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    Seattle Public Schools Archives

    Doing Historical Research

    Japanese American Clerks - Primary and Secondary Source examples found in the Seattle Public School Archives
    Primary Sources:

    Rededication of Plaque:
    Secondary Sources: Roosevelt Yearbook "Strenous Life" 1942 includes a photo of one of the clerks who was forced to resign.

    Franklin 1941 yearbook photo of another clerk, forced to resign.  All but two of the clerks were Seattle Public School graduates.

    Another of the clerks who was forced to resign - Franklin 1941

    Another clerk's yearbook photo May Daty - 1940 yearbook photo

    Washington Secretary of State - Washington State Archives

     Educational Resources for Teachers and Students.  

    Levy History Information from the Archives

    Summarization of Levy/Bond Activities

    Seattle’s long history of funding education goes back to 1883 when the very first bonds were issued to build schools to house Seattle elementary students. A high school building did not exist, and there was no agreement within the community to build one. Early opponents of building a high school included the state university (who wanted the tuition) and early laws which banned public funding of secondary schools.    More opposition arose due to the size, cost and location of a proposed high school.  It was 5 years before the district received the funds to acquire property for a high school in 1889, and completed the construction in 1902 of Broadway High School. The Seattle Fire of 1889, which destroyed the Central School, led the district to build 8 schools using the more expensive brick.

    1910 – 1930 saw an additional 9 bonds issued to address crowding, resulting in construction of an additional 33 buildings (brick and wood), with 20 more annexed from surrounding communities. The community’s expectations of schools were changing during these times as well, with a 1906 Parks Levy – which identified the  relationship between covered play courts/playgrounds/parks and schools, some of which were operated by the City Parks Department and some by the school district. It took until 1948 to develop a joint planning/funding process between the city and the school district.

    In addition to the community’s changing definition of schools to the inclusion of parks, schools were also now built to include more expanded, specialized purpose spaces (such as auditoriums, shops, sewing rooms, and industrial arts rooms) to support the changes in curriculum, driving up the costs of construction.

    Overcrowding pressures from WWI drove passage of $1.5 million in bonds, resulting in 5 new elementary schools and 3 new high schools. West Seattle's 1917 landmarked building was one of them. Still, by 1919 the student population was up to 40,000 and seventy portables were in use. Passage of another $4.5 million worth of bonds resulted in another building program with 2 more high schools, 15 elementary schools and 2 intermediate schools.  This includes the Landmarks designated Garfield (1923 original building 20th Century Jacobean by F.A. Naramore - exterior main entrance).  One of the intermediate schools, Hamilton Middle School includes a landmarked library.

    Between 1920 and 1931 the population growth slowed significantly, rising only from 51,381 to 66,000 students. The district did not issue bonds from 1930 – 1946, but did pass a 3 million dollar levy for buildings. The levy was to update the infrastructure, heating, and light fixtures and add special purpose rooms like auditoriums, libraries, and science, music and art rooms along with the elimination of portables. By 1938 one hundred eight portables were in use and the district had too many schools in some places, with suburban schools overcrowded in others. Some WPA funds were available to help with maintenance, rehabilitation and renovation during this time.

    WWII triggered a new boom in Seattle: portable use swelled, and in 1946, 1948, 1950 and 1952 bonds were passed.  Eight new elementary schools were built during the 1940s, and between 1950 and 1970 twenty-five elementary schools, twelve new junior high schools and four new high schools had been constructed. In 1955 and ‘56, with state funding for education declining, levies passed for kindergartens and to support the general operating funds.

    During the 1960s building and construction was shaped by a new “open space” concept of teaching, which affected the architecture. The addition/expansion of special education, programs for disadvantaged and underserved youth and alternative programs, as well as the move to a middle school configuration instead of a junior high configuration, all led to a need for much more space. A $43 million bond passed in 1966 to assist in funding these changes.  The auditorium at Nathan Eckstein is a landmarked example.

    During the 1970s and beyond, the student population decreased by 50%, and the district started closing schools and removing portables. In 1977 the district adopted a sweeping mandatory assignment plan that included over one half of the schools to correct the racial imbalance. The desegregation plan altered grade configurations and required the development of space for magnet programs.  In 1974 the district tried to pass bonds for buildings, but only received 40% voter approval (not the required 60% majority). As a result, the district focused on passing general fund levies during the 1970s, and not until 1982 (under the new majority vote rules passed in 1980) did the district request—and pass--a capital levy to begin capital projects. 

    This also included a comprehensive facilities master plan which resulted in the closure of 2 high schools, 7 intermediate schools and 20 elementary schools. Many of the remaining buildings were seriously in need of upgrading or replacement: the district tried in 1984 to pass a capital improvement bond (CIP 1) for $64 million, but it did not meet the 40% vote requirements. The bond was resubmitted and passed, providing for replacement and rehabilitation of schools. In 1991 the very first Tools for Learning (technology enhancement) of 21.7 million passed. This was phase 1 of a 2 phase Master Tech Plan. The district’s buildings were not designed or equipped to allow the integration of technology into the classroom. There also was no equitable access to technology from building to building. The District also wanted to develop guidelines for integrating technology into the curriculum.   

    After passing of a technology levy in 1991, the district had a period of difficulty acquiring passage of building and construction bonds because of the strict approval percentage requirements, usually failing each measure by a narrow margin. In 1992 the Capital Improvement Projects II (CIP II) bonds failed to pass, and in 1994 Building for Educational Excellence (BEX I) bonds failed twice. In 1995 BEX I finally passed as a levy (with less stringent requirements for passage) instead of bonds for $330 million.  BEX I provided for renovation, additions and new construction at 16 elementary schools and 3 high schools.

    A BTA (Buildings, Technology and Athletics) passed in 1998 which included 40 million for technology (double the first technology levy). Changes in programming drove additional building and technology needs (bilingual and special education services increased to 20% and 13% of the districts population, respectively). 

    The BEX II levy passed in 2001 for $398 million and paid for new construction, renovation and improvement in 17 Seattle Schools facilities. Beginning with Franklin High School, preserving the historic character of applicable schools (though the city’s landmark program), while bringing them up to standards for a modern education, is part of the balancing act the district has had to take on.

    BTA II in 2004 was a renewal of the of the 1998 BTA (changed to Buildings, Technology and Academics) with 171 million approved (this included 96.3 m in building renovations, 38.8 million in technology and 35.9 million in academics)  - technology costs held steady from the previous BTA levy while use of technology by students and staff increased significantly.

    The Seattle Schools recognized the importance of technology in education early on, and in the 1990s the district began planning for more comprehensive inclusion of technology. The current buildings were not designed or equipped for integration of technology into the classroom and there was no equitable access to technology from building to building. The district also wanted to develop guidelines for integrating technology into the curriculum.   The first technology-focused levy was put before the voters in 1991 and passed. Called Tools for Learning, the $21.7 million levy was phase one of a two-phase master technology plan Community support for the continued integration of technology was apparent with the voter approval of the Buildings, Technology, and Athletics (BTA) levy in 1998, which included $40 million for technology (double the first technology levy). Use of technology by students and staff increased significantly between the first BTA levy and BTA II, but the district held the costs steady. 

    BTA II (the renewal of BTA with a name change to Buildings, Technology, and Academics) included $38.8 million for technology, $96.3 million for building renovations, and $35.9 million for academics.BEX III (a 6 year capital bond) was passed in 2007 and a BTA III capital levy was passed in 2010. The District has phased community schools back in while retaining successful programs and creating new programs like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) – also driving changes to buildings and technology.