The proposed field trip last Friday to Vashon Island, an eight-year annual tradition by the Garfield jazz vocal group (about 70 students), had been pulled at what seemed like the last second. This confusion happened because despite the approval of the principal and the district's risk manager, approval was not given by the Executive Director, Sarah Pritchett.
They had only two weeks from the time that the ban on field trips at Garfield had been lifted and felt they had all the necessary documentation done.
The Vocal Music supporters sent a letter to Ms. Pritchett and Mr. Tolley to ask what happened. They are really upset because there are potential costs of $10K from breach of "various contracts." They maintain they repeatedly called Ms. Pritchett on Friday to get an explanation and she could not be reached. They want the district to help mitigate those potential costs.
Richard Staudt, Risk Manager, wrote them back today, explaining that:
"..submitting field trip paperwork at 3:15 PM when the trip is scheduled to depart at 4:30 that same day does not allow a reasonable opportunity for review." He said he told Principal Howard this. He also said it would need Ms. Pritchett's okay. He said he didn't believe the district was responsible for any costs.
There is no explanation as to why Ms. Pritchett was unavailable to explain this on Friday.
From Superintendent Nyland:
After a review of the official state-mandated October 1 enrollment
count, the district maintains its recommendation to shift the funding
for one teacher from Garfield’s budget allocation to a school that is
Please know that this adjustment is not expected to affect a teacher of a
core required subject and will not occur immediately; the affected
teacher is expected to stay in place at least through the end of the
first semester in order to minimize any disruptions to students’
The district initiated a review after Garfield reported that 49
additional students appeared to have not been counted toward the
official October enrollment. The review of each of those individual
students indicated that 29 of them attend the Running Start program,
which allows 11th and 12th graders to take higher
education classes. That means they do not take any classes at Garfield
and cannot be included in the headcount for staffing. The review also
indicated that the remaining 20 students should not be included for a
variety of reasons (e.g., they were athletics only, transferred to other
schools and other factors).
The final enrollment count for
Garfield stands at 1,586, which is 67 students fewer than the August
estimate of 1,653. Staffing is based on a 30:1 teacher-student ratio.
Garfield enrollment numbers, then, suggest reducing staff by two
teachers, but the district is recommending reducing by only one to
lessen impact to students. The data shows that Garfield High School is
essentially receiving the same amount of money per student as our other
high schools receive. The only difference is that Garfield does receive
fewer dollars overall because the school has fewer students with special
needs and fewer English Language Learners.
The reduction would
take Garfield from 60 to 59 teachers. This is roughly the same number of
teachers as last year. For the 2013-14 school year, Garfield was
staffed at 59.3 teachers and had 18 more students (1,604) than this
year’s October count.
1) Okay, but what was the agreement worked out with Hazel Wolf K-8 and is that option available to all schools on the list?
2) What does Garfield is "essentially" receiving the same number of $$ as other high schools mean in relation to "Garfield does receive fewer dollars overall?"
I'm having some concerns of this issue of "high equity" and what it means for ALL students.