Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SEA Response to SPS Budget Cut Reversal

Dear SEA members,

Congratulations! By acting collectively on behalf of students and schools, and by shining a light on SPS budget practices that have routinely overestimated expenses, we have succeeded in getting the District to reverse the $4 million in school budget cuts!

By Monday night, 40 schools had voted no on their school budgets, with dozens more set to follow suit this week.  Hundreds of members were making plans to come to the school board meeting tomorrow night.  Now that will not be necessary; the school board action is cancelled.

This unprecedented action by SEA members helped District leaders understand the devastating impact the cuts would have, and focused them on SEA’s budget analysis, which showed a pattern of overestimating expenses which has resulted in substantial end of year savings for the last 4 years.

We also commend the many principals, executive directors and central office administrators who worked diligently to understand the cut’s impact on schools, to re-examine their budgets, and to find some money to mitigate the cuts. A late infusion of money from the legislature gave SPS the confidence that it would have enough in its reserves to reverse the cuts. While District resources will be thin for a short period, SEA’s analysis showed, and the District agreed, that as the year goes on reserves will rebound sufficiently.

We reached an agreement last night with the District to set aside budget votes while schools assess how their budget picture may change. Some schools had already received substantial mitigation dollars and may not see much change in their budgets. Others will see positive changes in their allocation, regardless of whether they voted yes, no, or hadn’t voted yet. Building mediations in the 40 schools that voted “no” are cancelled. If a building votes “no” on their new budget, a new mediation will be scheduled, just as in past years.

We have asked the District to make clear that with the cuts reversed, there is no longer any District recommendation to cut FTEs as was called for by the Weighted Staffing Standards (WSS) in the first allocation. However, bear in mind that enrollment changes and reductions in federal Title I money may have an FTE impact in some buildings.

As public educators, we are called on not just to do great things in our classrooms, offices and worksites, but also to be skilled and energetic advocates for public education itself. Again, congratulations to all SEA members!

In solidarity,

Jonathan Knapp                               Phyllis Campano
President                                           Vice-President


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. What neither Banda nor SEA's PR pieces state is whether the WSS is reverting back to last year's - or whether they are keeping the "new and improved" (not from what I've been able to discern) WSS but also handing back the $1.8 million.

Does anyone know, because this makes a good deal of difference to some SPS schools in which staff they can keep.

Also, someone else pointed out on a previous thread that closer to $4 mil. was trimmed (don't know whether by state or federal trickle down to district)...I didn't know that. Is it true? If true, is there any move to the full restoration of $$?

Thanks for any community insight.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Ed Voter, yes, neither statement is entirely clear and I suspect that is by design.

Common Sense said...

Special thanks to SEA.

To be fair, the state has given the district $8M during this last legislative period. However, federal funding has decreased $6M.

For years, we have seen cuts to our schools. Teachers and students need supports.

The state is under a court order to fund education. Within a short period of time, I am fully expecting the K-12 system to become PreK-12. While I support this idea, it is essential that the state provide funding.

I hope SEA continues to be a leader and support funding to our schools. I remain concerned about Common Core and plethora of funds needed for computers etc. I don't see the legislature funding these initiatives.

Anonymous said...

a broken clock is right twice a day and, just weeks away from an election so he can keep his job, knapp appears to tap into frustration of us in the building working stiffs.

Where was that effort during the contract negotiations of the last few years, where Knapp pre-sold us Seattle teachers out on the unscientific garbage known as 'student growth scores' & using state assessments?

Will Seattle teachers remember the pre-sell-outs? Or, will we play Rihanna in "love the way you lie" singing the chorus --

'just gonna stand there and watch me cry, but that's alright cuz I love the way you lie, I love the way


Anonymous said...

Unless Seattle teachers wake up and spot Knapp's ruse, they will be the same flunkies who ratified the last contract.

Seattle teachers like to think they are too "professional" to get their hands dirty, which is why they have voted and ratified themselves into abuse and the worst peon-hood.

If they haven't finally figured out that there is power in standing up together, then they will continue to be the scared, self-protective, and divided group that the district can always count on.

--enough already