Thursday, February 27, 2014

Seattle Education - This and That

 From two area PTSAs:

We are proud to announce the Seattle Council PTSA Board and Northshore Council PTSA Board, which represents the PTA's in Woodinville, Bothell and Kenmore, have endorsed I-594. Join these parents and teachers to help make our schools and state safer for Washington families by endorsing 594 today:

This is the measure for background checks for guns.  

So I was pretty surprised yesterday that both Banda and Herndon stayed so long at the Cascade meeting give there was the Board Work Session on the Budget at 4 p.m.  (they left around 3:45 p.m.)  Naturally, I did not attend but if anyone else did weigh in, please.

Here's the presentation which I briefly reviewed.  I see some problematic issues here like Central Administration spending 28% less.  I would have to see how they defined CA because awhile back they had reorganized it so they could say they were spending less when really it was as dramatic as they said.

It also notes that:

Seattle routinely ends the year with $25-$30M more in reserves than is budgeted. (We agree this occurs)

The Enrollment page for 2014-2015 (page 13) was blank.  What gives?

Charters are mentioned on page 16 including that First Place, the only charter opening in 2014-2015, is not in the SPS budget but that they will be eligible for any levy dollars beginning in 2017 (when the next school levy - BTA and Operations - is to occur).

Here's a letter from SEAs about BLTs:

We are writing to you about proposed cuts to school budgets. Many BLTs have plans to begin working on your school’s budget for the 2014-15 school year. This is an essential job of the BLT and ensures that frontline staff has a strong say in each building’s educational and operational program.

Shortly after mid-winter break, each school will receive a staffing allocation for your budgeting. Unfortunately, the District is planning to impose a $4 million cut to school budgets for next year, including cutting 50 FTEs from classified and certificated staff.

We believe that the cuts are unnecessary. Each year for at least the last 5 years, the District has predicted an ending fund balance (surplus) of approximately $20 million dollars. That’s about 3-4% of the budget, which most analysts, including WEA’s, think is prudent for a large organization.

But the reality has been different. At the end of each year, SPS has instead had approximately $50 million left over – that’s closer to an 8 or 9% surplus (see the attached chart for the exact figures).

This year looks to be the same. School district budgets, especially large ones like Seattle’s, are very predictable on a month to month basis, and this year’s budget is tracking very closely to previous years.

We believe SPS will again end the year with approximately $50 million in surplus funds, not $20 million. We have met with top school district officials and told them that SPS has the money to avoid these cuts. We will continue to urge them to rescind these cuts, and at last night’s SEA Representative Assembly we made plans for how members can join the effort to block the cuts.

But while we build pressure on the District to rescind the cuts, we recommend that BLTs proceed with your budgeting work and build the best budget that you can. And as each building learns what the cuts will mean to them, we’d like all members to join in calling on the District to stop building up excessive surpluses while making cuts that hurt our student’s learning conditions and ratchet up workloads.


Po3 said...

File this under Seattle Ed this or that. Either way it's wrong!

Hale students being offered double service hours to sit for the new common core test this year:

page 5

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yeah, we reported this earlier. I think it's wrong as well. Wonder if this is district-sanctioned.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was illegal for PTAs to endorse political measures? Or is that just political candidates? Or am I wrong altogether?


Anonymous said...

Principals received an e-mail yesterday afternoon informing them that the school's WSS allocation was being delayed because "downtown" needed to look at the enrollment numbers again.

So, instead of getting them on Friday, they will be sent out sometime next week.


N by NW

Anonymous said...

Can somebody explain the wSS for Resource Room, why .5? Why is it either Resource Room OR Self Contained?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Confused, I think they can endorse measures, not candidates just as you said.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa.


mirmac1 said...

I am seeking immediate clarification on the oddball WSS formula for SpEd AND FRL. The latter is 10?!? That is going to cost a FORTUNE!

Anonymous said...

I assume that's a typo? Though they repeated it twice, huh.

Does anybody know the formula now? It's hard to compare this since I don't know what the baseline is.


Anonymous said...


I was confused by the WSS slide, too. A weight of "10" for FRL seemed off.

Does anyone know if the WSS formula presented in yesterday's budget work session is the actual formula used to determine elementary counselor and assistant principal positions? If it is, then they are using much different weightings than used last year.

I also heard that the budget allocations were being delayed, due to SPS needing more time to do the enrollment projections.

- North-end Mom

Enough said...

Our schools have been cut to the bone. It is time to keep funding in our classrooms.

Ima Lady said...

Hey Melissa, what happened to LEV and Stand For Children? Never hear anything about them anymore...