Loyal Heights Elementary parents fight proposed overcrowding solution

SEATTLE – One more teacher is all that parents from Loyal Heights Elementary say it will take to address overcrowding for their kindergarteners with the least disruption to the rest of the school.

Parents from Loyal Heights Elementary say their kids have already faced huge disruptions this year as they’ve been moved to John Marshall School during their school’s renovations. They say the last thing these kids need is another disruption to the school year.

“Your potential decision to not hire another classroom teacher for our growing classrooms is not in the best interest of our students,” said Katherine Gaffney, as she read a letter from the Loyal Heights Elementary staff.

Gaffney isn’t the only one who feels this way as dozens sat behind her, all asking the same as their school faces overcrowding in their kindergarten classes.

“We’ve really hit the breaking point and we’re really have hit it,” said Suzanne Granger, a parent and a mom, who spoke up at the school board meeting. “I’m asking you, fund one more teacher. Please do not make more change for them.”

Even a Loyal Heights Elementary student spoke up during the meeting Wednesday night.

“We don’t want to have to lose the teacher that we have right now, that would be confusing and that wouldn’t be fair so we just need one more teacher,” said student Aderyn Kee.

From students to parents, these comments come as the school plans to move a teacher from another grade instead of hiring a new one. Parents and staff say that will shuffle multiple classes, split grades, and cause school wide disruptions after school has already started.

“We don’t have a problem, split classes or anything like that,” said Brian Jones, whose child in a first grader at Loyal Heights Elementary. “We do have a problem when it happens three weeks into the school year.”

While the school board didn’t have an immediate answer, school board members let the crowd know they heard them. Parents are just hoping that’ll be enough to get the only solution they believe will work.

“Our school is underfunded, and the P.T.A. fills in the gaps where we can, so we don’t ask for a lot from the Seattle public school district, but in this one incident we just need one teacher,” said Anna Rodzinski-Jones, a Loyal Heights Elementary parent.

Parents and staff have been told to expect a conclusion by the end of next week.