The AP is reporting that the State Supreme Court will announced on Friday that it would consider if the charter law of Washington State violates our state's constitution.
I would say that's a rather large piece of news as I have been repeatedly told that it was "highly unlikely" this would happen. Oral arguments are scheduled for Oct. 28th. I just might have to go and listen.
A King County judge had earlier ruled that parts of the law were unconstitutional and both sides asked to skip the appeals and go straight to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court issue centers around our Constitution's wording about "common schools" and whether charters meet that specific definition (and therefore are entitled to be funded in that manner).
NCLB letters are reaching mailboxes soon. (SPS is holding back to see if their individual district waiver comes thru based on the district's belief that the CBA covers using test scores for teacher evaluation.) Here's the phone message from Kent School District (good for them).
It's interesting to see how across-the-board dumb many people think this action is. (And I still wonder how much it costs a district to create and send them.)
Anyone attend Director Martin-Morris' community meeting this morning?
It appears that there is something going on at Salmon Bay. Here's what I am hearing:
- the current Salmon Bay principal, Jen Benkovitz, is leaving SPS August 15th. That's a bit weird for a principal to leave right before school starts. It's somewhat insensitive to the school community for a principal to do that and I suspect Ms. Benkovitz probably had a pretty good reason to leave with that kind of timing.
- Neil Gerrans, Lawton's principal, is going to Salmon Bay and Dorian Manza (an AP at Whitman) will be interim at Lawton. Superintendent Nyland sent a letter to Lawton parents about Gerrans leaving and expressed regret that it will happen right before school starts.
- I heard the Salmon Bay VP left as well. Their new VP is Darren Frink.
- I am hearing that many Salmon Bay staff like nurse and counselors are either leaving and/or being pushed out.
Anyone want to weigh in on this?
Next, did anyone attend the annual PTA/Principal breakfast. Because I'm hearing that it was not as team-friendly as usual. Apparently there was some tsk-tsking over activist PTA leaders by SCPTA leaders. If you attended, what did you think?
Again, I said this elsewhere but when PTAs take a backseat on leadership at their schools - bowing to the wishes of the principal and/or the district - I feel sad. If PTA doesn't speak for parents, who will?
I had NJ relatives visiting this week and they told me that their suburban town (and surrounding ones) mostly rejected PTAs years ago over two things. One, giving money to a state/national group whose advocacy was more on political issues than school issues was not what they wanted. Two, they felt that they had more of an equal partnership with school leadership. They have PTOs.
I urge you to consider if PTA is representing what your community values. I wouldn't say get rid of all PTA but to talk to your PTA Board about issues like changing bell times/bus schedules and how to get the district to be more transparent on these issues.
PTAs support this district is a huge way, both in dollars and volunteer hours. Don't let the district take your hard work for granted.
About Preschool for All, a judge has ruled that voters have to choose between the two measures on the ballot.
Under WA state law, if there are two same topic, different alternative measures, voters have to (1) vote for whether either should pass and then (no matter the first vote), choose one.
But this ruling means that both measures cannot pass - you choose one or the other.
The mostly union-supported measure may appeal this ruling. They had hoped both measures could pass but now, voters must pick.
What I found troubling in the judge's ruling is that the union group had said the City Council had been discussing and making decisions about this issue in closed-door sessions. The judge didn't specifically rule on this but said that later talks/votes were in public so that "cured any violation."
I do not like that as a trend for any governing body. It's okay to have discussions in private as long as later on you discuss and vote in public?