MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Parents plea for other solutions as SPS considers closing 20 elementary schools

May 31, 2024, 9:34 AM

sps elementary schools closing...

Exterior of John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, the district office location for Seattle Public Schools. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Many parents and teachers provided plenty of pushback against Seattle Public Schools’ (SPS) idea of closing dozens of elementary schools due to an extreme budget deficit — a decision being mulled over by the SPS board.

More than 100 people showed up to Thursday night’s community meeting, led by Superintendent Brent Jones, to discuss his Well-Resourced Schools plan. The plan is to get the district out from under its budget deficit of more than $100 million and develop a network of well-resourced schools, but in order for this to happen, more than a quarter of the district’s 73 elementary schools might have to close.

More on SPS’ Well-Resourced Plan: Seattle Public Schools’ budget in disarray, could close 20 elementary schools

Twenty-nine of the district’s elementary schools serve less than 300 students, according to KIRO 7, with SPS calling these schools “under-enrolled.” Superintendent Brent Jones claimed only about 65% of the smaller elementary schools are being utilized to their full capacity. Campus buildings could go up to 85% by following the Well-Resourced Schools plan.

But parents and teachers present at Thursday night’s community meeting remain unconvinced this is the right decision.

“We spend a lot of time building trust with students and if any of these schools close, it just dismantles and disseminates all of that work towards inclusion,” Graham Hill elementary teacher Dustin Cole told KIRO 7.

“When people get settled into a community, shifting that it does a lot,” Michelle Reese, a parent of a student within the SPS district, added. “People work, they have their set schedules, they have childcare in certain areas.”

Others who attended, including parent Jay Johnson, told KIRO 7 that the closures are necessary — it’s just a matter of how.

More on Washington schools: Two months of discolored water at Tacoma school leads to frustrated faculty and parents

“Maybe a more staggered approach would make more sense. I think the longer you put it off it’s probably going to cost more,” Johnson said. “Closing a school will save a ton of money but it’s still going to take a lot, a quarter ton to keep it open and not falling apart.”

Any potential closures would impact the 2025-26 school year. The superintendent is expected to make recommendations regarding SPS potentially closing up to 20 elementary schools to the board next month.

Contributing: KIRO 7

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

12 hours ago

Photo: Firefighters responded after a person called 911 to report smoke coming from an Edmonds home...

Julia Dallas

Man dies after Edmonds home catches fire

Firefighters responded after a person called 911 to report smoke coming from an Edmonds home and sounds of a baby crying inside.

19 hours ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

1 day ago

Image: A Bellingham Police Department vehicle is seen on a city street in 2015....

Julia Dallas

Bellingham sixth grader allegedly punched by man in racist attack

A Bellingham 6th-grader was allegedly attacked by a man who was spewing racist comments during a school field trip on Wednesday.

2 days ago

Photo: Starting this fall, students at Seattle's Hamilton International Middle School will have to ...

Julia Dallas

Seattle school to say goodbye to cell phones in the fall

Starting this fall, students at Seattle's Hamilton International Middle School will have to lock up their cell phones during school hours.

2 days ago

Image: A dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is displayed at the Neighborcare Health cli...

Sam Campbell and Steve Coogan

Measles case reported at West Seattle clinic; know the symptoms

A child, now confirmed to have measles, went to the Franciscan Health Urgent Care clinic in West Seattle, officials said in a release Friday.

2 days ago

Parents plea for other solutions as SPS considers closing 20 elementary schools