Sunday, June 15, 2014

Did You Know?

It's the end of spring so, I'm spring cleaning.  That means going thru my vast SPS files and throwing out/reordering.

Naturally, I found some interesting stuff (but threw out two bags of paper).  Among the things I found:

- Did you know I was an education activist in high school?  Me, neither but apparently I wrote, for the school newspaper, an op-ed in support of a bond measure to building onto our school.  I mention that our high school was built for less than 1,000 students and we had over 1500.   We had 30-year old stadium lights that leaned like the tower in Pisa.  We needed science labs and a new auto shop. It was for $3M but I don't know if it passed. 

- Did you know the Alliance for Education - at least in 2011 - actually included Spectrum in the feedback they received from folks attending their State of the District luncheon.  "Increase access to Spectrum and ensure consistency across the district."  

- Did you know as far back as 2005, the district was talking about moving the World School (then known as SBOC) to TT Minor if Minor was closed?  But the district also said - given SBOC had been allotted $14M from BEX II - that SBOC wouldn't need $14M to move to Minor.  (And in the agenda for the Board meeting this week, we see the district borrowing money from different places to get that $14M.)  

- Did you know that if there are excess funds left from the end of a BEX or BTA, the Board controls where they go.  And, that means they don't have to do just to capital or BEX.  The Board could move them back to the General Fund.  Hey, there's some money to pay for the math adoption.   (This from the district's minutes of the BEX Oversight Ctm meeting in Dec. 2009.)  Wonder if the Board realizes this. 

- Did you know that I just realized I've never seen a report about the Supplemental Levy that we passed in 2010?  It was for $48M and I just wonder if the money was used for its stated purposes - reducing state cuts, partially funding the new teachers contract, and funding materials for elementary music, middle school language arts, and high school science and social studies.

- Did you know that I never received an answer back from the district about what this Math Summative Assessment was that many K-5s were giving?  And now I learn there's a Reading one as well? 

- Did you know that there is no line item in the budget for textbooks?  Back in Sept 2010, Director Martin-Morris expressed surprise that this was true.  At that point, the district hadn't had a line item for over a decade.  Why is that? 

- Did you know that I have at least three different documents, with varying numbers, on functional capacity? 

- Did you know that having an interim/emergency site was a high priority for the district?  It's no fault that the growth is huge but it is worrying that if something goes wrong, the district would have to scramble (or they haven't announced what they would do).  For example, when Coe was being rebuilt, it burned to the ground. 

- Did you know that in 2007, the district projected a shortfall of 915 seats in the NE.  And thought McDonald could be the new home of SBOC or the emergency site for the district.

- Did you know that in 1965, Seattle had an 6.5 earthquake and there was damage to over a dozen SPS schools.  The typical damage was "collapsed chimneys, gable walls, cornices and parapets."

- Did you know that Work Sessions are a fairly new phenomenon?  And, in those two hours, there would be an "overview of new or innovative best practices," applications of these emerging practices" and - gasp! - "policy development discussions with the Board."  Well, that would certainly be good.   (And fyi, staff is pushing for big changes in Board committee meetings and work sessions.  More to come.)

- Did you know that costs have really climbed per student for some schools?  For example, I recall that recently we all saw this kind of listing and a couple of you had called out Pinehurst's $13k per student cost.  An old document I have from 2010 had it had just under $8K.  The highest costs were all for re-entry programs for at-risk kids.

- Did you know that there is document after document talking about the need for an "Equitable Access Framework" and yet, still no real framework?  If this is so needed, why don't we have it?

- Did you know that there had been a schedule for the Math Adoption where the first introduction to the Board was to be in early March with approval in late March?  No wonder the staff was concerned over buying materials - they were way off schedule. 


mirmac1 said...

Melissa, is that cost per student or budget per student? If a student brings extra funding (i.e. Sped), along with basic ed and levy funding, then it must be used for that student.

JSCEE seems to gloss over that....

Anonymous said...

I thought the World School was moving into the Old Van Asselt at some point. Or that may have been a passing thought, or maybe I made it up! What is the plan for that building OLD V.A.? Its there any money in the budget to fix it up? For who/when?

Still Curious.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I believe Joe Wolf said Interagency was moving into the old building. I still think it should be fixed up for the real Van Asselt school to move back in and allow that K-8 building that Van Asselt currently occupies to be used properly.

A-mom said...

Still under 8k for Pinehurst Gen Ed,
average cost is higher with SPED population at 42%

Anonymous said...

Which reading test are you referring to? Fluency? DRA? Running records?

Nothing new

Melissa Westbrook said...

Nothing new, I'm referring to a new reading assessment. I wish I could find out more but as I stated, I have still not heard back about the new math assessment.

Anonymous said...

Still and Melissa:

I think that in September OLD Van Asselt is going to be occupied by all special ed offices and programs - preschool? and some older students? But I thought that was temporary.

There must be something in writing....???or in the budget??? All these moves and renovations cost money, eh? who is Joe Wolf, btw?


Joe Wolf said...

Response to use of Old Van Asselt campus(1950 building)

The 1950 building is in the final stages of a modernization project funded by BTA III.

SPS project page:

Photo album (from my Flickr page):

Starting Fall 2014 the following programs/support functions will be housed in the 1950 building:

Two 18-21 Transition classes associated with Rainier Beach HS

Four Pre-K classes relocating from: Concord, Dearborn Park, Thurgood Marshall and Van Asselt

Three SpEd support teams: Assistive Technology; Assessment/ChildFind;
Itinerant Pre-K teachers

mirmac1 said...

Thank you Joe. Could you tell me whether Concord, Dearborn Park, Thurgood Marshall and Van Asselt were over-capacity? Did they need the classrooms, that are currently outfitted for preschoolers?

Anonymous said...

Joe, Thanks for the link to the BEX information: I see that it lists "Van Asselt Building–INTERIM Site"

So what's in store for Old Van A? After next year?

Is there a plan, besides a special education school?

still curious

Joe Wolf said...

Response to mirmac1 @ still curious re. Old Van Asselt

The decision to relocate the four Pre-Ks was driven by Early Learning. I am verbally privy to some of the rationale but it would be best if you connected with them directly.

My input on capacity management was requested and given. At Concord we are "on the edge" for needing a new homeroom and the current Pre-K space is, in the short run the only option; we cannot legally add portables to the site.

At the other three schools portables can be added. Also, at Van Asselt some limited space in the building is also available.

Future of Old Van Asselt:

The three SpEd support teams are relocating from Wilson-Pacific. My guess is that they will be at OVA for the foreseeable future.

Joe Wolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.