10 Seattle Schools Most Likely To Be Affected By District's Boundary Shift
Seattle Public Schools officials will hold a series of public meetings this week to inform parents of another shift in attendance boundaries set to take place next school year, potentially impacting more than 1,100 students at 25 district elementary schools.
The changes are part of a bigger plan. A package approved by Seattle School Board members last year calls for annual, incremental shifts in the attendance boundaries until 2020, all with the aim of finding enough space for a burgeoning student population in new or recently-expanded schools.
Redrawn boundaries at the middle level could also send as many as 189 students from Denny International to Madison Middle School at the start of the 2015-2016 school year, when the changes are set to take effect. Since those middle schools are paired with different high schools, the boundaries for West Seattle and Chief Sealth International high schools would also be impacted.
The changes don't necessarily mean 1,300 students will change schools next year, though. Students living in areas where boundaries are changing can choose to stay at their current school. But new students moving into those areas must attend the school dictated by the new boundaries.
Five Schools That Could See The Largest Enrollment Bumps
- Concord International Elementary School could add as many as 101 students — 96 from Highland Park and five from Sanislo.
- Rainier View Elementary School could add as many as 101 students — all from Emerson's current attendance area.
- Kimball Elementary School could add as many as 91 students — all from Beacon Hill Elementary's current attendance area.
- Thurgood Marshall Elementary School could add as many as 90 students — 86 from Bailey Gatzert and four from John Muir.
- Lowell Elementary School could add as many as 85 students — 69 from Bailey Gatzert and 16 from Montlake.
Fourteen of the 25 elementary schools impacted by the boundary changes are likely to see a net influx of students due to the boundary changes. Those schools include Fairmount Park, Olympic View, Sacajawea, Van Asselt, Sanislo, Lafayette, Roxhill, Schmitz Park at Gennessee Hill and Emerson elementaries. (See maps of the planned changes)
Five Schools That Could See The Largest Enrollment Decreases
- Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School could subtract as many as 165 students — all of them would be in Dunlap's attendance area.
- Highland Park Elementary School could subtract as many as 157 students — 96 of them would be in Concord International's attendance area and 61 of them be in Roxhill's.
- Bailey Gatzert Elementary School could subtract as many as 155 students — 69 of them would be in Lowell's attendance area and 86 of them would be in Thurgood Marshall's.
- Beacon Hill Elementary School could subtract as many as 91 students — all of them would be in Kimball's attendance area.
- Alki Elementary School could subtract as many as 84 students. Though 4 students could come from Lafayette, others would split among three schools' attendance areas: 4 to Gatewood, 16 to Lafayette and 68 to Schmitz Park at Gennessee Hill.
Eleven of the 25 elementary schools impacted by the boundary changes are likely to see a net outflow of students from their attendance areas. Those schools include West Seattle, Dunlap, Montlake, Green Lake, John Muir and Gatewood elementaries. Click here to see maps of the changes set to take effect in 2015-16.
'These Changes Are Necessary'
"We understand that the changes are hard. Last year, there was a lot of feedback and comments on this," said Flip Herndon, the assistant superintendent in charge of Seattle Public Schools' buildings and enrollment management. "But these changes are necessary to [address] capacity challenges that we have. We're trying to balance that with the needs of our building space, with the wishes of our parents."
But leaders of the Seattle Council of Parent, Teacher and Student Associations say new attendance boundaries alone don't alleviate capacity problems in many district schools, leading them to question why it's worth the pain of redrawing boundaries every year.
"The fundamental challenge for the district at this stage is that the boundaries re-draws are based on facilities planning that doesn't provide enough capacity," said Eden Mack, the Seattle Council PTSA's legislative and advocacy chair. "We have a double-whammy here. We have families being disrupted by boundary changes, and we still have overcrowded schools."
Herndon says the incremental shifts in the boundaries allow the district to shift students into buildings recently built or renovated with proceeds from the BEX IV property tax levy, which is designed to help the district add more building space.
"That's why various boundaries are coming in in different years because different [building] projects are coming online in different years," he said.
Officials have scheduled three community meetings to allow impacted families to ask questions of the district:
- Monday, Oct. 6 at Mercer Middle School from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, Oct. 7 at Rainier Beach High School from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Oct. 8 at Fairmount Park Elementary from 6:30-7:30 p.m.