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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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Lee Moriwaki
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May 18, 2005

Backtrack at Seattle Schools


Management of the Seattle Public Schools has backed away from its plan to close 10 schools to save money. Here is the story and here is the statement by Superintendent Raj Manhas.

Parents protested, and the school district heeded them. But what alternative does the district have? The schools are, roughly, 70 percent full. It is expensive to keep extra buildings open. If you donít cut money by closing schools, you have to cut someplace elseóby firing teachers, for example, or by ending school bus service, which really means ending choice.

The district has a handy-dandy program for you to make your own choices, here. (Press "Budget Model.") Give it a try. I did; I came up with $7 million in savings, and not all of them would be welcomed. Thatís only one-third of the job. Not good enough.

There are two arguments, basically, against closing schools. The first is that its MY school, close someone elseís. That is more of an emotion than an argument. The second is that the district shouldnít close a school that is academically successful. But that is mistaken, too, because what makes a school academically successful are the teachers, students and parents, not the buildings. Move the people to the new buildings and they will be successful there, too.

I think the school district should have stuck with their closures. They may well have to go back to them.

Respond to Bruce.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at May 18, 2005 02:11 PM



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