Shoreline preschools seek community help to find new locations

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The former North City Elementary currently houses three cooperative preschools
under the Shoreline Community College umbrella:
North City, Shorenorth and Shoreline Cooperative.

For more than 50 years, three early childhood education programs in Shoreline have been helping children and families grow, but now it is the growing number of families enrolling children in the Shoreline School District that is forcing those programs from their home and perhaps out of existence.

The three cooperative preschools are North City, Shorenorth, and Shoreline Cooperative. Currently, they are all housed at the former North City Elementary School, which was closed by the Shoreline School District in 2006-07 due to low enrollment at the time.

The preschools are three out of seven that are operated across north King County as joint efforts of Shoreline Community College and individual 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, one for each preschool.

The three preschools now housed at North City Elementary have been operating in the Shoreline area for more than 50 years. Under the umbrella of Shoreline Community College, the preschools provide developmentally appropriate learning experiences for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Instructors at each preschool are Shoreline Community College faculty. Parents of children in the programs are Shoreline Community College students and earn college credit through the Parenting Education Program.

Shoreline Cooperative Preschool

For the past 40 years, the preschools have leased various spaces from the Shoreline School District, most recently at North City Elementary.

However, earlier this fall the programs were informed that, due to the district’s growing number of families and enrollments, the district anticipates needing the space now leased to the preschools starting in the 2016-17 school year.

The district also anticipates needing space at the former Aldercrest Elementary School, and it has notified tenants in both buildings that their leases will be terminated on June 1, 2016.

Parents and staff at the preschools say they see the growing number of families and students in the area because attendance at the preschools is at an all-time high, too. However, understanding the need for K-12 classroom space isn’t making dealing with the lease terminations for the preschools any easier.

Staff and parents for the cooperative preschools are actively seeking new homes for these three programs.

What they’re finding, however, are very limited options due to today’s strong real-estate market combined with a mission to keep program tuition affordable for families.

In addition, the June 1 date in the district’s notice to vacate the property falls the day after the preschools close for the summer. The tight timeline makes impossible to finish the year in place, say preschool parents and staff, without shortening the spring quarter class schedules.

To help keep the preschools alive and serving Shoreline families and their children next fall, preschool officials are seeking assistance from the community in locating a new home or homes for the three programs.

Officials say each preschool is looking for approximately 2,000 square feet of space if they move to separate locations, or about 6,000 or more square feet altogether if they move to a single shared location.

Information on possible new sites to lease and other recommendations or offers of assistance should be directed to North City Cooperative Preschool or SCC Parent Education Coordinator Pollie McCloskey.


Anonymous,  December 10, 2015 at 11:26 PM  

Question for the Shoreline School District: a majority of the children in these early learning programs are eventually going to be students in the district. Would you rather have new groups of students coming in each year who have had access to invaluable early childhood learning? Or not? There is cause and effect. This situation will either cost money now or cost money in a few years in additional resources. You can do the right thing, and spend the money, time, and energy on this problem now and set these children up for success. Or, you can put these children at a disadvantage, set them up for struggles and spend the money, time, and energy on it later.

Anonymous,  December 11, 2015 at 7:15 AM  

Shoreline School District, this is shameful! I get needing to recapture the space, but how long have you know about needing it back for your programs (I've been hearing rumors about this from Cascade K-8 for years!!!) You should have given the co-ops notice before the school year was underway, or at the very least, allow their leases to continue past June 1st so that they can finish out the school year and have time to pack up and move. Almost all the families from these preschools will be enrolling their children in SDD public schools soon, if they don't already have older children attending Shoreline schools. Shame on you for jeopardizing such a valuable community resource for early childhood, and parenting, education! Totally disgraceful - you are letting down the very families, and communities, that will soon be your core constituents by ending this 40 year relationship.

Anonymous,  December 11, 2015 at 7:46 AM  

There is a GoFundMe to help North City Co-Op with relocating expenses:

Anonymous,  December 11, 2015 at 10:02 AM  

All of my kids went to North City Coop, and also attend Shoreline Public Schools. Shore School District owns these buildings. By using existing buildings that they own, they are benefiting the taxpayers who fund the school district. Are we expected to build new schools instead of using existing ones? You guys can blame all of this crap on the current Shoreline City Council and their rezone plans that make existing residents pay for the expected growth (they gave developers 10-12 year tax breaks in exchange for "affordable housing" requirements).

Anonymous,  December 11, 2015 at 12:07 PM  

Is there no room at the Shoreline Center? Seems to be a fair amount of unused classrooms there.

Annalise Nye,  December 11, 2015 at 11:52 PM  

These schools are owned by the Shoreline School District. These properties were saved from sale or demolition in case they were needed in the future, which is now. It is unfortunate that these preschools need to find a new home, but when you rent/lease space, a possible outcome is needing to find a new home. All of the elementary schools are at, near or above capacity. While preschool is important, the district must be fiscally responsible. Building new schools is a huge cost, so they must use existing buildings.

Anonymous,  December 12, 2015 at 1:32 AM  

Stop blaming the school district, this is the City Council's fault. You over-rezoned our neighborhood for your developer friends, now the school district needs to plan schools for all the new residents. The City Council was told the schools are at capacity now, and they still went crazy with the 185th rezone, and they gave developers property tax breaks. The schools are funded solely through property taxes. FYI: The school building is right next to the proposed 185th station. But who cares, you guys will get a yoga studio, Chipotle, and another Walgreens.

Unknown December 12, 2015 at 4:49 AM  

The preschools are stepping stone for the children's career.
IELTS classes in Kuwait

Anonymous,  December 12, 2015 at 8:02 AM  

Apparently the Shoreline Center is actually owned by the School District too. The SDD, after 40 years of a tenant/landlord relationship with the Co-Ops, is just abruptly ending this partnership and offering zero assistance, ideas, or spaces, for relocation solutions or spaces to the co-ops. So far, they are not willing to give up any of their space. Even the unused space.

Anonymous,  December 12, 2015 at 8:15 AM  

So do you think it is fine to have 28+ first graders crammed into a classroom because there is no more space in the existing school buildings? How about 30 kids crammed into a 4th grade class? Because that's what we are dealing with in the elementary schools. Orchestra was being taught in a staff room, offices are being used for special services like LAP, computer labs are closed and converted to classrooms in some buildings. More kids in classrooms means it takes longer to get through the lunch line and kids have less time to eat. Teachers don't have time to get around to all the kids because there are just so many. . Seattle School District has also had to take back all of its leased buildings, and Northshore hasn't yet gone to all day Kindergarten in all buildings yet because they don't have space either. They even rent space in a church for 6 Kindergarten classes. The Puget Sound area is growing, and this is an issue all over, not just in Shoreline, so stop trying to paint the district as the big bad bogeyman. It sucks, and it also demonstrates the need for the community to step up and find the preschools a permanent home, because this is the hazard you face with leasing space; it's always a temporary space.

Anonymous,  December 12, 2015 at 4:35 PM  

I don't blame the school district, but this is sad. My children all went to nccp. With all the new development planned, rents will be sky-high in the neighborhood. Here goes everything affordable and good in our city. Why can't the city just enjoy the good community we have now?

Anonymous,  December 12, 2015 at 10:52 PM  

Access to early childhood learning and classrooms that aren't overcrowded should be priority #1 when defining a community as "Livable" and "Vibrant".

This is only the first of many consequences that the City has arrogantly refused to plan for with their density-hungry, developer friendly agenda. The actions of the City Council this past year have been negligent. The Shoreline School District is under the false belief that any increased population from new apartments all over Shoreline simply "won't include school age children".

Unless this plan for overgrown density all over Shoreline is rolled back to a reasonable level, new schools will need to be built, and who's going to pay for it? The apartment dwellers? The owners of new apartment complexes who are laughing all the way to the bank with a fat 12 year property tax exemption, handed over by their pals at City Hall?

Where will the new schools go? Certainly not at the Spartan site or North City Elementary site. There's money to be made with that land value. One only needs to look North to Mountlake Terrace and see what they did with one of their school district properties close to their future light rail station -->sold to a developer of "affordable housing", which is rarely affordable once you take a look at the low percentage of affordable units, the cost of which gets passed along to market rate renters.

Anonymous,  December 13, 2015 at 2:43 AM  

The co-ops are really wonderful! I do hope someone has a space for them!

Anonymous,  December 14, 2015 at 12:08 PM  

Seriously? someone thinks kids don't live in apartments? Has anyone walked past Polaris on NE 175th and 12th NE? How many of those kids are at Ridgecrest now? Or maybe they are all attending the parochial school at the church so aren't creating the population increase at local elementary?
I might suggest the short-platting is also affecting the schools - every new house that's gone in in my neighborhood has children living in them.

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