Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tonight's School Board Meeting

Although the superintendent search community meeting was postponed from tonight to next Wednesday night (see Superintendent Search Meetings Schedule Update), the Seattle School Board meeting is happening as scheduled, from 6 pm to 9 pm at the John Stanford Center.

On the agenda for this evening, several speakers are signed up to discuss each of the following issues:
  • Migration to Metro
  • Superintendent Search
  • Weighted Student Formula/Funding
  • Math teaching/curriculum
  • South Pacific Island students

The other topics, being addressed by only 1 speaker, include: district governance, state audit, the African American Heritage museum and the generic "school matters."

The items that grab my attention on the agenda are not the Public Testimony or the Action Items, but the Introduction Items for this evening.

1. Resolution 2006/07-12, Parent Conference Waiver (SLC) –
Approval of this item would authorize the district to apply for a three-year
waiver to consolidate elementary parent-teacher conference days to three full
days.


2. 2007-08 Student Funding Allocations (SLC/Finance) -
The funding allocation system, which is used to develop individual school
budgets.

As a parent of elementary school children, the 8 days of early dismissal prior to Thanksgiving (7 for parent-teacher conferences and 1 for day-before Thanksgiving) have been extremely difficult to accommodate, not to mention the detrimental effect on learning of that many shorter days. It's bad enough for full-day elementary students who have 9:10 to 1:10 school days, but when my daughters were in half-day preschool (at Graham Hill Elementary), they started school at 9:10 and got out at 10:40 for 8 days straight. The general feeling among parents and teachers was, "What's the point?"

Personally, I'd rather see twice-a-year conferences, which many districts other than Seattle have, so parents and teachers can discuss progress/change. But if that's not possible, I'd still celebrate a change to 3 full-days of no school rather than 7 days of early dismissal.

Regarding the student funding proposal, I'm disappointed, although not surprised, to see the discussion is limited to how to address the budget deficit created by following the current funding formula. I had thought that changes to the overall weighted student formula were going to be proposed for next year.

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One final note, I'm taking a class on Wednesday evenings this quarter, so I won't be attending any School Board meetings. If you attend the meeting, please post your comments on this thread to share what you learned/heard/saw with me and others.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to see that the common sense approach many schools have adopted to the conference schedule is being explored by the district- ie having 3 days full time conferences rather than school in session part time for a week. Working and low income parents have really suffered under the old way due to having to juggle childcare and take on extra costs that way.