Thursday, June 05, 2008

Schools may face closure

Edmonds School District officials and parents will study closing Woodway and Evergreen elementary schools, aiming for a recommendation to the Edmonds School Board in November.

Closing Woodway and Evergreen would save about $1.2 million, about $600,000, from each building.

If approved, the closures would take effect for the 2009-2010 school year.

For more than a year, officials and the district's boundary and enrollment subcommittee have discussed the pros and cons of small schools. The focus was sharpest on Woodway Elementary, the district's smallest school. Meetings were held with Woodway parents to get input.

"I believe you can no longer continue to operate an equitable educational experience (at Woodway)," Ellen Kahan, assistant superintendent, told the board Tuesday, June 3. "Especially at considerable cost to the district. It may be the right time to look at consolidation, given the district's financial situation."

Though officials insist on using the word "consolidation," Woodway and Evergreen would not be combined. Both schools would be closed.

But whether they would be closed depends on a few things. First, the citizen's planning committee, a group of parents and administrators, will study the topic and make a recommendation to the board in November. They could recommend the schools be closed, or not. The board is expected to vote Dec. 9.

As for the district's financial situation, officials cut about $3 million from its budget this spring for 2008-09.

It costs more to operate a small school because a small school is staffed with as many people as a large school.

Woodway has about 180 students, and 150 of them live in the school's boundaries. Evergreen is expected to have 274 students next year, and 210 live in the school's boundaries.

Enrollment has been dropping at both schools for years.

In contrast, Martha Lake Elementary, the largest elementary school in the district, has about 580 students. At the Woodway meetings earlier this year, teachers saw benefits to the small school but also challenges, Kahan said. There are more split classes, and teachers often have to change grades. There has been a split class of first, second and third graders some years. Because teachers wear so many hats, the workload is large. There are only six members in the band. That doesn't offer an equitable experience, Kahan said.

However, many parents at the meetings earlier this year were emphatic about wanting to keep their school open. They cited the personalized environment and high quality of education.

It's almost like sending your child to private school and in a larger school, kids get lost, parents said.

If Woodway were closed, students might be sent to nearby Westgate and Sherwood Elementaries. If Evergreen were closed, they might be sent to Mountlake Terrace Elementary, another small school. If schools closed, students from the closed schools would be split up. No school is big enough to take them all in, Kahan said.

Read the rest of the article by clicking here.

By Sarah Koenig
Enterprise reporter


Anonymous said...

The schools of future high school students are being closed ("consolidated") but building a new Lynnwood High School in Bothell makes sense?

Anonymous said...

I guess enrollment will grow by the time these students to get high school. Makes no sense!!!!

Anonymous said...

If I was on the school board I would definitely close some schools. We lived thru the closing of Edmonds High School and Woodway High School--people will complain but life goes on. Get used to it people, we can't afford everything and decisions must be made.

Anonymous said...

Life does go on, but does it make sense to close buildings, eliminate programs, especially Special Ed, while the "Upper Crust" laugh all the way to the Bank with their hefty pay checks? Let's start at the TOP and work toward the bottom and make kids a FIRST PRIORITY!

Anonymous said...

No, let's stop stupid decisions as quickly as possible.

These two schools should have been closed TWO YEARS AGO or LAST YEAR...and we still have to keep waiting.

Anonymous said...

The closing of Woodway Elementary was assured when then principal Charlotte Beyer was transfered to Cedar Valley. There has been no sense in retaining this as an operating school except to pander to the affluent members of the community.

Anonymous said...

The district didn't want the closing of schools as part of 2008/09 school budget cuts because after all we had a levy to vote on and the upper crust would be voting no if their school was on the list to be closed. game playing!!!