I've been looking at the budget numbers from the District and they just don't look right. I'm not saying that they are definitely wrong, but I have some questions. For example...
Each school I have checked so far has a lower expected enrollment than the current enrollment, but the District, as a whole, has a higher expected enrollment than the current enrollment. How does that work? It appears as if the District is intentionally under-funding schools. At the PTA meeting this week Director Sundquist said that over-funding a school was the worst sort of disaster. I guess he hasn't been in an under-funded school; that's no picnic either. It also puts the District in the worst possible situation for hiring if we're trying to bring on staff after October 1. There may not be anyone left but Teach for America corps members.
(By the way, how are we going to hire any new teachers while we're laying off teachers who are already on the payroll?)
Also: if the District balances the budget with these numbers, where will they get the money to hire those extra staff when the actually expected number of students appear?
Maybe someone could explain to me why the additional funding for Free and Reduced Lunch eligible students is $449.81 per student at the traditional high schools but it is $555.32 per student at the non-traditional schools. Is it because students at The Center School have to buy their lunch in the food court of Seattle Center?
Speaking of The Center School, what is the story on the funding formula for "non-traditional" schools? Why wouldn't the funding formula for The Center School be the same as the funding formula for any other high school? Don't Center School students deserve equitable funding? Why, exactly, should the funding at the Center School be any different than the funding formula at any other school?
And, while we're talking about funding formula for non-traditional schools, why is Cleveland funded as if it were a traditional school rather than a non-traditional school? Cleveland is an Option School and it is an Alternative Learning Experience. So why is it funded like a "traditional" school while NOVA, which is also an Option school and an ALE, funded like a non-traditional school? How is Cleveland any different from NOVA? Is it because Cleveland has a football team? Hey, if it will get them the traditional high school funding, NOVA will field a football team. They might not win many games, but it would be co-ed (which would be cool) and the Dead Rats would put on a rockin' halftime show.
I can understand why the S.B.O.C. needs to be funded differently; it's a 6-12. And the enrollment grows over the year at South Lake and Interagency, so they have to be funded for that. The Home School Resource Center funding has to be different because they don't have classrooms like other schools. But why shouldn't The Center School, The NOVA Project, and the Middle College be funded like any other high school? After all, the alterative K-8s are funded like any other K-8 and the alternative K-5s are funded like any other K-5.
It's not about size. Rainier Beach isn't much bigger than NOVA and the Center School and it gets the full high school funding.
Speaking of Cleveland... I see it is funded for only one assistant principal, but the STEM contract with NTN commits the district to having an assistant principal for each of the two academies, doesn't it? So shouldn't Cleveland have TWO assistant principals? While this might not be funded by WSS, it is not discretionary.
I notice that Rainier Beach is funded for only one principal next year. Bryant, also, is funded for only one principal. Bryant, is funded for 26 classroom teachers (23 K-5 and 3 PCP). Does that sound right?
So I have all these questions. It may turn out that everything is just fine and it can all be explained. Just the same, I'm going to ask.