Remember the crazy overcrowding at Garfield High? Eighteen hundred kids crammed into a building meant for 1600? Parents constantly whining at PTA and school board meetings about how this has got to stop.
Well, if a proposal crafted by Seattle Public Schools gets approved by the school board Jan 19, and IF it is actually successful, then Garfield might get some respite. The proposal is part of the school district's efforts to create a transition plan for the New Student Assignment Plan that kicked in last year, bringing with it some unpleasant surprises such as overcrowding in some schools and underutilized space in others.
The transition plan, which will go into effect next fall, will attempt to fix that, by changing school boundaries, moving or adding programs, and offering popular courses. Specifically, Garfield's geographic boundaries have been reduced, which would take effect for incoming students starting next year. SPS Enrollment and Planning Manager Tracy Libros said that this would lead to an estimated 57 students "fewer than what we would have had for next fall."
The district will also offer an optional Accelerated Progress Program at Ingraham High School to draw more students from Garfield, Libros said at a media briefing today morning. It is also creating a tie-breaker for students applying to Garfield or living in its attendance zone who want to go to another school. This will help them to get assigned to a school other than Garfield.
"We ended up with a lot more students living in Garfield's attendance area," said Libros, when asked what led to the overcrowding in the first place. As to whether any parents falsified their address to enroll their child at Garfield, although district officials couldn't speak to Garfield specifically, they did say that they were investigating 10 to 15 families throughout the district who might have used inaccurate information to get into a school.
More on the transition plan after the jump
A piece of news parents are sure to be upset about: They should no longer assume that their younger child will get into their older sibling's school if they haven't been assigned to that school. Thus confirmed Libros. "We just knew that by looking at the data," she said. "Previously we used every inch of space, but we don't have that kind of space available any more."
Libros said that this year the district had been able to reduce the number of siblings on the waiting list from 150 to 14. But looks like the good ol' days are over folks.
The district will finish making final decisions about the transition plan before open enrollment begins on March 15. Open enrollment allows parents to request schools other than the ones their kids would be automatically assigned to.
And finally some great news. The proposal to put Alternative School #1 in Pinehurst on the chopping block is off the table. The school's executive director will be working with the school to improve dwindling enrollment numbers and programs.