The Eastlake Community Council Board last week sent a letter to the Seattle School District formally proposing a geographic zone for TOPS@Seward School.
The zone would be part of the new school district attendance plan. It will be used as a “tiebreaker” in determining which neighborhood children will be allowed to attend Seward, which as an “option” school draws students from all over Seattle, not just from Eastlake.
The ECC Board voted unanimously for the proposed geographic zone tie-breaker at its Nov. 18 meeting. The zone would cover the area of Eastlake from I-5 west to the houseboats at Lake Union, and north from E. Galer in the south to the Ship Canal in the north (see attached map).
The ECC had worked for several months with the TOPS@Seward Site Council to make a joint proposal of this geographic zone. The Site Council, which consists of staff at the school and parents of students, voted in November on whether to endorse the ECC proposal or a variation that would have also included Roanoke Park. Staff at Seward weren’t able to vote on the proposal and, ultimately, it came down to a tie (previous post here).
In his letter (see attached PDF) to Tracy Libros, director of enrollment planning for the Seattle School District, ECC President Tim Ahlers said:
“Placement at TOPS K-8 @ Seward continues to be an issue of utmost importance to our geographically-well-defined community. Our neighborhood retains its families and its historic central community gathering point via our children’s enrollment at TOPS K-8 @ Seward.”
The ECC had hoped to present the geographic zone proposal jointly with the Site Council, believing that would give the plan more weight with the school district.
“The neighborhood also pressed for a shared agreement,” Ahlers says in his letter, “because we would like to continue the improved community-school relations that have evolved during the 4-year history of the 20-percent kindergarten enrollment set-aside.”
Ahlers says that even though the Site Council isn’t signing the letter about the proposal, “the ECC is still appreciative of the tie vote, as it marks a positive step forward from the active and vocal opposition to neighborhood attendance that the same school community posited earlier in this decade.”
Ahlers’ letter for the ECC Board concludes:
“Schools, be they categorized as “assignment” or “option” by the District, are strengthened by community support. A community is strengthened by a tie to its school. Seattle Public Schools has the opportunity to enrich TOPS and Eastlake via acceptace of our Geographic Zone proposal.”
Previous Eastlake Ave. Blog coverage of the TOPS@Seward geographic zone can be found here.