For more than 50 years, three early childhood education programs in Shoreline have been helping children and families grow, but now it is the growing number of families enrolling children in the Shoreline School District that is forcing those programs from their home and perhaps out of existence.
The three cooperative preschools are North City, Shorenorth, and Shoreline Cooperative. Currently, they are all housed at the former North City Elementary School, which was closed by the Shoreline School District in 2006-07 due to low enrollment at the time.
The preschools are three out of seven that are operated across north King County as joint efforts of Shoreline Community College and individual 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, one for each preschool.
The three preschools now housed at North City Elementary have been operating in the Shoreline area for more than 50 years. Under the umbrella of Shoreline Community College, the preschools provide developmentally appropriate learning experiences for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Instructors at each preschool are Shoreline Community College faculty. Parents of children in the programs are Shoreline Community College students and earn college credit through the Parenting Education Program.
For the past 40 years, the preschools have leased various spaces from the Shoreline School District, most recently at North City Elementary. However, earlier this fall the programs were informed that, due to the district’s growing number of families and enrollments, the district anticipates needing the space now leased to the preschools starting in the 2016-17 school year. The district also anticipates needing space at the former Aldercrest Elementary School, and it has notified tenants in both buildings that their leases will be terminated on June 1, 2016.
Parents and staff at the preschools say they see the growing number of families and students in the area because attendance at the preschools is at an all-time high, too. However, understanding the need for K-12 classroom space isn’t making dealing with the lease terminations for the preschools any easier.
Staff and parents for the cooperative preschools are actively seeking new homes for these three programs. What they’re finding, however, are very limited options due to today’s strong real-estate market combined with a mission to keep program tuition affordable for families. In addition, the June 1 date in the district’s notice to vacate the property falls the day after the preschools close for the summer. The tight timeline makes impossible to finish the year in place, say preschool parents and staff, without shortening the spring quarter class schedules.
To help keep the preschools alive and serving Shoreline families and their children next fall, preschool officials are seeking assistance from the community in locating a new home or homes for the three programs. Officials say each preschool is looking for approximately 2,000 square feet of space if they move to separate locations, or about 6,000 or more square feet altogether if they move to a single shared location.
Information on possible new sites to lease and other recommendations or offers of assistance should be directed to North City Cooperative Preschool, firstname.lastname@example.org or SCC Parent Education Coordinator Pollie McCloskey email@example.com.