Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Live Blogging From the Seattle School Board Meeting

I'm going to try some live blogging tonight as it is Superintendent Nyland's first meeting AND I believe that the district - via legal counsel - will have something to say about the Garfield field trip rape and Title IX issues.

I attended the Audit & Finance Committee meeting yesterday and boy, what a meeting.  But that's another thread.

I will note, however, that lead counsel, Ron English, gave out a "Legal Action Log on Title IX Issues."  It is lengthy and troubling.  The district is to create a "Crisis Response Team" for such incidents.

Superintendent Nyland gave his first superintendent remarks.  He talked about the Garfield fieldtrip rape issue and read a letter from the district.  The letter will be available on the district website soon.

 It was fairly vague and nothing new that we haven't heard after OTHER incidents.  There was a gap between the beginning of the meeting and Public Comment.  I asked if I could speak with the Superintendent but was told the letter was the statement and he wouldn't be taking any questions.  Not a good start.

On a different note, Director Carr said that there will be a Work Session, on September 10th, for the Board as a whole to discuss preschool issues.  She said that there would be some people from the City but did not name anyone.  The meeting will be from 4:30-6:00 pm followed by an Executive Committee meeting of the Whole.

 That should be an important discussion as the City continues to call the district a partner in this preschool effort but, if you read their documentation, the City will be the one making the majority of decisions around this program and its funding.  By my read, the district is just there to provide space and some curriculum alignment.

13 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Many board comments on the Garfield matter.

Anonymous said...

Board President Peaslee's closing comments were appalling: she lied about the number of "criminal" investigations and assumed an advocacy role for the victim. In response, one male protestor turned his back on her as she advanced an outrageous conclusion: the failure to prosecute conferred the rapist's innocence and validates the District's innocence. The chief investigator, Colin Smith, wrote that the failure to prosecute does not mean a rape did not occur. There is no connection between the failure to prosecute and the District's negligence and failure to appropriately respond.

In its advocacy for the assailant the school board president then cautioned us not to make a victim of the assailant!!

Ravi and Aviva

Melissa Westbrook said...

I did write about Board comments. I.too, was quite shocked by Peaslee's statements and can't quite wrap my head around what she said.

PissedoffSPSParent said...

I think that Peaslee thinks that if there was no rape, then the board and the district didn't do anything wrong. It's all in the guise of trying to be fair to the perpetrator, but in reality it's just a way of absolving the district of their responsibilities. It was also a not so subtle way of telling protesters to shut up and not to demand that they hold this boy accountable. Unbelievable.

Melissa Westbrook said...

That could be entirely the case, Pissed off. Interesting analysis.

My hope is the family will take this to court (refusing to settle) and then it can ALL be aired in public. I'm pretty sure that it would lay blame in multiple directions.

Anonymous said...

In the just wondering space…

What will happen if a pre-school is placed at a school where no expansion room remains? Where the pre-school portable is the last available space on the playground/area with Fire Department accessible space? Like John Rogers is experiencing this year? If there is a surge in enrollment so that every closet, utility room, and moldy RV that will fit on the campus is occupied?

Will SPS be able to repurpose the City occupied portable for the K-5 enrollment, or will the city have the final say? Who does not get to attend, or get stuffed into a classroom of 50 kids? Just wondering...

-StepJ

Charlie Mas said...

There seems to be a misconception that the protesters want the boy held accountable for his actions.

I believe that what the protesters really want is the District held accountable for its inaction.

All of the talk about the boy is rhetorical misdirection and sleight of hand.

Anonymous said...

@Step J

Good question (about preschool and enrollment). Just wanted to clarify that the moldy RV that was used for years as a resource room at John Rogers was hauled away last summer when we got the new double portable. Last I heard it had made it as far as the Wilson-Pacific parking lot, but I don't know if it is still there. I hope the district isn't keeping it for capacity management reasons.

John Rogers never got a portable for our before/after school care (a portion of it is on-site, in the cafeteria, the rest is held at Meadowbrook Community Center). A portable had been promised, initially, but never materialized (I think it was to come out of Park's Dept budget, but there were no funds available).

It would be ridiculous, IMO, to provide a portable for preschool without first adequately accommodating the K-5 kids (both during and before/after school).

Perhaps the "plan" is that they are anticipating room for preschool classrooms at John Rogers and Olympic Hills once Cedar Park opens, but that doesn't make sense because Cedar Park, which is taking on most of the low-income neighborhoods in the area, is a really small school even with the 8 permanent modular classrooms, and presumably wouldn't have room for preschool classrooms to serve what will certainly be a high-needs population at Cedar Park.

- North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

On the preschool issue, those questions are precisely what needs to be asked. The City and City Council is pushing hard to get this voted thru and THEN the devil is in the details.

Will the district put its own students first (as it should)? Or will this full-court press by Preschool for All continue? Will the district be a true partner or just the place to get space?

kellie said...

I don't think there is any way to know what the primacy of space placement would be under the pre-school for all program. Current SPS pre-school programs are the legally required programs, such as developmental programs or head start. While the program is required, a continuity from pre-school to K-5 is not required.

Therefore, these programs are "stand-alone" programs, at the moment, and can be moved for capacity management purposes.

There has already been a tremendous amount of "scope creep" from the original BEX plan in order to accommodate greater than projected enrollment growth. Cedar Park was not in the original plan so not only has that entire building been added but the NE is still going to be out of space. I don't think there is any possibility that there can be enough capacity pushed into the system to handle the scope creep from pre-school.

Another interesting component of this pre-school question that is not yet examined. The NSAP increased the cohort survival rate and therefore overall enrollment. A generous pre-school program would also increase the cohort survival rate AND the birth to K ratio. So it is not only that we would need 30-100 homerooms for pre-school but there would be increased need for K-5 homerooms as those students rollup in the system.

Anonymous said...

Kellie, thank you for reminding us about the current preschools:

The SPS Special Education Preschools, which have been in our schools for MANY years (federal mandate, etc.) are threatened annually with being moved out to accommodate the "real" school kids in the neighborhood. Yes, this is disruptive to families and students and staff. They are the first programs to get moved and pushed around currently, when capacity becomes an issue. (btw, the expensive private preschools in the dedicated “childcare” room get to stay….of course…) Dueling priorities. This year alone a large number of special ed preschools were moved to portables, isolated buildings, etc. Many of them still are or were housed in classrooms that would not pass inspection for early childhood programs.

Clearly, there is a lot to consider, here.

Casey

Anonymous said...

Declining to prosecute a case is not dispositive of what actually happened, but it makes a strong statement about the strength of the case and the prospects of prevailing at trial in the eyes of the prosecutors.

In court, it's not so much about what happened, but what can be proved. The criminal burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. The civil burden is preponderance of the evidence. (51% wins). But civil cases are only for money, not jail or punishment, and a defendant can still take the 5th. Furthermore, "proximate cause" is going to be real tough to prove against entities other than the alleged perpetrator, which could case many defendants to be dismissed from the case.

I have no doubt many attorneys would take the civil case and try their best to rattle the district's cage, but can they a) get it to trial, and b) win a judgment? Its not as easy as people might think.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

@Kellie-

You, as usual, raise some very good points.

On the surface, it appears that Lake City will have oodles of elementary seats (and potential preschool seats?)with the opening of Cedar Park and enlarging Olympic Hills, but that is just not the case.

As for Cedar Park. On paper, according to the Growth Boundary docs, Cedar Park has a targeted enrollment of 400, which is, in my opinion, a gross over-estimate of its capacity.

On paper, there are about 100 more seats at Cedar Park than what can realistically exist in a functional elementary school serving the demographics of the Cedar Park attendance area.

For example, in order to get Olympic Hills Elementary (approx 300 kids?) to fit at Cedar Park in interim, they are going to have to relocate an Olympic Hills Head Start program somewhere else (Broadview-Thomson?), and I believe they will have art and computer labs on carts, due to a lack of space.

Assuming that a two classroom per grade school is all that could truly fit at Cedar Park (with all the proper support spaces, like a proper library, PCP space etc...), then that will cover the "excess" enrollment at John Rogers (a building that was built for two classrooms/grade, but will be hosting 4 kindergarten classrooms this year).

As for the increased capacity of the Olympic Hills building...Will those new seats at Olympic Hills be enough to compensate for the Hazel Wolf/JA K-8/Pinehurst shuffle? Both the Jane Addams and Pinehurst buildings had, up until this year, elementary capacity, occupied primarily by neighborhood kids, but only the Pinehurst site (future home of Hazel Wolf K-8) will house kids in grades K-5 going forward, as JAMS will occupy the Jane Addams building.

With growth not showing any signs of slowing down, AND the need for mandatory preschool seats, it seems there will be a shortage of elementary seats in Lake City even without the impact of preschool for all plan.

-North-end Mom