Tuesday, September 10, 2013

SPS Calendar for the week of September 9

Here's what's happening in the District this week:

Tuesday, September 10

  • Audit and Finance Committee meets from 4:00 to 6:00pm Agenda here.
  • Meeting with Pinehurst K-8 community from 6:30 to 8:00pm

Wednesday, September 11

  • Executive Committee meets from 8:30 to 10:00am Agenda here.
  • School Board Work Session on Superintendent and Board Evaluation from 4:00 to 7:00pm Agenda here.

Thursday, September 12

  • Audit and Finance Committee meets from 4:00 to 6:00pm Agenda here.
  • Horace Mann - African-American Community Task Force meets from 5:00 to 7:00pm
  • BEX Oversight Committee meets from 8:30 to 10:30am

Friday, September 13


mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mirmac1 said...

Hmmmm. It seems that a change to the A&F committee agenda this afternoon is a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act. The agenda for special meetings (of which this regularly schedule meeting in an alternative space other than the auditorium counts) must be posted 24 hours in advance so that members of the public that have an interest in an agenda item can attend.

Tonight the issue of the EEU Bus Buddy program was added without notice. Based on the last board meeting, this matter is of some interest to a number of very concerned parents.

The resulting discussion follows what I expected. Last spring the board voted (and somehow forgot) to cut preschool transport to children not enrolled as students in SPS. The entire EEU preschool is not SPS, only the special-needs tots. The bus buddy program violates board policy, exposes the district to liability adn potential gift of public funds. The reset of this program's transportation shaved $250K off the transportation budget, so it was not a "no-cost" program.

mirmac1 said...

Another interesting tidbit, there is apparently a school in our district that is threatening to "go charter". Hmmmm, could it be QAE, STEM, NOVA, TCS? any guesses?

Our district must guard its valuable capital assets VERY carefully. We CANNOT afford to lose a building to a boutique school.

Mary Griffin said...

I agree with mirmac that the changes to the agenda is in violation of the open meetings act. I disagree with mirmac1 about the Bus Buddy program. There is no way transporting siblings of children with special needs adds an additional $250,000 to costs. I believe that figure is suspect.

mirmac1 said...

Well, the numbers of buses went down from 12 to 7.

Anonymous said...

This is a big problem. The EEU inclusion program only works if there are developmentally typical kids there to be models. That area behind the hospital is a totally mess trafficwise. If the parents of kids who are not special ed have to deal with that congestion every day, they might not send their kids there, and no inclusion! Several of the classes are less than 4 hours long, parking costs mega bucks, that is if you can even find a place to park! And what about families with one special ed kid and one model? Do they put one kid on the bus and drive the other one? That's ridiculous, all that extra polution, for no reason!

The EEU also runs a very successful ECEAP program, that gets lots of minority students from West Seattle, the CD and RV. These are the kids who get recruited by private schools later on because they do so well. Many of these kids will not be able to come with no bus! All the ECEAP spaces will be taken by kids from families who are only temporarily poor (children of PhD candidates and post docs). One more door closed for minorities and poor, ugh. I think I shall hibernate until Veronica Mars comes back.


Anonymous said...

Mirmac 1, please pause. The EEU is the most successful early intervention program for special needs children in the area. Its combined typically developing-special needs cohort is integral to the success of the program, which serves students from all over. The UW and SPS have nothing but benefits from the collaboration. Our children, special needs and typically developing alike, many from families of poverty, are not helped here by your no doubt well intentioned watchdog efforts. Please look for solutions to keep the program working as-is. Please help instead of hurting. Our families hurt enough as it is.

Treasuring EEU

mirmac1 said...

Gee. Too bad I don't decide those things. I expected the board would decide as it did for the reasons listed. I can't help it if I was spot on. Entreat someone else.

Maureen said...

Is there a waitlist for typically developing students that want a spot at EEU? How common is it for typically developing siblings to attend (they would have to be within a year or two of age, wouldn't they?)? Are sibs really prevented from boarding buses, or were buses only cut for non sibs (and for typically developing kids whose sibs aged out of EEU)?

mirmac where are you getting that charter conversion rumor? Did it happen to come out of the Pinehurst meeting? Or the Mann building ones?

SPS Parent said...

mirmac -

The Center school is in rented space so if they "go charter" they would not take a SPS building.

NOVA would not want the Meany building and they don't possess the Mann building. So not sure what they charter threat is there?

QAE is happy as a SPS school with their beloved principal.

STEM? Do you mean Cleveland? Why would they go charter, they are doing so well as a SPS turnaround school.

Not seeing it.

mirmac1 said...

This was stated as part of the Risk Management discussion at A&F (as always in oblique references but unmistakable). I'm guessing (and am obviously wrong). Any other ideas?

Anonymous said...

Rainier Beach with the assistance of SEI Academy of Portland?

The K-5 STEM parents seem frustrated enough to do it.


Maureen said...

If I were the Site Council chair at Pinehurst, I would be thinking about it pretty seriously. I wasn't thinking about NOVA, I was thinking about the "More4Mann" people, but they would have to insinuate themselves into a school program to make it as a "conversion" charter and that seems unlikely unless SPS acknowledges their claim to Mann in some official way before NOVA gets back into the building.

Unclear to me why a "beloved principal" at QAE is a disincentive to go charter since they could take him with them (especially if he is old enough to retire from SPS and collect a pension and a charter salary.) I have only met one QAE parent and she, coincidentally, is a huge charter supporter on a national level. (I'm not saying she said she wanted QAE to be a charter. I met her well before charters were legal here.)

Po3 said...

My bet would be South Shore going charter.

Maureen said...

I think Po3 wins the prize! (Can't believe I didn't mention South Shore.)

In August, I attended a workshop put on by the Washington State Charter Schools Association (It was about parental involvement in schools-which is one of my 'things.') There were about five people there from First Place which is on record as wanting to go charter (not a conversion). But there were also two women there from a SE Seattle organization (I didn't clearly hear its name, It may have been SESEC) who were just interested in charters. In passing, one happened to mention that she had a child at South Shore.

Just think of that gorgeous new building. Gone.

A-mom said...

Observations sent to the Board about Pinehurst's experience of community engagement so far.

Trusted Board Members,

Last night I attended the Pinehurst meeting to discuss our possible closure, and was appalled to note that Supt.Banda did not.
I see this as very disrespectful of the families who came to share their experiences of Pinehurst and AS-1.

Our questions were answered for the most part by Ron English, or I should say, written down to be answered at some later date(?).

Our school's building was put on the chopping block last year, only one month before the BEX vote. We are the only program displaced by this BEX that has not been promised a home. We worked for solutions with Sharon Peaslee and Phil Brockman at numerous meetings last year. Banda did not attend any of these, or the community meeting early last year at our school.

Mr. Banda plans to make his initial recommendation about closure on Sept. 20th, even though he has yet to meet with our community.

Please try to talk to Banda and let him know how much our community is hurt by this lack of engagement.
Perhaps he will find a way to postpone his initial recommendation until after he attends our next community meeting at Pinehurst.

Anonymous said...


Did you get a feeling for First Place's plans? They do wonderful things - but I don't see how they could continue in a charter environment. They rely on contributions for much of the funding required for the services they offer. If they are required to enroll anyone who applies (attracted by those services and small class sizes) will the contributions support that?

I wonder too if Hamlin Robinson should/would consider a charter application.


Maureen said...

Lynn, I don't have my notes in front of me so this is off the cuff.

They seem to plan to continue on as they are going, but at a greatly expanded level (I'm thinking 200 students?). Their mission is to support homeless students and I expect they figure if they build their program around that it won't attract applications from families who aren't extremely needy. They seem to think they will still attract the same donations and volunteers, so the state money will just allow them to expand the number of students they serve.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Maureen!


TechyMom said...

The best way for SPS to safeguard their property would be to stop jerking around their alternative communities, and give these schools a reason to stay.

Eric B said...

Any underfunded/threatened program is a risk to go charter. Pinehurst would be the biggest thorn in SPS' side and have the biggest upside, but any of the alt/option schools would probably benefit. Thornton Creek could also be a nasty monkey wrench in SPS capacity management if they managed to keep the fields. A carefully written charter application could probably do that emphasizing outdoor education and physical activity.

Eric B said...

PS From a negotiating standpoint, it would make a lot of sense for Pinehurst's parent leadership to start putting together a conversion charter application. Even if they don't submit it, it's a major bargaining chip as SPS decides what to do with the community.

mirmac1 said...

Any word on the Exec Comm meetings?