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Domesticating Downtown: Talking Shop About Creating a Public School in Downtown Seattle

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It comes as no wonder that folks are flocking to Seattle, especially after hearing the news that the Emerald City is the "second best city in America." But what is surprising is to find that in the past two decades, Downtown Seattle was the fastest growing neighborhood. According to Pubicola, about 40,000 people call the "downtown core" home -- 1,500 of which are children 14 and under. The under 18-year old student demographic in this area has risen 21 percent within the past five years, an astronomically high percentage considering that the whole district saw only a nine percent increase.

To accommodate such a burgeoning population of school-aged youngsters in the area, the Seattle School District, those invested and interested in the future of downtown Seattle, and the city of Seattle are coming together to discuss the possibility of creating a public school. And it makes sense. Of the 95 public schools that fall within the Seattle Public School District, only one, the Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, can really be said to be "in" downtown, while others such as Washington Middle School and Garfield High School exist on the outskirts of the specified area. Publicola reports that many of the public school-attending kids living downtown "face a half-hour bus ride to attend classes in portable buildings", as they currently have no other alternatives.

Talks are in its nascent stage now and likely won't move to action for quite some time. But while a call for public schools in dowtown is commendable and even smart (especially to alleviate overcrowding in neighboring schools), where should it be located? And what age demographic should it serve?

· It's Time to Invest in a Public School in Downtown Seattle [Publicola]