendance area school. Or, with additional funding, improve the facilities so that it could be a more functional neighborhood school in the future. Thank you for considering our concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Very sincerely,
Sandra Adams Motzer

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