As people pore over the just-released maps for Seattle Public Schools' new assignment plan, they are voicing numerous concerns about the way some of the proposed boundaries split one particular neighborhood or the other. Take Mount Baker. At first glance, SW thought the leafy, lakeside enclave would be pleased by the boundaries, which put its residents into the catchment area of Washington Middle School, home to excellent advanced programs. But some Mount Baker residents saw something else: the way the line along S. McClellan St. cuts right through the heart of the neighborhood. All grade school students to the north of it would be assigned to Leschi Elementary, while those to the south would get shuttled to John Muir (except for a sliver of kids to the far south of the neighborhood, who would go to yet a third school: Hawthorne.)
Ironically, the plan--which aims to create neighborhood schools by assigning students to schools near their homes--disrupts a years-long push by some residents to turn John Muir (pictured above) into a neighborhood school. Of late, it didn't have the best reputation and surrounding families often sent their kids elsewhere. But that really started to change in the last several years, says Muir PTA president and Mount Baker resident Lara Macklin.Macklin says parents are additionally concerned by the plan's feeder pattern for middle and high schools. From Washington, located in the Central District, students would return to Mount Baker to attend Franklin High School, thereby separating from most of their Washington cohort, who will go on to Garfield High in the Central District.
Macklin was among a group of Mount Baker parents who went to a community meeting at Washington held by the district last weekend to discuss the plan. Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson was there, but offering few explanations beyond the public documents that have been released, according to Macklin. "She was very vague. I could tell she wasn't happy to be there."