To the Times' story which is pretty good and accurately points out the following:
- The one-year plan was developed without public comment.
- It was announced weeks after the end of the open-enrollment period, a violation of district policy.
- More than 1,500 parents have signed an online petition against the plan, citing sleep deprivation, student safety and the strain put on parents with children at schools with vastly different start times.
- It was expected to save $4 million, but saved only half that, mainly because not as many buses could be taken out of service as expected.
- Some teachers worry that the proposal could lead to longer hours, said Olga Addae, president of the Seattle teachers union.
- But officials say any plan to shave bus costs will upset some parents.
- "Education is our core mission," said Duggan Harman, the district's top financial officer. "We're to the point where we cannot make any budget reductions without inconveniencing students."
- This year, School Board members told transportation staffers in February to identify $1 million in new savings. The staffers say the late request — the budget must be finalized in a few weeks — forced them to rush.
- District staffers said they could not solicit community comment because of the short time frame the board gave them, but some parents said that is not a valid excuse.
And I think they could come up $1M like hey, in the Community Schools fund. To whit:
The account is within the Capital Eligible Projects Fund of the Capital Fund and the Board acted “to set aside and restrict the use of $18,700,000 within such fund, and the investment returns on such amount after September 1, 2011, to such uses asare expressly approved by the School Board.”
The Board Action report goes on to state, “It is anticipated these funds may be used for the World School, for temporary loans to other capital eligible activities and for unexpected needs of the District.”
Is this not a pressing need?
I give the last words to a parent quoted in Times and to a student who wrote the Board.
"It's incredible," said Bruce Gray, the father of a third-grader at Orca K-8. "I can't believe the board would consider changes with impacts this big for thousands of kids when there is so much confusion and so many unanswered questions."
A third-grader at Orca K-8:
Dear School Board,
I do not think kids like myself should have to get up at 6 am to get to school. Because then we would not have enough sleep. And if we don't have enough sleep then we would not learn as much as we would if school started at 9:20 or 8:20b ecause we would be too tired to learn. And I know that from personal experience! I live close to school so I can walk . But it would be dark and dangerous most of the year. And what do you care about more: a million dollars or a kids safety? And it would be even harder for our teachers. They would have to get up at 5:00 to get to their school and get ready for the day. And also us kids would not get to have a good, healthy breakfast. Do you want us to be unhealthy? And if we have after school activities, we would definitely be too tired to participate in them. We would be cranky, not happy. And we would hate school. Do you want to take away our happiness?
Just something to consider.
Go get 'em, tiger.