Seward Site Council geographic zone vote: It’s a tie

Parents on the TOPS@Seward Site Council have completed their vote on a proposed geographic zone for the school and the result is a tie.

That means that the Site Council and the Eastlake Community Council will not be presenting a joint proposal to the school board for the new zone as many in the neighborhood had hoped. Instead, says Jules James, the ECC’s representative on the Site Council, the ECC will have to present a proposal to the school board on its own.


The ECC’s zone proposal (see attached map) would have included everything from I-5 west to the houseboats and from East Galer in the south to the Ship Canal in the north. A second proposal would have included the triangle of neighborhood between Eastlake Avenue and I-5 and the Roanoke Park area.

Staff at the school weren’t eligible to vote on the proposal. Since the first part of the vote, on the ECC’s proposal, tied then the second part, on adding the triangle and Roanoke Park, was rendered moot.

As we explained in a previous post:

The geographic zones are part of the Seattle School District’s new assignment plan. They would be used in the case of “option,” or “alternative,” schools to help determine who can attend them.

The school district has already issued maps for “attendance zone” schools. Eastlake falls into the attendance zone for Montlake Elementary. Students will automatically be assigned to school there. To be placed at TOPS by either the geographic zone process or lottery, students must apply during the open enrollment period during the winter.

TOPS@Seward is an “option” school, which means that children from a large part of the city can apply to go there. When children who live near an option school apply to go there, the district uses three “tiebreakers” to determine whether or not they can attend: whether siblings attend the school, the geographic zone and then the lottery. One of the tiebreakers is a new “geographic zone.”

The school district is currently working on a new attendance policy for the entire district that will emphasize assigning children to schools in their neighborhoods as much as possible. The school district staff is expected to present proposals for the geographic zones to the school board on Dec. 16.

The ECC had hoped to make a joint proposal to the school board on the geographic zone, the assumption being that that would make for a stronger case with the board. The ECC is now working on submitting its proposal to the school board, James says.

3 thoughts on “Seward Site Council geographic zone vote: It’s a tie

  1. Annoyed

    So, it’s been what…10 years now? And still TOPS doesn’t want to work with the neighborhood? Maybe it’s more complex than that, but that’s how it’s come out. Every time I drive past the CITY tennis courts and the CITY playground and see the school kids swamping them…and realize that the school wants to use neighborhood city facilities every day but doesn’t want to recognize neighborhood kids, I get extremely annoyed.

    I’ve heard it’s a great school, but I’d rather have a program there that has some perspective on its place in the city infrastructure.

  2. Annoyed

    And when SPS stops busing kids to TOPS in a few years and instead all the current students have to drive or carpool into the area, that should really have no effect at all on local traffic or parking for residents or businesses in the area. Oh, I forgot. You don’t live in the area so you couldn’t care less, except when you can’t find a spot to park for a school event? Right. Maybe you’ll find a spot in front of a house of somebody who’s had to drive their kid over to Montlake or wherever the District has now assigned our kids.

  3. Yale Ave

    Dear Annoyed and others checking this site. Admittedly it’s been a long slog with the District and the TOPS community to keep families in Eastlake long-term via predictable access to the school at the heart of our community. I know that many are concerned that our (4-year-old) 20 percent of kindergarten class seat placement promise is disappearing as SPS rolls out its new student assignment plan for the coming year. It’s true. It’s going away. But there are a couple of bright spots, and there are ways to weigh in on the current state of the state constructively.

    1) The geographic zone tiebreaker around TOPS will be proposed as early as mid-Dec. Everyone who has followed this issue in the neighborhood is hoping the bulk of Eastlake is included in the zone. That would mean the 4-7 kindergarteners coming out of the neighborhood each year would have an extremely good shot at attending TOPS. (This is about the same amount of neighborhood enrollment as we have had with the 20 percent agreement.) If you want to tell the District that you want neighborhood placement for TOPS, the time to comment is right now. Contact the District via this link: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/newassign/faq_tiebreakers

    2) Despite the fact that TOPS chose not to support a joint proposal with Eastlake to the District, there appear to be more school families supportive of Eastlake’s viewpoint than a few years back. Discussion with the TOPS Site Council has been helpful and the tone has been respectful. I don’t anticipate the school publicly pushing *against* neighborhood placement, as happened a while back.

    3)I have one child at TOPS and one on the way next year. A few families in Eastlake have asked over the past weeks whether TOPS makes neighborhood kids feel unwelcome. In my experience, 98 percent of the population has been very accepting of my family and the others from the neighborhood, and have put politics aside in favor of working toward a great education for the kids.

    If you have more questions about the TOPS situation, pls. contact me via info@eastlakeseattle.org and either I or one of the other neighbors working on this matter will get back to you.

    Michelle Buetow

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