Tuesday, January 7th
Work Session: Transportation Service Standards and School Start Times from 5-6:30 p.m. No agenda/presentation available.
Should be interesting given that many want a discussion on school start times and staff seems to be pushing back mightily. However, President Peaslee is not moving an inch on waiting to have that discussion.
Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council Meeting from 6:30 pm to 9:00 p.m., JSCEE Room 2700.
Wednesday, January 8th
Executive Committee Meeting, 8:30-10 am, Update- agenda
School Board Meeting starting at 4:15 pm. Agenda.
Please sign up to speak on student data privacy. The district is NOT happy over the unilateral move by OPSI in their agreement with the Seattle Times for Seattle student data. Let them know you want a robust policy with teeth (currently none exists). Need talking points? Contact me.
Once again, a mystery around a capital works project. There is an Action item for final acceptance of Public Works at many buildings.
The claim is that - per the memo from McKinstry - that "There were no change orders for this project, added scope was completed using GMax funds."
One, that directly contradicts what is in the agenda item (as it notes there WAS a change order).
Two, what is GMax?
Also, the "budget" says "motor replacement at 10 schools and pathway lighting upgrades at 15 schools" WITHOUT one location noted. Just one lump sum of $1,294,021. If this is what passes for accurate and adequate explanation of the spending of public funds, then color me unhappy. (The agenda item states the schools but not the budget.)
If this is how our new Capital Director, Flip Herndon, explains capital spending, that's troubling.
Our capital dollars and how they are spent should be transparent and easy to understand. This is not.
To note, there are two items in the agenda where change orders are noted. One is this Public Works contract which says there was $223,638.00 in change orders. The next is the roofing done at three schools that is noted at $476,443.00. I get the cost coming from the roofing of Salmon Bay but there is still a mystery of why they found the problem and then did not correct it in time to NOT have to spend money on vast amounts of overtime. I note that there is NO timeline to this action and that is quite suspicious. No one wants to explain this and apparently the Board does not care.
There is also an Action Item on the new Thornton Creek building that has some interesting wording that I have never seen before.
The SPS Strategic Plan has been the source of the vision that will inform all future design process.
The Generic Educational Specification document should be used as a "guiding document" that encourages design professional (sic) to explore creative solutions. It should not be used as a "trapping document" that limits the design professional.
Since when does the Strategic Plan guide - beyond broadly - any capital building? Odd. And that second paragraph? I think it lays the foundation for trying to ignore any input the staff doesn't like.
I'm seeing someone's fine hand here but whose?
In the Intro items, there is one for accepting Race to the Top funding. You look at the "Project 3 Timesline" which says, for example, that there would be a "Summer Professional Development Institute." Okay, for whom? Not noted. In fact, it's not noted any where who this project is to reach in any defined manner.
Also, there is a $5,000 fund for "learning materials, coffee and pastries." Well, how much of that goes for what because honestly, it looks like a slush fund in case extra dollars are needed.
I also see that there is some kind of "Five Year Action Plan 2010-2015, guided by a diverse 16-member Partnership Group of SPS educators, early learning providers, staff from Seattle's Human Services Department, and the Office of Educaiton, the New School Foundation (now LEV) and the Gates Foundation." Well, that's an interesting group, I must learn more.
And how will this "accountability measure" be executed? "We have developed outcomes and measures with assigned responsibility for measurement development and data collection." Really? And all those parents know this is happening? I'd bet they have no idea their children's data is going, to whom and for what purpose.
Also, the district appears to be using a consultant group, Reach Associates, and a woman named Cathy Feldman who "is an expert on Common Core State Standards implementation..." So the district doesn't have its own CC expert? She's also going to be instructing teachers on the "Six Core Habits of Teaching and Learning."
There's also an Intro item on changing the open choice seats at high schools. I was at the Operations Committee where this was discussed and you know what? This wording about "open choice seats" was not used and now I realize why I was confused. Because I was pretty sure that was what was being discussed but not in that wording.
Here's my take; Open Choice seats, except for the lucky few, are gone. This thing has been massaged and cut back so much that to say there are Open Choice seats is really just empty air.
There is also an Intro item about the Annual Capacity Management for next school year and, I believe, it is about buying more portables for more schools. And yet, no supporting documents are attached.
This is one of the worst Agendas, as presented by staff, that I have seen in a long time. It reminds of the Goodloe-Johnson days and that is NOT a good thing. I'm going to hope this is because of a long holiday break and not a turn in the wrong direction.
Thursday, January 9th
Audit&Finance Committee Meeting, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Update: agenda here.
Friday, January 10th
BEX Oversight Committee Meeting from 8:30 am to 10:30 am. No agenda available (as usual).
Saturday, January 11th
Community Meeting with Director Carr from 8:30 am to 10 am, Bethany Community Church, across from Bagley Elementary (access from church playground).