Seattle's Child magazine sent a questionnaire to all School Board candidates and it appears that they all answered it. Here's a link to their site so you can read all of them at your leisure. I'll read the incumbents first.
Peter - Very funny as he said that he keeps a "careful watch on the district budget." Okay then how did it escape your notice that the budget for the Small Business program morphed from $100k to nearly $1M? He also says that the SBD program was ended but doesn't note that there is discussion to revamp it.
He also claims we saved $4M in transportation costs (and that could be true) but we never see the documentation on this issue.
He also says he would like the public testimony to be more "satisfying" for both the speaker and the Board but give no ideas how to do that. Every Board member I can remember has said this and yet nothing changes.
He gives his usual rap about TFA (not mentioning that there is no donor yet for the payments for next year).
Sherry - she talks a lot about the policies but as Charlie says, what good are policies without enforcement?
She is very careful in providing a lot of detail to the work done. She does continue to say one-third cut in "central administration" rather than central office which where people would have expected the cuts to come.
She does a good job in expressing what qualities she thinks a good superintendent should have but oddly, doesn't mention parents.
She mentions getting input on issues and how the Board works on an issue for months. And yet, we have about a week's notice on capacity management meetings, an issue that affects every child in the district. She mentioned best practices in Boston for engagement but nothing specific. I'll have to look that one up.
Here's a telling sentence on TFA:
"TFA teachers are not unqualified but rather qualified via alternate means." Okay, we'll have to disagreed that a college degree and 5 weeks of training makes a person qualified to teach. And again, the mantra of diversity and math/science, neither of which are really true for the hired TFAers.
She says this on the NSAP:
We must continue to accommodate out of attendance area siblings to every extent possible. We must develop a sustainable plan for supporting APP growth in Seattle Public Schools. Ensuring that language immersion, Montessori, expeditionary learning or other alternative learning formats, and STEM are available to all students is a priority.
Okay but what are you doing about it?
Harium - He "strongly" supports Susan Enfield as superintendent. He says, "Because I am well aware of the qualifications for such a position, and the pool of individuals available with these qualifications, I would advocate that Dr. Enfield is, indeed, the most qualified person nationally for this job. I am concerned that the time and cost of a national search would impair the ability of our district to maintain progress with our limited dollars. Dr. Enfield is the right person at the right time for our district."
Good to know early on.
Interesting - he supports public input at committee meetings. I haven't hear this before and that would be a welcome change.
On capital projects:
First, we must develop a clear understanding of our capacity needs for the next 10 years. This will help us set the priorities for what capital projects are needed. The next step is to create a detail schedule of preventative maintenance programs for each building by major systems. It is more cost-effective to maintain systems than it is to repair and replace individual system components due to lack of maintenance. This needs to become a high priority item.
Great, but where was this thinking four years ago?
Steve - I love the way they are all touting the Audit & Finance Committee meeting twice a month. They had to do that in order to cover all the work because of the poor management and oversight of the district. Lemons into lemonade, I guess.
Now Steve wades into dangerous ground because he says that they made deep cuts to staffing at Central "Office" and cut 90 staff for this year. Again, the documentation please because I think those cuts were to central "administration" and not central "office."
He didn't want to touch the superintendent question and deferred it.
He mentioned doing more surveys of community and says "properly designed..." and yes, that is the key.