Ty Swenson
Arbor Heights School parents and teachers held signs displaying the need for a new building at a Seattle Public Schools meeting at Madison Middle School on Sept. 24. They are lobbying the district to move up a 2019 timeline for replacing the building.

Despite calls for earlier help, Arbor Heights Elementary still slated for 2019 replacement

In a public meeting on Sept. 24 in West Seattle, well over 30 Arbor Heights School teachers and parents spoke out against Seattle Public Schools plan to rebuild/expand the school by 2019 as part of their next round of levy priorities, asking SPS to move the timeline up for a school in dire need of an update.

You can read more about that meeting here.

According to a letter from SPS Superintendent Jose Banda on Oct. 9, it appears the Arbor Heights outcry was heard, but not implemented (as of yet).

Seattle voters will vote to renew SPS’s BEX IV and Operations Levies in February of 2013, and the district is currently formulating a wish list of projects they wish to tackle with the funds (if it passes) from 2014 to 2021. The BEX (Building Excellence) Levy funds are used to improve buildings and infrastructure.

In his letter, Banda wrote that the current plan for Arbor Heights School is to “replace (the) existing building with a new/expanded facility by 2019. The school will be at an interim site starting in 2017. We understand the building is in need of replacement, but we will not have enough cash flow from levy funding to move this project up within BEX. However, we will analyze the pros and cons of other funding options to hopefully start this work sooner.”

The SPS School Board is expected to vote on the BEX Levy priority list in November. Leading up to that vote are two meetings where the public can comment:

• Wednesday, Oct. 17, 4:15 p.m. – Regular School Board meeting, expected introduction of BEX IV list. Public testimony taken (prior sign-up required).

• Wednesday, Oct. 24, 4-5 p.m. – BEX IV and Operations levies public comment session, John Stanford Center. Public testimony taken.

• Wednesday, Nov. 7, 4:15 p.m. – School Board meeting, expected vote on BEX IV project list.

In the meantime, comments can be sent to capacity@seattleschools.org.

Additional notes
Banda still lists his plan to replace the Genesee Hill building (holding Schmitz Park Elementary) with a new/expanded facility on the site by 2015.

In the PowerPoint presentation relating to this updated project list (found here), SPS also noted the community has asked the district to find a final home for the K-5 STEM School currently at the interim Louisa Boren building on Delridge Way S.W.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.