On the Board Agenda tonight there is an Introduction Item which is a Resolution by the Board and the District on RTTT. It seems to be pounding a nail with a sledgehammer and I think that's for the Board's benefit.
Mainly, the sky is falling and if you don't join us, we'll never see money again.
Here's the intro language:
The state’s Race to the Top application is due to the US Department of Education on June 1,
2010. Signed Partnership Agreements are due to the Office of the Governor on May 17, 2010.
If this Resolution is approved, the School Board President and the Superintendent will sign the
Partnership Agreement and both the Agreement and this Resolution will be submitted to the
Office of the Governor by the May 17 deadline.
Here are the additions to the language:
The estimated allocation of $54.38 per FTE is based on all 295 districts in the state signing onto the Partnership Agreement. If not all districts sign on, the SPS allocation would be higher. As a corollary to that, should SPS fail to sign the Partnership Agreement, the district would not receive any of the formulaic dollars. Put another way, formulaic dollars only come to those districts that sign the Agreement.
As mentioned above, should the district fail to sign the Agreement, we would forego these funds. Given that the required components are actions that we are currently taking or will be required to take as a result of state law changes, it seems short sighted to forego dollars that would help move the work forward. Therefore, the recommendation is for both the Superintendent and School Board President to sign the Agreement.
Put another way, failure to sign onto one or more of the optional components would preclude the district from competing for additional dollars.
It should be noted that the Partnership Agreement itself, except those elements required by state law (the required components) is null and void if the Race to the Top application does not
The overarching recommendation that both the Superintendent and School Board President sign off on all components of the Partnership Agreement is based on a theory that the district should retain as much flexibility in this process as possible. As discussed above, failure to sign parts of the Agreement would result in either failure to receive formulaic funds or an inability to compete for additional funds.
Given the district’s budget troubles and the fact that we have work underway in all of the
required areas and many, if not most of the optional areas retaining the flexibility to receive or
compete for additional dollars is the best action for the district.
This issue will be discussed by the Principals Association of Seattle Schools (PASS) at their
Executive Board meeting on Friday.
The Seattle Education Association (SEA) and district staff have met about the Partnership
Agreement. In order for the SEA to sign on to the Partnership Agreement the Representative
Assembly (RA) of the SEA must meet and authorize the SEA President to sign a Memorandum
of Understanding with the district. The purpose of the Memorandum is to recognize that a
number of issues in the Partnership Agreement are topics for bargaining, and to commit the
district and the SEA to engaging in good faith bargaining about those issues. If both parties
sign the Memorandum the SEA will also agree to sign onto the Partnership Agreement. The RA will be meeting on May 17th to discuss this issue; we will be working with OSPI to extend the deadline for submitting signatures to accommodate the SEA's schedule.
Anyone sensing a little desperation here? Pleeeasse SEA, sign our document. PASS, you too?
I would urge everyone to read this resolution because it gives pretty clear information on RTTT money, what needs to be done to get it and how it would be spent. Of course, that leaves the question, is it worth it? (And a whole $55 per FTE? Great.)
They are also voting on an Action Item to create a Native American Parent Advisory Committee. It was recently discovered that the district had mishandled federal dollars for Native American students and one of the reasons was no parent advisory committee. They are on a very tight schedule here:
In order to enable district eligibility for federal funding, it must have an operating Parent
Advisory Committee (PAC) and approved bylaws. The bylaws must be approved by the Board
of Education prior to the PAC election scheduled for April 27th. This has to be in place to apply
for a grant with a due date of May 5th.
So in just a couple days, the district is going to throw (almost literally) a parent committee together to get the federal grant money. It was noted at the Board committee meeting where this was exposed that the feds could drop our district to the bottom of the list for past non-compliance.
Here's a laugher from this item:
It has long been the practice of Seattle Public Schools to support the work of parent groups and
organizations. It is the policy of the Seattle School Board to encourage participation by members of the community to advise the Superintendent and Board in School District decision-making processes.
Very funny. They don't support us; our hard work and PTA dollars support them. And advise the Superintendent and the Board? Please. Any time there is any committee, they get thanked and the work gets shelved.