Thursday, May 15, 2014

More Money for Everything Except K-12

Because I know that Sacajawea's principal got notified last night, at the last possible minute, that the district had cut 1.0 FTE at the school.  "Decreased enrollment" was the reason but it has been suggested that many parents got spooked by no bus service outside the boundaries.  (And it's no picnic for those who live within the boundaries as it is an area without sidewalks.) 

This may be happening at other schools so if you know families who have not yet enrolled a student, ask them to get it done soon.  Otherwise, you might wonder what happened to that teacher or staff member you liked so much at your school when you don't see that person in September. 

It's not that the district doesn't have the right to do this but what about common decency? 

 I am reminded about morals and decency from attending the Mayor's announcement today of the Seattle Preschool Program campaign for a ballot measure to provide funding for Seattle's pre-schoolers.  The Mayor said there was a "moral cost" to not doing this and that we, as adults, could not fail these children. 

I agree but meanwhile, the institution that he left won't consider the moral cost to K-12 for not fulfilling McCleary.  Where is his outrage on that issue?  It plagues us to this day. 

He very clearly wants a "partnership" with Seattle Schools and the "members of the school district" (whoever they might be.)  And yet he could not even introduce the Superintendent by name (and, for whatever reason, Banda didn't state his own name). 

I note that Banda was there as was Charles Wright, deputy superintendent.  None of the Board was in attendance (and they were invited) and they didn't even merit a mention.  (But Murray, ever the scold, kept telling the audience to applaud the speakers.  Very weird.)

But the Mayor could give big props, in the handouts and at the event, to Councilman Tim Burgess. He called Burgess, "the Godfather for pre-K" (and Burgess laughed but I'm not sure he liked that name). 

There were several troubling points to this program. 

One is that a couple of City councilmembers have said elsewhere that many citizens are asking, "How much can you keep asking us to fund?"  I believe there will be a breaking point.  Was it the Transportation measure?  Well, that actually passed in Seattle. Parks? Pre-K for all?  I wonder.

Another issue is that it states that the program "will be provided through a mixed-delivery system, with classrooms offered by Seattle Public Schools and community providers."  Yes, I did ask about space because the Mayor actually referenced the growth in SPS and nodded at Banda when he said it. 

The Mayor said he knows that the district struggles because of the previous cuts by the Legislature and said it was "pilot" program.  He said the room might come from renovations in community centers (without explaining where THAT money would come from) and that SPS was doing its own renovations.  And yet, front and center in the literature it says, SPS classrooms.

Note to the Mayor and Councilman Burgess - seriously, gentlemen - there is NO room at the inn, now or in the foreseeable future.  Please don't add more pressure to an already serious facilities situation.

As well they mention "align practices, responsibilities, and timelines and to address data sharing, academic expectations, curriculum alignment and professional development."  That alignment may come from Common Core.  The data-sharing?  Something to ask more questions about in the future. 

To bring it back to the main topic, check with your principal in case there is bad news so that you can try to do something about it before the end of the school year.   We are now just about a month from the end of the school year.

46 comments:

Emily said...

From the Seattle Times: "Although the city’s longterm goal for the program wouldn’t be reached for at least 15 years, the levy would only pay for the first four years, which is considered a “demonstration phase” to make sure a high-quality system is in place before enrollment is expanded."

Clearly, we're seeing the foundation for preK-12.

Will the city pay for SPS's involvement, space etc? Or, does the city expect an underfunded system to become increasingly stretched?

mirmac1 said...

Voting no.

Eric B said...

The last time I heard discussion of this was a couple of months ago, so plans may have changed. At that point, there was some discussion of SPS handling teacher training. It was not clear that SPS would be paid, but I can't see how that would happen without payment. The person presenting the plan was acutely aware that SPS had no space to give.

If community centers are full, then neighborhood storefronts would be a good option. There's a popular day care/preschool in a storefront a couple of blocks from my house. Smaller local options make it so you don't have to worry so much about transportation.

Just curious Mirmac, why a no vote?

Anonymous said...

Fund K-12 and then I'll vote yes. My Kindergarten kid is shoved in a class with 28 other students. NOT OK.

NO PRE-K until K-12 is OK!

Anonymous said...

In theory, SPS is going to allow Van Assalt for Pre-School. We will see how long that last.


- kt

Jon said...

Per student expenditure is $10K(!). This seems rather high because SPS students are funded at $6K. The City plans on using $3M from F&E LEVY.

http://murray.seattle.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Seattle-Preschool-Program.pdf

Considering McCleary, I have to question whether or not it is legal for SPS to spend dollars on this initiative.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The district's role seems murky to me. It gives me some worry.

Lynn said...

Costs are higher for Pre-K because each 20 student classroom will have a teacher and an instructional assistant.

Will the working poor be able to use this program? If it's six hours a day, 180 days a year, what will they do for child care for the rest of their work day and the summers?

The current Schmitz Park building is supposed to be an early learning center once the new building is in use.

Gross said...

Korsmo/ LEV launched a public campaign to get the board to sign-on to the city's pre-k program BEFORE the board was briefed.

Besides the city/LEV being incredibly disrespectful of the board, I have to wonder if the proposal is half baked.

mirmac1 said...

A myriad of reasons Eric B, not the least of which is this state needs tax reform. Support Head Start. No to subsidies for families who do not need them. City politics out of my business. Quit trying to track people from birth to sclerosis. I trust Murray and Burgess about as far as I can spit.

Wondering said...

Mirimac,

You make a good point. What are the differences between Head Start and Pre-K for all?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with mirmac. I've always voted for everything but my prop taxes are going to deprive me of my house one day. Maybe that's okay. As a new owner, I'm realizing that even though my payments are quite, I'm still expected to foot the bill for everybody else. I voted for the transportation package but surrounding areas didn't. If Murray puts up a vote that will cost property owners even more to subsidize as he says "fringe areas" - those areas that voted no - I'll vote no.

Two thousand kids is a lot. But what percentage is that of the need? I'm wondering...

Whittier lost half of their librarian. Librarians are instructors. It is a shame. I know many schools have lost librarians. Every school should have a librarian and that librarian should be part of the instructional team. It is unbelievable what is happening to schools.

Of course, Whittier could survive quite well without an assistant principal. But we all know that management isn't going to make life easier for teachers and kids. Rather, as is always the case. management will continue to ask for that which makes life easier for itself.

It is so disheartening.

One disgusted Teacher

Anonymous said...

One disgusted teacher ...

SPS cut elementary school librarians to .5 FTE years ago ... 3???

If Whittier still has a full time librarian this year, the school must have a hefty "self help" fund or receive PTA funding????

N by NW

Anonymous said...

Our school's budget process was a joke ... received initial WSS, then received corrected WSS. After open enrollment, a lot of the corrected WSS was taken away.

N by NW

Anonymous said...

What's your point, N-NW? Didn't I acknowledge exactly that. Yes, Whittier found ways with PTA help at times to budget for a librarian. It was important. My comment stands.

So...?

Disgusted Teacher

Anonymous said...

N-NW, ours too. Pretty demoralizing.
Disgusted Teacher

Anonymous said...

Disgusted Teacher ...

Not debating the importance of a librarian, just wondering what changed at the school ... WSS cuts too much or PTA funding?

N by NW

Wondering said...

The PI reports:

The program will “ramp up,” in Murray’s words, with 280 enrolled in the fall of 2015, rising to 780 at the beginning of school in 2016, and then to 1,400 in 2017 and eventually to 2,000 in 2018. The ramp-up will allow the city to find and create facilities, train teachers and test programs."

Where are they going to put 2000 children?

Anonymous said...

We made some new changes to our PCP which added a third teacher. I suppose we could have opted to make a change there but I don't think we had the choice. It's tricky when you have to choose between two good people. Personally, I think the librarian is crucial. Had we kept her, we would have had to go back to two lunches(we currently have three-our lunchroomis very cramped) and some other crunch changes so who knows . . . Still, I don't believe we had a choice. It seemed to be decided for us.

At budget time, we expected more money but our population expectancy slipped so money was taken away after the budget was done. I believe our PTA might have opted to budget differently had they known. But done is done, I guess.

Whittier's PTA has always supported a full-time librarian whether it came out of their budget or ours.

I guess those are the good old days.

Disgusted Teacher

Anonymous said...

$58 million for 2000 kids. That's $29,000/year per kid (add sliding fee on top). Lasts only 4 years. How is this sustainable? It's certainly not universal. The best private school in Seattle doesn't even charge that much.

How is this a good demonstration program? We have Headstart already. Enough with duplication. This is pork all wrapped up in cuddliness.

If politicians want to take the moral high ground, start with funding K-12 per McCleary.

voting no

Wondering said...

I think we're looking at another Federal-State partnership:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/13/fact-sheet-president-obama-s-plan-early-education-all-americans

Considering Duncan's agenda, shat does this mean and what are the details?

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me the massive schools that function as drop in/out versus alternatives.

There seems to be duplicate and triplicate in everything from the Interagency, Middle Colleges, Alts and what is South Lake? How much money is wasted on these schools and what is the attendance, costs and actual curriculm being taught?

- Just Curious

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think you are confusing reentry schools with alternatives (option) schools (Maria Goodloe-Johnson did this as well as in most parts of the country an alt IS a reentry).

I'd have to get a SPS staffer to nail down the actual details but, for example, South Lake is for teen parents as they have a daycare right in the building (John Marshall did as well, wonder what will happen to that room).

Melissa Westbrook said...

From the President's plan for Early Childhood Ed:

"A plan to implement comprehensive data and assessment systems."

You can only guess what that might mean.

Charlie Mas said...

My calculations put the cost at $13k per student per year given the enrollment projections from Wondering and a $58 million budget.

Anonymous said...

So there are about what 7 "re entry" programs in the Interagency? How many kids are being "re-entred" that SPS needs that many facilities?

What are Middle college high schools? Who do they serve? How many students attend those?

As for alternatives I see Center House, NOVA as high schools is that all? What are their jobs or roles and who do they serve?

As for South Lake that used to be the old Shaples and Marshall then Sharples became Aki Kurose if I recall.

So we have 7 re-entry, one school for single mothers? Is that all they do or what is their role?

Then we have Middle colleges. And we have 2 alternative hs

So what is the costs, how many students are they serving? What is the role in the community?

- Just Curious

Anonymous said...

Disgusted Teacher:

I can assure you that the PTA was never approached about the librarian situation. We were told after the decision was made.

Please know that the PTA wants to support our school as much as we can!

C. Holden
Whittier PTA

Wondering said...

Can we limit the conversation on this thread to the pre-K proposal? Other conversations belong on Friday thread.

Charlie, A previous article indicated pre-K enrollment will reach 2,000 students. Seems $58M over 4 years will not cover costs. I imagine we'll see federal involvement. Will be interesting to watch.

Anonymous said...

When several schools voted no on their budgets earlier this year, I thought that SPS agreed to not cut WSS. Now it appears that is not true. Three years ago, school with 450 enrollment gets full time counselor. Next year school with 520+ students can only have .5 counselor. To keep full time counselor would need enrollment of 550+!

CCA

Anonymous said...

I just got back from watching the presentation on the City's proposal for what they were calling "preschool for all." I think have now titled "Seattle's Preschool Program" since it is no longer planning to serve ALL kids in Seattle, but a smaller population (my math calculates 16% of the number of estimated 3 and 4 year olds in the City)

They talked a lot about the need for increased "quality" as the back bone for this plan.

The "Action Plan" is here:
http://murray.seattle.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Seattle-Preschool-Program.pdf

I'm a HUGE supporter of early learning, and this plan leaves me with a bunch of questions.

--Why the requirement to have 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for 180 days a year? Where is the evidence that less time intensive programs (i.e. 3 day a week 1/2 day programs and the parent co-op programs aren't "quality"? My kids still napped in the afternoon at 3 and 4, and napping is SUPER important for brain development. Why require 6 hours a day/5 days a week for preschoolers? Some folks still prefer 1/2 day K.

--One Roxhill elementary parent applauded this plan, but commented that their school is over-crowded. Where will these preschools be when SPS buildings are already maxed out? (I learned that there are 60 PreK programs already living in SPS buildings. Are these the programs and classrooms that the City hopes/plans to contract as City of Seattle run preschools?)

--With only 16% of the need for Pre-k seats being planned, how do they decide WHO gets in and who doesn't? I think it was Jean Godden who asked how the kids would be chosen and if I heard correctly, they plan to develop an "algorithm based on the priorities that are set by Council" They said the did not favor a lottery. And in fact, the Action plan states:

"As the program is ramping up, priority will be given to:
• Children who are currently enrolled in preschool with a contracted
organization.
• Children whose sibling is currently enrolled in the Seattle Preschool
Program and would be concurrently enrolled with the sibling in the
year of enrollment.
• Children living in close proximity to available program classrooms."

I'm confused. If the kids that are going to be given priority are already in a preschool program, then how does this plan do anything besides shift who pays for and manages preschools? Also, the WHERE is important particularly if address is a determining factor. (Bruce Harral made some comments about perhaps being more transparent about who this is going to serve. I agree. Sounds like they already know WHERE and WHO, but are not really saying...)

...continued below

--Just questions

Anonymous said...

...continued from above

--There are 4 existing government funded early education programs. Head Start, ECEAP and Step Ahead. There is also another program focused on identifying and increasing quality in existing preschools called Early Achievers. Wouldn't it be more cost efficient to advocate for increased expansion and funding of these programs?

--Again, YES to preschool for all. But within the context of overcrowded SPS, WHERE?

--When our K-12 funding is 44th in the nation, does it really make sense to spend millions of $$$'s on a NEW administration system just for PRE-K will only serve 16% of the kids that should be eligible, at a much higher cost per kid?

--The flag ship program in Boston is run by the school district. Is Education in the City's wheel house, or should they be focusing on building infrastructure (like schools in neighborhoods that they just dropped 3000 new units into????)

1/4 of the F&E levy funds are already going to pay for preschool: http://www.seattle.gov/office-for-education/about-the-levy

This is eye opening to me. The F&E levy was marketed as K-12 funding, but now schools that NEED funding have to fight and claw to get funds through a rigorous application process, and 1/4 of the funds are now spent on Preschool instead of K-12. That is a little bit of a bait and switch, isn't it?

Will you join me in writing to City Council members ask for clarification?

Really, why is it MORE important to have the City build and manage a "new" preschool program than to fund and pay for K-12? We NEED both. And I'm happy to pay for both.

But let's not be robbing Peter to pay Paul without at least being honest about it.

--Just questions

Wait/What?? said...

Just questions,

Thank you for the update. WHY does SPS have 60 preschool classes being used..when we don't have enough capacity.

Hawthorne Elementary was denied funding, and, now we find out that 1/4 of the levy is going for preschool??

Wait/What said...

Just Questions, The attached document indicates that $3M will come from F&E LEvy. Do you have information that 1/4 levy is for preschool?

Anonymous said...

I agree that they should expand ECEAP and Step Ahead instead of setting up a separate system. These two programs in Seattle are amongst the best in the country. Their challenge has been that they can't not offer enough funding per student to providers to get programs opened in North Seattle. As the city is planning to spend a lot more per student than ECEAP & Step Ahead have been able to pay, this will not be a problem. The people running Seattle's Early Learning Program are excellent at their jobs, & have decades of experience running very successful programs on shoestring budgets. Why reinvent the wheel and go through all the trials and errors with new people, just expand the Early Learning Department.
I do not know enough about Head Start to comment, but I've heard they are also quite good.

CCA

Anonymous said...

--what/what

The levy information is here: http://www.seattle.gov/office-for-education/about-the-levy

--Just questions

Anonymous said...

can't offer enough funding per student

Ugh autocorrect

CCA

mirmac1 said...

The preschools in SPS now are for children with disabilities and are covered under Part C of IDEA. There are some typically developing peers, but only some of the seats.

Anonymous said...

--miramac

It is true that there are SPED pre-k, but there also are pre-k/daycare classrooms that are run by outside organizations within SPS schools. One of these organizations is the Community Day School Association

Check their website: http://communitydayschool.org/

"Located within 9 SPS schools..."

Registration for preschool for the fall is up, and locations include:

Beacon Hill
Hawthorne
Madrona
Highland Park
Leschi
Maple

This organization use SPS space rent free.

I think it is great that there are affordable funded (through a variety of sources) preschool and day care options for folks, and it is great that SPS is providing the space for free. It is part of what makes it affordable I'm guessing.

$900 a month for full day care. is what they list.

The Mayor's plan is asking to charge tax payers $10k a year for a preschool program that is 5 days a week for 6 hours (not full time) and for only 180 days a year.

Maybe my math is wrong here, but I think that means that there are 16 weeks that are NOT included in that price. using round numbers, that works out to 1,176/ month for less than full time care...

If only we put $10k per kid per year into our K-12 system.

--Just questions

Anonymous said...

Part C is birth-to-three. The SPS preschools for 3 & up for kids with disabilities (and typically developing peers) are covered under Part B, the same part of the IDEA as the school aged kids.

Parent

Wait/What said...

Yes, the city already uses F&E Levy dollars for a city program:

Seattle Step Ahead Preschools
The Seattle Step Ahead preschool program, funded by the 2011 Families and Education Levy offers culturally and linguistically appropriate preschools to eligible four-year-olds. The goal is to help participating children develop the skills they need to be successful in school and acquire a passion for lifelong learning.

Part-day programs provide a three and a half-hour instructional day for children, four to five days a week from September to June. Full-day programs provide six or more hours a day for children, five days a week from September to June. Teachers provide daily opportunities for children to improve skills in language and literacy, math concepts, science, social studies, arts, physical development, and social and emotional development.

The Seattle Human Services Department provides Families and Education Levy funds to Step Ahead Program classrooms for the school year."

Why is Burgess reinventing the wheel? $10K per child/yr. is very high. We already increased the F&E levy to over $200M. I will likely vote NO.

mirmac1 said...

Thanks Parent for the correction.

Wait/What, thank you for the reminder. Community Day School Association is one of those community-based organizations (CBOs) that get access to preschooler data.

CDSA receives funding from local sources including the City of Seattle HSD Child Care Assistance Program (to subsidize preschool and school age child care), SEEC (to support Step Ahead preschool program); from DSHS Working Connections Child Care program (to subsidize preschool and school age care) and DCFS; and from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). CDSA is also an approved agency partner with elementary schools receiving FEL Elementary Innovation funding (Beacon Hill and Madrona K-8).

It is clear that the City is behind the push to share student records with CBOs. Where is the data to support this decision?

Watching said...

Burgess was NOT responsive to the community during the I 1240 campaign. Burgess refused to take a public position on charter schools.

Burgess speaks to the community when he wants funding.

Voting NO for a plethora of reasons.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have the report to the City from the consultants on this project. Very detailed and frankly, it sounds very expensive.

I think we all need to do our research before we draw any conclusions about whether this particular plan of creating universal preschool is the right one.

That said, I don't trust Councilman Burgess and as Voting No said, he refused to talk about charter schools during the 1240 election (despite being repeatedly asked) and that made me very suspicious.
He has shown that on education issues, he is willing to go behind closed doors with other elected officials (see Michael DeBell) and make plans not accessible to the public.

Watching said...

Wasn't Burgess involved in the Creative Approach schools that turned out to be ILLEGAL?

mirmac1 said...

Oh yeah Watching. That was the ONLY time I ever saw him at a board meeting. Sitting in the back like a malevolent prince.

one nation under a groove said...

Seattle Public School could be closed 365 days a year and not make a bit of difference