Thursday, August 28, 2014

What Happened To The Portable At Laurelhurst Elementary School?

portable delivered then removed
on north playground at Laurelhurst Elementary School

At the end of June, a new portable was delivered and set up on the Laurelhurst Elementary School north playground. Recently it disappeared.

We have received many emails and heard neighbors asking what happened to it. General consensus from families and neighbors is that they are very happy to see it gone as it was put right in the highly used kickball/soccer area and was an eyesore to neighbors.

Seems the school needed to submit a "departure" request as the City of Seattle deemed the portable going 3% over the allotted 35% school coverage for the neighborhood after it was delivered.

The Laurelhurst PTA Co-Presidents, on behalf of the Laurelhurst PTA Board of Directors, sent the Laurelhurst Blog the below letter regarding the status of the portable:

An Update on the Portables at Laurelhurst Elementary
“What’s going on with that portable?” many of you may have wondered this
summer as you drive down 47th Avenue NE. A brand new portable was placed on the north playground in late June. It was added to ensure every class has the space they need, and to address continued enrollment growth in our strong northeast neighborhood schools. 
You may have also noticed that this same new portable recently disappeared. What happened?  
Before it was fully made ready for occupancy, the City of Seattle informed the school district that the portables actually put our building 3% over the 35% maximum lot coverage allowed for a school in our neighborhood.  
Occupying any new portable will require approval of a “departure” request from the district to the City of Seattle. A committee of neighborhood residents will then review the request and decide if a departure from the land use regulation is acceptable. 
The district intends to proceed with the departure request, but this process will take some time. Since new portables are in short supply and badly needed at many schools, rather than leave it unoccupied at Laurelhurst, it has been relocated. Our new principal, Dr. Sarah Talbot, is working with the district and our partners at LASER to restructure our current spaces, providing a temporary solution for our classroom needs this year. 
Portables don’t necessarily have the best reputation. They’re not particularly attractive, they sit on what would otherwise be play space on most school grounds, and they seem separate from the rest of the building. But when a portable helps a school give every student the elbow room they need, and teachers make it a warm and inviting place for their students to learn and engage, then a portable becomes a “cottage,” and the kids in it have a great year. 
It’s our teachers, students and families that make Laurelhurst Elementary such a strong school, sometimes in spite of less than optimal building conditions. The Laurelhurst PTA Board wants to help our school be the best it can be.  
Our goal is to put Laurelhurst Elementary on the list for much-needed building upgrades on the next capital improvements school levy (known as BEX), expected in 2018. We want to see a beloved building that has seen multiple generations of neighborhood kids pass through it’s halls receive a 21st century upgrade.  When that happens we can hopefully say goodbye to the cottages. 
In the mean time, we want families to continue to send their kids to Laurelhurst Elementary, which means giving teachers and students the learning space they need. Approval of the departure request to add portable space would provide us with flexibility and room for growth, which in turn brings more resources, stabilizes staffing, and makes for a thriving school. And that is a great thing for the community.  
The departure process is scheduled to begin later this fall. We will post more details as they become available, and hope you will consider getting involved. Please also reach out to any of us on the PTA Board, as well as our new principal, with questions you may have. 
Amy Barss and Linda Chou, Laurelhurst PTA Co-Presidents, on behalf of the Laurelhurst PTA Board of Directors


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seems like typical incompetence from the School District leaders.