Editor’s note: Original post written by Kevin Hilman for the Olympic Hills PTA blog. Post re-published with permission. -Carolyn Leith
For the last year and a half, the Olympic Hills Elementary School community (in interim at Cedar Park) has pushed hard for Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to revisit the proposed Cedar Park boundary due to major concerns about equity and safety.
Last week, SPS published its recommendation to the school board’s operations committee, and unfortunately, the proposal addresses capacity, but not equity. We are very frustrated, and disappointed with the SPS proposal.
The SPS recommendation is especially troubling because a taskforce (including teachers and parents, myself included) met with SPS staff to attempt to use the SPS racial equity “toolkit” to analyze the boundary, yet the final decision making (which did not include teachers or parents) was based on capacity, not equity.
Have a look at the numbers and compare for yourself.
First, the Cedar Park numbers from the current, board-approved boundaries for 2017-18. Remember, these are the numbers that caused the initial equity concerns that led to community meetings and the taskforce:
- 38.6% English language learners (ELL)
- 65.3% free/reduced lunch (FRL)
- 72.2% historically underserved
Then, the Cedar Park numbers for the proposed amendment.
- 43.8% English language learners (ELL)
- 69.0% free/reduced lunch (FRL)
- 76.2% historically underserved
All along, our community’s desire has been to reduce the concentration of historically underserved students in Cedar Park. However, because the proposed solution is based on capacity rather than equity, the percentages for all the categories actually increase.
If you have concerns or comments on this recommendation, let the SPS staff know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and also write to the School Board email@example.com. The School Board will have the final decision on the boundaries.
There will also be upcoming community meetings where SPS will share these decisions:
- Sept 28, 6:30pm, Olympic Hills Meeting (at Cedar Park)
- Oct 5, 6:30pm, John Rogers Meeting (at John Rogers)
Please come and share your thoughts.