SPS is on the Fort Lawton redevelopment EIS! (11/21/17)
Per a Memorandum of Understanding released jointly by city and district today, SPS is invited to utilize 6 acres of land at Fort Lawton!
This is a significant moment and one that came with a great deal of work and effort, not just through those that advocated for a school/school use at the Fort Lawton site, but on the part of the School Board who truly listened to the voices of constituents and families; SPS Staff who were willing to maintain a dialogue and look at the bigger picture; and, the City officials and staff who also see the benefit of working together with the school district and the families of Seattle in the investment of outcomes for ALL our students. We are grateful to our leaders for the enormous effort that they placed into creating this opportunity.
The work does not stop here, and as Mayor Burgess and Director Leslie Harris highlighted, this is a process that will involve and encourage public input. “Tune in” and “show up”, share your voices, your concerns and your hopes. Working collaboratively and with the consideration of ALL our Seattle School students when we speak and advocate, will ensure that great things can and will happen.
Watch the video of Mayor’s press release below or here:
(Fort Lawton starts at 6:10)
Create budget request for OPCD urban planning for school facilities
Dear school advocates,
Fort Lawton School Coalition has focused on bringing Seattle Public Schools to the table in the re-development of Fort Lawton, on the outside edge of Discovery Park. As our efforts have evolved, we have expanded our advocacy to larger city-wide issues specifically focusing on the necessity of infrastructure to support increases in population and housing (thereby positively impacting ALL students and families). As our city grows, we are keenly aware of the increased infrastructure needs of our public education and we as parents, families, educators, and concerned citizens have increased our voice to let our elected official know that we deeply care about this issue.
We feel that, with Seattle’s exceptional population growth, it is imperative that the public school system be able to adequately grow with infrastructure and programming needs to meet the increasing needs of our city’s families. If public education cannot keep up with the pace of growth, the dire consequence will be that families leave the city en masse and this is not a fate we wish for our city. We are hopeful that proactive planning -that can catch us up to current educational needs and plan for future needs- will help to ensure the success of our region and the businesses that draw thousands of families to its workforce. We have noted the lack of candidate discussion about the needs of families and how students will be considered in the future growth of this city. We would like to let our elected officials at every level of government know that we wish to work collaboratively for the future growth planning and that Seattle families will not tolerate a city that doesn’t equally consider or show diligence in the consideration of the needs of its youngest citizens.
We recently learned that in 2015 the city council amended the charter for the City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development to specifically include that they will develop planning strategies that support the public school facility needs now and in the future. This is very good intention, though there currently isn’t specific budget and staff time, or a specific planning process for this work. The City Council Budget committee met last Friday and this topic was brought up in public testimony and by City Council members.
You can watch it here: http://www.seattlechannel.org/BudgetCommittee?videoid=x83801
Now, over the next 6 weeks, is when City Council is deliberating on the budget, so this is a critical time for the city council to take steps to include a budget request that OPCD intentionally develop the planning strategies for school facilities.
If we want to ensure that we have great Schools in Seattle as we grow and develop, it is imperative that the City and school district continue and increase their collaboration on planning for school facilities. Funding the urban planning process through the OPCD to create a comprehensive, intentional and transparent process will help ensure that each child in Seattle has access to a high quality school facility.
Please contact our city council representatives TODAY and ask them to support a budget request for OPCD for urban planning for school facilities. With a deliberative and intentional urban planning process that addresses public education needs, we can equitably plan for the whole city’s education infrastructure.
Please email our officials below, share this email, and ask these questions to our candidates!
Watch Eden Mack’s Testimony to City Council (10/13/17)
Eden’s testimony begins – timestamp: 3:20
Sally Bagshaw’s School & City coordination questioning – timestamp: 15:05
“We would like to work with the School District for planning more than one or two years out.”
UNANIMOUS RESOLUTION PASSED! (10/04/17)
Tonight the Seattle School Board unanimously passed Resolution 2017/18-6 requesting immediate inclusion in the Fort Lawton Redevelopment EIS.
The Fort Lawton School Coalition would like to thank each of the board members and Superintendent Dr. Nyland for listening to our communities, thoughtfully discussing ideas and facts, and then swiftly acting together.
You have sent a clear message to the Mayor and City Leaders that Seattle Public Schools must be included in further planning and development discussions.
Thank you for listening to the facts and acting expeditiously.
Seattle Public Schools Board seeks immediate action on Fort Lawton EIS! (10/03/17)
Resolution 2017/18-6 – Immediate Request to the City of Seattle (City) to incorporate Seattle Public Schools (SPS) uses as alternatives to be considered in the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – Approval of this item would adopt a Board resolution requesting inclusion of Seattle Public Schools uses as alternatives to be considered in the City of Seattle’s Fort Lawton redevelopment planning process and EIS.
“Seattle Public Schools desires to collaborate with the City for addition to the EIS, considering interim and future use of a portion of that land and in conjunction with potential existing plans for low-income housing.
This process represents the largest piece of land in the city and the county being de- accessioned by the U.S. Government. SPS has a capacity crisis and is need of future school sites for the next 20 years and beyond. Further, the site could be used in the interim prior to the need and funding guarantees for a school, e.g., future BEX levies, for maintenance facilities, athletic field(s), environmental science classroom/field trip destination, and/or a learning center to collaborate with Daybreak Star Cultural Center, or other uses.”
“I want to know about Fort Lawton in a really clear chronology. And I want to know what efforts we are doing so that we just don’t accept ‘no’ in this extraordinarily fast, brilliant city. …We need to hold hands with Senator Patty Murray and figure out ways to make this happen. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I don’t want to be part of a Board that looks the other way, like that Board that sold Queen Anne High School. I can’t do it.“
– Leslie Harris SPS Board Member
School PTA Boards Pass Same Fort Lawton Resolution (9/20/17)
Lawton Elementary, Catherine Blaine, and John Hay have all passed the following resolution. Queen Anne Elementary and Coe are in support and will vote soon. All of the PTA Boards in the Magnolia/Queen Anne cluster are speaking clearly with one unified voice.
We as the PTA board request that Seattle Public Schools re-evaluate capacity projections and growth trends for the Magnolia/Queen Anne Cluster and that, in light of the rapid growth of this area, Seattle Public Schools re-consider the importance of the Fort Lawton land opportunity and formally request for the City of Seattle to add a school to the Environmental Impact Statement that is currently being processed. Additionally we ask that you address our capacity issues through high school proactively and prevent the capacity crisis we see coming.
KNOW THE FACTS!
We have compiled the below fact sheet to help clarify the issues and to share.
Regarding Fort Lawton: “SPS Facilities Charges Ahead”
I am aware that there is some kind of NIMBY perception about this area but the people I have been talking with DO want/expect more housing and their concern is two-fold. (Here’s a link to their Change.org petition with over 1200 signatures. You’ll note that they just want the EIS to include a possible school, not eliminating any housing possibilities. There was also a SurveyMonkey survey done of parents in that region about their school choices which has interesting feedback.)
One, the district losing yet another opportunity for free land from the feds.
Two, that no matter what type of housing goes in, that Magnolia/Queen Anne is continuing to densify and grow and that more schools will be needed. It is projected that the reopening of the old Magnolia Elementary will see it open full. The district has even talked about putting on additions at a couple of QA elementaries. It would seem that the district may need another elementary school sooner rather than later.
In fact, in an August 7, 2017 letter to the City’s Office of Housing about this issue, Superintendent Nyland said this:
With current projects scheduled, we could not demonstrate an immediate need. We just added middle school capacity and have elementary and high school projects underway. (Editor’s note; I’m a bit baffled about those “high school projects” except for BTA ones.) However, at the rate of growth of SPS enrollment, we could see a need in the very near future.
But the district seems caught up in “immediate” need versus “very near-future” need. But he goes on:
In summation, SPS is desperately seeking additional land for future school sites. We recognize the once in a lifetime opportunity obtaining some of the Fort Lawton property provides.
The letter also states that the district could be a partner in the redevelopment planning process but then goes on to end:
Thus and unfortunately, we cannot meet the criteria you have asked us to respond to.
It’s free land. How the district is going to allow yet ANOTHER opportunity for free land in Seattle to get away from them is a mystery.
As you may recall, the feds have specific rules about giving over buildings/land to various other government entities. One rule for educational uses is that the building must be in use as an educational institution within three years. Naturally, that would mean having the dollars to renovate and open in that timeframe. Does SPS have that?
Probably not all of it but it is quite clear to anyone watching that there are banked dollars in various BEX and BTA funds. The district routinely digs them out for the projects they want. I think this a worthy use.
As well, there is wording in the federal regulations and rules that say that if whoever takes over a federal property does not have it up and rolling within those three years, they can pay a penalty until they do. Something of a “land-banking” idea. It may be worth knowing just how much that is as compared to the costs of buying land to build on.
And again, where are the good corporate citizens who could help? I was astonished at the full-court press for the former Federal Reserve building by the Downtown Neighborhood Association and yet not one business stepped up to help the district acquire the land. I hope this time that doesn’t happen.
Some ideas being floated:
A) Mcclure becomes elementary, Blaine middle, new k-8 Blaine campus at Fort Lawton
B) Blaine becomes a high school, McClure an elementary, Ft. Lawton becomes new K-8 bBlaine with a significantly grown middle school program
C) Fort Lawton land could become a 6-12
SPS has the opportunity to partner with Islandwood and create a world-class environmental learning center.
I believe it would be far cheaper to building a QA/Magnolia high school than a high school at Memorial Stadium. If the City and the district combined forces, Memorial Stadium could be a real multi-use space with concerts in the summer as well as other sporting events (Ultimate frisbee comes to mind) as well as the district needs throughout the school year.
It is weird that the district is moving forward so quickly with the City around Memorial Stadium and many of us believe this needs real public engagement.
Here’s the City’s report on the space.
The City needs to include a possibility of a school in any EIS.
Update: The fight is not over. (08/23/17)
Dear neighbors and supporters,
Many of you have received information from the Office Of Housing that Seattle Public Schools was unable to answer specific use questions regarding the Fort Lawton Land and that they are thus moving forward on their existing EIS alternatives. While initially seeming like defeat, we will not let this be a hard stop in the conversation for the need for this land for the Seattle Public Schools. My friends, now is the time to double back to our city, district and school board officials letting them know that we see increasing densification, the need for more physical space for the education of our children and that, in this world-class city, we expect proactive planning for world-class education for our children!
We will open this year, in this particular cluster, feeling immense pressure of more bodies in our schools. Our teachers and staff rely heavily on our fundraising efforts to help mitigate this crush, but the downstream effects of the overpopulation of our schools will be borne by our children, so we must act now! We have a new school that is going to open, hopefully in two years, but with its opening there truly won’t be any relief on the capacity constraints/pressure, we are merely shuffling seats.
Those who have preschool and elementary aged students will feel the gravity of the capacity crisis as they hit middle school and high school, but by that point it is too late to do anything… actions need to take place now and the complacency of both thought and action of senior staff cease any possibility of proactive actions or planning to alleviate this nearing crisis.
We are frustrated with the inaccuracies in Dr. Nyland’s letter, especially around capacity and the lack of accurate information and engagement with the Department of Education…
— While focusing only on Magnolia in his statement, one “neighborhood” doesn’t stand alone because with capacity issues, domino effects spill into adjacent neighborhoods and clusters.
— The SPS growth projections of student numbers are woefully low and do not account for the rapid growth in this area due to upzoning, new construction, and young families moving in.
— Dr. Nyland noted that the district will have a significant need for infrastructure in the very near future- this necessitates that the investigation into this property is full and robust. Please consider that by the time an EIS study occurs, permits are pulled, ground is broken, and a school is built, the “very near future” will be here!
— If no school is on this land, and if 150+ family units are built there, we immediately find ourselves in crisis because there are not seats for that many new students in our cluster. The realities that are being ignored by the district must not be ignored by us, and we must evoke change!
— The letter to the Office of Housing stated that the DOE did not respond to the district’s requests for information. Why would our district decline land that they have not even fully explored! To quote Supt Nyland from his letter, “We recognize the once in a lifetime opportunity obtaining some of the Ft. Lawton property provides” – Thus, we are hoping that a the amount of effort toward taking advantage of such an opportunity is commensurate with the opportunity itself! A rapidly growing number of parents are ready to help make this happen as they become aware of the opportunity!
Please contact the below leaders of the school district and city to again voice your insistence that we not squander this opportunity! Until every stone has been turned, we need to advocate for this land which will serve students for generations to come.
1000 emails in their inboxes (1,160+ have already signed our petition) will let them know we are serious about our children and the future of education in our city!
If you send an email, will you let us know? Email FLSTEAMcom@gmail.com .
If you have additional questions or ideas, please reach out!
Thank you for your support!
We have been informed that the Seattle School District has indicated their support to the City for adding a school to the EIS. (06/27/17)
We would like to say thank you to the Seattle School Board and the School District for listening and engaging in this process. We continue to work with the School Board and District, the City of Seattle and Federal representatives to ensure this occurs. We will keep you updated on developments and will let you know how you can help.
Thank you for your support!
Our Shared Values:
|We believe the City of Seattle should add a school to the Environmental Impact Statement as we have current and future school capacity needs.
We believe in the value of preserving and creating as much park space as possible in Discovery Park for a growing community.
The City of Seattle recently announced plans for the Fort Lawton re-development project in Magnolia. The proposal includes the following four alternatives:
- Alternative 1: Mixed Income Affordable Housing and Public Park Uses
- Alternative 2: Market Rate Housing Onsite & Affordable Housing Offsite
- Alternative 3: Public Park Onsite: Affordable Housing Offsite
- Alternative 4: No Action
These four alternatives do not recognize the current and exacerbating school capacity challenges that we are facing at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
We are asking for the City of Seattle/Seattle City Council to direct the Office of Housing to partner with the Seattle Public Schools to create a fifth alternative that assesses the impact of a school along and additional park space.
We promote the importance of including contiguous green space to sustain and promote wildlife in this critical habitat
The best aspect of this plan is that the property can be transferred to the district through the federal government at NO COST!
This alternative re-development plan must be added prior to the Environmental Impact Study or else it will not be considered.
If you support this proposal, please sign our petition and send an email to OH_comments@seattle.gov asking for a high school to be included as an alternative for the Environmental Impact Statement. We need your help!
It is imperative we advocate for a school at Fort Lawton this week due to the time frame that the city has laid out for public comment.
We have contacted the city council and school district with a specific request to add a high school to the alternatives for the redevelopment of Fort Lawton. We have several school board members and city council members who have had a very positive response to our proposal. We hope to demonstrate the unification of our community to support the needs of our students in the Seattle Public Schools; many have been quietly advocating for a school at this location for years, the time of action is now.
Please sign and share our petition, send the email to OH_comments@seattle.gov, write to your city council member, Seattle Public School officials and Board Members and indicate that a school option should be explored.
The city’s scoping period for this project ends at 5:00 PM on June 26th so the timing is imminent. We are securing legal support and consultants who can help us work through the environmental impact studies and how to best work with city timelines.
I think it is the best use for the site it has Leisy hall which is a stunning architectural site perfect for a school and the proximity of the park is perfect for life sciences research. Our kids deserve good public education on all levels and safe neighborhood! Overcrowded schools will not provide it. The location is perfect for a new school.
To bring houses for homeless people by Discovery park is a bad idea! The crime in Magnolia is going up by a minute, and we don’t have an adequate police response for what is already going on. To bring homeless housing so close to a huge park, will make it dangerous and very difficult to police. (See the parks in South Lake Union)
The city does need to take care of the population that is already in Magnolia. To bring only housing for so many new families and not provide infrastructure, is irresponsible. Magnolia does need a new school!
I think it is the best use for the site it has Leisy hall which is a stunning architectural site perfect for a school and the proximity of the park is perfect for life sciences research.
Our kids deserve good public education on all levels and safe neighborhood! Overcrowded schools will not provide it. The location is perfect for a new school.