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Superintendent Finalists' Districts Differ Greatly

Ann Dornfeld

The three finalists for Seattle Public Schools superintendent come from districts with significant differences from Seattle. KUOW's Ann Dornfeld reports.


The three superintendent finalists all come from medium–sized districts in Oregon and California. But those districts vary a lot from Seattle and each other in their student demographics and other factors.

Finalist Steven Enoch is superintendent of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District in the California Bay Area. That district's enrollment is less than two–thirds that of Seattle Public Schools. A notable difference from Seattle is the percentage of low–income students. Family income level is a major indicator of kids' likelihood to succeed in school. In San Ramon Valley, just 3 percent of the students come from low–income families. Seattle's proportion of low–income students is more than ten times that.

Finalist Jose Banda is superintendent of the Anaheim City School District in California. That district is about one–third the size of Seattle Public Schools. It's also an all–elementary school district. School is year–round. The student body is 86 percent Latino, and also 86 percent low income. Most of the kids in the district are English Language Learners.

Finalist Sandra Husk is superintendent of Salem–Keizer School District in Oregon. That district is closest in size to Seattle. It's the second–largest district in Oregon. Unlike the other finalists' districts, Salem–Keizer has charter schools. The district has many more low–income students than Seattle. The percentage of Latino students in Salem–Keizer is also three times as high as Seattle.

The differences between the finalists' districts and Seattle could be perceived as strengths or weaknesses. Either way, they'll likely be a major consideration as the finalists meet with the Seattle School Board and Community Focus Group next week.

I'm Ann Dornfeld, KUOW News.

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