UPDATE: This post has been updated since it was first published. Dropping the geographic zone for Seward is a staff proposal. The school board has yet to vote on it.
The opportunity for Eastlake children to attend TOPS@Seward School, the neighborhood’s lone school, may have been dealt a serious blow on Wednesday.
The Seattle School District staff has proposed that the district not adopt a geographic zone for the school. The zone would have been used as a “tiebreaker” when determining which children get to attend Seward.
The full school board will vote on the proposal during it’s meeting on Jan. 20. That meeting starts at 6 p. m. at school district headquarters, 2445 3rd Ave. S.
For the 2010-11 school year, Eastlake children (except for those already enrolled at Seward) would be bused to Montlake Elementary. Eastlake kids would have to enter a lottery to gain a seat at Seward, just like every other child in the city.
Under the proposal, the siblings of current students would still be high priority to get into TOPS@Seward due to the sibling tiebreaker provision.
The Eastlake Community Council had proposed a geographic zone for Seward that would have encompassed most of the neighborhood (I-5 west to the houseboats, Galer north to the Ship Canal). The new geographic zones are part of the school district’s new attendance policy, which is focusing on a return to neighborhood schools. The geographic zones would be used as tiebreakers to determine how many neighborhood students would be able to attend (for a more detailed explanation, see our previous post).
The ECC had hoped the geographic zone would allow a few more neighborhood children to attend Seward than currently do. Currently, school policy sets aside a small percentage of the kindergarten seats at the school for neighborhood children. That provision is eliminated in the disrict staff proposal.
Jules James, Eastlake resident, business person and schools activist, said this was the worst setback for neighborhood kids who want to attend Seward in 10 years.
A petition is circulating (see photo) in Eastlake to be sent to the school board and staff. It states that the newly adopted plan is “unacceptable to our neighborhood” and to seek a geographic placement preference for Eastlake kids at the school. The petition is available at Lake Union Mail, 117 E. Louisa, James’ business.