Wednesday, February 12, 2014

SPS Meetings Tomorrow

Both the Operations and Audit&Finance Committees have meetings tomorrow, Thursday the 13th.  In addition, there is also a Work Session.  Audit&Finance and Operations both start at 4:30 p.m. and the Work Session on Technology starts at 6:30 pm.

I call this out because Operations and A&F did not have their agendas out until yesterday.  Again, I have to smile and wonder.  These are very lengthy agendas.  There is truly no possible way to cover everything in them except as a brief update.  The Board is supposed to use these committee meetings to go over - in detail - issues. 

I realize a lot needs to get done but I wonder why these agendas are so lengthy for such a short period of time.

Operations agenda.  Items to cover:

- wireless network deployment
- various upgrades/renovations/repairs at several schools
- one item that caught my eye is Olympic Hills where there is a "resolution" about the new construction but also a "resolution regarding racial imbalance for new elementary school at Olympic Hills Elementary."  Not sure what that is about.
- ditto for Cedar Park Elementary
-resolution from President Peaslee about flipping grade level start times
- PowerSchools implementation update - this is a Pearson product "student information system"
- school start times update 

Audit&Finance agenda.  Among items to cover:
- Responses to Open Audit findings from Finance, HR, Teaching and Learning, Operations and Facilities & Capital
- then there's the vague "ratification of Murphy and Associates contract modifications."  I believe this may have been the consulting group for the SPS review of technology.
- there's also "authorization to consolidate Dietrich Schmitz Trust Fund."  Again, I don't know what this is but I suspect it has to do with Schmitz Park and its association with the Schmitz family.  (FYI, Dietrich Schmitz was on the Board for 31 years and president eight times.)s
- the raise for all non-rep employees of Seattle Schools
- enrollment update from Tracy Libros, budget update from Finance and Legislative update


Anonymous said...

Melissa -

Who determines the WSS formula and how is it approved? Does the Board approve it? If so, have they already approved the staffing formula for next year?

I'm asking, because there isn't another Board meeting until March, and I haven't heard anything firm about the WSS and if there will be cuts, and if so, how deep (though maybe this info is out there somewhere, and I just haven't seen it).

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Here is the agenda from a Board meeting back in August where there were several "racial imbalance" BARs on the agenda:

My understanding is that the District gets matching funds for construction if they can show that the project will not create a racial imbalance.

Should be interesting to see how they are going to manage that at Cedar Park, as the proposed attendance area includes practically all the low and very low income housing, on both sides of Lake City Way (drawing these areas out of Olympic Hills and John Rogers). Cedar Park has the potential to become a very high FRL school, with a high minority and immigrant population.

- North-end Mom

Black Hole said...

We should avoid Pearson- at all costs!

Disgusted said...

North-End Mom,

The district is considering $3M-$9M cuts to the WSS.

These cuts will impact student services and are unacceptable.

Write the board and tell them to avoid cuts to our classrooms- at all costs.

The district needs to quit funding their pet projects and fund our classrooms.

Charlie Mas said...

The WSS process is intentionally obscure. The District doesn't want to do it in public because it is rife with horse-trading, unfairness, and callous cuts to classrooms.

Anonymous said...

I already did (write them).

I'm disgusted, too.

I'm just trying to figure out how the WSS is determined and approved. I've heard rumors that schools will be getting their budget allocations soon...I believe prior to the next Board meeting at the beginning of March, so I'm puzzled about the role of the Board in these types of decisions.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

@ Charlie, Disgusted, North End:

The head of finance Duggan Harmon left a few months ago to work with Susan Enfield in Highline. Harmon's second-in-command, Joe Paperman - a guy who had been active in APP advocacy and came on at the district to 'help' budget didn't last a year I think.

Now we have a new hire and time to reinvent the budget wheel once again. I am predicting a more-opaque-than-usual and quite possibly disastrous budget process not just on the budget itself (thanks for nothing Olympia) but also on public outreach and internal consistency on applying allocation rules from past years.

Bad budget process headlines would in turn be a bad mark on Banda's tenuous 1-year leadership of SPS.

The potential pitfalls in the upcoming weeks are myriad. Who is likely to take the brunt of any pain? SPS students, of course.


Anonymous said...

Disgusted (and anyone else with knowledge),
Can you give me more info on the WSS cuts and what kinds of things to say in a letter?

Disgusted said...


In the past, the WSS Committee, which is comprised of principals met in a public forum. I am not seeing this type of transparency.

As I understand it, the district will meet with the WSS Committee and will report to the board. All very nice and clean.

This process does not allow the board and members of the public to watch all the hand wringing. Several years ago, principals told the district they could not provide desired outcomes if funding was cut; they were operating at bare minimum. I suspect the district will recommend cuts to assistant principals, counselors and other support staff.

Our principals receive six figure salaries and receive "merit pay" for student achievement. Shouldn't we just expect our highly paid administrators to do their jobs?

mirmac1 said...

From Board presentation:

Review Process for 2014-15:
–WSS Work Group comprised of central administration, 5 PASS representatives, 3 SEA representatives
–Seven Meetings (3 hours each) in November and December
–Given projected budget gap ($18million+) and fact that WSS allocation represents 53% of General Fund budget, reduction in WSS will need to occur in order to fulfill part of gap
–3 Tiers of Targets set: $3M, $6M, $9M

Committee asked to do two major tasks:
–Provide feedback on proposed reduction models/tiers
–Identify impacts of implementing the tiers of reductions

mirmac1 said...


–Current proposal is to eliminate some previously allocated positions and convert them into dollars.
–School reductions would be made from the converted dollars with remaining dollars available for schools to decide which positions to reinstate.
–Provides flexibility to schools in how reductions affect their buildings.
–Additional meeting added for January 31st to review final proposal
–Final adjustments made only for any fatal flaws identified
–Proposed model provided to district leadership February 3rd
–Final model provided to school principals February 4th.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. It is pretty disgusting to see the major classroom cuts on the same page as the "non rep" raises (administration, right?). I don't think I quite understand why this is occurring. I realize we did not get all the funding we wanted, and some of it was in sneaky "welching out on col raises" but we are not in the Great Recession anymore. I thought in last year's budget documents it seemed that things had improved, a little. Shouldn't the funding environment be improving? What is it that is taking all the money? Is it actually Ccss implementation, or what?


Lynn said...

Here's The presentation from the January 30th budget work session. Page 10 shows the anticipated changes from the 2013-14 budget that are driving the 2014-15 budget gap.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lynn. And the transportation one is even bigger now, since they gave the k-8's half a million in transportation money unexpectedly.

I am really worried about class sizes next year.


Lynn said...

You're welcome! You know, they didn't give the K-8s transportation money - they just chose not to take it away from them.

Anonymous said...

Right, but they planned to when they made this budget(the 3.4 number, now at 2.9), and took it away from most of the other schools. Distinction without a difference. I admit with the class size rumblings I am hearing I think that was a mistake. We should definitely not be moving between tier 1 and 2 for pure preference at this crisis stage of class size with the new WSS. I was not aware of the WSS when the transportation budgets were being drawn up, or I might have advocated a little more strongly.