Sunday, June 30, 2013

Seattle Schools This Week

 To note, it appears there will be no other district/Board meetings after the July 3rd Board meeting until early August.

Wednesday, July 3rd
 School Board meeting at 4:15 p.m. - Agenda
Even during the sleepy summer months, a lot is happening.  At this meeting, the Strategic Plan will be voted on. 

The Board will heard a report about FERPA re: Common Core and the student data "cloud." (I will be putting out a white paper on this topic so look for that.) 

The Board will vote to extend the Superintendent's contract by one year to June 2016.  (They are not considering a raise until after bargaining agreements are done and the district's budget is set.  I personally would not be for a raise at this point in time.  Apparently, according to the item, there is no public input sought on the issue of a raise or extension of his contract.)

Hey and look what is delayed (again)?  It's the Highly Capable Student Program State Grant.  No grant form attached so the Superintendent is delaying it until August 21st.

The district wants to transfer $3.3M from Capital to the General Fund, I believe for, technology salaries and higher than expected general maintenance.  But here's the explanation and a prize for the person who susses it out for me best:

Technology salaries have been budgeted and expended in both the Capital Projects Fund and the General Fund. According to the State Accounting Manual, certain of these expenditures should be recorded in the General Fund, which then may be reimbursed by the Capital Projects Fund.
The General Fund budget will have increased salary expenditures. This will not require a budget extension because there is capacity within the General Fund for this increase in expenditures.
These expenditures will be reimbursed by the Capital Fund through transfers between the funds,
so there is no net effect on the fund balance. The Capital Fund will have decreased salary
expenditures and a corresponding increase in transfers out to the General Fund, with no effect on
the fund balance.

I know what all these words mean.  I think I understand what it means but I would like to hear what others think it does.

There is an Intro item about giving a conditional contract to another TFAer.  It also answers the question of who is continuing to pay TFA's fee of $3k per teacher.  That would be the Seattle Foundation.  But it's a placeholder; no names, no schools.  There should be names by the Action vote.  The Board should not approve any ghost-jobs.


Adoption of the Operations Budget $651M and the Capital Budget $46M.  


How much is the contract for milk products for School Breakfast, Lunch or Snack programs?  About $1M. 


I also note that the Superintendent recently put out an announcement about hiring Wyeth Jessee for a brand-new position, Executive Director of Leadership Development.  The press release says:

Professional development and coaching are key to recruiting and growing leaders to support the ongoing work of the District. 

I find this very confusing.  The principals already have their own Executive Director for their region.  So they need additional oversight/training?  And I thought HR hired people who were qualified for their jobs so why another whole person just for their PD/coaching?

I'm not sure I'm buying the expense for another whole position at headquarters.  

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

According to the Board agenda, work on JA middle school will not be done until 2016. Work will be done over the summers of 2014, 2015, and 2016. Where's everyone going to be placed until then? Is John Marshall going to hold everyone until then? Wouldn't it make more sense to use JM for a year so the work could be done in one year, not over the course of three?

???

Anonymous said...

The explanation for transferring money from account A to account B? Jabberwocky!

Signed,
Less is more, more or less

Charlie Mas said...

I hope to speak on the Board evaluation.

I will ask them to acknowledge that their "fresh start" amnesty is the exact opposite of the accountability they promised.

Anonymous said...

The paranoid cynic in me wonders about delaying the grant for Highly Capable.

What if they delay applying until it's too late ... thus ... money is gone ... thus ... SPS can say w/a straight face that the program is unfunded (although APP parents know that students don't really get any extra money, except for testing; busing is funded by state - or is this grant for busing?). Is the tabling of the grant another way to kill APP via the backdoor?

Sign me - paranoid cynic!

Anonymous said...

Lawsuit v. charter schools filed.
http://blogs.seattletimes.com/politicsnorthwest/2013/07/03/state-teachers-union-other-groups-sue-to-stop-charter-schools/

-no1240

Patrick said...

Now they file a lawsuit? Too bad they (we) didn't campaign just 0.7 percent of the voters harder.

Anonymous said...

Chief Sealth's new principal was announced today - Aida Fraser-Hammer. Other news - Alki's Chanda Otis is leaving for Van Asselt and Gatewood's Rhonda Claytor is moving to Leschi.

What is the reason for moving principals around so often?

Lynn

Charlie Mas said...

The reason that the HC grant application has been is delayed is simple and totally not sinister.

The OSPI has yet to make the grant application available.

While it is true that the official due date for the application is July 1, the OSPI has ALWAYS accepted them late without any penalty. They have to accept them late this year since it is already July 3, and they have yet to make the applications available to the districts.

Charlie Mas said...

Director Patu did two odd things at the Board meeting this evening.

1. She asked to have an item removed from the consent agenda to ask a couple questions about it. This was odd for two reasons:
A. The motion was added to the consent agenda by the Executive Committee, and she sits on that committee. So she was part of the decision to put it on the consent agenda.

B. The question she asked was a fairly simple one that could have been asked and answered by an email at any time since the BAR became available.

2. After a lot of public testimony about Mr. Greenberg and The Center School issue that will not die, Director Patu tore into Mr. Greenberg and repeated a number of specific allegations against him including some direct quotes attributed to him - quotes that were loudly disputed by the audience. Where is Director Patu getting this information? Why is she believing it? Why is she sharing it after Director McLaren specifically said that details about personnel matters could not be shared?

Both things very odd.

Charlie Mas said...

Director Carr, during Board comments, said that she had no duty to hold herself accountable, and that she is only held accountable by the voters and only every four years.

mirmac1 said...

Legal's FERPA "briefing" was anything but brief and full of a whole lotta nothing. Somehow she managed to suck information out of the heads of everyone in that room and leave them dumber than they were before she started talking. She gave partial answers to direct questions - then offered to do 2X2's with board members on the subject (this is the nontranparent manner in which some staff dupe board members into thinking what they want to do is just peachy).

Jacobs managed to avoid the whole matter of the discretionary and unconscionable release of ten years of our students personally-identifiable information (like SSID, disability status, discipline records) to CCER and the for-profit BERC Group. This, for essentially chump change in RTT money. In fact, they weren't even mentioned. But she did link not releasing certain data to OSPI to loss of funding. Well duh! But parents aren't upset about OSPI getting data. We're incensed that another Gates-funded enterprise will have our personal information and will make it portable (in handy CSV format and graphical interface) to other school districts, service providers and community organizations, purportedly to "differentiate" education and ease the transfer of student info in our highly mobile society (e.g. kids transferring from say Auburn to Highline). Doh!

She alluded to "penalties" if some unnamed entity should accidentally release or misuse our kids PII. Too bad there are no penalties in the MOU with CCER.

Charlie Mas said...

The "penalties" is a funny idea.

What does it cost to un-ring a bell?

mirmac1 said...

Oh, probably the same penalties X Incorporated and AAA Co. pay when they send you a nice letter saying "We just learned that our secure data network was compromised potentially exposing your credit card information to thousands of other people. Sorry about that."

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Car's statement is no surprise, I have given up all hope of responsible representation from her. She won't even respond to email and my child is in her district!

Carol Simmons said...

I do not know why the Board thinks it is necessary for them to speak and vote in one voice.....perhaps because they have been criticized for dissenting votes??? We elected them to dissent when they felt it was correct to do so.

Another missed opportunity to correct inequities was made by the Board with the adoption of the strategic plan without the Goal of eliminating Disproportionality specified. Testimony was provided by a former Assistant Superintendent and committee members who worked on the Plan. They requested that the Board not adopt this plan until this Goal was included. No amount of explanation by District staff that this goal was "included in the mission statement" is sufficient. Who specifically is responsible for measuring, evaluating, and implementing this effort "goal" included in the mission statement? The company line will be "the entire district." Without someone being held responsible and accountable for implementation and evaluation of this effort, it will not occur. There should have been a goal included directed to this effort.

Anonymous said...

Sure, Jacobs and the rest of Legal recognize that they are in the public sector ... All they have to do is glance at their paychecks. But this public sector is about families and the community and students. I don't see that Jacobs and the rest of Legal see that the quality of these relationships is more important than defending their status quo. We've needed new leadership in that dept for such a loooooong time.

Kessler Stevens

mirmac1 said...

Here is Modessa Jacobs' illuminating briefing on FERPA/Common Core. Bet you didn't know those terms are synonymous or linked in any way. Because they're not.

Notice that the discretionary release of student SSIDs and other personal information is not mentioned. Road Map Project and CCER is also somehow overlooked. I see the two Gates tools Carr and DeBell asked for this illuminating briefing (probably to get their constituents off their backs).

Is this Banda's concept of transparency? Presenting incomplete and misleading information to the Board and the public? If so, I am very disappointed in him.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mirmac, thank you for that update on FERPA which said virtually nothing. My white paper to come.