Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Example of how SPS Staff Can't Get it Right

Tomorrow is the public hearing on the budget.  This is a state-mandated requirement.  There are rules about it.

But I noticed that the SPS website - the home page, the Board's home page, the Calendar page - none of them explained how to give input (other than showing up and THEN finding out).

 No info on length of time at the hearing, no info on giving written comment - either e-mail or snail mail - or how long that written comment will be accepted.

I complained to the Board and now there's this at the district website.  Again, no real info.  The link to the "rules?"  As of this writing, it doesn't work.

Again, what does it take?  Is this that staff doesn't know how?  Doesn't care?

I'm filing a complaint with the state.


Anonymous said...

c'mon! they get it right - whatever garbage Tolley and his alliance for mis-education lackeys can get away with, that is what the budget is!

let's hire more 100+ grand a year big shots and ... pay lip service to everything else!

there are no bugs in this system, there are


Someone said...

How and where are you filing a complaint? It might be worth more people filing complaints if SPS is out of compliance with state laws.

Anonymous said...

In reality there's very little the state can or will do to the district.

Do you think SPED would be in the position it's in if there were true OSPI enforcement powers.

An ALJ can't force the district to do anything, only the courts can. Which is why families never see results unless they fight hard or hire a lawyer.There's are no punitive damages under IDEA and usually you must pay your lawyer because awards are of the compensatory education type(they give you more of nothing).

Now messing with the OCR is a different story, in the end the OCR can pull all the districts federal funds. Usually districts comply, but occasionally a district will sue to overturn an OCR decision.

If your child's CR are violated there is no limit to damages that can be awarded by a jury.

Reality is, OSPI should have NEVER let things deteriorate to where they are,I blame the OSPI as much as the district for the mess.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I filed with the State Auditor. That office told me that if they read it and it was not their area, they would pass it along to the appropriate state office.


ConcernedSPSParent said...

Hasn't the Board already voted on the budget?

Anonymous said...

The city of Seattle now has an Investigative Counsel that will look into issues with the district.

Financial issues, ethics, conflict of interest.

Chris Thomas

Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission

(206) 615-0091



mirmac1 said...

I have engaged with Chris Thomas on multiple occasions. The City's effect is contingent on SPS' cooperation, so good luck with that (i.e. Ron English). BTW Thomas is responsive and responsible.

There would be no Level 4 determination but for those of us willing to step forward and report violations. So, by all means, let OSPI know when SPS violates State and/or Fed law. Do it because you know it will help students, including others than your own, moving forward.

Anonymous said...

Yep keep fighting! I have now over two thousands documents just dealing with my students issues.

The list of violations just with our students is staggering and you would think being under level 4 would cause the district to at least stop violating the law...not at all in fact the issues are compounding and increasing in severity.

I have made one last attempt to reason with the district, but I planning on the worst.

I wish the OSPI would setup a drive thru service window down at the central office :)


mirmac1 said...

I'll say that I think perhaps this post is a little hard on staff during a difficult period for all of us (students especially).

There are a number of JSCEE staff who go beyond the call of duty to get the job done. Is it perfect? No, but neither do you and I meet that standard. We should all aspire to meet that high bar when it comes to those that depend on adults....

Anonymous said...

Thru public disclosure I've had a good taste of the sentiment many staff (not all) but many feel towards students with IEPs and 504s.

I believe they should be terminated based on the emails alone.

BTW teachers and staff are personally liable for civil rights violations and the CBA cant save them.

I think they have had more than enough slack, time and money to get it right oh and the good ones just went right along with the bad ones...I have the emails to prove it!


ConcernedSPSParent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ConcernedSPSParent said...

is it possible you could upload emails to scribd to give greater visibility to the issue?

Anonymous said...

ConcernedSPSParent, realize that these emails have protected student information - so, no, I would not advise that.


ConcernedSPSParent said...

You are absolutely correct, however if there are emails from staff displaying a general lack of respect for SPED I do believe they should be daylighted. Actually I would have hoped student information would have been redacted from the disclosure...

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would suggest that in legal matters, staff needs to meet their legal obligation. I'm not asking for any high bar; I'm asking for them to allow the public to be able to understand how to give input.

If that's asking too much, then the district is in worse trouble than we think.

Anonymous said...

The link to the rules is working right now!


Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes the link is working but it does not cover all that is needed for a public hearing.

I am hearing that perhaps this happened because of staff turnover. I'm not buying that. This is a pretty simple thing to do.

No, the Board has not voted on the budget. That comes in July.

Catherine said...

I'm going to ask that while Ron English is an obstructionist for the district, that you continue to report issues to chris.thomas@seattle.gov. Because where the city does have leverage, is if Chris Thomas has a stack of 100 complaints and it constantly thwarted by the district in the investigation, those administering the F&E Levy money can take note and make some adjustments as to the administration of money. Eventually, it should catch up. Someday we'll have a super who looks at why the city attaches 100 pages of strings to levy money, and gets to the bottom of it. Maybe, it'll be in my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Melissa - the RCW for this, http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=28A.505.050, gives only a very minimal requirement for staff to meet. What piece of the RCW did they miss, since there is so little *to* miss?

Just askin'

Anonymous said...

Right now I'm preparing a long list of CCs and prepping for the seemingly unavoidable due process hearing.

To date we have turned the other cheek,emptied our savings, given the benefit of the doubt and provided workable solutions in attempt solve our students issues. In turn the district just delays and provides empty promises.

Delaying is the strategy laid out by legal. Since most of the staff are disingenuous they operate in CYA mode and can't keep track of the lies. This leads them deeper into the abyss.

In the end they hope you leave the district(very common) or your student will barely graduate where they give you the standard send off " We are sorry the system didn't work for you"

If we end up in due process all the information will be available after the ruling.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Just askin', oh my. Is this the excuse the Board and the staff will use as well?

Okay sure, the RCW isn't specific on the how but our district wrote its notice in a fairly vague fashion. It's basic communications 101. Every single public entity - should have the grace, the fairness to state how to give input, how long it will be taken (either written or verbal)and set the length of the meeting to the number of speakers allowed.

The district did none of this. But sure, if they want to say "legally we did the right thing," then boy, will that line enable them to say that a lot.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I find it surprising that I'm standing up for the public's ability to be able to know how to give public input on the single most important annual document the district puts out and I feel this "why are you doing this" attitude.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you !
I think every doc from the district S/B scanned and made available online.
There should not be a lawyer client privilege for public schools.
All policy decisions should have a clear step by step public input process and board members should be required to read a summary report of public input before making decisions.


mirmac1 said...

You're right Melissa. I guess I was taking issue with the heading "Example of how SPS Staff Can't Get it Right." We know that sometimes things go right - but not as often as some at JSCEE like to think....

Michael H said...

There are over 8,000 employees at the District. While "many" may want to do it right, most don't care whether the public gets input or not (I'm saying after having seen the inner workings of the District up close and personal).

"I find it surprising that I'm standing up for the public's ability to be able to know how to give public input on the single most important annual document the district puts out and I feel this "why are you doing this" attitude.". Welcome to the world of public discourse. Why would you think that everyone that reads and/or comments here would automatically agree with everything you do? Even your most ardent supporters are not going to agree with you all the time. Yet, you call this "attitude".

I haven't read the RCW cited, but having read many RCW's in my day I have yet to find one that REQUIRES elected officials to allow public comment at their meetings. Of course, many boards and councils do it because they know a large backlash would occur if they did not do so. But, it's been several years since I was digging through the RCW's, so maybe there has been a change.

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