Maintain SPS Transportation to Louisa Boren STEM K-8

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We strongly oppose the Seattle Public School (SPS) Board intention to discontinue yellow bus transportation to SPS option schools - like Louisa Boren STEM K-8 -  in an effort to close the identified budget gap of nearly $70 million for the 2021-2022 school year. The projected savings of cutting this essential service ranges from $550,000 to $740,000 (~1.5%), which is not significant enough to make up for the harm and disruption our students and families will endure. This decision is being fast tracked during open enrollment which will cause undue chaos. It has not been discussed with school administrators, teachers, communities, parent teacher associations, etc.

This transportation cut would effectively devastate our school community and take away any hope at continued diversity for our student body in years to come. If enacted, SPS’s decision effectively turns option schools into “elite” schools, denying access to the very population it seeks to foster and goes against its own priorities. According to SPS’s own racial equity tools, “It is the moral and ethical responsibility and a top priority for Seattle Public Schools to provide Equity Access and Opportunity for every student, and to eliminate racial inequity in our educational and administrative system.”

The SPS Board appears to have not thought through any of the following concerns:

  • How will students make it to school everyday? Not every family is a two-car or even a one-car household. Does SPS expect young children to walk 2.2 miles to school everyday from the farthest corner of our geographic zone?
  • Is SPS prepared for the influx of students who will be forced to attend their neighborhood school because they no longer have transportation to Louisa Boren STEM K-8? Our neighborhood schools are already at (or over) capacity and do not have the ability to absorb an overflow of new students. Where will the money and space come from for more classrooms and teachers?
  • How will our students who attend after-school programs at other facilities get to those locations?
  • What are the consequences for local roadways that are already overtaxed due to the closure of the West Seattle Bridge?

This decision appears to unfairly and inequitably target option schools, which are a critical part of the SPS choice plan. This should not be a budgetary matter since RCW 28A.160.150 provides that transportation operating costs “…shall be funded at one hundred percent or as close thereto as reasonably possible for transportation of an eligible student to and from school…” Transportation is an integral component to guaranteeing access to ALL students at our option schools.