At a protest-filled meeting last night, the Seattle School Board voted to go ahead with its plan to close several schools . The rancor of


NAACP President Sounds Off on School Closures, $38 Million John Stanford Building, Getting Kicked Out of School Board Meeting

At a protest-filled meeting last night, the Seattle School Board voted to go ahead with its plan to close several schools. The rancor of the meeting reportedly increased when security guards asked NAACP president James Bible to leave the meeting.

The Seattle Times quoted district officials as asserting that Bible was blocking an aisle and encouraging others to do the same. Bible disputes their account, and says that kicking him out "was quite possibly the dumbest thing they could have done."

"I've traditionally sat or stood against the back wall of school board meetings and never disrupted anything," he says, noting that he prefers to stand because of a back injury.  "I explained my injury and promised that I'll be quiet, but [school district security] got law enforcement. At that point that I turned and asked the audience something to the effect of, 'Is this what happens when the NAACP president decides to attend school board meeting to observe what happens?'"

After an impromptu speech rallying closure opponents in the lobby, Bible says he declined an invitation by the district to rejoin the meeting. "If they're going to choose to boot people out for no reason and cause rancor, they should have to deal with the consequences."

Bible has been strongly critical of the school closure plan, even co-authoring a guest editorial againt it in the P-I on Wednesday. He says the closures will disproportionately affect "people of color, the poor, and students with learning disabilities."

He argues that the district's projected $25 million shortfall is the result of administrative bloat. "The school superintendent makes $260,000 a year. And I'd be interested to hear the assessed value of the John Stanford building," the location of the district's administrative offices. "I'd be interested to hear what it costs [to use and maintain the facility]. We asked the school board to be creative. Why can't they move the people who work in the John Stanford building into one of the closed schools and rent or sell that space?"

A check of county tax records shows the building and property's combined estimated value at $37.9 million.

The school district has yet to respond to a request for comment. More when it does.
comments powered by Disqus