Seattle Public Schools and a System of Well Resourced Schools
Thu, May 9 8:38pm


Last night Seattle Public Schools presented their proposal for a system of “Well Resourced Schools”. The headlines read of closing 20 elementary schools, and that is alarming. North Beach is a phenomenal school and community. The threat of losing our school is one we have had to face time and again. The impact it will have on our children is great. However, a larger issue was presented during the May meeting. The Superintendent presented the District’s vision for a “Well Resourced School”. To say that the system presented is missing the mark of what the community is asking for is a gross understatement. 

The District put forth a proposal that narrowly focused on elementary schools, school size, and an even distribution of schools in a city with an uneven distribution of growth. The proposal offered inadequate staffing and unspecified special education services for schools. The presentation’s lack of clarity in the decision making process and the lack of any alternatives is cause for confusion.


Seattle Public School’s Proposal
Please refer to the attached screenshot of the slide outlining the well resourced school plan. The columns indicating a school with 515 and 465 students is where we shall focus as Washington State calls out 400 students in k-6 as a “prototypical elementary school”. 

  • 0.5 (half time) Assistant Principal: A part time Assistant Principal is not adequate for large schools. This will force more work on Principals and the school office. That work takes them away from their focus on students. 
  • Nurse 2 days a week: This is an inadequate number; it could push sick and hurt students onto office staff that are not fully medically trained.
  • 3 special education intensive service classrooms: this information does not call out any of the staffing needed for these classrooms. 
    • This proposal does not call out the myriad of other services that a school needs for Special Education: Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Pathologists, etc. 
  • 1.0 (full time) counselor/social worker: The full time counselor/social worker is inadequate given the size of schools proposed. House Bill 2065 of the Washington state legislature recommends a counselor ratio of 250 students to 1 Counselor. 
  • Between 3-4 and 3-5 teachers per grade level: Averaging those numbers results in class sizes between 17.1 and 28.6 students per classroom. 
    • Student teacher ratios are actually calculated including all teachers that a student will see (ex specialists like Art, PE, music) so the numbers will look different.
    • Legal requirements for class sizes in k-3 and 4-5 may have an impact on average class size. (Page 4, lines 6-7). While these numbers are within the set limits, they are at the maximum of them. 
  • Full time teachers in art, music, and PE: It is lovely to see a full time investment in these classes. The presentation does not call out any technology classes. 
  • Other items of note
    • Librarians: There is no mention of full time Librarians or fully funded libraries.
    • The gap between state and district funding. State funding is still lackluster, and intense advocacy is still needed to rectify this, at the same time, comparing the state funding allocations (page 5) to the well resourced school presentation slide (attachment) there is very little difference in staffing.
    • Additional services schools offer: The proposal did not mention English Language Learning support, Highly Capable and Advanced Learning, etc.

North Beach PTA Opinion
Seeing this proposal, we as a PTA feel called to petition our Board Representative, the School Board, and the District to ask: Is this it? Is our district in such dire funding needs that this bare bones funding model is all we can afford? If so, we echo what the School Board asked during the May 8th meeting; show your work. Show to the families of Seattle that there is no other way to get out of our funding deficit. That you tried multiple other financial models and they all failed. Show that you’ve reached out to the giants of industry and philanthropy that call our city and region home. Show the work that you have a comprehensive plan ready to roll out that builds upon this low baseline. Show that you care about our students.

What the NBPTA is Doing
The North Beach PTA is sending communication to our Board Representative, the School Board, and Seattle Public Schools outlining our concerns for the students of Seattle. We are actively seeking collaboration with area schools and the Seattle Council PTSA to amplify our voice and concerns. We will continue to speak up as more information becomes available. 

What You Can Do
If you have opinions positive, negative, or otherwise about the System of Well Resourced Schools speak up! Use the “Let’s Talk” feature on the sps webpage to share your opinion with the district and contact the School Board to share your opinions. Sharing personal stories is a way to make a connection and reiterate your point.

Attend and speak at a School Board meeting. Share your voice and opinion. Speaking at a School Board meeting may be done in person or by phone.