Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cross post taken from APP Blog

This was a comment posted on the APP Blog by Meg Diaz. People need to read this, so I'm just stealing it. Hey, it's on a blog, it's in the public domain, there's no copyright protection and information wants to be free.

Thurgood Marshall is getting eviscerated. The ALO program will take the worst of it.

The ALO program is somewhere over 85% FRL. The influx of the APP program has reduced the "school" FRL to 44%. SPS, starting in 2009-10, said that 1) schools can receive EITHER Title or LAP money, not both, and 2) that a school needs to be above 55% FRL to receive Title money (side note: both Title and LAP funds are intended to help kids who are living in poverty, performing below grade level or both). As a result of this brilliant policy change, Thurgood Marshall will lose nearly $200K in Title money, and yet the ALO population that was there before APP flooded into the building does not need the resources any less than they did before. The loss of title money also leaves the school at a disadvantage in gaining scholarships for things like field trips and other donations.

Thurgood Marshall's staffing reductions will hit the ALO program hardest. Pull-outs for math and reading? Over. FRL population receiving tutoring from tutoring companies that are paid with title money? Over. Bussing for before-school programs for kids qualified for FRL? Gone. A classroom teacher? Buh-bye.

In 2008-09, enrollment at Thurgood Mrshall was 264. Total FTEs were at 32.1. For 2010, the district projected some 440 kids (relatively stable from this year), and 33.6 FTEs. 180 extra kids in the building merit... 1.5 additional staffers and almost $200k LESS in additional funds.

Last year during the closure process, multiple APP parents posited to the board that moving APP into the Thurgood Marshall building would put the kids already in the building at risk, because it would very likely cause the school to lose massive amounts of funding and resources that those children really, really needed, simply because the FRL % for the building would be changed. The board insisted that this would not be the case, that they would look after these kids and that, in fact, having APP in the building could benefit them. Diversity! Enrichment! Access and equity! Unicorns and rainbows!

Just as predicted, the neediest kids in the building have lost huge amounts of resources because of the influx of a program with very different demographics into the building.

I would be very curious to learn what the benefit is to screwing over a struggling kid living in poverty.

24 comments:

Joseph Rockne said...

Won't something similar happen at Cleveland if the STEM program attracts a large percentage of children?

Eric B said...

Isn't this the same problem that ALL schools have that don't meet the threshold for Title I schools? All have some students who need and deserve those resources. There are several schools that just barely miss that threshold value year after year. Of course the real problem is having a single threshold value. Is this required by Title I? I know that the threshold has changed could SPS make it a graduated qualification? Another bad consequence of this is that it financially rewards segregation in that schools with moderate FRL numbers (like TM this year) end up being penalized while schools with high FRL get additional funds and schools with low FRL numbers have lower needs.

Charlie Mas said...

Seattle Public Schools doesn't use any Title I funding in high schools, so Cleveland won't lose any as a result of replacing Cleveland with STEM. There will probably be a loss of LAP funding, but the District, as we now know, holds back a bunch of LAP money and re-distributes it at their discretion. They have committed a disproportionate share of LAP money to STEM.

This doens't take funding away from STEM; this takes it away from other schools. And this funding is independent of STEM's ability to recruit.

I don't know if Title I requires that districts use a threshold concentration of students living in poverty for distributing the funding. I do know that the District sets the threshold each year.

The practice undeniably provides financial rewards for economically segregated schools.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Central Cluster Mom said...

What Elementary school takes in $200k via auction? There is no way that is going to happen at TM - although I'm sure that is what the district is hoping for.

$200k is far more than Lowell ever raised intact - so planning $200k for half the program is completely unrealistic and perpetuating the erroneous belief that APP parents are all independently wealthy.

I'm sure there are many other schools in this district that face this every year.

The fact that it is happening "cold turkey" at TM as a direct result of closure decisions last year is unfortunate for those kids directly affected (although it was accurately predicted during the process by many parents).

Maureen said...

I think one thing that puts TM (and Lowell) at a disadvantage relative to other schools with a 45% FRL rate is that they are structured in a way that doesn't let them mix the kids across classrooms--other schools with 45% FRl will still have 55% of the kids in any given room who are not poor.

TM and Lowell are structured , to some extent, as two separate schools within one building--half the classroom will have 30 kids, 90% of them poor, and the other half will have 30 kids, only 10% poor. The APP kids mask the concentration of poverty. The classroom level needs are the same as they were before the split.

Aside--does TM even have an auction? I thought 1-5 APP only had a direct appeal--and that proceeds were down significantly this year.

gavroche said...

Add to this the fact that the new student assignment plan map is drawn so tightly around Thurgood Marshall that neighborhood kids will eventually not be able to get in anyway.

I believe the District's 'master plan' (or should I say 'plot'?) here is for Thurgood to eventually become an entirely APP school.

Director DeBell said as much last spring.

So the loss of Title 1 funds for TM doesn't concern the District that much.

TM at least got to keep its T-1 funding for one year after the closures. T.T. Minor kids immediately lost all of theirs.

And their before- and after-school care. And transportation. And, of course, their entire school.

I also agree that there is no way Thurgood or Lowell will raise $200k this year. It didn't happen before the split and sure as heck won't happen now and in this economy.

One last thought: many signs are indicating that the APP/ALO cohousing at Thurgood is not working. Serious tensions and problems abound. In other words, the District has indeed created a Madrona situation of incompatability all over again -- which many of us warned them about, and which former School Supt. John Stanford warned never to do again. (http://community.seattletimes.
nwsource.com/archive/?date=19990810&slug=2976509)

It's a bad situation for all the kids in the school.

Nice work, SPS.

It's time to put elementary APP back together again, and give the ALO kids at Thurgood (and the former T.T. Minor kids) the resources they need.

hschinske said...

Seems to me I remember reading that when APP was at Madrona the district argued for calculating Title 1 funds by the percentage of FRL in the regular program, not the school as a whole. Anyone else remember this? I can't find the original blog post or wherever it was I saw it.

Helen Schinske

Steve said...

So (as gavroche states), if Michael DeBell said last Spring that the long-term plan for TM is to make it an all-APP school, does that mean a re-consolidation of APP (Lowell closing and APP kids there going to TM)? Or, a growth in the program to accommodate increased demand? We're still deciding whether or not to send a child to APP at Lowell, and increasingly, it's harder to tell what the plan is for this program and this school.

Kudos to the parents who predicted all this and told the district/board about it last year. Shame on the district and the board for not listening.

Methylgrace said...

Why the #$%@ should Thurgood Marshall, or ANY SCHOOL for that matter, have to raise $200,000 a year through a BAKE SALE?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, that's it's possible boggles the mind.

But as we move to more neighborhood schools, we will see this stratification of PTAs and the ability to fund many things. It increases the divide between well-supported schools and under-supported schools. It's not good for anyone.

Some schools fund an FTE. For an elementary school that could lower class size. Or they fund music or art or foreign language. Or even worse, they fund building projects. The district loves this because it lets them off the hook. I think it is coming to a boil now because of pay for K and class size and all the other things spinning out of control.

I wonder how much the Mayor and the City Council are aware of how the lid on the boiling pot is starting to rumble.

(I know from hearing from a few people as well as from Roosevelt that many schools are struggling to get donations. Part of me doesn't believe it is just the economy - it was bad last year as well - but it may be a strike against the district or school. Kind of "okay, don't listen to us, we don't have to fund you." Is the frustration level that high? I don't know.)

jamie said...

Maureen hits the nail on the head about the reason that this is a different and more unfair situation from the average school on the cusp of title one eligibility.

Stu said...

which many of us warned them about, and which former School Supt. John Stanford warned never to do again.

Not to mention the APP review, which the district paid for, and then ignored . . . actually, worse than ignored . . . specifically went a different direction.

stu

Joe said...

Central Cluster mom many school raise over 200K at their auctions.....McGilvra, Montlake, Haye, Coe, View Ridge, and Bryant to name a few.

Even smaller middle income schools raise almost 100K. I know Thornton Creek does, and even tiny Sacajewea's auction brings in 75K or so.

I'm surprised Lowell doesn
t raise much at their auctions.

Not saying it's right to count on auction dollars to fulfill district responsibility.....

Shannon said...

Lowell doesn't have an auction.

It has a direct appeal.

The target was $65K, I think. Anyone?

I have no idea of the fundraising goals at TM but cannot imagine them being more than that.

Megan said...

Shame on the board. I hope TM families are able to attend the net board meeting and throw it in their faces.

Lori said...

Joe, are you sure about your PTSA auction numbers? For example, you can go to the Bryant web site right now, and the lead article says that the entire PTSA budget for next year is around $180K, which would include the auction, the annual fund, and the fall carnival. I never heard that the auction alone brought in six figures, much less $200K. Any know for sure?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I know McGilvra raised $160K about 5 years ago but I have no idea what their figures are now. There are just a few schools that raise that much through PTA. For the high schools, some booster clubs do raise big bucks.

georgia said...

TM also has direct appeal. The target was ~60K. Last time I checked, 18% of families had participated, generating around
30K.

Meg said...

Eric B- many schools are getting gutted because of the following allocation changes: 1) the FRL threshold for Title was raised to 55%, 2) schools now receive either Title or LAP, but not both. I <a href="http://dolcenutella.blogspot.com/2010/02/crappy-chart-thursday.html>reviewed a bunch</a> of the schools (slide 5, I think)that look like they stand to lose funding because of that (those losses are 08-09 to 09-10, when the either/or LAP/Title policy kicked in).

Thurgood Marshall is different (at least, <em>I</em> think so) because the change in its FRL is entirely due to a decision the board made, which was actively questioned by parents (and the change in FRL and its effects on the ALO program was an issue that was raised). The board and staffers insisted that the kids in the ALO program would not suffer as a result of placing APP in the building. And it's just not the case. The demographics in the ALO program didn't change in the last year, even though the demographics in the building did. Those kids need help just as much as they did one year ago, and as a direct consequence of moving APP into the building, their education will be harmed. And as Maureen points out, in a building with a single program, 44% FRL means the classrooms are mixed that way. At Thurgood Marshall, it's not the case. Still, you're absolutely right that there are schools that don't get desperately needed funding because they barely miss the FRL % threshold, and I think you have a point about there being a financial incentive for segregation.

Joe- Thurgood Marshall doesn't have an auction. And while it would be fabulous (and would solve a couple of major problems) if we raised $200k, we come nowhere near.

And generally- Thurgood Marshall lost over $200k in funding, not $180k. I apparently don't do math so well when I'm really mad.

Meg said...

Hmm. I'm apparently not very good at html in comments, either. Oh, well.

twokidmom said...

I thought that all Title 1 kids came with money until I read this blog. How do schools make up budget shortfalls that come from loosing Title 1 money to pay for programs that their students need if they fall below the Title 1 threshold and the parents can't pay the big bucks?
Doesn't the Title 1 money pay for things that parent money isn't even allowed to pay for?
Does anyone know of any other schools likely to lose or gain Title 1 money due to the changes this fall?

reader said...

But as we move to more neighborhood schools, we will see this stratification of PTAs and the ability to fund many things.

The 2 don't follow. When we put an end to south end white flight, we will see a better balance in all the schools... The district's neighborhood preference will definitely put a damper on that flight. Seattle's neighborhoods are pretty diverse, certainly more diverse than the choice driven schools. When more people are actually in their neighborhood schools, the stratification should be reduced not increased. There probably will be a few exceptions.

Bird said...

Why does the district monkey with the FRL threshold for receiving Title I funds anyway?

Is this to avoid losing money because of NCLB?

I thought the federal threshold for this kind of money was lower -- something like 40%. Is this true no matter what threshold the district sets? That is, does the district still get dollars for schools because they have high poverty, but they just don't give those schools any of the money?

What are LAP funds?