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Seattle may close 20 public elementary schools amid mass exodus of students

Chairs in a classroom. (MChe Lee/Unsplash)
May 09, 2024

The Seattle School Board is moving to close 20 out of 70 elementary schools to address a $100 million annual budget shortfall.

KOMO News reported that Seattle Public Schools (SPS) presented the plan during a board meeting, suggesting that nearly one-third of the district’s schools could close starting from the 2025-26 school year.

The district said elementary schools are operating at only 65 percent capacity due to a significant decrease in student numbers triggered by the prolonged pandemic closures.

SPS began discussing the enrollment decline’s connection to the budget roughly two years ago.

Seattle Public School’s superintendent, Brent Jones, is hoping to start developing a school closure plan with the permission of the board. The strategy aims to raise capacity to 85 percent in schools that will remain open.

As more families reject public schooling, some states have started cracking down on homeschooling. In Missouri, a new bill expanding school choice initiatives could reportedly make it a “felony” for gun owners to have firearms in their homes if they choose to homeschool their children.

If passed, Senate Bill 727 would redefine “home school” as a “school” “for purposes of state law.” According to Missouri First, the previous definition of “home school” in Missouri only applied to a limited number of statutes; however, it claimed that the new definition would apply to all state statutes, which could potentially put gun owners at risk of violating laws that prohibit the possession of guns at schools.

“If you know anybody that lives in the state of Missouri or you currently live in the state of Missouri [and] are liberty minded, you need to be contacting your senators right now and burning up their phone lines,” one social media user warned in a viral video.

“Some far left-wing group has spent a lot of money in Jefferson City. Senate Bill 727 would redefine what a homeschool is, turn into a public school, but there has been a small catch clause added into it that if you homeschool your children under this catch clause and you have a firearm in the vicinity, it’s an automatic felon[y],” he added.