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    District Growth Requires Child Care and Preschool Provider Changes
    Posted on 02/03/2016
    Child painting. Photo credit: Johann Dreo

    Seattle is growing, and Seattle Public Schools is running out of classroom space due to increased enrollment and state mandated reductions in class size (which require more classrooms).

    We are collaborating with schools, providers, partners and families as we work through the complexities associated with the capacity management challenges we face as a community and their potential effect on child care, preschool providers and families.

    Affected Schools

    As of February 3, 2016, the following provider sites have been notified that they need to make alternative plans for the upcoming school year. The dedicated space they have been using is needed for a K-5 classroom in 2016-17.

    We anticipate that all providers notified will need to move from their dedicated space by July 1, 2016.

    • Adams Elementary (will affect before and after school child care)
    • Daniel Bagley Elementary (will affect before and after school child care)
    • Bryant Elementary (will affect before and after school child care)
    • Coe Elementary (will affect both preschool and before and after school child care)
    • Hawthorne Elementary (two classrooms; will affect both preschool and before and after school child care)
    • Madrona K-8 (will affect before and after school child care)
    • Maple Elementary (will affect both preschool and before and after school child care)

    Background

    Last year, the School Board prioritized space based on our constitutional obligation to provide K-12 education first, our commitment to preschool second and child care third.

    School and community partnerships which support children outside the school day are an important element to K-12 education, and our goal is to sustain such relationships whenever possible.

    In October 2015, the district sent a letter to all district partners including child care and preschool providers alerting them of potential effects to the provider’s dedicated space (space used during school hours) for the upcoming 2016-17 school year.

    We also communicated that if they were to be affected, partners would receive notification as quickly as possible. In order to ensure we are working with the most accurate data, our space analysis and capacity management recommendations are provided after our February 1 preliminary enrollment projections are completed.

    We will continue to revise our enrollment projections based on open enrollment (which is the opportunity for families to select schools outside their assigned attendance area) and again after school opens in the fall.

    While our projections are historically very accurate (about 99 percent), we cannot predict our exact classroom needs with 100 percent predictability in advance of the school year.

    We are sensitive to the effects any uncertainty could have on families, providers, schools and communities, regardless of the outcome.

    Next Steps

    Over the next few weeks the district will be working with the school site, principal, and providers to review any possible space in the school that will work for before and after school care.

    Our intent is to preserve onsite child care whenever possible. We are hopeful that we may be able to find multi-use space (e.g. gyms and cafeterias) within our buildings that is licensable and will work for our child care providers.

    Preschool requires dedicated space during the school day so our solutions are very limited, but we will work closely with the city's Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) to support providers as they transition services into any potential community sites.

    In the days ahead, we recommend families communicate directly with their providers to receive the most up to date information about the status of their program for the 2016-17 school year.

    You can open a list of child care providers on our Student Basic's webpage.