It appears the Seattle School District heard Eastlake’s parents at its Jan. 6 meeting.
A provision that sets aside 20 percent of kindergarten seats at TOPS@Seward School for Eastlake kids has been restored to the district’s New Student Assignment Transition Plan (NSAP) for the 2010-11 school year. The set-aside, which has been in effect for several years, had been dropped from the plan, sparking a petition drive in the neighborhood and testimony at the Jan. 6 school board meeting.
The school board will vote on the amended transition plan at their meeting on Wednesday evening at school district headquarters, 2445 3rd Ave. S.
In an amended transition plan, posted on the school district’s web site (and attached to this post), the 20 percent provision has been reinstated for the 2010-11 school year. After that, a new tiebreaker based on a geographic zone is supposed to be implemented to help determine how many Eastlake kids can attend their neighborhood school.
The full text of the relevant portion of the amended transition plan is as follows:
The geographic zone tiebreaker will not be in place for 2010-11 assignments. It will be included in the Transition Plan for the second year of implementation. It is not known at this time how the NSAP will change choice patterns for option schools, and that could be helpful data in drawing the geographic zones. The implementation timeline also limited the ability to develop this plan component for 2010-11.
When the geographic zone tiebreaker goes into effect for 2011-12 assignments, the previous TOPS kindergarten priority will no longer be relevant. As an interim, one-year transition step, this tiebreaker will remain in effect for assignments for 2010-11. The TOPS kindergarten tiebreaker provides that distance will be applied as a tiebreaker for 20% of the open kindergarten seats for applicants who list TOPS as their first choice. (Open seats are those remaining after siblings are assigned.)
The school district is trying to whittle down the number of tiebreakers used to determine school placement (there are currently 17 sets of tiebreakers). For an “option” school like Seward, the tiebreakers in the final attendance plan will be:
- Is a sibling attending the school?
- Does the student live inside the school’s geographic zone?
- And, finally, a lottery.
The geographic zone is a new tiebreaker and the size of a zone for Seward has yet to be determined. The Eastlake Community Council has proposed a zone to include all of the neighborhood from I-5 west to and including the houseboats, and from E. Galer north to the Ship Canal. It’s possible that the Roanoke Park area and north Capitol Hill neighborhoods might also be included.
The geographic zone won’t be determined until December and is subject to a vote by the school board. For a more detailed explanation of how the geographic zone would work in determining which Eastlake kids can attend Seward, see our previous post.
Also changed in the amended transition plan is a provision to continue providing bus transportation to current students who are attending a school outside of their middle school attendance area. The original provision was to continue to provide transportation for five years, but that has been cut to two years. Since TOPS@Seward draws students from all over the city, this will have an impact on many of those attending.
At a meeting of the Seward Site Council in November, parents of current TOPS students spoke movingly about how they value the diversity at the school. Parents of current students from the south end of the city worried that they would be unable to get their kids to Seward without transportation provided by the school district.
A stated goal of the new attendance plan is to reduce costs by reducing the amount of transportation the district provides and by returning to more neighborhood-centered school attendance.
The Seattle School Board is scheduled to vote on the transition plan at its meeting this coming Wednesday, Jan. 21, at school district headquarters, 2445 3rd Ave. S.