It could be high drama tonight at the Board meeting. The overwhelming majority of speakers intend to speak on the High School math adoption. The Times has come out with a steady state editorial asking the Board to be careful, to listen to the public and to make sure their reasoning is sound.
I am hoping, no matter what the vote, that I do not hear any Board member saying this has be done because time is running out. We make far too many decisions in this district based on staff giving this reasoning. I know the need for new and better textbooks at the high school level but as my son starts on his final leg of high school, I am aware that other parents will just start their journey in SPS in the fall. Those students need to have good valid textbooks awaiting them when they get to high school.
But, as usual, there are other interesting items on the agenda. One is an addition to Hamilton to accomodate the music students coming from Washington who will help build and strengthen Hamilton's program. From the agenda item:
"Due to recent and unforeseen school closures and consolidations the Hamilton International Middle School building requires modifications to both the building educational specifications and the construction contracts to accommodate two instrumental music classrooms not included in the original building program."
They are asking to spend an additional $750,000 for the two classrooms. Now this works out okay to some degree because both the Hamilton and South Shore projects have realized some savings. However, Facilities staff have already drawn money out of BEX III projects to pay off the ever-continuing costs of the Garfield renovation. Now they need to use some contingency money for this project. My point is that the money is starting to run down and it's always a little worrisome when projects aren't even near completion.
Another agenda item is to award a bid for work at Ingraham that had been approved not under BEX III but under something else (it's a bit unclear what they are referring to and I think that's by design). If we had all wondered where the money to appease Sealth came from (remember? the district threw more improvements at their building in an effort to make them feel better about (1) not getting a renovated building a la West Seattle or Ballard and (2) that they weren't really told that they would be having a joint campus with Denny), here's where it came from.
"This work is to paint the school interior, to replace carpet and to install new carpet and linoleum at classrooms and corridors. In addition, vinyl asbestos tile and mastic will be removed. The work was slated to be performed as part or the Infrastructure Improvements under the 2007 bond/levy program. The bond funds for this work were re-allocated to the Sealth High School Improvements as part of the influx of $10 million to Sealth as previously approved by the Board. The Ingraham Indoor Air Quality improvements can be funded within the approved construction budget of the Ingraham High School project because of favorable bid results for the addition work. "
This is exactly what I speak of for the upcoming BTA levy when I say that the money is shifted around and then it is very unclear how money is spent and from what source. It is great that the district has realized some savings from favorable bids but the problem is with the latest tree ruling, what does that do to the schedule or indeed the entire plan? I look to see the Ingraham project ending up needing more money.
And hey! out of left field (go Mariners) here's an amendment to a Board policy (that comes not from the Board but from staff):
"Summit Vending is a third party vendor for the Cold Beverage Vending contract. Due to the constraints of the School Board Advertising and Commercialism and Distribution of Competitive Foods Policy, this is the only type of vendor that can bid on full service cold beverage vending.
The Board adopted procedure currently states that exclusive pouring rights contracts with bottling companies are prohibited.
These constraints severely restrict the number of vendors who can bid on this contract. The District will benefit from open competition to all vendors. Increasing competition among vendors, which would result in improved service, would require a change in the current School Board Advertising and Commercialism Procedure (E02.01).
Following Board adoption of this motion, staff will begin the process of advertising a proposal for cold beverage vending with implementation scheduled for August 2009."
So this is both troubling and difficult to dissect. What I do know is that when the Board passed this policy it was in defense of students' health. What happened, though, is that many high schools lost thousands of dollars on profits from vending machines (naturally, because we stopped selling soda). This really affected schools that needed this money for their ASB (Associated Student Body). I know Franklin, for one, was very upset.
What would be deleted from the policy?
"Exclusive “pouring rights” contracts with bottling companies are prohibited. Any contract already in effect shall be terminated effective prior to the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year."
I say this is difficult to dissect because I don't know enough about these contracts or the ramifications of eliminating this paragraph. This policy also states that parents have the right to be informed about commercialism at their child's school and yet this intro item has nothing about next steps which might include clearly explanation what this would mean to the schools and the students. I hope the Board asks for this information.