Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Budget Info

Meg Diaz pulled together a chart (which I will post later on) that shows some of the "foundation, institutions and private donor contributions to SPS for 2009-2010"). It's quite interesting reading to see how much some PTAs raise. There are some schools that have real money going through them like McGilvra PTA, $252,558 for a staffing grant, Laurelhurst PTA with $161,000, JSIS PTA, $280,000, Salmon Bay PTA $101,000). New School Foundation gave South Shore $1.2M.

Hey, bless all these people for raising this money and donating it.

But a lot of this says "PTA Supplemental Staffing". Again, the PTA is not there to backfill staff or fix buildings and it is very sad that this is what is happening. (I know at least one school that does not allow this because of the worry of it being sustainable and I'm sure it is quite a heavy worry for parents to keep up this level of fundraising.) Given that this is happening, I'm a little surprised at how little engagement and respect parents receive given that kind of support and largesse.

Also, I do know that many high schools raise large sums of money but these are for specific programs (sports, music, drama) that aren't necessarily part of the student day nor do they benefit all students. Some high schools do, as well, raise money for supplemental staffing.

One interesting thing as well from the chart. I knew that one lead administrative staffer (Executive Director Strategic Plan), Carol Rava Treat, is having her $144K salary paid for this year by the Broad Foundation. (I believe she has been at SPS for a couple of years and the Alliance paid her salary previously.) I have asked the Board why the Broad Foundation would be doing this tremendous favor for the district. No answer.

Now, looking at Meg's chart I see that BOTH the Broad Residents, Cordell Carter and Jessica DeBarros, had their salaries paid this year by Broad. (Looking at the figures, I suspect that the district threw in their benefits.)

This is NOT what I was told in August of 2009. I was clearly told, via a public disclosure request, that the district paid for half of their salaries. This is more than a little disturbing to believe you can have asked, in a formal way, for information and find out that it may be wrong.

The Broad Residents are nearing the end of their two-year residency here at SPS. I have told the Board several times and I'll state it here; the district has no business hiring these people permanently. (Mr. Carter is Mr. Kennedy's assistant; Ms. DeBarros is under the CAO's supervision, I believe). We don't have the money for this and in terms of Ms. Treat, we seriously need to pay that high salary to roll out the Strategic Plan?

It's very hard to take the district seriously about budget issues when you see stuff like this.

24 comments:

lendlees said...

Interesting, some parents and I were just having this conversation the other night. Our principal asked the PTA if they would pay for an administrative assistant that the district is not funding anymore.

The consensus among us is to say 'no' because once you do that, the district will never fund that position again, putting the onus on the PTA to continue ponying up the $$.

And, boy am I astounded at how much some of those PTA's raise!

seattle citizen said...

So there are three positions in SPS admin, high level, that are Broad employees?

hmmm....

The fix is in.

seattle citizen said...

Hey everybody, nobody is using the Alliance blog, so a couple of us are using the threads there to have relaxing conversations about life, books, and other cool things. We figure if nobody on teh Alliance is going to actually comment or carry forward threads they start, we might as well use the space to relax. C'mon down! You needn't worry about having to get involved in stressful discussions about edcuation in Seattle there - it ain't happening. Just sit back and chew the breeze.
http://www.alliance4ed.blogspot.com/

gavroche said...

Blogger seattle citizen said...

So there are three positions in SPS admin, high level, that are Broad employees?

hmmm....

The fix is in.


Actually, there are four: Goodloe-Johnson herself remains on the board of directors of the Broad Foundation (http://www.broadcenter.org/about/board.html) and is clearly doing their bidding, not ours.

To recap, the Broad Foundation is the "venture philanthropy" enterprise of AIG billionaire Eli Broad, whose agenda is the privatization of public education via charter schools, and the imposition of the ineffective and potentially union-busting "merit/performance pay."

It is clearly a conflict of interest for Seattle's public school superintendent to maintain ties to such a pro-privatizing enterprise while ostensibly overseeing a PUBLIC school district.

Oh and to drive the point home further, Broad refers to her and other "graduates" of its "Superintendent Academy" as a "Broad superintendent." In other words, Goodloe-Johnson is not Seattle's school superintendent -- she is Broad's.

See: Broad Superintendents and Residents Leading Bold
Teacher Performance Pay Efforts Across America
http://www.broadresidency.org/news/newsletters/1q2009/index.html

Yes, the fix is in. But they haven't snuck it by us as perhaps they thought they would.

And every single School Board Director who has supported our "Broad superintendent" and her Broad-driven agenda should be held accountable and voted out of office, if not recalled.

gavroche said...

Melissa said... One interesting thing as well from the chart. I knew that one lead administrative staffer (Executive Director Strategic Plan), Carol Rava Treat, is having her $144K salary paid for this year by the Broad Foundation. (I believe she has been at SPS for a couple of years and the Alliance paid her salary previously.) I have asked the Board why the Broad Foundation would be doing this tremendous favor for the district. No answer.

Who okayed this? Why is this legal or ethical? Did the public have any say in this arrangement? Does this mean that any enterprise with money can plant its people inside our school district and can ostensibly impose its unvetted, clandestine agenda on our kids and their schools?

Isn't it time the District answered our legitimate questions about what the Broad Foundation is and why it has so many tentacles inside SPS?

And who is Rava Treat likely to answer to? Obviously she is not going to do anything that goes against her employer -- which is the Broad Foundation.

By the way, Rava Treat comes from the Gates Foundation. Surprise surprise. Broad and Gates are the Chief Financial Meddlers in SPS.

(The other appointee mentioned in the above press release, Sherri Bealkowski, who became the interim Chief Information Officer, came from Microsoft.)

from:http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:9CfxkXps4f0J:www.seattleschools.org/area/news/0708/LeadershipAppointments.
pdf+%22Carol+Rava+Treat%22&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiz0mvJ1us7Z6wusq
MEdZFG0pz6uvwjrbqLHnVvjPw9Jefei
_DMvC3lknjbV2LndhgKylF6DfAdOCL-fue5UPwejk0mkExfmnRfWJpvZPsf
VAebLZ8cwA-RxtCepAgWAqT95YUF&sig=AHIEtbRDFE
wjsoX--sYsuUCtglW5IEsN-A

For Immediate Release: Friday, March 14, 2008
Contact: David Tucker, Media Relations, (206) 252-0203
Leadership Appointments at Seattle Public Schools


(...)

Carol Rava Treat will join Seattle Public Schools March 20 as the Executive Director of
Strategic Planning and Alliances. Her primary responsibility will be to provide leadership in the
development and adoption of a final strategic plan and ensure fidelity of strategy
implementation. Key to that effort will be her work to foster partnerships and alliances in
support of the district’s goals. Her initial focus will be to work with schools and staff at all levels
to assess current partnerships. Rava Treat will lead the district’s efforts to develop effective
approaches to strengthening existing and creating new strategic alliances and partnerships.
Ms. Rava Treat leaves the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation after eight years. Most recently,
as a deputy director in the education division, she oversaw the foundation's grant making in
California and Texas. Previously at the foundation she led state and local advocacy efforts
across the country, including in Washington state. Rava Treat has also served as primary
spokesperson and strategic communications lead for the foundation’s education team.
Prior to joining the foundation, Rava Treat worked at the business-funded non-profit,
Partnership for Learning, which is committed to raising awareness about education reform in
Washington state. In that role she directed a grass-roots strategy focused on communicating
about the state’s standards and tests in nine communities statewide.
Ms. Rava Treat has a master's degree in education policy from Stanford University and a
bachelor's in history and religion from Harvard University.

gavroche said...

p.s.

Rava Treat also had a hand in a report back in 2003 on "teacher quality."

"Who’s Teaching Washington’s Children?
What We Know—and Need to Know—About Teachers
and the Quality of Teaching in the State" http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:LfbQ8c3spxkJ:depts.washington.edu/ctpmail/PDFs/WATeacherReport.pdf+%22Carol
+Rava+Treat%22&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESioGRCMc2OdhERpQ5XDEil9
OgdJ6P36CgJQXY15RTydPHqFmz2w78PG0
kaAkwKetaalsj8l5sJJv7jSbjbV29Is
DwZBImRrOaQCHsA46iqU4Snw7E81KjL1t
FmmqFi_WrLoC95U&sig=AHIEtbTN6-9YW
i5vIkKpTtLrjw_ZbJMFNg

dan dempsey said...

Gavroche said:

"And every single School Board Director who has supported our "Broad superintendent" and her Broad-driven agenda should be held accountable and voted out of office, if not recalled."

Think about how much damage this crew can do until voted out of office in Nov 2011....(totally unacceptable to leave these four around for 1.5 more years).......

Recall needs to be started ... but only after we are certain we can do this correctly .... let us see where "Writ of Mandamus" goes over the next month.

dan dempsey said...

LEGAL NEWS

from Detroit

Detroit School Board Claims Conflict Of Interest In New Contract

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 02:35 PM
On Monday, March 8, the Detroit Public School Board unanimously voted to file a lawsuit against the district's emergency financial manager, Robert Bobb, saying that money he receives from a private foundation under his contract is unlawful and represents a conflict of interest.

Under a one-year contract extension, approved by the governor and state superintendent this month, Bobb's supplemental income from private foundations rose from $84,000 last year to $145,000 this year, the Detroit News reports.

The Broad Foundation, which supports charter schools, has been identified as one of the philanthropic donors, causing controversy among members of the Detroit Public School community.

Detroit business attorney George Washington, who represents the group of teachers and community members who have pursued the lawsuit, told the news source, "This is more than putting the fox in charge of the hen house - it's serving up the hens to be eaten by this guy."

The Broad Foundation has suggested that Bobb is the greatest hope for transforming Detroit's education programs, and has only invested money in his contract to keep him in the district.

In 1973, Michigan passed the State Ethics Act, to stipulate the standards of conduct for public officers such as Bobb.

dan dempsey said...

""This is more than putting the fox in charge of the hen house - it's serving up the hens to be eaten by this guy.""

Gang of four serves chicken twice a month to Eli B.

Charlie Mas said...

So does this mean that if any group of people raised money to pay a salary the school district would hire that person?

What are the rules or policies that govern this activity?

Does the District assess a 3.3% overhead on the Broad Foundation's share of the employees' salaries?

So many questions about that activity.

Then there is the original substance of the post...

I, personally, think it is inappropriate for PTAs to fund anything that would be regarded as a basic education expense. To do so creates inequities in the provision of basic education which is in opposition to the letter and spirit of the Washington State law that requires equity in the provision of basic education through the levy lid.

If we released the levy lid then the Seattle operating levy could be for twice as much - if not three times as much - and we would not have any budget gap at all. Of course the operating levies at other districts would provide even greater bounty and public schools in affluent communities would rival private schools for resources and class sizes.

zb said...

"So does this mean that if any group of people raised money to pay a salary the school district would hire that person?"

Well, how does this rule apply to PTA's? Who decides *who* will be hired with the moneys raised by PTA's for staffing? I have vague memories that there was a kerfuffle about this at Garfield a few years ago, about the hiring of math instructors, though I think it was based on what they'd teach, not the individual themselves.

Does the principal make the hiring decisions, but with informal discussions with the PTA? When principals ask for PTA funding for a position, do they say, "Can you guys pay 'Ellen's, (or who ever the person) is salary for the year?" Do they say, can you pay an "admin assitant" or "art teacher" salary?

I've never understood how that works.

LA Teacher's Warehouse said...

My understanding is that the Board used the "help" of a Broad consultant. Does anyone know where that is documented?

whittier07 said...

Our PTA was asked to supplement our librarian position by 1 1/2 days ... up to a .8 FTE. The check went directly to SPS and the PTA has no say as to how the position will be scheduled ... 4 days (T-F) or 5 days @ 6 1/2 hours per day.

We also supplement tutoring ... that check also goes directly to SPS and the tutors are considered SPS employees ... the PTA is not involved in the hiring process.

Tamara Oki said...

While I know that JSIS raised over $115k goal last year during the Annual Fund campaign, I'm curious to see what that chart includes, because $280k sounds like more than the JSIS PTSA raised. Maybe there are (a lot)more grants than I'm aware of.

Melissa Westbrook said...

At Roosevelt, we just give the money over the principal and he directs it as he sees fit. I had asked once about whether the PTSA might direct it to a half-time counselor to do scheduling issues so the regular counselors could do more college/class issues counseling since our counselors were so overloaded. Everyone else at the meeting felt that the principal knew best and left it in his hands. I was a bit surprised as it was PTSA money and I thought the PTSA should have a hand in directing it but I guess not.

thushara said...

Folks - do you want to partner with the efforts in Bellevue? I know things are not that drastic, but I'm sure we are getting there. I was VERY interested to read all your highly thoughtful comments specially regarding the efforts at privatization. I have an interest in opposing these measures, we should talk. Please check my new blog where I'm attempting to show the true picture of the Bellevue School District Funds:

http://bsdbudget.blogspot.com/

gavroche (and others) - please email me at thushw (i'm on gmail.com)

Working Together said...

The district does not track grant/rollover/other funds separately, absent certain exceptions. So when we see the chart we might see that schools may have lots of $ in their self-help accounts-- this can be a check PTA wrote plus a grant from ABC Literacy Foundation plus rollover from last year where extra money for Y and Z weren't used plus basically the kitchen sink, which is how self-help line item is generally treated in this district. You would have to contact people at each school to find out really how much $ comes from private donated funding.

Charlie Mas said...

Anyone working (for pay) on a school site must be an SPS employee. It's a liability/insurance thing. That means that no one working at the school can be an employee of the PTA; they have to be a school district employee. That means that the PTA can't hire anyone directly to work at the school and that means that the person takes their direction, their schedule, and their assignments from the District and NOT from the PTA.

This was one of the primary reasons that the popular and successful "snack" program at NOVA got spiked. There were other reasons as well.

Maureen said...

Anyone working (for pay) on a school site must be an SPS employee. It's a liability/insurance thing.

I have heard this from our former principal (or sometimes she said "the union won't let us do that.") But is it written down somewhere? Our parent organization has insurance that could cover any employees. Our volunteers often work with groups of kids away from direct physical supervision of a teacher. After school activities are rarely run by SPS employees.

Where can I find the formal policy that describes this rule?

dan dempsey said...

Melissa said:
"It's very hard to take the district seriously about budget issues when you see stuff like this."

It is hard to take the district seriously about much ... Except WE have lots of POWER and you don't.

uummmn .... I think that POWER comes from following the law and guess what???? The district does not follow the law and thus will be found to have little Power because of legal transgressions .... Sure hope that School Board is down to Three members by Winter or before.

yumpears said...

Charlie – I’m not sure it’s purely about insurance. I know that for the most part SPS wants people in the schools to be employees of SPS because along with liability issues, there are tax reasons otherwise the PTA has to send annual 1099’s for their compensation. I don’t think it’s required for all people who work in the school, because our PTA has the contract directly with the artist for Artist in Residence program. The PTA also has insurance.

Maureen said...

I really want to pursue this issue because I think the District is directing principals to tell us that employees must be funneled through SPS, but I haven't seen any formal justification for it.

Our parent group pays for an artist in residence as well, but we have been told that that's ok because she isn't used for PCP -- ie, the teacher is in the classroom at the same time she is (otherwise, we have been told, The Union would be after us).

Now SPS is contracting with private tutoring companies to fulfill their NCLB requirements. Those tutors aren't SPS employees, they are alone with kids with no direct supervision...why can they be hired like that when PTSAs (with insurance) can't hire their own tutors or extra lunch room staff . . . ? I kind of get the idea of not displacing union employees, but in cases when the District is not providing what is needed anyway, no one is being displaced--the position just wouldn't be filled if it had to be paid for via the District.

yumpears said...

Maureen – to go a little bit farther on the tax issue. I do understand that SPS wants employees on the payroll, because really even if the PTA is supplementing part of the pay of the playground and lunchroom supervisor (which my PTA does) the individuals are still employees of the district. They follow the supervision and guidance of the Principal and District, etc. They are not independent contractors (subject to 1099 treatment) or subject to the direction of the PTA. So it is technically correct to have these individuals paid on one paycheck from their “employer”.

The Artist in Residence that is paid by the PTA in our case is an independent contractor, and has a contract with the PTA and arguably while being scheduled with the help of the principal is performing their duties according to the direction of the PTA. I think this may be most of the distinction, although it takes a tax geek to explain it. If the district is hiring outside tutors that are independent contractors (i.e. not employed by the district) than the PTA could probably hire these folks directly. Maybe some PTAs do for their afterschool activities?

Maureen said...

yumpears, I can see the distinction you are making (when the PTSA is subsidizing an existing SPS employee), but I'm not sure that is clear to some of the principals.

In particular, last year I discussed the possibility of parents hiring someone to help out in our lunchroom when the District didn't fill the position at our school. Our principal said that we could only hire through the District otherwise we would get in trouble with the union. Since the position paid very little (wage set by the District) and was only for about 1-2 hours per day, no one responded to the District and the position never filled. I can see the same thing happening with recess help or tutoring.

I believe our current very part time music staff (an hour or two a week)are on contract with the District--not with our parent group-- which adds an unnecessary level of bureaucracy and trouble with advertising (my memory is that we got in trouble for advertising a position on Craig's List a few years ago). I am questioning whether this is a real restriction or if our former principal was misinformed about the restrictions. As I said, I have never seen anything in writing about it (and I have asked). I wonder if this is one more case of bureacrats creating rules in order to keep themselves in business?