Saturday, October 18, 2014

Will Your School be Missing a Teacher Soon?

A heads up from a reader (and I have to wonder if this is poor planning/estimation or maybe someone wants the district to look inept):
Anonymous Pro-sleep Mom said...
I went to the boundary/transportation committee of the whole meeting on Thursday. A potential bombshell was in the last few minutes of the meeting. This is the October FTE adjustment- where staff is moved from under-enrolled to over-enrolled schools. Gatewood was on the early side of this; there are three rounds and this is the final round. (Tolley did comment that principals would know their counts and the implications, and so would not be blindsided; personally, I think the parents are another story and that this will be really disruptive for a lot kids.)

Up to 19 schools could be impacted- 7 adds and 12 FTE pulls. Principals will get notice on Friday 10/17; they have a week to raise the money/ pull carried over funds or whatever by 10/24. ​This is per the CBA process- not sure what CBA is- but the timeline is crazy short.

There was some discussion of the disparity in impact on poor vs rich schools- and talk about having every school contribute a % of their fundraising for a pool to be used for situations like this- but nothing concrete.

If your kid's school has had big ups or downs in enrollment numbers, you might want to check in with your principal to see what's up, and mobilize your PTA if necessary.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes, I really, just, HATE THIS DISTRICT

They make it so much harder than it has to be

I get that enrollment is a bit squishy at the 'edges', and, staffing adjustments happen as a result. My problem is with their timing. Certain schools, based on historical patterns, don't really change after the end of the 2nd week of school. Those adjustments can be communicated as potential adjustments by day 14 of school, and, done by day 20. End the drama. Schools in the S/SE need much more time to fill in, per historical enrollment patterns, but communicate with them. Transparency breeds trust. This is a District that has enormous gaps in public confidence.

The District Staff owes an explanation of this CLOAK AND DAGGER APPROACH.

Why hide/obfuscate this info to the nth degree?

Why not a published projected enrollment list for the District right away? It is what budgets are based on. And then, by Sept 10th, initial enrollment counts - that's when they report them to OSPI? Thus, everyone could see if they are on a 'watch list' because their schools has deviated significantly from projected enrollment that generated their teacher FTE.

Why isn't this done? Because parents might be upset? Because teachers might be upset? Truly, so what. The budget process is a rolling ball, all is reasonable is transparency with the info on hand in a timely manner. Would the District want this too?

If adjustments are going to happen, they are going to happen, but information just helps everyone manage their own expectations and deal with a planning horizon, in case there needs to be a planning horizon for a teacher pull or addition.

Transportation sunsetting this year had a big impact on certain communities. Elementary children were no longer eligible for buses to attendance schools that they were assigned to back in Sept. 2008 for K. Younger siblings then followed along to their school... then, Sept. 2013, buses yanked. Everyone is suppose to go back to their 'home schools', the ones the District didn't assign them to in the first place. Nice. Families had to either figure out how to get their kids to their existing school, the one they've invested in, the one their kid(s) has gone to for 5 years... or, switch schools. Many from the NE figured out they could get buses to Hazel Wolf, but, not to Sacajawea or John Rogers, for example. So, busing sunsetting exacerbated enrollment trends. Not that SPS would understand, care, or predict or plan for any of this unintended consequence.

While adjustments may be necessary, drama is not. Is this District even interested in avoiding yanking kids and teacher around willy-nilly? If so, they need to publish this super-secret lists NOW. And, do better going forward.

-so unnecessary

mirmac1 said...

I hope the Gatewood fundraising does not become the norm. We know the district will just take the parents money and then find another way to jerk us around.

Anonymous said...

So Unnecessary indeed

So many lives disrupted for a one time savings of under 3 million dollars.
Next year there won't be any savings because the district will not get reimbursed by the state for previous years transportation use.

Under the Bus

Lynn said...

so unnecessary,

Here is the schedule of enrollment projections by school.

Lynn said...

From the presentation given to the board, it appears that the district will be adding 7 new teachers and pulling eight teachers from various schools. Using the standard method of allocating staff, twelve teachers should have been pulled. I'd like to know which schools got to keep their extra teachers - and why. What was cut from the budget to pay for that?

seattle citizen said...

Regarding when teachers are moved around after the October 1st count, here is the CBA - Collective Bargaining Agreement you mentioned as pertaining, but I don't see anything in there about timelines on overages and underages (?!), meaning shifts in FTE after October 1st count.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Why hide/obfuscate this info to the nth degree?"

I think there is even more going on than just staffing. I think that some Facilities/Capital staff may want to manipulate the data to get the Board to ok what staff wants rather than, as the Board wants to do - base capacity decisions on need, money and enrollment.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I see this notation in the presentation:

Impact to high equity schools"

What is a "high equity school?"

Anonymous said...

B.F. Day is losing a teacher, and it deserves not to lose a teacher. Nearly two months into school. And we're given a week to try to raise money to fund the position (something we aren't likely going to be able to do)? I absolutely hate the way this district "functions," and the level of disrespect inherit in much of what they do. I would like to know which $100k+ administrator is more important than the teachers they're cutting around the district. Show me that person.

- Tired

Meg said...

one of the things I find intensely frustrating about this is that enrollment information for every school in the district should be incredibly easy to access, and it's not.

SPS has to file an enrollment form with OSPI every month. It's the p223, and has the number of students in every grade at every school in the district. Until last year, the p223 would be posted on the district website almost immediately after it was filed with OSPI.

Last year, while the district was struggling with technical difficulties, they didn't post the p223.

And this year... still nothing. In fact, unless you know to search on p223, the most recent complete enrollment data available is from the 2009-10 school year. And even if you know what to search on, the most recent year of data is 2012-13.

There are some kinds of information that require work from staff to share/explain to the public. This doesn't. It is simply posting a form SPS has to file every month.

Enrollment data has gotten harder to get at a point when:

1. staffing changes at schools are being made based on this data (to be fair, staffing changes are made every fall)

2. SPS is contemplating spending enormous amounts of capital money for a downtown building, and having this data would allow the public to engage in the discussion

Parents, of course, can find out how many students are at their child's school. But staffing formulas vary by grade bands a little bit, so while the big number may be helpful, the granular numbers are even more so.

Anonymous said...


You have my support to axe and not replace Charles Wright, thereby saving the district money, that can be given to BF Day to save your teacher.

Your children's teacher is far more important and has a much more significant impact on education in Seattle then Mr. Wright ever will.

How does Mr. Wright justify his existence given that we have to cut to the bone?

-so unnecessary :)

Anonymous said...

@Lynn - or anyone who knows - on the projected enrollment table there is a a school between "Licton Springs/Pinehurst K-8" and "Queen Anne" labeled "Private School" with an enrollment of 50. What is that?


Anonymous said...


That is most likely students in private schools who get special education services through the district.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I note that there are two open positions in SPS that pay between $85k-$110k for some kind of data project managers. Two of them.

But we are a "data-driven" district so that matters more than actual teachers.

Anonymous said...

"There was some discussion of the disparity in impact on poor vs rich schools- and talk about having every school contribute a % of their fundraising for a pool to be used for situations like this- but nothing concrete."

--Don't hold your breath. Seattle parents want none of this. It is too much of a "me first" culture.

" might want to check in with your principal to see what's up...mobilize your PTA if necessary."

I hope Nyland nips this one in the bud like Carla Santorno did a few years back when McGilvra essentially had its very own private school in the neighborhood with PTA bought classroom teachers and incredibly small class sizes. No school should be able to "buy" a classroom teacher...period.

Cutting teachers in October, after students have bonded with their teachers and classmates is beyond the pale. This should not happen, especially in the early grades.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

so unnecessary - I think you're analyzing things wearing the wrong hat. You're asking why can't things work??

As a tangent to Meg's comment - we teachers do attendance every period, every day, electronically, into a database. Why aren't there easy to access automated daily and weekly reports on attendance, median class sizes...? Staff are too staggeringly incompetent to learn the most rudimentary basics about how databases work, and how to ask simple questions about that data and how to write simple queries to access the data? Or ...

Status and power within the bureaucracy is the only game which really matters, once you break through that $100,000 a year salary level. The power games of the Michael Tolley class at JSCEE mean everyone is kept in the dark and


mirmac1 said...

I believe this is part of Wright's "Continuous Improvement"

Pro-sleep Mom said...

Policy-wise, I don't think PTA funding positions is a good idea either, but I know parents will want to protect their kids and the reality is they will fund raise, like Gatewood did. Sorry, my original post didn't reflect this well at all.

I agree totally that when these changes are made, they need to be made much earlier. As Feedpoo stated, attendance is electronically submitted everyday; what is the excuse for doing this so late in the year? And for schools getting the adds, it will be even later than the pulls, since they have to go through the hiring process. I would guess we would see the over enrolled classes getting reshuffled well into November.

It's hard to think this could be anything but bad for the kids, and hard on teachers. I understand the financial reality, but there has got to be a better way.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a teacher, one reason that this happens in multiple stages is because of the choice schools in the district (i.e. Center School, Nova, and other schools that don't receive students based on geographic area, but which students and their families must choose). These schools get a large influx of students after April, as students who are geographically assigned to schools make the choice to switch. These late students often make up more than half of the incoming freshman class. If numbers and funding were decided for all schools in April, these small schools would be forced to lay off a couple of teachers each year and then rehire after October, which would be very disruptive for them. I don't think these choice schools particularly like the process either, as they're sweating it as much as everyone else, and their final enrollment #'s remain consistent from year to year.

Pro-sleep Mom said...

I was thinking it would make sense to do this something like the third week of September when most schools have settled. I agree it couldn't really be done in April, when the first numbers come out. Getting principals involved in setting up better timelines would make sense. Or are we dealing with state mandated timelines?

Lynn said...

If the choice enrollment process ended July 31st, we'd have a much better idea of how many teachers were needed at each school. Teachers would have time to prepare their classrooms before the first day of school. I think that would reduce the uncertainty outside of K, 6th and 9th grades.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"The power games of the Michael Tolley class at JSCEE mean everyone is kept in the dark."

I absolutely agree. I think more and more, it is NOT about transparency but about withholding information until a time and place of staff choosing. I also think that it is a ploy to release info at the last minute and tell the Board it's a crisis/rush.

bilal sabir ali said...

for best Online Jobs without any rejection, no time limit required, no investment requires, just spend few minutes and earn upto $35 daily