Let Your Voice Be Heard on Transportation

As you may already know,  Stevens students living outside the new attendance area boundary will no longer receive bus transportation in the coming school year. Bob Westgard, the director of logistics for SPS, is currently looking into our request to change this policy and grandfather in bus transportation for these students for the remainder of the time they attend Stevens. It is likely our request will be forwarded to the executive committee and then possibly to the school board in the near future. Now would be an excellent time to write letters/emails to remind SPS leadership of our concerns prior to these upcoming meetings. A sample letter, followed by SPS leadership contact info, is BELOW.

Thanks for your efforts on behalf our community,

 Rusty Hibbert
PTA Co-President

 SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Seattle Public Schools Executive Committee Members:   

 It is my understanding that the concern the Stevens Elementary School community has about the change in transportation policy will be brought to your attention in the coming days. A large portion of our current student population will lose bus transportation next year due to the change in the Stevens attendance area boundaries and the new transportation policy. We are requesting that this decision be reconsidered and that the students that live between Madison and Cherry, who were assigned to Stevens as their neighborhood school in the past, continue to receive bus transportation for the remainder of the time they attend Stevens. The primary reasons we believe this is the right thing to do are listed below:

  1. This change in policy was poorly communicated. Students living in the affected area received a letter on February 28, five days into the open enrollment period and well after the school open houses had taken place, leaving inadequate time for families to consider this change when making a decision about school choice for the 14-15 school year. The process also allowed no opportunity for community input into the policy change.  
  2. Stevens has an incredibly vibrant, healthy community that values its diversity and is committed to meeting the needs of all students. The current Stevens student demographics very closely mirror the overall SPS student demographics (Stevens 46.2% white vs. SPS 44.0%, Stevens 15.2% special ed. vs. SPS 14.7%, Stevens 39.9% free/reduced lunch vs. SPS 41.6%, Stevens 10.1%ELL vs. SPS 7.5%). The area south of Madison, the section of the current Stevens boundary that will lose bus transportation next year, includes a much larger percentage of the minority student population than the area north of Madison. Thus this change in policy will affect minority students more heavily and have a negative impact on the Stevens community as a whole. 
  3. The neighborhood affected by this change is not in the walk zone for any elementary school including Madrona K-8, the future attendance area school. Therefore, SPS is obligated to provide busing to this student population. It seems there would be no cost difference whether this transportation was provided to Stevens or Madrona. 
  4. This neighborhood has now been assigned to four different schools since TT Minor closed (TT Minor, Leschi/Lowell, Stevens, and now Madrona) bearing an inequitable amount of disruption throughout the implementation of new enrollment plan and school closure process. This change in transportation policy will force those without the means to provide their own transportation to change schools, causing more disruption to a community that has already dealt with more than its fair share.

Thanks for taking time to address this issue. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or need additional information.

 

Sincerely,

Rusty Hibbert

 

SPS CONTACTS

Jose Banda, Superintendent
jlbanda@seattleschools.org

Charles Wright, Deputy Superintendent
cewright1@seattleschools.org

Pegi McEvoy, Assistant Superintendent, Operations
pmcevoy@seattleschools.org

Flip Herndon, Assistant Superintendent,
Capital, Facilities&Enrollment Planning
ltherndon@seattleschools.org

Kenneth Gotsch, Assistant Superintendent, Budget&Finance
kcgotsch@seattleschools.org

Lesley Rogers, Chief Communications Officer
larogers1@seattleschools.org

Bob Westgard, Director of Logistics

bwestgard@seattleschools.org

Stephan Blanford, District V Board Director, stephan.blanford@seattleschools.org

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