Sunday, April 29, 2012

Seattle Education This Week

 Monday, April 30th 
Seattle Council PTSA meeting: Navigating SPS: Steps for Positive Advocacy
JSCEE from 7-8:30 p.m.
Speakers: Ron McGlone, SPS Ombudsman, Adie Simmons, State of Washington Ombudsman, Bernardo Ruiz, SPS manager of Family and Community Engagement

Tuesday, May 1
Community Conversations with ELL and Special Education Directors 
6-7:30 p.m. at Jane Addams K-8, 11051 34th Ave NE

Please join Veronica Gallardo, Director of ELL and International Programs, and Becky Clifford Interim Executive Director for Special Education at one of their upcoming Community Conversation hours.

Wednesday, May 2nd
Board Work Session on International Education from 4-5:10 p.m. at JSCEE

School Board meeting from 6-9 p.m.


Agenda.  This is one of the last meetings at 6 p.m. as on June 6th, Board meetings will start at 4:15 p.m. with public testimony at 5 p.m.
Announcement of an offer to a superintendent candidate with a final approval - if accepted by the candidate - for May 16th.

There is a resolution for a RIF but this is a formality that the district needs to have in place.  Dr. Enfield has indicated that it is unlikely there will be any teacher RIFS but there were cuts at the Central Office level.

There is resolution in support of yet another year for Cleveland to have fewer instructional hours.

There are also several Board policy measures.  One is around International Education and I want to do a separate thread on that issue.

There is also the troubling Alliance for Education.  The main sticking point:

The fiscal impact to this MOU relates to the amount that the district reimburses the Alliance for
providing fiscal services for school accounts. This amount is intended to help offset the payroll
and other expenses incurred in providing this service. While the amount is expected to change each year, because it is based on total account activity, the MOU caps the amount as not to exceed 7.5% of the total school account activity for the calendar year. It is expected that annually this amount will fluctuate around the $120,000 amount. The funds for this reimbursement will come from the District’s operating budget. 


Unfortunately, the 5% cap proved inadequate to cover the direct costs incurred with these
services. The Alliance does retain the interest payments on the first $25,000 in each account,
and until 2009 that interest helped to defray the shortfall. However, with the dramatic reduction
in interest rates after 2009 (US Treasury rates fell from nearly 3% in mid-2008 to below .3% in
2009) and with the continued low rates, the Alliance has not had that funding stream to help
ameliorate the shortfall. The Alliance has indicated they are committed to supporting these fiscal
services, they are unable to continue to do so in a sustainable manner. Therefore, the proposed
MOU includes raising the cap to 7.5%


I do not support this change.  The Alliance has no business making money off the district and the district has no business using scarce General Funds for this purpose.  This should go out for bid and I'd bet you'd find someone who can do it well for under 7.5%. 

The Background Information states:

The stability of this relationship can transcend the traditional personnel churn that is seen
in urban districts and can provide assurance to funders and the business community that the
district remains on track with our goals. Furthermore, the Board President and the
Superintendent, as non-voting ex officio members of the Alliance’s Board, help ensure alignment
between the Alliance’s projects and the district’s overall goals.


I have never seen this wording before about the alliance as the steady state buffer against personnel churn.  The Alliance is NOT part of our district.  They are not a steady state buffer for business interests.  Also the wording in that paragraph - which I believe to be written by the Alliance - is "that the district remains on track with OUR goals" - caps mine.

Hello?  The district is supposed to be on track with the Alliance's goals?  Nonsense.

Also, the district has no business worrying about whether their goals align with the Alliance's projects.  It should be the OTHER way around.

Possible impacts:

While not authorizing the Superintendent to sign this MOU would not end our relationship with the Alliance, it would send a strong signal to schools and to the broader community that we do not value this relationship. This could result in the Alliance choosing to not partner with the district on district priorities, and could have a very negative impact on the schools if the Alliance chose not to continue supporting the school reports.

Please.  The impact would be that the district tells the Alliance what the district wants (and can afford).  The Alliance can take it or leave it but is not in a position to tell the district what to do with its funds. 

Other introductions:
  • termination of a lease for Lake City School for $3.2M.  WHAT!?!  They will used $300k from other contract funds/contingency and the rest will come from our Community Schools account.  
The Lake City School property is ground leased to Lorig Associates through 2082. The tenant
has loans on the property which come due this fall. In order to refinance, they have asked for a
restructuring of the rent provisions, which the district has declined to do. They have instead
offered to terminate the lease, if they receive a payment of $3,200,000, which would pay off their
loans plus about $200,000.

The property generates $75,000 annually in rent payments for the District.


 There is then a narrative on this where somehow the district will come out ahead in the future by the property producing new income or they use it for future school use.

Folks, that Community Schools account money is from the sale of school properties.  What are we doing using millions of it to pay off a loan to the leasee plus a profit of $200k.  Someone who knows real estate law - could you help us out?
  • payment of a change order to the tune of $300k for Hale.   It is quite vague on where this money comes from but it is because of change orders by the district.   So much for on-budget.
  • contract to reopen Mann.  This is fine except $8M of the money comes from BEX IV which doesn't have a firm plan as of this date and, of course, isn't passed.  What happens if it doesn't pass?  Seems cart before the horse to make legal agreements with money you don't have in hand.  But that's our district.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Enoch just dropped out -- we are up the creek. A guy with no serious high school or middle school experience or an ed reformer who does not listen. Lord have mercy.
--private school, next stop

Anonymous said...

And you want taxpayers to pay for $1Billion + levy for such spendthrift practice?
-enough is enough

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

And let's not forget, Banda and Husk did not show experience of doing special education except as business as usual. There is no track record. What was the board thinking in short listing these 2 people when they know how desperate our district is in the special education area? We have fared so badly with leaders who do not insist on change because they have no idea what change should look like and anyway they are all intensely anti-family. All of our current leaders are anti-family in special education.

Anon.

mirmac1 said...

Re: Hale,

First, the fact that this proposal is made in lieu of a "formal claim" by the GC?! And that the GC/CM performed the "analysis" of this REA?!

GC/CMs contracts are notorious for cumulative impact and inefficiency claims. In spite of the fact that GC/CM contracts have many contingincy pots of money to cover socpe gap, design development, risk allowance, the primes "pass-through" every single penny-ante request for change made by subs (who aggressively bid low and then try to make a profit via claims).

If the mechanical subs claim has merit, then have it go through the contracted "formal" process. Let an independent third-party decide if this isn't just taxpayer payola to make this problem go away.

Anonymous said...

re: The Alliance thing. Methinks Sarah Morris basically drafted the board language and stuck it in. How about THIS turnaround:

For the ALLIANCE to show the DISTRICT and THE COMMUNITY that they are actually a collaborative organization with the best interests of children at heart and not just the community's the ALLIANCE has voted to hire new leadership for its organization. One who doesn't piss off the community at large on a regular basis.


(Then we can talk about its 'raise'. If new leadership even put it on the table.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

Did you see some of the "200 account", they laboriously manage for us? Men of Queen Ann (sic), the Debbie Yasuda Fund, Ora P. Franklin scholarhip fund. What would have been more useful is how many transactions do they actually perform. I would rather the $$ go back to our PTSA and our excellent hardworking treasurer

Rubbish!

seattle citizen said...

LEV, P4L, CRPE, and S4C (the usual suspects) are having yet another "Tele-Town Hall" call-in thingy on May 2nd, this one on teacher effectiveness. It's between 12:00 and 1:00, which guarantees they won't have any pesky teachers weighing in (maybe EX-teachers: Chris Eide, who is Teachers United and BFF with the three Reform organizations sponsoring this, is sure to call in...)
Maybe some of us here at SSS Blog can call in then and give soe input?

From LEV (and note that the director of P4L and of S4C are both called "experts. Expert what? Director? Policy Director? Or is this supposed to mean they are experts in the field of teacher effectiveness?):
• Jana Carlisle, Executive Director, Partnership for Learning
• Dan Goldhaber, Research Professor, University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education*
• Dave Powell, Policy Director, Stand for Children Washington

"The panel of experts will discuss the importance of high-quality, effective teachers..."

■What: A+ Washington Tele- Town Hall: A focus on teacher effectiveness
■When: Wednesday, May 2 from 12-1 p.m.
■Phone number: 888-863-6102

seattle citizen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dora Taylor said...

I think that it is time to call out the Alliance, Stand for Children and LEV for what they are in no uncertain terms, via op-ed's, e-mails to PTA's and news outlets.

These organizations are cardboard cut out's of imaginary parents and students who really represent Gates and other big corporate money and honestly, I don't understand why we put up with them any longer now that we all know what they are about.

These folks, who are paid to represent corporate interests, don't give a damn about our children.

Mac Farlane, now with DFER (a very frightening organization) and Korsmo and Munn with LEV are paid, and paid very well, to spew the venom of corporate capitalism and nothing more.

They want Husk because she will circumvent the democratic process, something that we are losing on so many different levels around this country to corporate capitalism and self interest. Let's not allow that to happen here in Seattle.

They, DFER and ALEC, want to take over our public schools and hand them over to money making interests such as charter schools (aka "Innovation Schools"), charter management companies and online learning centers. And, LEV, along with the co-opted WSPTA, is happy to help in any way that they can. Is this what you want for your children?

Charlie Mas said...

Regarding the Lake City property.

Here's what I'm getting out of the documents - though it is not clearly stated.

The District entered into a 99 year lease with Lorig back in 1986. The lease payment is $75,000 a year. Lorig developed the property and is earning about $325,000 a year from it.

Only Lorig is in a financial bind right now (they probably over-leveraged and they can't re-finance), so they are offering to terminate the lease with the District for $3.2 million.

The District is essentially buying the building on the property for $3.2 million. If the District does this, then the District will collect the rents of about $325,000 a year from the tenants instead of Lorig.

If I have this right, if the District really can manage the property well, and if they really can net $325,000 a year from it, this is a very, very good deal for the District.

This also highlights what an extraordinarily bad deal the District had when they leased the property in the first place.

There are other properties like this. The District owns the property under the Oak Tree Shopping Center on Aurora at about 100th and the Jefferson Square shopping center a couple blocks from Admiral Junction in West Seattle. What are the lease payments on those properties?

Charlie Mas said...

I hate, hate, hate this MOU with the Alliance for Education.

1. The payment for their fiscal services is WAY out of whack.

2. What other group gets to have the superintendent and the Board President sit on their board? I seriously suggest that every school PTA ask for an MOU that includes the ex officio participation on their board by the Superintendent and a Board member as well.

3. There is a lot of other language in this document that is completely un-necessary and un-helpful. This should just be a straight contract for services.

Anonymous said...

This Lake City business sounds fishy. If it is such a good deal, why can't they find private capital to buy out their interest?

For 25 years they have been profiting from the "extraordinary bad deal" the District made with them. Now they have borrowed too much so we will finance them with public funds? Wouldn't the public have more leverage by waiting for them to go under and violate the lease terms?

FishySmellDetector

Anonymous said...

I am thrilled SPS is getting Lake City back: we need it. Not clear if they are bailing on SPS, or, if SPS came calling to try and terminate the lease, but, either way, it is good. The District’s ability to house ‘interim’ populations during renovations and rebuilding is severely constrained for the next 5 years and beyond. To have at least another potential option, that is HUGE! Yes, I know, SPS sold the playground to the City, but still, Lake City is a building that may be needed sooner rather than later in the right geographic location given the area’s potential for upzoned residential density. And, if the District “bought” the net $250K cash flow (e.g., $325K rental income less the $75K rental cost) for $3.2M, well, that is a great deal for the District (of course, that depends on the cap rate, but using 3.5% it comes out neutral, so it looks good to me).

In fact, any player holding the lease papers, if they had taken the time to figure out the position of SPS and how desperate the capacity issues north of the ship canal are, they would have jacked up the price of buy-back for the District. I count this as a wind. Our Capital department is highly functional now with Lucy Morrello, despite so many problematic challenges she inherited. Good thing, with BEX right around the corner...

-happy to welcome you back

Christina said...

Doubt anyone is paying attention to this far down the page, but May 1 6 -7:30 ELL and Special Education Directors Community Meeting @ Jane Addams is CANCELLED.