LFP & Ridgecrest Safe From Closure, Four Schools Remain Under Scrutiny


A diverse task force of 21 consisting of parents, school administrators, community members, and classified and certificated staff has been working through the grueling process of determining which Shoreline elementary to recommend to the school board for potential closure. The task force is highly cognizant of the impact on students and families, especially the disadvantaged population and the impact a closure would have on them and their support structure.

Safe from closure
Safe from closure

In last evening's task force meeting, Shoreline Schools Assistant Superintendent Brian Schultz stated, "There's no manual for this process." For example, at least two task force members, including one who was part of the process, mentioned that when North City Elementary closed in 2008, the disadvantaged population relocated to other schools and was referred to as "those kids" for years.  

A task force member strongly advocated for Brookside Elementary by proposing a motion to conjoin LFP Elementary in the vote to remove LFP from the closure list (if LFP were voted off the list, Brookside would be too). The member cited that due to the recent addition of an affordable housing apartment development behind Pagliachi's on Ballinger Way called "Quinn by Vintage," Brookside has the same disadvantaged population dynamics as LFP Elementary concerning the population from Ballinger Homes.  

Most of the task force didn't buy it, and the motion was denied; however, at least two task force members stated they weren't aware of the issues surrounding Ballinger Homes, so other task force members may also not be acutely aware, which would be unfortunate. 

According to public sources, Ballinger Homes has 485 units, and Quinn by Vintage has 227 units. Shoreline Schools wasn't able to disclose how many students from these two locations are attending LFP vs. Brookside, but it would be a stretch to say that a location with almost half the units is sending the same number of students to Brookside vs. LFP. 

After voting to remove LFP and Ridgecrest from the potential closure list, the task force discussed trying to remove a third school but eventually decided to table the decision until their next meeting on September 5th, 2024. At that point, they'll decide on additional future meetings, tentatively planning on nominating one school to close if the school board elects to do so by October 22nd or 29th (TBD). If the school board chooses to close a school, there will be a 90-day public comment phase, and the school will be closed starting with the 2025-2026 school year.

As for public input, the task force is a balanced mix of professionals and peers with a ton of data at their disposal. They're working hard to find the most equitable solution using the following criteria:

So once they nominate a school for potential closure, frankly, all the public can do is whine. Whatever issue the public may try to illuminate, rest assured—it will have been considered in depth (if relevant). To avoid closures, the district needs more customers (kids).

After scoring the schools, the numbers currently are (the lowest being safer from closure). These scores aren't final and subject to change and are not the only factor that influences the votes of the task force members:

Ridgecrest              7.9 (voted not to close at June 6th, 2024 meeting)

LFP                             10.6 (voted not to close at June 6th, 2024 meeting)

Echo Lake                11

Brookside                12

Syre                            12.6

Highland Terrace  14

Scoring the schools is complicated. For example, will student disbursement to other schools cause receiving schools to lose specific programs like free and reduced lunch, or could it make a school eligible that wasn't previously eligible? AI might be utilized to create "what if" scenarios for the task force before their next meeting in the Fall. 

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