1. A Seattle school board vote this week (Wednesday night) could eliminate 19 onsite, before-and-after school programs. Thanks to a 2.3 percent growth in SPS enrollment across the district this school year—and 1.9 percent to 2.8 percent growth over the last four years—SPS says it needs 28 new homerooms. And SPS also needs 37 additional rooms to meet the K-3 class size reductions mandated by the Washington state supreme court McCleary decision; yes, the legislature actually funded that portion of McCleary.
Making space for the new homerooms will evict 30 percent of the onsite child care programs in the district, says Susan Brown, the president of KidsCo, which has 11 sites across the district from Ballard to Rainier Beach. In a letter to city council last week, Brown said that 19 of 69 onsite child care programs will be displaced next year, jeopardizing services for more than 1,000 kids in SPS schools.
"The loss of on-site child care programs will be devastating to kids who need before-and-after-school care, to low-income and working parents, to employers, to our entire community."
2. Erica C. Barnett is all over the standoff between angry neighbors in Magnolia and city hall about homeless people living in the fancy neighborhood in RVs and cars. This morning Erica posted a Q&A with council member Mike O'Brien, who has taken the brunt of the anger by trying to address the issue at heated public meetings.
From her interview:
Barnett: What about complaints from neighbors who say there’s a double standard–they have to keep their tabs up to date and move their cars every 72 hours, so why aren’t they enforcing those same laws on the people in RVs?
O'Brien: The police know that arresting somebody for an expired tab when they know they have absolutely no money to buy the tabs–that’s someone that’s in poverty. Arresting is not the solution. It’s a waste of our time. I hear folks who say, “I leave my car out there and I get a ticket–that’s not fair.” It’s like, we’re trying to use some discretion here. Or there’s the guy who was like, “My TV was stolen and I saw it down in the homeless encampment and the police said I can’t do anything about that.” Well, you said you were just going to donate your TV to Goodwill. Someone stole it? That saves you the work. Is it really worth it to call in the police? Come on, dude.
3. On Friday afternoon, I started rolling out a project I'm pretty excited about. It's called the City Canon. I'm asking folks to identify books, movies, music, poems, or whatever artistic stuff they want, that they see as an urbanist tract or manifesto. Just as there are feminist movies, and Marxist works of literature, and queer theory TV shows, there are certainly urbanist ones too.
In Friday's installment, for example, local ACLU board member Jamila Johson argued that Mozart in the Jungle is an urbanist TV show.