Shoreline district is closing the wrong schools

  • Evan Smith<br>Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:54am

The Shoreline School District is considering closing two elementary schools as a response to a budget deficit and declining enrollment.

Parents of students at North City and Sunset elementary schools will present arguments at hearings over the next 6-7 weeks about why their students’ schools should be spared.

We know we’d have a similar outcry from any elementary school that landed on a cut list. I wonder, however, if the committee that recommended the cuts gave serious thought to close the district’s two middle schools.

Moving the seventh- and eighth-graders to either the elementary schools or to the high schools would have several advantages:

• It would save transportation money by eliminating two bus runs a day to each neighborhood.

• It would create a system that requires students to make the transition to a new level of school only once.

• It would encourage parental involvement throughout the system by removing the schools that students attend for only two years.

• It would make the district part of a slowly growing national trend to two-tiered school systems.

• It would raise less of an outcry because people are just less emotionally involved with the middle schools than they are with either the elementary schools or the high schools.

Would a system of K-8 schools leading to four-year high schools be a perfect system? No. Would a system of combination middle-high schools be perfect? No.

But the present two-year middle school is imperfect as are 6-8 middle schools and 7-9 junior highs. The two-tiered system just seems to be the best way to use scarce resources.

Changing judicial elections is the most important elections reform

The most important of the elections-reform proposals facing the state Senate committee headed by Sen. Darlene Fairley, D-Lake Forest Park, is the one to change how we elect judges.

Now, many judicial races are decided in the primary. That’s because any judicial candidate who gets a majority of the primary vote is unopposed in the general election.

This is different from other the way we elect other non-partisan officials.

If three or more people run for a position on the city council or school board, the primary serves to narrow the field to two. If only one or two candidates run, we skip the primary and go straight to the general election.

Under the Senate bill, that would also happen for judicial elections.

Evan Smith is the Enterprise Forum editor. Send comments to

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