Each year, about 300 students from Queen Anne and Magnolia prepare to enroll in a Seattle public high school. Many of them instead end up in private or parochial schools.

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Each year, about 300 students from Queen Anne and Magnolia prepare to enroll in a Seattle public high school. Many of them instead end up in private or parochial schools.

The Seattle School District has some very good high schools. But a lack of consistent quality drives some students out of the district. And in the case of Magnolia and Queen Anne, families don’t even have a full-scale local high school.

Just give them a school.

This idea isn’t new. It just has been ignored.

The Center School was Seattle’s attempt to mollify families pushing for a close-to-home high school. Now in its seventh year, the school at the base of Queen Anne is excellent, but it is more niche than educationally comprehensive.

Most families don’t want an alternative-school experience; they want a well-rounded, comprehensive program. In a school-choice system, more students from the Queen Anne and Magnolia neighborhoods are choosing to attend Ballard, Garfield and Roosevelt high schools than the Center School — or private school. And that’s the problem.

Unfortunately, the district sold Queen Anne High School in the 1980s. It is now the home to high-end condos.

But the district still has Lincoln High School, in nearby Wallingford. A stately old building, it is being used as an interim site while Garfield High School is rebuilt.

Lincoln would require $20 million to be move-in ready. That investment is minuscule considering a new high school would cost about $150 million and require going to the voters with a capital-bond measure. Lincoln could also fill the high-school gap for the Eastlake and North Capitol Hill neighborhoods.

The math is convincing. Slap some makeup on Lincoln and give Queen Anne and Magnolia families a viable option.

Another, less-obvious solution is Memorial Stadium and an adjacent 2.5-acre parking lot. A deed clause requires part of the stadium to remain a citywide athletic facility, but the rest of the space is up for creative grabs. A high school directly across from the future headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation poses an exciting prospect.

Michael DeBell is the lone voice on the School Board pushing for a new high school. He is understandably frustrated as neighborhood freshmen, wait-listed at Ballard and Roosevelt, turn instead to private school.

A district plan that emphasizes neighborhood schools should include Queen Anne and Magnolia.