Seattle City Council: Create budget request for OPCD urban planning for school facilities
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We must stop thinking about our government having separate jurisdictions when it comes to city planning and development. Recent years have had the City of Seattle operating and planning for growth and development, without the input of the Seattle Public Schools and, seemingly, without careful consideration of how educational programming and infrastructure will need to grow along with the city. (Did you know that there was no SPS representation on HALA- the city's plan for rolling out increased densification in the city?!) We hope to change this conversation and bring the different areas of government into collaboration so that our students can expect to have adequate and robust educational opportunities over the next decades of city growth.
At least 15% of the Seattle population is under the age of 18. We as school and child advocates want to bring attention to the needs of our youngest citizens and evaluate city-wide issues impacting our youth. We specifically want to focus on the necessity of infrastructure to support increases in population and housing, thereby positively impacting ALL students and families. As our city grows, we are keenly aware of the increased infrastructure needs of our public education and we as parents, families, educators, and concerned citizens have increased our voice to let our elected official know that we deeply care about this issue.
We recently learned that in 2015 the city council amended the charter for the City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development to specifically include that they will develop planning strategies that support the public school facility needs now and in the future. This is very good intention, though there currently isn’t specific budget and staff time, or a specific planning process for this work. The City Council Budget committee met recently and this topic was brought up in public testimony and by City Coucil members. Link to the video here: http://www.seattlechannel.org/BudgetCommittee?videoid=x83801
Now, over the next weeks, we understand that the City Council is deliberating on the budget and thus this is a critical time for the city council to take steps to include a budget request that OPCD intentionally develop the planning strategies for school facilities.
If we want to ensure that we have great Schools in Seattle as we grow and develop, it is imperative that the City and school district continue and increase their collaboration on planning for school facilities. Funding the urban planning process through the OPCD to create a comprehensive, intentional and transparent process will help ensure that each child in Seattle has access to a high quality school facility.
Please support a budget request for OPCD for urban planning for school facilities. With a deliberative and intentional urban planning process that addresses public education needs, we can equitably plan for the whole city's education infrastructure.
Concerned Families and Child Advocates in Seattle
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