At the 15 May 2019 Seattle School Board meeting Director Betty Patu announced she will be stepping down from her school board seat. The process to fill the seat representing District 7, Southeast Seattle, involves an appointment by the remaining school board directors. Below is a letter signed by 38 individuals representing 35 organizations demanding a transparent process.
Timeline thus far:
- 15 May 2019 — Director Patu announces resignation, her last day will be 26 June 2019
- 17 May 2019, updated 22 May and 4 June 2019– Seattle Times article states “More information on the appointment process, including the applications, will be on the district website in about a week, Harris said.”
- 24 May 2019 — Email (below) sent by SE Seattle representatives asking for a timeline and information on the appointment process, in a reply email President Harris said the information would be released in a week.
- 31 May, 1, 4, 7 June 2019 — Reminder emails sent to President Harris asking about a timeline and process. No updates provided to the 4 or 7 June email.
As the community most impacted by this appointment, having a fair and open democratic process is essential. Parents and community members deserve to see a timeline and understand how the appointment will be made and to give input on who will be representing District 7. The appointment cannot be made behind closed doors.
Please write to the school board asking for a timeline and the process to be published: [email protected]
24 May 2019
Dear School Board President Harris:
District 7 families and the community-based organizations serving them are highly motivated to provide input into the process of replacing Director Patu. We hope you can provide assurances there will be an open and transparent process in appointing a new school board director to fill the vacancy. We look forward to participating in the process.
We would like to suggest the following actions take place to ensure there is a fair and transparent process:
Publicly share and widely communicate a timeline for the appointment process, especially in outreach efforts connected to Southeast Seattle and in ethnic media.
The qualifications and criteria used to select the new school board director will be publicly published in a timely manner.
At least one public forum be held to interview candidates. Residents from District 7, educators working in schools in District 7, and non-profit and community partners operating in District 7 should have priority in asking questions and giving input for the board to consider. If written input is allowed, input from District 7’s residents, educators, and nonprofit partners should be weighted and given higher consideration than the public at large. This is to recognize that the person filling the seat will represent District 7.
A proactive engagement process with Black, Indigenous, People of Color living in District 7 to ensure they are able to participate in the process.
Interpretation and translated materials will be made available during the selection process.
Live streams and video recordings of the forums are made publicly available.
We would appreciate hearing back from you on how we can work with you to ensure these steps are taken. Please contact Erin Okuno, Executive Director, Southeast Seattle Education Coalition, [email protected] or 425-243-7079 to coordinate next steps. We thank Director Betty Patu for her extensive years of service to our community and schools.
Vice President, Kimball PTSA
Executive Director, Na’ah Illahee Fund
Policy & Advocacy Director, School’s Out Washington
SESEC Board Member & Education Program Manager, OneAmerica
President, Seattle Education Association
Managing Strategist, Rainier Beach Action Coalition
Chair, Asian Pacific Directors Coalition & Executive Director, Community for Youth
Executive Director, Somali Parent Education Board
President, Beacon Hill PTA
SESEC Board Member
Rise Up For Students & District 7 Parent
Executive Director, Vietnamese Friendship Association
Executive Director, Chinese Information Service Center (CISC)
Executive Director, Launch
SESEC Board Chair & District 7 Parent
Youth Development Program Supervisor, Chinese Information Service Center (CISC)
PTA co-President, Graham Hill Elementary
Executive Director, City Year
Executive Director, ZENO Math
Executive Director, East African Community Services
Co-President, Friends of Hawthorne Elementary
PTSA President, Asa Mercer International
Deputy Director, OneAmerica
Executive Director, Neighborhood House
Executive Director, Southeast Seattle Education Coalition
Executive Director, El Centro de la Raza
South Shore, PTSA co-president
SESEC Board Member & Executive Director, Renton Innovation Zone Partnership
Interim Executive Director, Communities in Schools-Seattle
Founder & Principal, Equity Matters
Executive Director, OneAmerica
Secretary, Van Asselt Elementary PTA & member, Integrated Schools Seattle
SESEC Board Member & Youth Program Manager, Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA)
Dean, College of Education — University of Washington
Vivian van Gelder
Families and Communities for Equity in Schools (FACES)
Director of Policy and Research, League of Education Voters
CEO, School’s Out Washington
Co-Executive Director, WA-BLOC