Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Changes in the Board Agenda for Tonight's Meeting

There have been quite a few changes in the agenda for tonight's meeting.  Some are a bit puzzling.  (I also suspect the speaker list - which is full and has 20 on the waitlist) will change now that Ingraham's principal is off the table as an issue.)
The Internal Audit Policy and Procedure action item has been heavily edited.  I don't have time to read it through carefully but I believe this is because this which appears in the item wording:

Based on questions from Directors at the introduction of this item, this policy and procedure
were reviewed again at the May 10, 2011, Audit & Finance Committee meeting. At that meeting,
the Audit & Finance Committee recommended adding a sentence in the policy that indicates the
Internal Auditor would be evaluated by the Audit & Finance Committee Chair, with input from
the full Board. That language has been added to the proposed policy and is reflected in the
document attached to this action report.


The Transportation Contract Extension has been edited because they are in the last year of a 5-year contract with two firms.  The district has to do the following:

By May 19th, 2011, the District is obligated under its contracts with the two transportation firms
to: a) accept their fee proposals for the 2011-2012 school year, b) reject the proposal, or c) cancel
the contract.

This action does not address issues relating to the management of transportation services for
students, such as fuel costs, the use of cabs to transport homeless students, and improvements in
student transportation operations.  Those and other issues are scheduled to be addressed at the
Board’s Work Session on Transportation on October 12th, 2011. 


There is now a Transportation Q&A document attached to this item.  Again, I don't have time to read thru it but FYI.

One of the biggest changes is the striking of the high school science and high school social studies instructional materials adoption from the agenda.  It states, "postponed due to budget uncertainties."  Odd because of this from the Supplemental levy:

  • New textbooks and classroom materials for elementary music, middle school language arts, and high school science and social studies – ($5.9 M) – these materials will be in schools for fall 2011.


  • Okay so did I miss something (always possible) but where is this money?

    Also, the levy states that $25.5M of the levy is to "reduce the number and severity of cuts that will have to be made to instructional programs and services over the next several years."  Did any of this make it to this year's budget?  I don't recall mention of it.

    16 comments:

    Po3 said...

    Remember how you said over and over that they do not have to spend the Levy money as advertised to voters.

    Well, that is exactly what is happening.

    Bait and switch.

    MAPsucks said...

    I believe the Internal Audit change may be partially driven by Board members no longer trusting staff to freely edit SBARs. They want changes to clearly show they came from Committee review and concurrence.

    This is probably because they recently learned that, between introduction and action, staff edited the SBAR for the 2009-2010 NWEA MAP contract to delete the reference to funding by BTA II and BTA III, without informing the Board. The Board approved the measure without comment. MAP fees were then paid out of the General Fund. This was underhanded and clearly reflected the handiwork of MGJ, Brad Bernatek, and Don Kennedy.

    mirmac1 said...

    Excellent questions Melissa. Questions that must be answered by Duggan Harmon, Bob Boesche, and the Board.

    Show me the money!

    Anonymous said...

    I am HAPPY about this bait and switch though. This science alignment was being bungled; if this means they will take a deep breath and really create an alignment that is not one-size-fits-all, then good.

    Science worried

    Kathy said...

    Pertaining to textbooks- The board was not in agreement.

    The levy promised textual materials.

    Harium Martin- Morris voted to honor levy promises.

    Peter Maier wanted to push off textual materials and use dollars for staff.

    I'm not certain of other director's choices. Directors acknowledged levy promises go unfulfilled.

    Peter continues to support administrative expenses over per pupil funding and elementary school counselors. Then, he wants to push off textual materials to support staff.

    Let's remember Peter's work on the levy. Let's remember Peter's desire not to fund text-books. Let's remember Peter's voting patterns.

    There is a Strategic update on June 8th. There isn't another budget meeting. There will be public comment on the budget June 22nd.

    So, your guess is as good as mine.

    I have to agree. Science alignment is bungled..

    Kathy said...

    I'm aware of a middle school that has new language arts books. I hear they are awesome.

    Maureen said...

    Cathy Thompson's Science Update power point was linked to this weekend, but the link is gone now. I glanced at it when I could but don't recall what it said about materials. I know it did address the 'pilot' that will allow GHS and BHS to place into Biology as freshman while 9th graders at all of the other HSs will be forced to take 9th grade Physical Science no matter how well prepared they are.


    I had planned to testify on this tonight, but am way down the wait list so may not bother going.

    Salander said...

    The district has known for months that there was a budget deficit but they kept ushing the alignment and adoption of textbooks.

    We have been told all along there was money to pay for the books.

    I don't care so much about the books just the time wasted with all the adoption work.

    I guess though that if you don't have an alignment committee you can't have and alignment coach supervised by an assistant to the grande priestess, who is under direct supervision of the princess dowager of curriculum, and on and on.

    someone said...

    dowager princess of curriculum - oh that made my day

    wv says hypee - hmmmm

    Po3 said...

    Well for better or for worse, our kids are gonna need textbooks so they fiscally responsible thing to do would be save the money until they are ready to buy them

    Maureen said...

    Well, the Science Update is back online. And they seem to have gotten rid of the proposed science alignment altogether. See slide 8:

    Current Recommendation
    •Eliminate requirement for specific courses, based on stakeholder input and delay of science textual materials adoption
    •Encourage students to take the recommended sequence of courses, especially for physical science and biology (these courses specifically address state standards)
    •Meet the need for alternate pathways, such as with the highly regarded courses offered at Ballard and Garfield
    –Remove the proposed requirement for physical science assessment and need to take physics for students who choose not to take recommended sequence of courses


    So, no more placement exam necessary to get out of 9th grade Physical Science, and it looks like this should apply across the board for all High Schools, not just GHS and BHS.

    (Almost all of the speakers have shown up so far, I'm glad I didn't drive down their in the hope of testifying!)

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the update Maureen.

    Hooray!

    Anonymous said...

    Cannot help but snark at the phrase "stakeholder input" in the amended presentation materials. This was an issue that went almost completely under the radar in the parent community. Community engagement and communication on this proposal to parents was nearly zilch. So those of us who DID email the board, the super, the science department thank any and all of you within the district who provided this "stakeholder input". But it makes it sound like input was solicted when it clearly wasn't.

    That said, I am glad they pulled it and am hopeful that they will re-vamp into something that is better than what they were originally going towards.

    --Pollyanna lives!

    a-rw said...

    Anybody know the result of the transportation vote?

    Dorothy Neville said...

    Transportation vote passed 4-3. Voting NO were Carr, Harium and Patu, if I remember correctly.

    Steve Sundquist voted Yes for the short term savings of $860K and mentioned that many families in his district were sharing with him how challenging the late start times are for elementary school kids, so he is hoping that the savings will go toward mitigating those problems. (yeah, right Steve.)

    Jan said...

    Yay for the science alignment decision. I wish I knew who (besides Kay S-B) and many many science teachers (few of whose names I know) to thank for this. Great turn around by the District.

    I think that many people feel that we need to spend some time/money on science -- but at the middle schools (and elementaries, more than the high schools), and not THIS proposal.

    And I am SO glad we don't have to deal with the glaring inequity of GHS and BHS having gotten a special "deal" that the District would not have given to others.