- Later start times analysis passed, 6-1, with Director Blanford the sole no. Apparently, though, both Carr and Martin-Morris claimed they felt staff was "bullied" by others on the Board. I'm suspecting they mean President Peaslee who can be quite strong-willed. Is she a bully? I have never seen evidence of it but I'm not sitting with her behind closed doors. From the Later Start group e-mail message:
Interestingly, Rainier Beach will now have a later start as the board voted yes on a Student Improvement Grant (SIG) that required the district to foot the bill for four SPED buses at 56,000 each. This will put RBHS on tier 2 with an 8:40 (or so) start time.
- staff has said this will cost $250K so that money has been approved to be spent
- this does not mean bell times will change. The staff could do the analysis, find that it's not feasible and the Board could agree.
- So with Rainier Beach going to a later start time, there are now at least three high schools - Hale, Center and RB - that will have later start times. That may help the Board see what outcomes look like from a later start.
- Staff is worried this will impact their work. Well, it is the Board who sets the priorities so they have the right to rearrange them (paying heed to not upending the work). This happens all the time in business. That Priorities list presented at the Board retreat was very bloated and frankly, I think there's a lot that could be drawn back. But there seems to be this idea by staff that they will set the pace and I'm not sure the Board is buying it.
There are the issues of time and dollars being spent on projects that have no direct impact (or won't for years) to the classroom and have no mandate in K-12 (Pre-K for all, I'm looking at you). The Board has to make getting the best academic outcomes to be Job #1 and finding ways that have the most impact.
- So tension on the Board. There's always some degree of tension because sometimes the Board will agree and sometimes disagree. Just like the last Board, they tend to vote in unison the majority of the time and have a harder time on big issues. Just like the Legislature, the City Council and Congress. I will say that it's important for Board leadership to make discussion as open as possible and as professional (and not personal) as possible.
I wish that Board members would not so openly show this tension at Board meetings; I don't think it's helpful.
- Here's the resolution about bidding for the downtown Federal Reserve building which I am going to assume passed. I say that with confidence because this is basically a placemarker and commits the district to nothing.
- Looking at the presentation for the 2014-2015 budget, I see some interesting figures. The final figure is $639.3.
- Page 16 shows budget gaps from April to today. They estimate that the CBA will cost nearly $1.5M more than they estimated. They estimate that Sped expenditures will go up from $4.1M to $4.7M.
Then there is this whopper - Superintendent 's Service Based Initiatives from zero to $4.6M. What's this about? I don't know. Meanwhile Resource and expenditure items went from $2.5M to .5M. Again, don't know what this is about but it's all very vague. I hate vague.
- Page 21- General Fund Expenditure Summary. Highest change for this budget from last year? Teaching Supports; I'll have to ask for the precise definition of this one. It's going up from $52.9 to $62.7, up 18.5%. What comes in second up nearly 17%? Central Administration.
The sister slide to this one is Slide 30 where we see this dramatic highlighting that seems to show that total Teaching and Learning has gone up by 4.6% from 2009-2010, that Central Administration has gone down 3.5%. They claim that CA is now 5.5% of the budget.
I don't believe that figure on Central Administration simply because the level (and salaries) of hiring at Central have gone up. What I do believe happened (and I should be able to find this out) is WHO is considered "central" and WHO got reclassified into some other district administration pool (thus enabling staff to make it look like fewer dollars are spent centrally).
- They continue to say that enrollment is going up but NOT at the rate they originally thought. Enrollment numbers for grade levels on Slide 29.
- Another item that stood out to me on the agenda was the 2013-18 Strategic Plan Metrics & Targets (District Scorecard). It's a lengthy notation about input from the Board at the May 28th Work Session where it is noted that staff made one change to the Scorecard by adding a new metric for the percent of families responding to the annual family survey. The issue seems to be that School Messenger - which is how staff takes the survey - has "limitations." They seem worried they can't get adequate responses from families who have more than one child in SPS. Meaning, "Although this does not impact the reliability of the percentage of positive survey responses that we record, it does impact the reliability of measuring "the percentage of families" that responded to the survey. Staff believes a solution exists and has begun to investigate how best to refine the response methodology." I wonder if this issue came from a query from a Board member.