Plus, the city gets $4 million to build a salvaged wood warehouse.
November 17, 2023 6AM-Top banner logo-small.png


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✏️ Penciling in Seattle’s school budget
The front of Chief Sealth high school in Seattle, WA with the school's color and logo on the facade.
Chief Sealth International High School in West Seattle is one of 104 schools in the city’s district. | Photo via Seattle Public Schools
Whew. Those who feared that Seattle schools would soon be on the chopping block can breathe a sigh of relief — for the moment, at least.

On Wednesday, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Superintendent Dr. Brent Jones presented a fiscal recommendation to the board for the 2024-25 academic year that did not include any school consolidations or closures. The district is still facing a big deficit, though, and consolidation may be on the table for 2025-26 and beyond.

Got those hands up? Let’s try to answer a few lingering questions.

Why were closures discussed in the first place?

SPS has a projected $105 million budget gap to fill, complicated by declining enrollment. Here are the numbers getting crunched:
Earlier this year, Bellevue school officials confronted a similar situation and decided to consolidate two elementary schools and are considering doing the same to a middle school.

The exterior of Wilburton Elementary school in Bellevue, WA, with colorful playground equipment

Bellevue’s school district consolidated Wilburton Elementary in early 2023.


Photo via Bellevue School District

How will SPS save money?

Dr. Jones’ proposal included the following possibilities for cost-cutting measures:
  • Central office + school staffing reductions
  • Expense trimming
  • Program adjustments and restructuring
  • Changes to transportation
  • Leasing or selling non-school properties
  • Thinning out “rainy day” funds

What happens now?

The school board will vote on the general budget resolution on Dec. 13. Afterwards, Dr. Jones will prepare a more detailed 2030 strategic vision for a “system of well-resourced schools” by April 3, 2024.

School consolidations could still make its way into those longer term decisions. But that may be impacted on when the state decides on potential new funding. So stay tuned — this topic will be much-discussed in the next year.
Friday, Nov. 17
  • Movie Musical Parents’ Night Out | Friday, Nov. 17 | 6-9:30 p.m. | The Redmond Academy of Theatre Arts, 18001 NE 76th St., Redmond | $25 | The kids can hang at the theater, watch a movie, and eat popcorn while the parents take a break for a few hours.
  • Ryan Hamilton | Friday, Nov. 17 | 7 p.m. | Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle | $30-$45 | This funnyman has all new material about the time he got hit by a bus (it works a lot better in person).
Saturday, Nov. 18
  • Saturday Scrapbooking Workshop | Saturday, Nov. 18 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Eileen’s South Bellevue Studio, 4633 172nd Ave. SE, Bellevue | $30 | Show off your photo collage skills with lots of table space where you can spread out and get help, if needed.
  • Holiday Bookfest | Saturday, Nov. 18 | 2-4 p.m. | Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle | Free | Meet 26 local authors (including Kenji Lopez-Alt + Ken Jennings), enjoy readings, and check out the interactive “Bookmaker’s Space” for kids.
  • “An Empire in Peril” Grand Premiere | Saturday, Nov. 18 | 3-5 p.m. | Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle | $10 | This indie sci-fi film brings an artsy take on a galaxy-spanning story — proceeds benefit the Nisei Veterans Committee of Seattle.
Sunday, Nov. 19
  • Indigenous People’s Community Day | Sunday, Nov. 19 | 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. | Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle | Free | The slate of activities includes tales from Indigenous storytellers and a demonstration with the Muckleshoot Canoe Family.
  • A Smash Benefit: a Tribute To 35 Years Of Sub Pop | Sunday, Nov. 19 | 6 p.m. | The Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle | $20-$125 | Enjoy performances by Ben Gibbard, Brittany Davis, and other stars in this concert that raises money to help musicians get access to low-cost healthcare.
  • Snarky Singles | Sunday, Nov. 19 | 7-9 p.m. | The Octopus Bar, 2121 N. 45th St., Seattle | $20-$30 | Host Alisa Starr takes eligible locals through two hours of mini dates — instructions are to “bring your insecurities.”
Monday, Nov. 20
  • Seattle Kraken vs. Calgary Flames | Monday, Nov. 20 | 7 p.m. | Climate Pledge Arena, 334 First Ave. N., Seattle | $115-$560 | The Kraken hope to douse the Flames and move up the standings.
  • Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night | Monday, Nov. 20 | 8-10 p.m. | LTD Bar and Grill, 309 N. 36th St., Seattle | Free | Put your random knowledge to the test — and watch out for those tricky audio rounds.
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News Notes
  • The Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $4 million grant to Seattle for a Solid Waste Infrastructure project. The money will support the development of a new salvaged wood warehouse that is expected to process 150 tons of salvaged wood annually.
  • After 20 years based in Capitol Hill, Gage Academy of Art is planning a new location at 2105-2107 Westlake Ave. inside a South Lake Union Amazon building. This will be Gage’s main campus, though the school will still keep its Georgetown outpost. (Seattle Times)
  • What a save — the Sounders have reportedly re-signed their star goalie Stefan Frei through 2025. The 37-year-old has the most appearances in team history and helped the squad reach the Western Conference MLS semifinals this month. (Sounders at Heart)
  • Plans are rowing right along for the Canoe Carving House, the first element of the future Northwest Native Canoe Center in Lake Union Park. Seattle Parks & Recreation officials are now taking design bids for the project, with construction expected to start in 2024.
  • Signaling our friends in the Bay Area, local radio station KEXP has just purchased San Francisco’s KREV 92.7. It will air similar programming to KEXP’s 90.3 FM Seattle station once the new operation launches in the next month or so. (Seattle Times)
  • Chew this over — national sandwich chain Potbelly announced a major Western Washington expansion with 13 locations in the works for King, Pierce, and Thurston counties. There are already three Seattle Potbelly outposts and two Bellevue ones. (KING 5)
  • Comedian Hasan Minhaj is coming to the Paramount Theatre on March 8, 2024. Tickets go on sale today for what should be an interesting show given the stand-up performer’s recent kerfuffle with the New Yorker and questions about truth in his past acts. (Consequence of Sound)
Feel Good
  • Spreading early holiday cheer, Seahawks stars Tre Brown + Jerrick Reed joined team mascot Blitz in Spokane at the Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital. They gave out teddy bears and boosted spirits for the kids at the hospital and their families. (KING 5)
  • There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Dr. Blanche Lavizzo Park in the Central District this Saturday, Nov.18. Enjoy food + music while exploring the park’s upgrades that include animal sculptures and designs by local Black artists.
  • Need the perfect holiday gift for your dad, brother, husband, or boyfriend? This brand has you covered with all the gifts and stocking stuffers that men will actually use. (Plus, they’re all 25% off during the Black Friday Sale, happening now.)*
  • With one of the “best reward cards of 2023,” enjoy exceptional rewards on purchases and a $300 welcome bonus. And start racking up those rewards.*
❤️ Calling all helpers
The front of the Ballard Food Bank with its name in bright, block orange lettering.
Ballard Food Bank opened its new facility at 1400 NW Leary Way in October 2021. | Photo via Ballard Food Bank
Have extra time on your hands or in the giving spirit? There are more than enough great causes in Seattle to support with your time — with hunger relief organizations especially in need of help during the holiday season.

Here are a few ways to get involved + give back to your community.

Ballard Food Bank | After relocating to a brand new facility in 2021, the food bank has increased its capacity. It hopes to find food baggers, packagers, van drivers, and mail desk support.

Food Lifeline | This hunger relief organization partners with food banks, shelters, and meal programs, making it one of the biggest in Western Washington. Volunteers can chip in by helping at its big warehouse.

Back to Action | Local partners like Northwest Harvest and Doug Baldwin’s Vault89 Strategies have banded together with a goal of signing up 3,000+ food bank volunteers across Washington by the end of December.
The causes I feel most passionate about are...

A. Arts and cultural institutions
B. People experiencing homelessness
C. Minority and disadvantaged groups
D. Pets and animals
The Buy
A great deal from Amazon’s Black Friday sales, which officially start today. Get 40% off Adidas running shoes or 20% off Martha Stewart cotton sheets.
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From the editor
I’ll be heading out to Spokane for Thanksgiving and could use some good road trip music recs. Any local bands to put on the playlist? Let me know.
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