OH PTA statement on 2017 boundaries and Cedar Park

The OH PTA membership approved this letter last night at the 10/25 PTA meeting. It was sent to the school board on 10/26.

 

Dear Seattle School Board Directors:

The Olympic Hills Elementary Parent Teacher Association stands together to express its grave concern regarding the 2017-2018 growth boundary adjustments for Olympic Hills and the future Cedar Park. The plan creates a high poverty school with a large historically underserved population within a substandard and too-small building.

We stand with our fellow North Seattle school communities in recommending a stop to growth boundary changes for the next year. The boundary changes were drawn in response to projected growth that never materialized and continuing with the plan as is will drastically decrease diversity across the north end, concentrating the majority of our historically underserved population at Olympic Hills and Cedar Park. Moving forward with needless changes will also disrupt the education and established communities of more than 800 students throughout North Seattle.

In addition we request a reevaluation of Cedar Park as a neighborhood assignment school. Our 400 students are currently housed in this building while the new Olympic Hills is being built. A makeshift library in a single classroom, a computer lab on the stage, no plumbing in the eight portables, pull out spaces set up in the hallway, and teachers working in glorified broom closets may be workable for an interim school, but is not acceptable for opening a neighborhood school with some of the largest projected FRL and ELL percentages in the district.

The new Olympic Hills is designed to serve these families. With a health clinic, designated pull-out spaces, preschool, and before and after school childcare spaces, the new building will provide educational supports and programs to specifically address the needs of our community. Should Cedar Park open as a neighborhood attendance school in 2017, the boundary change will remove our highest needs population from the school designed with them in mind.

During the summer, several of our parents participated in the Cedar Park Race and Equity Analysis Team. The final scenario was one that kept Cedar Park as a neighborhood attendance area school and increased the percentages of FRL, ELL, and historically underserved students from even the original proposed scenario. The parent representatives agree that in this instance, the application of the Race and Equity Toolkit failed.

In light of the increased inequity and unnecessary splitting of communities across North Seattle, the Olympic Hills PTA respectfully requests the board reevaluate the 2017 growth boundary plan, and specifically reconsider opening Cedar Park as a neighborhood school.

Sincerely,

The Olympic Hills PTA Board and Membership

Printable Letter Here