Monday, August 29, 2011

Seattle School District Meeting for Week of August 29-Sep. 2

Tuesday, August 30th
Ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Nathan Hale building from 2-3 p.m.
(There is going to be just a tour for the media at this event but Hale will be having a Community Celebration on Saturday, Oct. 15th  with public tours of the building.)   Hale's rebuild came in phases but ended up costing about the same as the other high school rebuilds, around $90M.

Back to School Event: Community Celebration of Learning from 4-6 p.m. at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion.  Program starts at 4:30 p.m.  From the district:

At this celebration, you will have an opportunity to learn about valuable resources, services and programs that will be available to support students and families during the 2011-12 school year.

Mayor McGinn will be in attendance, some/all of the School Board, the All-City Band and "a few surprises."  You'll receive a ticket as you enter and there will be a drawing for several prizes.

Wednesday, August 31st
Seattle Schools furlough day with headquarters being closed.    Again, I'll call but I would assume the buildings are closed as well (although not all labor partners are participating so perhaps there may be some custodian/landscaping/maintenance staff around).  My understanding is that for the remainder of the week, staff can only work a strict 8-5 p.m. schedule. 

There are no other public events/meetings this week including no Board community meetings on Saturday.

Also, FYI, all Seattle libraries are closed this week.

Update:  I just learned that Nova High School is having a benefit yard sale to help the school this Saturday, Sept. 3 from 9-3 p.m. at 4833 S. Morgan Street.   Please consider attending and helping this little school that could.  

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

@Melissa, I was trying to post in the Friday Open Thread the 2nd part of a communication sent out to Principals regarding school hiring and hiring freeze, but it wouldn't log my entry. I'm trying it here instead....

A Friend of Seattle

This past year, Seattle Public Schools employed over 3,500 full and part-time certificated instructional staff. We currently have an estimated 130 positions unfilled in our schools, which is not unusual for this time of year. Approximately 80 positions are in process; being screened, interviewed, and ready for recommendation. The remaining positions are posted, but the interview process has not yet started. These positions represent approximately 1.5% of the total staff. We have met with the Executive Directors and are asking them to work with you in the precautionary manner outlined below.

• Special Education positions, certificated and classified, are exempt from the process outlined below.
• Recommendations for hire received in Human Resources by 4:00 pm today will be filled.
• Recommendations received by 4:00 pm Monday, August 29th will be filled with a substitute, either your recommended candidates or a current Seattle Public Schools substitute.
- We have worked collaboratively with SEA to arrange for immediate placement of recommended candidates identified through the site-based interview process into the substitute pool.
- Substitutes assigned to these vacant positions will be eligible to work the before-school preparation days with central office funding the cost.

• Recommendations received after 4:00 pm Monday, August 29th will be filled with a current Seattle Public Schools substitute. A substitute request may accompany recommendations received after the deadline. Human Resources will attempt to honor those requests as they fill positions on Tuesday, August 30th.
• Once district-wide enrollment has been confirmed and staffing adjustments made, positions may become available to hire and contracts will be offered.
• In cases where enrollment falls below building projections, staff displacements may occur and/or substitute assignments ended. Staff on contract designated for displacement will be reassigned to open positions in other schools. We are no longer in a position of being able to financially mitigate these positions.
• SEAOP positions will be filled by substitutes until further notice.

Hiring in Central Office for Non-Critical Positions
Our current central office employment freeze for non-critical positions is set to expire on August 31. However, due to fiscal constraints we will continue this into the 2011-12 school year.

Next Steps
Attached is a document providing talking points to be used with candidates so that we are communicating a consistent message. We acknowledge the difficulties these hiring precautions create, but we cannot risk placing the district in an adverse financial position in September with less-than-anticipated enrollment only to be further compounded by legislative cuts later in the fall. Finance and Human Resources have been working closely with Executive Directors of Schools over the last several days to create a process whereby strong candidates can help start the school year with priority consideration of a contract offer. Executive Directors will be following up with those of you affected by this action on an individual basis as needed.
If you have further questions regarding the hiring protocols, contact Paul Apostle (252-0282) or Amy Valenti (252-0374) in Human Resources for more information. For questions regarding financial or budget issues, please contact Bob Boesche (252-0086) or Duggan Harman (252-0057).
Thank you for your support and cooperation

StopTFA said...

This appears to be a bald-faced move to save spaces for TFA at the expense of our childrens' first weeks of school! If this is true, time to eject Susan Enfield and Board incumbents.

Where is the fiscal crisis?! The FY12 budget for Teaching is $12M and 112 FTEs more than last year! Remember the (cough) "hiring freeze" of central admin that never actually happened? Fewer educrats. Did anyone notice? Now they have unilaterally decided to defer teacher hiring until early October. This is conveniently around the time West-E results will be available. Has any administration done something this arrogant, ham-handed and toxic?

Disgusted said...

I'd like to remind everyone that the district obtained $45M Supplemental Levy last year.

The district and board agreed to tens of millions of new spending for Strategic Plan and Teacher contract which includes merit-pay.

Let's also remember that the district's Research, Evaluation and Assessment dept is funded at nearly $3M per year. The district prefers to spend millions on research, fancy school reports etc. over consistent classroom teachers.

The four incumbents adopted this plan in the middle of historic cuts to education.

Let's vote this board OUT!

RosieReader said...

STOPTFA -- DO you know whether or not this is different than past years? I'm pretty sure it is consistent, although they are being a bit more strict with this policy this year.

And for what it's worth, a number of years ago we had a "late-opening" at the SPS school my kids attended. I was frantic, because my daughter was in that class. I was convinced only total losers would be left in the hiring pool in mid-to-late August.

That was not the case. There were several folks who applied who had moved to Seattle in August, and figured they'd have to substitute for a year or more to get their foot in the door. We would up hiring one of those people, who turned out to be my daughters' favorite ever teacher.

Disgusted said...

RosieReader,

Enrollment is increasing within SPS.

Don't forget last year's debacle at Garfield HS. The directors have been warned of this problem.

StopTFA said...

RosieReader,

I've been around for a few years. I don't recall anything like this. I would say such a broad, indiscriminate halt to teacher hiring is unprecedented. We already know a number of schools will be over-enrolled to Garfield-like dimensions. Director DeBelle has expressed his concerns with the district's level of preparedness for Day One. We do not know for certain, that is why I say "IF". In this economy and given the climate at SPS, if I were a teacher I would have moved on to greener, more settled, pastures.

zb said...

The SPS email says there are 130 positions unfilled in the schools -- does anyone know how many of them are classroom positions? Where are they? Is this always the number that are in flux at this time of year?

And, which schools will be affected by "In cases where enrollment falls below building projections, staff displacements may occur and/or substitute assignments ended."

Those are questions I'm going to want answers to. Any idea where I'd try to get them?

Disgusted said...

Don't forget- the state does provide additional funding for increased enrollment.

The district chooses to hold back these dollars.

How much did the district spent on K-5 music alignment? Million?

Don't let the district give you the usual BS pertaining to state cuts.

someone said...

Apparently Enfield will be on KUOW's Weekday tomorrow - sorry not sure which hour - just caught tail end of promo ad

seattle citizen said...

Speaking of meetings, plan now for Stand For Children's October event (I'm sure they would love to hear from as many people as possible. Too bad they schedule these sorts of things during the school days - educators can't come and contribute their ideas....):

"A Fundraising Luncheon with Marian Wright Edelman - Join us for an inspiring luncheon with Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, focused on how we can change the odds and change the lives of students in Washington State through an improved public education system.
Time: October 20 • 11:30 - 13:00
Location: Bell Harbor International Conference Center"

Register here: http://www.stand.org/wa/cto

mirmac1 said...

Gee, will her son Jonah be there to brag about Stand's manipulation of elected officials against those teachers unions?

Anonymous said...

Not much has been said about the furlough day. I do think we need to ask- "are we helping children excel by taking away a teacher planning day before school even starts?"

I think not. I know those teachers are going to be working regardless if they are at school. I'm sure they won't be "insubordinate" by emailing or going into the building but they will be planning out their curriculum and probably doing last minute shopping for their classes (from their own money).

Signed,
Let's really help our kids

Jamie said...

Yes, the furlough day is extremely unfortunate. Ballard HS was having a freshman parent orientation meeting tomorrow evening, which I was greatly looking forward to. Both my kid and I are a bit nervous about her going to high school and I thought it was great they were having a meeting for the parents of incoming 9th graders. Now it's cancelled and they couldn't reschedule it. Thank you central office! Grrr

dan dempsey said...

"but we cannot risk placing the district in an adverse financial position in September with less-than-anticipated enrollment only to be further compounded by legislative cuts later in the fall."

Is the legislature meeting this fall?
If so only by emergency, like December 2010 one day session. (Nothing scheduled yet)

State is now is process with Common Core State Standards adoption .... which will be the largest expansion of useless expensive testing in Ed USA (or the world) possible. This is possible in WA State as an unfunded legislative mandate in which local districts pony up at least $165 million over the next five years. (Because the legislature authorized Randy Dorn to do this - Take a bow Sharon Tamiko Santos. That sum is enough to fund 330+ teachers per year for the next 5 years. (Say bye-bye to that staffing state wide)

Teaching is being reduced and testing is being increased.

(SPS certainly is on track with this plan -- MAP and RIFS ... passing the supplemental levy for $45 million did what? Raise central admin salaries and ????)

So will this possible legislative day in December 2011 (??) occur like last year in an effort to balance the state budget .... and part of that process be ... reduce teaching expenditures (and/or local district funding) and mandate keeping the expensive baloney ? (Common Core at this point looks like at least a 5-year plan if not forever -- until the public wakes up).

dan dempsey said...

The whole furlough day as constructed is farcical.
It assumes that teachers work a standard day throughout the year with never putting in unpaid over time.

The furlough day is an attempt to make it look as though teachers are not getting a salary cut.

The idea of reduced work for reduced pay is absurd in this instance.... Who concocted this useless exercise? Officials or a court system most likely... Did teachers vote on this?

Most teachers put in a lot of time preparing for each new school year. That time will be put in in likely 95% of the cases, whether threr is a furlough day or not.

If anyone thinks that most teachers are working a 40 hour week or less during the regular school year, they are totally un-informed.

==========

When small business owners plan meetings of employees..... most have a little clock running in their heads. This clock measures employee wage expenditures for employees and is weighted with benefit of having the meeting.

In most school situations especially in service Professional Development day meetings there is no such clock running. ..... The way to reduce a teachers work time is too discard those largely useless meetings and/or days put on by the District for "the teachers enlightenment". ... That truly could be reduced time at school for reduced pay.

Meg said...

In a budget presentation, Spokane school district helpfully gave a rule of thumb in explaining student funding. It's about 10 or 11 pages in, with the header "Student Enrollment Cumulative Decline 2000-2012."

200 students equals about one million dollars in funding - there are issues that change this, but it's a helpful rule of thumb. This isn't the first presentation that info has popped up with from Spokane.

The district has reasonable numbers to take staffing action on, even if they assume a 5% +/- at each school. Taking action within that margin would at least get over-enrolled schools a bare minimum of staff. But the freeze on teacher hiring seems like a move that will directly and adversely affect student learning, for very limited cost savings. I don't say that because I assume that the teachers will be bad (I don't), but because churn during the school year appears to interfere with student learning.

Also... central office hiring freeze? Didn't they just say they're bringing someone new into nutrition services, and someone new just filled Cathy Thompson's old position and, and, and? Maybe I missed something there, but it seems like there's been lots of "oh, that new person in administration is cost neutral because of changes," which, whether the FTE is cost-neutral or not, is still not the same as a hiring freeze.