Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shoreline Schools says no decision yet concerning future of Ronald School and Shoreline Historical Museum

We recently posted information from Shoreline Historical Museum that the Museum was going to be forced to move from its current location at the old Ronald School.

Among the information we got from the Museum was a copy of a letter sent to "Members, Donors and Friends." The letter was written by Robert Phelps, President of the Shoreline Historical Museum. Part of his letter reads as follows:

Two weeks ago we accidentally became aware
that the Shoreline School Board is planning to move the Museum out of its present place in the 1912 Ronald Elementary School, where it has resided for 33 years. Of course, this was a great surprise to all of our Board members, who have worked toward restoration of the building, and toward fulfilling the educational mission of the Museum.

Despite the fact that the School District has 26 acres of property on which to site their new building, the superintendent said at a public meeting of the Richmond Highlands Neighborhood Association on May 5th that the Museum would not be staying in the Ronald School building. The school board has never openly asked or involved the Museum, which is a stakeholder on the property. In all the months of planning, this is the first time such a specific pronouncement has been made, and it was not made to us directly.

Up until a few days ago, no one from the school district had formally contacted the director, board members or anyone else at the Museum, except for a letter of April 30, 2008 stating that they were analyzing the rebuilding of Shorewood, but saying nothing about evicting the Museum. We invited the school board president and representatives to attend our board meeting on May 20, 2009. At that meeting, they stated that “no decision has been made” however, they did say that none of the preferred plans include keeping the Museum in the Ronald School Building. (click here to read the letter in its entirety)

In response to that previous post, we were contacted by Craig Derringer, Public Information Officer with Shoreline Schools. Here is part of his message:

There is no "eviction" or "impending closure" of the Shoreline Historical Museum. The Shoreline School Board has not made any decision about the future of Ronald School which houses the museum.

The recent letter to Mayor Ryu (read it here) provides specifics related to the Historical Museum's lease, site issues and the Shorewood High School redesign process. As explained in the letter, the District has not reached any final decisions regarding the future of the Ronald School property and building, although the size of the Shorewood site is quite restrictive when trying to create equity with the Shorecrest site, which is 12 acres larger.

Museum leadership was specifically notified of this process as far back as April 2008. Members of the Museum staff and board have been present at all of the Community Outreach meetings for the Shorewood design planning, where the process has been transparent and inclusive.

We (Shoreline Schools) invite the community to our next community outreach meeting on June 4, 7 pm at both high schools.

Link to read
a letter written from School Supt. Walker to Museum director Vicki Stiles in April 2008 regarding the District beginning the Shorewood High School design process

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps the School Board hasn't made a "final decision" but when none of the options from which they are planning to choose includes keeping the museum, it sure seems like a decision.

    And I can't figure out what part of the letter of April 2008 was supposed to be saying "we are considering evicting the museum as part of this process." Do they expect us to believe that the museum and its supporters failed to respond to a clear message? Please.

    Since this statement was posted there was a meeting with the museum board at which the school board was asked why no one from the museum had been included on the committee to explore the options for this project...they had no answer.