I received this on Friday:
Dear Seattle Public Schools Staff Members,
Earlier today I held my first brown bag lunch discussion on next year’s budget. The discussion, which occurred in the TV Studio at the JSCEE Center, was a live internet broadcast that allowed a studio audience and me to interact through a question and answer session on the budget. We also had several people join the conversation via teleconferencing. The feedback I received after the session was that people liked the opportunity to express their concerns about the budget and to get immediate answers to their questions.
Two weeks ago, after I announced that I would hold the brown bag lunches, I received feedback from some of our teachers that the times of the studio brown bags would not fit their work schedules. I am therefore modifying the schedule for the next two sessions as follows:
· Tuesday, December 2, from 2:30 to 3:30
· Wednesday December 17, from 3:30 to 4:30
I hope that this change will allow teachers to participate. I will plan additional sessions for January following the winter break.
My most recent meeting with the Board’s Finance Committee was yesterday. I recommended to the committee that we change the budget development calendar to allow more time for us to work together to make recommendations for balancing the budget. The Finance Committee agreed to change the dates for Board presentations as follows:
· Preliminary recommendations presented on January 14
· Final recommendations presented on February 4.
These changes were made because, (1) the Board will not vote on school closures until January 29, and these decisions will impact how we develop the budget, and (2) there is currently too much uncertainty about how the state’s budget shortfall of $5 billion will impact funding we rely on from the state. The governor’s proposed budget should be released just before winter break, and our recommendations will be informed by information in that budget proposal to the legislature.
The Information Technology department has created an email exclusively for you to send in questions regarding the budget and our budget development process. I will either respond to these questions during future streamed budget sessions or via email. The email address is: Don'sBudgetTalks@seattleschools.org
Thanks to all who participated in today’s session. Your input was helpful today and will continue to be an important part of developing a budget that will help us realize our goals of providing every student with an excellent education.