Friday, October 24, 2014

Garfield Teacher Cut Update

A bit of confusion all around (and you could see this from the Superintendent's letter). 

What process is happening?  I think recounting using the Running Start students eligible to be counted.  Or something else? 

The GHS PTSA sums it up (bold mine):

Current State:
  • The district has identified a potential issue with how students are counted - specifically the matter seems to relate to Running Start students which have been included in the enrollment numbers in previous years. The difference is significant as it seems to be the border of keeping/losing a teacher.
  • Though the district is re-evaluating the numbers next week, they still want Ted (Howard) to name a teacher today.
  • There is still some lack of clarity around whether a core vs. non-core class teacher must be cut.  (I was told by SPS Communications that no, a core teacher would not be cut.  Hmm.

As for their next steps, they are going to continue advocating in various ways including e-mails and letters to the Seattle Times.

They are hoping the district will accept the school's numbers. 

I also want to point out that, the students who may lose a class, will lose all the work/credit for that class.  That is unacceptable.

I have not heard from any of the other schools about their situation.


ben said...

I hope the other affected PTA's are taking notes because so far it doesn't sound like the district is trying to handle this holistically yet.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of whether Running Start students are counted this year or were counted in previous years, the fact remains that Garfield was budgeted THIS year for a projected 1,532 students, the spring enrollment number was listed as 1612, and the ACTUAL attendance as conveyed by the principal at curriculum night was 1688. By any measure, Garfield is over-enrolled, not under-enrolled and needs to keep all existing staff.

Before any positions are cut at Garfield (or at any other school on the cut list that can make a similar case), we need to see some cuts at the district office. It's absurd to cut so deeply at the school level, while at the same time keeping so many people at the district office.

What are the next steps at Garfield to try to stop this cut from happening? More letters? Other?

-SPS parent

Anonymous said...

But why would they HAVE to cut an FTE just because some enrolled kids are running start? After all, the district gets FULL MONEY for each running start kid. It is as if the district is rummaging in coat pockets hung in the closet looking for loose change... just trying to scrape together a couple of bucks. If they are that desperate, cut the change management leadership position, cut the deputy superintendent position. Really. Nobody will miss them. In contrast, an entire school community will miss one teacher.

(By the way, that's the District's big strategy to save high school capacity from sinking, encourage more and more kids to do running start.)


Anonymous said...

Core or non-core, a teacher is a teacher?!? Presumably the kids taking the class need to be taking it or something similar to meet a requirement for graduation, however backwards that requirement is. If not...maybe we shouldn't be offering the class.

NE parent

Anonymous said...

Well, there is a lot to discuss....the enrollment numbers seem high, I thought ghs has been losng students for the last few years,

District should share the enrollment numbers clearly

should funding follow students?

It seems that everybody has their own numbers to count.....

Anonymous said...

Reading the teacher agreement in the SPS website , seems that the pta letter is intentionally deceiving....

The building leadership team decides the course / area to be cut....not the central office

During the walkout, a parent share the blt chose language I think,......

Somebody from the district said the class will not be cut will finish the semester....

It does not have to be a teacher, other school blts found a way to rearrange their budget without cutting a teacher.....

Who choses who is in a school BLT? It seem they have a lot of power to decide budget.....

We need more information

Greeny said...

In his letter to principals of 10/20, interim superintendant Nyland prefaces his announcement that SPS is putting 14 more schools in play, with "Each October...As part of our annual process.." THIS IS THE PROBLEM! Not whether Garfield's numbers look "off," FTEs/budget /Running Start#s, or if kids will still graduate, or even if they are "resilient" enough to handle this turmoil in first grade. The problem is in accepting and managing a process that can only result in ripple-effect changes in our schools IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER. And JSCEE' terribly skewed, internally acceptable priority to attempt "fiscal responsibility" (more akin to "penny wise, pound foolish") by confusing our children and teachers with chess pieces.

Just over two weeks ago, Gatewood's reaction to 'raise $40K, then $90Kin 5 days or lose a first grade teacher' launched them into fundraising action, with teachers themselves donating $500/pop, throwing "the Biggest Bakesale Ever" on West Seattle street corners, scrambling to pull together an evening auction, community letters hand delivered to JSCEE to protest and then to request more time, and importantly, rallying their School Board rep to explain and intervene not just for Gatewood, but to keep this from happening to ANY school.

I'm not at Gatewood. I find this SPS practice of October Reconciliation and Extortion outrageous. Yet, I admire the h*** out of Gatewood, for what they did, and what they went through earlier this month.

That interim superintendant Nyland can now so casually announce that here's another 14 schools(!) (how many kids are in these 14, which exclude Gatewood and Fairmount Park? All grades, all classes, can be affected with the loss OR add of 1 FTE) is astonishing. Nyland could make an explicit policy edict, reflecting a reasonable expectation our community wants and deserves: "NO SPS movement of teachers after school starts." Assuming C-level management skills, this would force internal fixes and alignments- in waitlist practices, enrollment deadlines, data-demands, forecasting refinement - even transparency. That Dr. Nyland attempts to rationalize launching turmoil by trying to use "the process" as a fig leaf is astonishing, and completely unacceptable. Maybe James Carville is too blunt, too rude, but he can get a message through: "It's the TIMIING, stupid."

Anonymous said...

I heard that Hazel Wolf K-8's principal, Debbie Nelsen, convinced SPS that the 1.0 FTE cut was not viable for their program, so they will not be losing a teacher.

-not surprised

Charlie Mas said...

The process is utterly lacking in transparency.

In fact, the process is so convoluted that the District is incapable of describing it and they themselves need a couple days to "check their numbers".

How many numbers must be involved that the District needs more than a minute to check them?

Anonymous said...

Exactly right, Charlie! Weren't the original cuts based on numbers? What are those numbers? Shouldn't they have double-checked them then?

Without any transparency about the numbers or the process, how can anyone prove or disprove the accuracy of the calculations?

I think the whole "check our numbers" thing is a stalling tactic. They're hoping that the groups advocating against the cuts will lose momentum and they'll just be able to implement the cuts quietly.

In the absence of any other numbers, we can only go by the few numbers that have slipped out over time. Garfield is the least-funded school in the district at only $5,951 per student. Garfield was budgeted for 1532 students this year, and actually has 1688 students. To me, those numbers prove that Garfield is underfunded and over-enrolled. Period.

-SPS parent

Anonymous said...

WASTE NOT, while the district receives from OSPI the full FTE for Running Start students, 93% of those funds are transferred to the college for full-time Running Start students. In other words, the district gets to keep only 7% of the funds for full-time Running Start students for counseling and other administrative costs --- the college gets the rest.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

How many Running Start students are at Garfield?

Running Start deadlines are in the spring, so there would have been no surprises in numbers shifting after that time.

Also, re. funding, Running Start students can take all of their classes at a community college, or just some of their classes. In the case of only partial attendance in Running Start, I'm sure the formula is adjusted to be much lower than 93% of that student's allocated funding going to the state.

Besides, the formula for funding by student isn't as clear-cut as X dollars going to X school for X number of students. Otherwise, there wouldn't be such a discrepancy in funding for each high school, even with similar enrollments, with Garfield already being the lowest funded.

I just don't buy that the cuts supposedly needed at Garfield are related to the Running Start kids not having been counted. It feels like a trick of the district to confuse the issue further. If the issue were that funding was lost from Running Start students, more kids could have been moved off the waiting lists for Garfield, since there would have been space. However, there wasn't space since the school was already beyond over-enrolled with kids attending the school, not in Running Start. The actual attendance is 1688. If SPS is using different numbers, they need to make them public.

-SPS parent

Anonymous said...

SPS Parent, you are correct that the Running Start formula adjusts if the student is not enrolled full-time in Running Start. FYI - Most Running Start students are full-time as its too difficult to juggle a college schedule and a high school schedule. With that said, I'm not saying there aren't any part-time Running Start students.

And, you are also correct that "the formula for funding by student isn't as clear-cut as X dollars going to X school for X number of students." Due to our state's fairly convoluted categorical funding formulas, students generate different dollar amounts depending upon whether or not they qualify for categorical programs. If I have my facts straight, a low-performing, low-income, English language learner with disabilities who needs transportation to school and taught by teachers with the most experience and higher education degrees would qualify for the most state funding.

--- swk

Charlie Mas said...

I understand that the formula is complicated with general education student funding, special education student funding, bilingual education student funding, FRL student funding, and then everything adjusted for AAFTE. Then all of the staffing ratios, then the PCP added based on those staffing ratios.Yes, the formula is complicated. It may have as many as 10 numbers involved.

But what is the formula? And if the 10 or even 12 numbers are known - and surely they must be known - it cannot take more than a couple minutes to run the calculation.

So the whole story of "checking the numbers" for a couple of days is an obvious lie - unless they are checking numbers from a focus group.

And that's my real concern. My concern is that this won't be a funding decision or a budget decision, but, like every other decision made in the JSCEE, it will be a political decision.

Transparency doesn't just mean that everyone knows what the rules are. Transparency also means that everyone plays by the same rules. That's never the case in Seattle Public Schools where they rules are ignored and decisions are driven by internal politics. It's a culture in which the rules aren't the same for anyone. If you a member or an ally of the decision-maker's faction then you get a favorable ruling. If you are a member or an ally of an opposing faction then you get an unfavorable ruling. That's how everything is decided in the JSCEE because there are no rules and, even if there were, they don't matter.

That's how the staff can tell the Board that there's lots of room at Bailey-Gatzert for a pre-school and then, half an hour later, tell the Board that's there's no room at Bailey-Gatzert for downtown K-5 students.

That's why you can never get a straight answer about a school's capacity. They need that number to be plastic so they can make it smaller when they want and larger when they want.

That's why you never get a straight answer even about a school's enrollment.

The JSCEE staff are like a crooked accountant, for whom 2 + 2 will equal whatever you want it to equal.

The cure for all of this is transparency.

Anonymous said...

One of the schools was allowed to just say a cut is "not viable" for their program? Are you kidding me? It is "not viable" for any program to lose a FTE in late October, but it is happening anyway. This school just gets to say "no, thanks"? How is that fair?

NNW parent

Tired said...

If I had a dead horse, I'd give it to Charlie so he could go to a corner and just beat it.

He says the same things over and over.

Can we have a fresh voice?

Maybe on that actually can have an impact.

kellie said...

Running Start numbers are not the core of this issue or at least they should not be.

Running Start numbers are some of the most stable numbers in the district because they require a clear commitment and the community college classes must also be scheduled in advance. Also, it is not as if, Garfield's participation in running start is brand new.

The running start numbers were already included in the budget calculations last year along with FRL, ELL and Sped. This gave Garfield a post open-enrollment budget number of 1611 students. The Oct 1 enrollment is 1688. (from school reports as there are no official reports)

While the relative weighting of each student does have an impact, it is improbable that somehow 2.5 classrooms of enrolled students over and above the budget number somehow results in 1.0 fewer FTE. It is improbable that in one year, with no NEW assignment plan changes that the demographics of the school could have switched so that the weighted formula created this change.

To be fair, in the first and second years of the NSAP, there were many schools that had huge demographic swings that could have easily generated a change like this. But this is year five of the NSAP and the demographics of most schools are pretty stable and as far as I know there are no major changes at Garfield.

If running start enrollment is the core of the issue, then the only logical answer is that there is a new change to the funding formula. If there is a new change to how running start enrollment is calculated then it is unlikely that this cut at Garfield is the only place this change occurred. This changed formula would have been applied to all high schools. However, the difference is that the other high schools would have had a "soft cut." In other words, rather than losing an existing staff member, they would simply not get an additional staff member that they were expecting.

kellie said...

@ tired,

I guess you have to put me in the same category as Charlie as I am also beating a dead horse. For some crazy reason, I think that the public part of public school is important and that it is better for everyone when there is clear, transparent basic financial information available.

At the time of great capacity challenges, all enrollment information just vanishes. I think this does a disservice to everyone involved, most particularly the staff members who really work every day in the best interest of students.

When enrollment information is presented crisply, then reasonable people can agree to disagree. Everyone one of these changes should have been accompanied by a budgeted enrollment number the actual enrollment number. At that point, there can be an actual conversation.

Where there is no hard data, there is only room for innuendo and accusations and I don't like to play there. The facilities and budget people that I have worked with all have high integrity and genuinely care about education. But all people, including me, sometimes make a bad calculation. That is why many eyeballs on a complex problem often generates better answers.

Gatewood was 30 students under-enrolled. I deeply disagree with moving teachers in October, period. IMHO, there should simply be a mitigation budget for schools that were short and that the school should be made clearly aware that their staff will be smaller the following year.

That said, I can understand that with a $3M budget shortfall you would need to examine Gatewood for cuts. However, we only have that level of transparency because Gatewood brought that level of transparency.

So I will continue to beat the dead horse, that it is in everyone's best interest to have clear transparent enrollment numbers. When the high school capacity crunch hits and it is going to hit hard, we are going to need to the support and buy in of that same public.

Po3 said...

First is was, allow us to have our process then it was Running Start students changed the calculation.

Both are excuses needed to go back and check the numbers again, which will be found to be incorrect. But, they have the excuse for the miscalculation that resulted in GHS losing a 1.0 FTE and the media coverage that followed.

I agree with Charlie, it is a formula.The formula is in a spreadsheet; either the spreadsheet has an error in the formula or a wrong number(s) was entered into the spreadsheet.

Who is responsible for running those calculations? Principal? Ed Director? District staff member?

Somebody, somewhere along the food chain ran those numbers...

Anonymous said...


I sincerely appreciate Charlie and his insights. If you don't like his comments, don't read them.

Negative comments directed toward individuals seem mean-spirited and unnecessary.

-SPS Parent

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with the loss of the FTE is the expectations that those effected students will just have a "hole" in their schedule for the rest of the semester.


Typically, Seattle High Schools will not allow a student to be scheduled for a "period off" even if they don't need the credit. This is why so many seniors end up as TAs.

But if the teacher is eliminated mid year, the students are just left with nothing to do.

On whole, this makes no sense. It is one thing to cut the teacher, then rework the affected students schedules to find appropriate substitute classes to take. Some have inferred that this will take months.

I can't believe it would take that long. It is known which classes (in the entire school) have space available. You simply identify those classes, and rework each students schedule. Many of these kids will have to change to another section of an identical class (same teacher, different period). This applies for every class on their schedule, not just the one cancelled. Yes, this is disruptive. But the bottom line is the kids will still get the appropriate education for their place in the high school sequence.

The suggestion that leaving these kids without a class is less disruptive than reworking their entire schedule to give them a full schedule is nuts.

I want to know how much of this is a play by THIII to keep the one FTE (refusing to rework the schedules)? Why is the district, as a whole, unable to solve problems on an internal level?


syd said...


It is not that simple. The scheduling is quite complicated. This is not a case of every year each grade has 6 or even 12 options of classes. There are many, many paths. If a child has to move from a canceled 1st period class to a third period class, that disrupts their entire schedule, which affects everyone downstream. They would have to redo the entire schedule for the entire school. So which is more fair - everyone loses the first 8 weeks of school or 150 gets miss one class each? Neither is my answer.

Garfield can probably find a way out of this mess with the PTA budget(they would have to give up something - maybe the incredible program for kids who are years behind in skills or perhaps just cancel the supervision for graduation celebrations or some other really-important-should-be-funded-by-the-district-but-is-not-spending), but other schools may not be able to buy their way out. And it is not right, and not a good plan. I appreciate the advocacy.

Wayne said...

Or consider cutting ONE of the TWO Human Resources Department Directors hired to fill the huge shoes of the previous Director; (wait for it.......) Paul Apostle.

Anonymous said...

Syd -

I never said it was simple. Its also not as complicated as you have outlined. It is unnecessary to reschedule the entire school.

I've scheduled hundreds of employees (manually) in the workplace for years. Where I was, as the shifts/assignments that needed to be filled changed daily, we had to assign daily, taking into account a number of constraints (days off scheduled or requested, time off, hours worked, overtime, etc).

Once a process is set up to do this scheduling taking into account the constraints, it just becomes a big puzzle.

But you can't work at it randomly, you have to set a system.

For instance, in a situation such as this, one of the constraints could be - "classes that can't be changed." For instance, how many students are taking a class that is only offered one period a day? Two periods a day? Start there by identifying those students, and build them a new schedule first. When you starting moving kids around, it creates openings in other classes, and use fill those slots with kids that have less restricted schedules.

What do you think happens when a school ADDs a FTE due to Oct 1 numbers?

The exact same process has to happen, in the opposite direction. It may be that the school has to take on multiple teachers to fill the 1.0 FTE, due to qualifications. Hopefully some less than full time teachers can be brought up to 1.0 FTE, and then they can hire a couple more part time to cover subjects needed. But if the new teacher teaches history periods 1 and 2 (and then is off) and another new teacher teaches english periods 5 and 6 (and is only in school for those periods), what do you think happens to the schedules of the kids that are sitting in an overloaded Period 1 English class, that need to move to the new section in Period 5 or 6?

Their entire schedule is reworked to make this change.


Charlie Mas said...

Ah, if only this horse were dead. Unfortunately it is alive and well - it just isn't running.

Perhaps tired doesn't understand the expression "beating a dead horse". The quest for transparency isn't over by any means.

Anonymous said...

Is it true Hazel Wolf doesn't have to give up a teacher by virtue that "it doesn't make sense" for their program? Anyone have more info on this?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Did the district tell these schools that the loss of a teacher was negotiable? Because apparently Hazel Wolf got that memo and no one else.

Anonymous said...

re: negotiation of FTE cuts.

From an email sent out by Hazel Wolf PTSA, subject line: Good News from SPS!

Dear Wolf Pack:

Some of you may have heard this week that several Seattle public schools were slated to have staffing reductions due to lower student enrollment than was projected back in the spring. Hazel Wolf K-8 was on that list, slated to lose a 1.0 FTE position.

Debbie Nelsen and her administration worked with our Education Director and School District Staff, and have come to an agreement that reducing by a 1.0 FTE is not viable for our program, so there will be no staffing changes made.

This is great news for our program and we appreciate the hard work that our teachers and staff do to make our program so strong for our whole community.

Apparently, negotiations happened, at least for Hazel Wolf K-8?

- a reader

Anonymous said...

We at BF Day would also like to know why it "doesn't make sense" for Hazel Wolf to lose a teacher right now, but it does for us.

-North by Northwest

Anonymous said...

Charlie's right. This horse is far from dead.

The lack of transparency and equity in this "process" is just mind-boggling.

So, they came to an agreement that losing a teacher at Hazel Wolf would render the program non-viable?

Isn't this the same community that stood fast in their belief that moving them to the John Marshall building would kill the program? Maybe they had an enrollment dip this year, but is the program dead? I don't think so.

What is the current enrollment at Hazel Wolf? How far off is it from what was budgeted (763 students)? What are their class sizes?

I heard that a lot of middle school students transferred from Hazel Wolf to JAMS. If the 1.0 FTE cut meant that Hazel Wolf would lose a grade 6-8 teacher, then how can that be any worse than the effect of a 1.0 FTE cut at Madison, or even a 0.6 FTE cut at Denny...both of which are comprehensive middle schools, and, as such, are expected to offer a fairly broad slate of electives?

Did Madison and Denny negotiate a reprieve, too?

How is robust staffing at Hazel Wolf more critical than the situation at Garfield, a comprehensive high school, where grades and credits actually count towards college, career, etc...?

In all fairness, I can imagine that predicting enrollment for Hazel Wolf K-8 was a difficult thing for SPS Staff to do, since it would have been hard to predict how many of last year's super-sized 6th grade class would stay with the K-8 program and how many would move to JAMS. Yet, they budgeted for MORE kids at Hazel Wolf than were there last year. It is odd that they didn't anticipate some shrinkage, due to the opening of JAMS and moving the K-8 to John Marshall (a long commute for neighborhood kids).

By summer, it was obvious that JAMS had many more students enrolled than their budget allocation. Why did JAMS have to wait until November to hire an additional teacher?

This "process" needs to be re-examined. If one school can claim that pulling a 1.0 FTE would cause so much damage that their program would lose viability, then, in my opinion, that standard should be applied to all schools slated for cuts at this late date.

If this is how Dr. Nyland rolls, I am not impressed.

- reality check

Anonymous said...



If this is how Nyland operates, get him gone fast.

A study showed that Supes don't matter really, anyway.

How dare he publish a letter, ("There, there, everybody...") but, leave out the only thing that matters, the DATA THAT DROVE/DRIVES the FTE cuts/adds.

The only reasonable explanation as to why he failed to published DATA (look, parents, look at the shiny lure, never mind the total lack of real information) is because he is either keeping damning evidence from seeing the light of day, or, he is stupid and doesn't understand that others (Tolley?) are playing him. Because, if the cuts/adds were on the up and up, just put up the data and shut everyone up.

Yeah, Hazel Wolf is special. BF Day, not so much. Gatewood, nah. Garfield, nah. But Garfield is feisty, so the District might have to cave.

This is the core of their core business, you know, delivering education. They ought to care. They ought to get it right. They ought to be quick and intentional. They shouldn't be playing politics.

Just publish the data and SHOW us you've been true to and consistent with the WSS formula for everybody, including Hazel Wolf, Garfield, BF Day, and Gatewood.


Lynn said...

They've already reported that they're not applying the staffing standards consistently. Six schools (in addition to Hazel Wolf) were special enough that they were not asked to cut a position.

Anonymous said...

@ Lynn

I must have missed something. Which 6 schools?


North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

But, the point of the Weighted Staffing Standards IS EQUITY! So yeah, two k5s schools, with the same number of enrollment of 450 students, but, different compositions of students (say, one has 12% F&RL, 24% SpEd but the other has 35% F&RL, 12% SpEd, and 18% ELL) would be allocated FTE per the WSS the same way, but, they would land with different amounts of FTE.

That's the equity: it is doing the same thing for everyone. Whatever building your child is in, the WSS applied consistently to each building is what assures equity.

Its the deviations away from the WSS that makes the situation unfair, and creates have and have not buildings.

The WSS is tilted to put more resources to buildings with high FR&L populations, high ELL and SpEd, as it should. In fact, I think it should even be tilted harder to the F&RL students. They need more. That is what is fair.

Resources, (=money) are limited. So, the WSS is the distribution formula in to divvy up a limited pot. When the District IGNORES ITS OWN PROCEDURE and divvies up money/FTE on a whim, or because they know certain Board Directors have pets and so they just roll over and show some largess to keep the Director off their backs, that is when there is a total break down and a total lack of equity. The WSS is the tool for equity; to toss it aside in 'special cases' means either the tool is no good (in which case, re-engineer it and improve it), or, it is good, but, politics and favoritism carries the day (which is what is happening), which means none of us can trust you at all.

That is what is so galling. The opacity is not a fluke, it is on purpose, to cover up their deliberate misdeeds. Then, when data finally comes out, it will be too late to fix things for the students wronged or equalize the playing field for the students who are being advantaged. Then, the District will make parents look petty when BF Day complains that it didn't get the Hazel Wolf treatment, the old pitting parents against each other maneuver.

Make the WSS, that is negotiated with educators, then STICK TO IT. Quit playing fast and loose with the rules, quit talking about equity but then being inequitable.

Truth will out

Lynn said...

North-end Mom,

Sorry, I got the number wrong - it's only four schools that were not asked to pull a teacher. I don't know which schools - but you'll see from Option 2 on this presentation that 12 pulls were recommended. Staff decided to pull only 8 teachers because the other 4 would impact "high equity schools."

Meg said...

The slide Lynn linked to on adds and pulls makes the entire "process" seem even more incompetently managed.

SPS has to file enrollment numbers every month. JSCEE staff should have been able to provide this slide (dudes, it's one slide with incredibly basic questions/facts) to the board in September, with the caveat that shifts in waitlist could create some changes for October. Staff has waitlist, budget and staffing allocation numbers. This is not a crazy expectation, nor very complicated. They would need to sort out:

A) which schools are over/under enrollment target
B) whether schools over/under projections are over/under by a quantity that could trigger a staffing change
C) if the waitlist could alter enrollment numbers at schools that are off of their enrollment projections

Would all those things have to be re-examined in the October count? Yes.

But there would be a lot less in the way of ugly surprises for school communities, for not a ton of work by district staff - and for around $750K in potential expenses, it seems like a pretty basic thing to do.

The slide is dated October 16th. Gatewood was notified around 10/7 that they would have to pony up to keep a teacher. And AFTER THE FACT staff thinks it might be a good idea to chat with the ops committee about policy implications? Oh, honey. No.

Lastly, I have to say that the whole running start miscount sounds extremely fishy. Without transparency, it's tough believe for several reasons.

1. Why was GHS the only high school that running start was miscounted for? Or have the other schools not have their numbers re-examined?

2. If JSCEE staff - or even GHS staff - made the mistake, why are students going to be the ones to pay for the mistake by not getting credit for a class?

3. How many students at Garfield are in running start classes? What about at other high schools? In the absence of sharing these numbers (I'll point out again, the p223 enrollment form that the district has to file every month with the state is STILL not available on the district website), it's hard to believe in the district's claim, particularly since that claim happens to conveniently allow JSCEE staff to continue down the path of what they wanted to do in the first place.

And that some schools were able to negotiate to keep staff without paying and others are having to pay a ransom to keep teachers? Very, very strange. I cannot blame schools and their communities for using whatever tools they have to protect their students and school, but the lack of transparency surrounding these decisions is gross.

Lynn said...

Received by email this afternoon:

Dear Garfield High School community,

Thank you for sharing your concerns about Garfield staffing.

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 overenrolled.

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’ schedules.

Each year, the district is required to complete an official enrollment headcount on October 1 and report those numbers to the state. Our school funding and staffing is based on the number of students enrolled in each school.

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.

We appreciate your concerns. Please know the district is committed to ensuring proper and equitable staffing at each school while considering program and student needs.


Larry Nyland

Interim Superintendent

Seattle Public Schools

Anonymous said...

Let's say that we accept the final enrollment count by the district.

Why was the waitlist not moved at all?

Garfield had one of the highest number of kids on the waitlist and apparently the school now has a ton of room?

Can't have it both ways.

On September 30th the school is too full to move the waitlist but on October 1st the school isn't full enough to keep all its teachers.

I call bullsh** on this entire process.

-another GHS Parent

Anonymous said...

I just read superintendent Nyland's letter. Wow.

I wonder how twisted the explanation is for SPS deciding NOT to pull a teacher from Hazel Wolf?

- reality check

Anonymous said...

Does anyone think that the below quote is interesting, specifically the $736,000 figure? Especially in light of the fact that the District paid out $700,000 to settle that alleged rape issue just a week or so ago - seems like that money would have been useful in our schools.

How much does the District spend on legal anyway? How about settlements? There was a settlement in 2013 for that same even number of bills - $700,000 - I am sure there are more.

(The below quote was taken from a link to a Seattle School presentation document that one of you posted on this site.)

"Other Options Considered:
FTE adjustment:
• Option 1: Adds and No Pulls: Need to find funding for 8 FTE $736,000 (not including additional funding for core staffing). Reason: Minimize impact to schools"