Northwest Center school given 6 months to vacate Queen Anne location
Posted on January 23rd, 2014 by Laura Fonda
Editor’s note: updated with additional information on the Cascade Parent Partnership program.
A reader wrote in to let us know about the letter sent to Northwest Center Queen Anne parents, detailing the Seattle Public School district’s plans for the current location of Northwest Center Kids school on the corner of Florentia and 1st Ave W.
Northwest Center provides an early learning program “for children with and without disabilities in the same program, recognizing each child as a unique individual.”
The site is owned by Seattle Public School district, but has been the home to Northwest Center’s school for 28 years – and per a letter from the school district, they now have 6 months to vacate so the district can use the building for Cascade Parent Partnership, a program for home-schooled children. According to the Seattle Times, their current building, the Wilson-Pacific School, is being demolished and replaced with a new middle school and elementary school.
While 6 months is the timeframe in the lease termination agreement, the school says it needs more time to make the move. According to Northwest Center, “at least two years would be needed to navigate the logistical challenges of a move as well as the licensing and permitting hurdles we would face.”
The Seattle Times has picked up the story and KING 5 is looking for parents to interview. You can read the full letter to Northwest Center parents below. If you’re interested in helping, check out the “How You Can Help” document, which also contains all of the contact information for Seattle Public School Board officials.
I am writing to share news that affects the entire Northwest Center Kids community that we have all worked so hard to build here at Queen Anne. As many of you know, we have made our home at North Queen Anne Elementary for 28 years, made possible by a long-time lease with Seattle Public Schools. We were recently notified by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lester Herndon, who is in charge of facilities among other things, that Seattle Public Schools needs the building back and will terminate our lease with six months notice per the terms of our lease agreement.
This is shocking news and news which we are prepared to challenge and fight with every resource available to us. Our first priority for the 49 year existence of Northwest Center has been you the families that make up our community of “people of all abilities.” We are determined to keep this community of families intact, and we are pursuing any and all possible solutions to accomplish this.
At this point we are in the early stages of reviewing our options which we hope will include productive negotiations with Seattle Public Schools. Northwest Center has already expressed its interest in buying the property from Seattle Public Schools. But if that is not possible then at minimum we need more time – at least two years to identify, permit, remodel, and license a facility that can accommodate our students and their specific needs.
Unfortunately we have not been included in any discussions to-date about the future of our school and our programs. Had Seattle Public Schools been more transparent with us about this plan when it was first formulated, we would have made our case that the facility is serving its best and highest purpose with Northwest Center Kids.
But we are inserting ourselves into the discussions now and making our case forcefully. Our singular focus is in doing everything we can to prevent devastating impacts to our programs, the early learning opportunities for the children we work with, and the sense of place and community that are so important to everyone associated with Northwest Center Kids.
It is obviously important for all of us to work together as we navigate this process and we want to hear from you and answer any questions and concerns you have. Tom Everill, our CEO, and I will be available to share information and answer questions on Friday from 4:30 – 6:00PM. At that time we will also be able to share with you what you can do to support our efforts and secure a future for Northwest Center Kids.
Friday, January 17 4:30 – 6:00PM
Queen Anne Conference Room
Thank you. We look forward to tackling this critical challenge together.
Executive Director, Northwest Center Kids