Blog

By: John Hay Partners | November 03, 2017

As you are hopefully aware, your ballots for the local elections, including County, City-wide and School

Board candidates are due next Tuesday, November 7th. Hopefully, if nothing else, history (both recent
and past) has emphasized the value and importance of casting your vote.

This election is important at the schools’ level for many reasons. This upcoming year there are a
number of significant agenda items the School Board (with three seats up for grab in this election) will
have to approve:



New Superintendent

The search and appointment of a new Superintendent for Seattle, will happen under the work
and watch of the new Board. Current Supt. Larry Nyland, who was originally brought in as a
“temporary” Superintendent four years ago when then Supt. Jose Banda left the district, will not
have his contract further extended (per a vote of the Board earlier this year) and his last official
day is June 30th, 2018.

A new Superintendent can have a huge impact on a school system as large and as complex as
Seattle’s. They can shift the direction and focus of the district and put forth a charge that either
stays the course or shakes things up. Having a focused, cohesive and collaborative Board best
ensures strong candidate retention and a positive working relationship from the onset.

Teachers’ Contracts
Teachers’ contracts are also up for renegotiation this year. Having a Board that has a strong and
unified voice in Olympia, regarding pushing for McCleary funding to authentically roll out, and
one that will work diligently to do their best to do right by our teachers and staff is critical.
It is also significant to note that the biggest part of these negotiations will take place
immediately after a new Superintendent has been appointed.

BEX V Levy
This spring we will see the introduction of BEX (Building Expansion) V levy and the projects it is
expected to encompass. This levy will head to the ballot boxes in November 2018 and while
Seattle-ites have never not passed a BEX levy, this one is likely going to be substantial in its ask,
as the district has to address increased/critical capacity issues and buildings that are long
overdue for renovation. The School Board (with the voice of their constituents) will have
significant say and input as to what is prioritized in this levy.

SAP (Student Assignment Plan) and Boundaries
Although Queen Anne and Magnolia are technically part of the “Central District” when
referencing Seattle Schools, we are typically considered part of the “North” when it comes to
high school selections and program access – such IB (Inter Baccalaureate). With the fast
growing population of Seattle, and, specifically the influx and increase of families with school
aged children in the north end, our school sites and buildings are already at or near capacity.
While we can feel this already at the elementary school level, this problem is only accentuated
as students funnel into middle school and the even moreso as they move into a finite number of
high schools.

In an attempt to address some of the capacity constraint, and with the addition of Meany
Middle School (between Capitol Hill and Madison Valley) which opened in September and
Lincoln High School in Wallingford opening in September 2019, the Student Assignment Plan
and the boundaries redraw will try to mitigate some of this by redirecting students to other
school sites than what might have been expected assignment. These decisions will definitely be
felt by students and families in our immediate community with some families being reassigned
to Meany Middle School instead of McClure and it appears Ballard will no longer be the assigned
high school and instead it will be Lincoln.

Additionally, Garfield HS, the traditional feeder school for the HCC program, has been bursting
at the seams for years and it is a priority to relieve that pressure. With that being said a
designated HCC pathway for the “North” is being discussed and will be presented to the new
Board for approval. Ballard HS has reached and is overcapacity, and with the largest surge of
student numbers predicted to arrive in four years, we haven’t seen the “worst” yet as it comes
to capacity and it is very likely Queen Anne and Magnolia residents will not be assigned or
eligible for a “north” end high school (Ballard or Lincoln) unless attrition rates exceed 35%-40%
or another high school building can be brought online.

So as you can see, the 2018 calendar year, the first year for this new Seattle Public Schools’ Board of
Directors, will an incredibly busy and critical one, ensuring that the right candidates make it to the dais is not a decision to be taken lightly. The candidates are quite diverse in terms of ability and experience, interests and expertise. Please take the time to research their positions and make the best choice for your family and community.

SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES
 District (Region) 4 – Eden Mack vs. Herb J. Camet Jr.
 District (Region) 5 – Zachary Pullin DeWolf vs. Omar Vasquez
 District (Region) 7 – Chelsea Beyers vs. Betty Patu


To learn more about these candidates, and the other races, including the Mayoral race which also will have big impacts for our fast growing city, please review the Voter Guide at:
https://info.kingcounty.gov/kcelections/Vote/contests/candidates.aspx?eid=9


by Lisa Reibin Evans - Policy Lead, JHE Partners

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