Seattle school officials proposing changes to enrollment plan

Jan 5, 2011

Now that Seattle schoolchildren have settled in to the new student assignment plan, some changes are on the way.  The effort to place kids at neighborhood schools this year has hit a few bumps. 

Some Seattle schools are busting at the seams and not just by a few too many students.  Garfield High School is 150 kids over capacity.  Meanwhile, Rainier Beach High School is under-enrolled by at least 700 students.  Other schools are also out of whack under the new assignment plan. 

“We have about 1,000 students more than we had last year, but we anticipated about 600," says Tracy Libros, manager of enrollment and planning for Seattle Public Schools. "So that has created some over- and under-enrollment.”

Now administrators are asking the school board to make some tweaks.  To relieve overcrowded elementary schools, they want to add language immersion programs and reopen Viewlands Elementary and Rainier View Elementary.  The district closed both schools a few years ago. 

They also plan to redraw boundaries around three high schools.  That’ll funnel some students from Garfield to Franklin and some from Franklin to Rainier Beach.  Officials also hope a new advanced learning program at Ingraham High School will siphon kids from Garfield.

Libros says the district should be able to afford all of its proposed adjustments and new programs.

“We believe that we have funding in this year’s budget to take care of those things,” she says.

The Seattle School Board will vote on the revised assignment plan January 19th.  If approved, the changes will be mandatory for students headed to a new school next year and optional for the rest.