Also to note, it appears that the Mayor and the Superintendent will be appearing at Rainier Beach Boys & Girls Club this morning. I have not been able to find out why nor does this appear on the Mayor's published schedule. I have another meeting so I cannot attend.
end of update
Looking at the Speaker roster, it appears that the topic is "P-5 Schools Aligned with Seattle Preschool Program." Out of 30 spots, all are on this topic, except for 4 of them for the 2015 State Legislative Agenda and on on Lunch/Recess Times. (I have one spot about the preschool issue.)
Then, there is quite a large waitlist of 30 people. This may signal the Board may hear 10 more speakers as they tend to open it up if this many people are coming. Those speakers are mostly wishing to speak on the Garfield staffing reduction/Latin program, a couple about Interagency location, and various other topics.
I had thought the speaker list would be more varied especially because of the data breach, Garfield staffing/enrollment numbers, and the Interagency issue. But somehow all these people who wanted to talk about the Gates grant got there first.
I find the main speaker list interesting as many of these names are new (which, of course, is a good thing) but I wonder if perhaps people are being asked to speak (rather than coming on their own accord). We'll see.
I'll say here what I will tell the Board on the topic of the Gates Foundation grant in support of a preschool at Bailey-Gatzert under the City's new preschool plan.
Let's talk about the big picture. The big picture is that the City - during the campaign - repeatedly said that they want, dying for a partnership with SPS on this preschool program. They were never quite specific about what they want from SPS.
A partnership agreement would make this clear BEFORE any program comes into SPS.
Entering into a new program - no matter the early dollars - without that partnership in place is like diving off into a pool of water without knowing its depth.
To note, this grant would leave the district on the hook for costs at the end of three years. It is VERY unclear what the City would continue to cover and what SPS would. That should be a "no" right there.
Seattle Public Schools has an opportunity to use our institutional and academic expertise to lead this work and design a model high quality program.
I have never read that SPS will be doing this. Never. The City said THEY were designing the program and may include the district but now the district is doing it?
Allowing the PreKindergarten classrooms to be taught, supervised, enrolled, and supported, by Seattle Public Schools deepens the alignment opportunity and streamlines resources.
And, when BTA III was approved, there was money to create a preschool classroom at B-G. It WILL happen without the Gates grant.
But since this preschool would be under the auspices of the City plan, then the partnership agreement MUST come first. This is what the SCPTSA is saying.
It's funny because I was just talking to the head of the City's Office of Education, Holly Miller, and mentioned this issue. When I said I thought the partnership should come first she said, "That sounds sensible."
School Board, please be prudent, sensible and fiscally responsible. Say no to this grant.