Some members of the board are rethinking the Southeast Initiative, the district's much-lauded effort to improve three underperforming South End schools: Aki Kurose Middle School and Rainier Beach and Cleveland high schools.
The School Board launched the initiative last year with $250,000 and a three-year plan to draw back neighborhood students to the schools. But as the district staff has continued to propose arts programs, more rigorous classes, additional class periods, teacher bonuses and other extras for Southeast Initiative schools, several board members have wondered aloud whether it's getting too expensive. And some have expressed frustration that the superintendent has not yet identified specific goals for the schools.
There's no budget yet, but district officials have estimated the Southeast Initiative could cost $3 million to $4 million each year.
At a board meeting earlier this month, member Michael DeBell called the situation "problematic."
Board member Peter Maier questioned whether the effort would be sustainable.
"Let's assume this works," he said. "Then the question arises, are we committed to many years of these kinds of resources?"
In an interview Friday, board member Harium Martin-Morris said he is open to backing off the Southeast Initiative if necessary — even reneging on commitments already publicized in the district's enrollment guide.
"I must confess, I have some reservations," he said. "I have to look at that and say, 'Gee, that's a lot of money, and can I use that money in a better way to still help those schools, but help even more [schools]?'"
OK, so the school board is totally willing to just let South Seattle schools fail without providing them with the extra help they need. Where are these people from? I'm guessing they come from north of the ship canal. Pathetic.
And how is it even legal for the district to let the north-end schools put on two plays and a musical every year, while Rainier Beach has to resort to illegal downloads if they want to try to put on a single performance? What is the official justification for all this inequality in services?