Seattle school closures are a top issue for school board hopefuls. Where do the candidates stand?
The possible closing of schools is shaping up to be one of the biggest, most divisive issues in the upcoming Seattle School Board election. And whether to close schools and/or which schools to close might be among the first votes the new board takes.
Right after the new members of the Seattle School Board are elected, they're poised to vote on a plan for budget cuts — including likely school closures.
With only two incumbents running for reelection, the board will get — at minimum — two new members after the Nov. 7 election. The budget cut plan vote is slated for Dec. 13.
Candidates are divided on school closures, but at least half have said they should be used as a last resort.
The district has not yet identified any specific schools on the chopping block, but officials have said closures could happen next fall to close a $104 million budget deficit. Superintendent Brent Jones is scheduled to present a recommended plan to address the shortfall in mid-November.
Ahead of King County's Nov. 7 ballot deadline, here's a roundup of KUOW's candidate questionnaires. We asked each of the candidates about what solution they'd support to address budget gaps in the coming years, as well as their top priorities, their stance on some students and educators' push to require ethnic studies and Black history classes, and how the district should work to boost academic achievement.
Debbie Carlson is challenging Incumbent Liza Rankin for the school board's District 1 seat. The district spans the northernmost areas of Seattle, including North Beach, Northgate, and Lake City neighborhoods.
Incumbent Lisa Rivera Smith faces challenger Christina Posten for her District 2 seat. The district includes the Green Lake, Greenwood, Fremont, Maple Leaf, and Wallingford neighborhoods.
Evan Briggs and Ben Gitenstein are vying to represent District 2, which encompasses the University District and the Ravenna, Sand Point, and Wallingford neighborhoods.
The winner in the November election will replace current board member Chandra Hampson, who is not seeking reelection.
Gina Topp and Maryanne Wood are competing for the District 6 spot. The district includes West Seattle and South Park.
November's winner will replace departing board member Leslie Harris.