I'll put in my plug for voting NO on the preschool/childcare props one more time.
This plea is for Seattle Schools parents.
In every single document that I have found about the preschool plan, the number one "priority" is to "partner with Seattle Schools." After you have read thru a number of documents, it starts to jump out at you.
Now 1B says, we know there is little space and there's other things we'd like to work on with SPS. Yes, SPS could help with curriculum, info on how they already work with preschool groups, etc.
Except that, as the Board complained at the recent Work Session with Councilman Burgess and others on the preschool plan, the district really hasn't been consulted on curriculum. The Board wasn't invited to give any input at all on the preschool plan. Hmm.
(To note, three current Board members have endorsed 1B - Sherry Carr, Harium Martin-Morris and Stephan Blanford. Carr and Martin-Morris have donated to the campaign.)
I tell people I know that if 1B passes, the full-court press is coming to the district from the City and it will be from multiple angles. In fact, my cynical side thinks that the district may be getting that full-court press in the form of a stick and not a carrot by which I mean if the district doesn't help with space, maybe the district might not get things it wants in the way of grant funding, etc.
Why do I think the pressure will be huge? Two reasons.
- This plan needs multiple spaces in all parts of the city. The City is not going to open preschools on their own; they are looking to expanding existing preschools that will using their plan/curriculum. That means that those preschools that exist in SPS? There will be pressure to expand them. As well, the district has buildings in all parts of this city and its neighborhoods. Which would you rather do as the Office of Education must? Negotiate with multiple entities for space or one?
- The pressure we saw from the City (and probably others) to get SPS staff on the multi-city pre-school junket that happened earlier this year is a fine example of what is to come. You saw the e-mails. You know that Title One, baseline and capital funds were used to fund five SPS staffers to go on the trip. (Charles Wright dropped out at the last minute and all those funds were lost.)
One new thing I found out, reading thru F&E levy minutes, is that the Chamber of Commerce paid for nearly all the participants' costs. Why didn't they pay for SPS costs especially since preschool is not the district's mandate?
The pressure will be painful and come quickly.
How many of you have room to give up inside your building? How about outside your building? Because a preschool classroom is NOT just one room. They have to have their own bathrooms just for them and their own playground just for them.
The district just announced that, for the 4th year in a row, enrollment has grown by nearly 1,000 students. It's not letting up.
Do you want to give over room that most of our buildings do not have for a program that is not the district's state mandate? And, while we are waiting for the funding for the existing K-12 mandate to get funded under McCleary?
I think as Seattle Schools parents you should take all this into consideration and I hope you will vote NO to both measures (the first question on your ballot) but if you choose to vote yes (an option as well), please vote for 1A.