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Quick FAQs on Why Seattle Child Care is At-Risk

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under Opinions, Policy & Legislation

Seattle Public Schools is considering a proposal that could force up to 19 child care programs providing before and afterschool care to close down. Even more programs could be at risk in the future. The proposal is a result of an increase in demand for instructional space in our schools.

Child care programs have served for decades as a vital resource for working families and provide learning opportunities and enrichment for thousands of Seattle students. Having programs based at schools allows for accessibility and opportunities to build school-community partnerships to help students achieve academic and social-emotional outcomes.

The following list of FAQs provide more information to help understand this issue and what you can do have your voice heard.

What is going on?

There is a proposal before the Seattle Public School Board to repurpose space in schools throughout the district. Included in this proposal is a plan to repurpose 19 school-age and pre-k child care classrooms this summer into regular classrooms. Without a strong plan to move and transition these programs to other spaces and/or locations, the programs will close and those children will lose services.

Why is this happening?

For two reasons; the first is increasing enrollment. More children and families are moving into the district. Secondly, the state is fulfilling the voter-approved mandate to decrease class size in kindergarten to third grade and has finally provided some funding to do so. In order to fulfil this mandate, the school district must lower class sizes in some schools and more space is needed.

What is Seattle Public Schools doing?

The Facility Operations Unit at SPS has put forward a proposal to repurpose many classrooms including 19 of the child care spaces in the city. SPS has not informed the public on the names and locations of the 19th programs. This proposal is being put forward to a vote by the Seattle Public Schools Board.

What can be done?

Unfortunately, SPS did not do a proper planning process that included schools, child care programs, or parents and families when assembling the current proposal. In order for programs to stay open, there are workable solutions that can help programs move to new spaces, provide transportation to those programs, and keep programs affordable for families. However, this process takes careful time and planning.

It’s not too late! There is still time to meet the mandate and ensure programs stay open, but the School Board needs to slow down and open up the planning process in order to allow enough time for thoughtful planning.

What can I do?

There are several things you can do. One is to write a letter to Seattle School Board Directors which you can do here. Second, is to come to show support for the child care programs at the Seattle School Board Meeting on January 20th beginning at 4:15pm located at 2445 3rd Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98134. Third, you can contact your principal and Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland and let them know of your opposition to the proposal and ask for a new planning process to ensure these child care programs do not close.

Want more information?

Feel free to contact School’s Out Washington’s Education Policy and Advocacy Director David Beard at dbeard@schoolsoutwashington.org.

Want to do something about it?

You can send a message to the Seattle School Board here to tell them what you think about this proposal. You can use our draft letter or compose your own.

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