Magnolia lawyer suggests going to court over Ballard High

Updated: The lawyer and Magnolia parent featured in the KING 5 story, Margaret Cerrato-Blue, contacted us and said her comment about possible legal action was referring to the grandfathering rules, not the boundaries themselves.

“My statement was one had I made to my son, and what I meant by it was that if they force him and his senior class to leave BHS, we will do all we can to keep him there, even if it means going to court,” she wrote in an email.

James Wagar, who represents the Magnolia group lobbying for Ballard High School, said he invites parents of students living between 80th and 85th “to consider working with us in Magnolia to jointly endorse map scenarios that work for both communities.”

This issue may be moot, however. The two remaining options — which are not yet final — keep Magnolia and the area between 80th and 85th inside the Ballard High boundary.

Earlier: Even though most scenarios keep Magnolia inside Ballard High School’s boundary — and shift some Ballard students out of it — a Magnolia lawyer and parent is taking no chances.

In a story that aired on KING 5 last night, Magnolia residents who have kids at Ballard High raised concerns about one scenario that would shift their neighborhood to the new Lincoln High School in Wallingford — a trek of an hour or more by metro bus.

One parent who is also an attorney, Margaret Cerrato-Blue told KING 5 that Magnolia parents have yet to receive any formal notification from the district, which she believes is a violation of due process.

“If we have to go to court, you will stay at Ballard because it’s the legal and right thing for them to do,” she said, referring to the grandfathering rules that could force her son to leave BHS (updated.)

The school district says it has been in constant contact with parents.

While Magnolia continues its push to stay in Ballard High — here’s their petition — some Ballard parents face the more likely possibility of seeing their kids moved out of the high school in their own neighborhood.

As we’ve reported, one scenario would draw the boundary at 80th St., moving those kids to Ingraham High up at Bitter Lake — which is also a long trek on a metro bus. Another scenario would move the Ballard neighborhood of West Woodland to Lincoln High — even kids who live a block away from Ballard High.

“When I pull out of my street and hang two turns, I can see the high school,” said Kurt Schlosser, who lives just north of 80th St., in a report on KING 5 earlier this week about Ballard parents. “My son will roll his bike out of the garage, pedal once and roll his way to Ballard High. There is nowhere else for him to go.”

Ballard parents also have a petition right here.

Most agree that the boundary debacle stems from the city’s lack of a high school in either Magnolia or Queen Anne, two neighborhoods with a combined population of about 44,000 people. The omission is intensified by Seattle’s population growth and traffic woes.

“Just give them a school,” explained a Seattle Times editorial back in 2008. “This idea isn’t new. It just has been ignored.”

This is a critical point in the school district’s decision-making process. The task force is hard at work incorporating the latest round of feedback leading up to a Jan. 10th working session with the board. Then on January 17th, the board is expected to vote on the final boundary map.


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Truth
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Truth

The needs of a spoiled few outweigh the needs of the many. Maybe Magnolia can build a new high school and make Ballard pay for it?

LoyalHeightsMom
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LoyalHeightsMom

Seriously? A lawsuit? Wasn’t it a Magnolia parent who filed the lawsuit in the early 2000s that brought us these incredibly segregated schools and ended busing?

LOYALHEIGHTSMOM
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LOYALHEIGHTSMOM

Also, I’d just like to say the area north of 85th is too low class to attend our mighty Ballard High School.

Crown Hill Mom
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Crown Hill Mom

This is the City’s fault for allowing density to increase in Ballard, knowing full well that the school district didn’t have the funds or space for more students in the neighborhood. Even after students are moved to Lincoln and/or Ingraham, Ballard HS will still be overcapacity. A new school in Magnolia (or Downtown) could take as long as it takes to bring light rail to Ballard, and maybe longer, as there are currently no funds (levies nor impact fees) that would pay for the project. It’s time to rethink how we direct growth across Seattle. Blame the City for outright ignoring the capacity crisis in our schools.

Pete Holmes
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Pete Holmes

I don’t really see the big deal with overcrowded schools. My school was so crowded that I didn’t even get my own desk, but I still grew up to be city attorney.

Joon Whitelock
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Joon Whitelock

I understand the concern of all families involved. It’s unfortunate that is is turning into a fight between neighborhoods. We need to join forces and fight the city. Our schools are overcrowded and underfunded. This isn’t just in the affluent neighborhoods of Ballard/Magonlia, where parents can afford to hire personal lawyers. Who’s fighting for the kids who’s parents can’t afford mighty lawyers? These kids have had to take city buses an hour or more to get to their underfunded high schools. It also seems ridiculous to displace kids from their neighborhood school a five minute commute away to a non-neighborhood school and hour and a half away on a city bus with a transfer.

Joon Whitelock
Guest
Joon Whitelock

I understand the concern of all families involved. It’s unfortunate that is is turning into a fight between neighborhoods. We need to join forces and fight the city. Our schools are overcrowded and underfunded. This isn’t just in the affluent neighborhoods of Ballard/Magonlia, where parents can afford to hire personal lawyers. Who’s fighting for the kids who’s parents can’t afford mighty lawyers? These kids have had to take city buses an hour or more to get to their underfunded high schools. It also seems ridiculous to displace kids from their neighborhood school a five minute commute away to a non-neighborhood school and hour and a half away on a city bus with a transfer. Compromise and coming together is the only way to figure out the fate of our kids. The city has got to step up.

STOP WHINING
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STOP WHINING

I think if we exposed some kids to at least some minimal adversity they might finally develop some life skills. Doesn’t help it’s a city full of people who freak out when ever their precious little snowflake doesn’t get exactly what they want!

A long bus ride, give them a freaking book.

NOTLOOKINGFORAFIGHT
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NOTLOOKINGFORAFIGHT

I think it’s premature to blame increased density for the overcrowding in the schools. Most of the units being built are small apartments and condominiums, and I doubt that very many of them are occupied by high school age children.

Didn’t Queen Anne have a high school in olden times? What about Magnolia? Why were they closed, and why not replace them?

Crown Hill Mom
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Crown Hill Mom

@Not Looking for a Fight. Children can certainly live in apartments and condos, especially when prices are high. I knew a family of 5 in a two bedroom back in New York.

But to answer your question, the district is already replacing the old Queen Anne High School by re-opening Lincoln. This will alleviate some crowding at Ballard and Roosevelt by redirecting Wallingford and Queen Anne students. But Ballard will STILL be overcrowded and there are no immediate funds or plans for another High School. Also, to be clear, this is a city wide issue, not just Ballard. Garfield is possibly the most overcrowded.

Old Ballard F@rt
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Old Ballard F@rt

“Wasn’t it a Magnolia parent who filed the lawsuit in the early 2000s that brought us these incredibly segregated schools and ended busing?”

You want to bring back busing yet don’t want your snowflakes going to a more diverse school?

Something smells fishy.

Russ
Guest
Russ

If I remember correctly, Seattle once had a Lincoln High School, a Queen Anne High School AND a Ballard High School all opened at the same time. During that period Seattle’s population was much smaller than today. Now with probably double the population of the sixties and seventies our families are supposed to get along with just Ballard and – sometime, maybe – Lincoln.
Your city council needs to quit worrying so much about bums and druggies under the freeway and pay more attention to the ABCs of city government – A standing for education!

BallardMom
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BallardMom

As a parent who bought in Ballard so our child could go to neighborhood schools, it is more than a little disturbing to hear that he may be forbidden to attend BHS and sent 5 miles away to Ingraham. We live walking distance from BHS and our child has attended neighborhood schools his whole life. Magnolia parents are saying it would take about an hour by metro for their kids to get to Lincoln. It would take about the same amount of time and a transfer on Aurora for Ballard kids to get to Ingraham.

And yes, Queen Anne did have a high school, which Magnolia kids attended, but it was sold for condos. http://www.queenannehighschool.com/

Why is it that Ballard kids should separated from their peers because of poor planning and shortsightedness on the part of SPS? It makes no sense.

Please sign the petition to keep Ballard kids together in their neighborhood schools. https://www.change.org/p/seattle-public-schools-support-north-ballard-students-attending-ballard-high-school-again

BallardMom
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BallardMom

According to the King County Metro Trip Planner, the Magnolia group’s argument that it would be a great hardship to get to Lincoln as compared to Ballard is simply not accurate.

Magnolia to Ballard HS: 31 mins, 1 transfer at 15th and Emerson
Magnolia to Lincoln HS: 27 mins, 0 transfers

Ballardstruecolors
Guest
Ballardstruecolors

The issue is not that it takes longer, but neither those in Ballard not Magnolia want to expose their children to diversity.

Cynthia Ritter
Guest
Cynthia Ritter

The issue for Ballard parents is that they want their kids to stay in the neighborhood school. That’s all. Some Ballard students to Ingram others to Lincoln while otber neighborhoods are bused in. We live two blocks from BHS and some scenarios have our neighborhood being bused to Lincoln. Just doesn’t make sense.

guesty
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guesty

there is no good reason for Ballard kids to be displaced so that Magnolia kids can take their place…

Crown Hill Mom
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Crown Hill Mom

I have to call BS on BallardTrueColors. In what way would attending Ballard be less diverse than sending students to Lincoln? With an attendance area primarily from Wallingford and Queen Anne, Lincoln is going to be the whitest school in the district.

James Wagar
Guest

I set up and attended the meeting with KING 5. The story took Margaret’s remarks out of context.

Her primary issue is grandfathering for existing BHS students.

The Student Assignment Plan in place at the time all current BHS students enrolled, provides for a “continuing assignment” and “grandfathering” of existing students. The boundary map making process does not and cannot retroactively change the SAP – doing that would be a separate undertaking altogether.

While we appreciate the coverage by KING 5. The notion that anyone is presently focused on legal action is overblown sensationalism.

If it bleeds, (blood or legal fees), it leads.

Our group, Magnolia4BHS supports boundary maps that have students living between NW 80th and 85th attending Ballard as well as Magnolia students.

If anyone cares to reach us, please message us via our Facebook page: facebook.com/Magnolia4BHS

James Wagar
Guest

Notice the following quote from the article about and the KING 5 story (with emphasis added):

“If we have to go to court, you will STAY at Ballard because it’s the legal and right thing for them to do.”

This comment is focused on grandfathering for an existing student. While related to the boundary map making process, grandfathering is a separate policy matter altogether.

Kathleen Brose
Guest
Kathleen Brose

Back in 2000, I was the President of Parents Involved in Community Schools. Our little group of dedicated parents (middle class, kind, tolerant, open-minded and not rich!) and pro-bono attorneys successfully stopped the SSD from using the racial tiebreaker. It took several years and lots of hard work to make this happen. We just wanted our 14 year olds to be able to attend the high school closest to their home. Out of this legal success, the District gave much needed attention to Ingraham High School which is popular once again. The Center School was created as well. Seattle Public Schools are becoming more diverse every year with all of our new international immigrants who are coming to Seattle for all the high tech jobs. Everyone should just calm down. Your kids will be going to popular Ballard High School or the brand new Lincoln High School. Keep it in perspective. It could be so much worse—trust me.

Margaret Cerrato-Blue
Guest
Margaret Cerrato-Blue

Those were my remarks that were taken out of context. I can certainly understand how they came across, so I hope this clarifies things. As James Wagar stated, I was addressing only the grandfathering issue, and I was also speaking at the time only about my son, who will be a senior at BHS in 2019. I am also a lawyer. Neither I nor any Magnolia parents I know have hired a lawyer to address these issues. I at least cannot afford to do that. It is shocking to me, and I believe it would not be legally valid, for SPS to remove students already attending BHS and send them to Lincoln. Regardless of which boundary is chosen, no student at BHS from any affected neighborhood should be forced to leave their teachers, coaches, sports teams, academic pathways and more, during a very crucial time in their lives. These kids will be preparing for college, careers. The SPS cannot uproot them and risk seriously undermining that. It can gradually populate Lincoln, starting with 9th grade and students who choose to leave BHS. This is how other school districts have done this elsewhere in the U.S. I also mentioned due process… Read more »

James Wagar
Guest

@Geeky Swedes:

Thanks for the swift action. Please see my related email.

djw
Guest
djw

If I remember correctly, Seattle once had a Lincoln High School, a Queen Anne High School AND a Ballard High School all opened at the same time. During that period Seattle’s population was much smaller than today.

The overall population of Seattle was lower then, but the population of HS-aged children in NW Seattle was higher.