Sunday, November 02, 2014

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, November 3rd
Growth Boundary Meeting from 6:30-7:30 pm at Alki Elementary

Has anyone attended one of these?  I wanted to get to the one at Northgate last week but didn't.

Tuesday, November 4th
Election Day.  This may be the day when we learn the fate of 1A/1B and 1351.  I say "may" because as we have all seen from previous elections, our "postmarked by election day" voting means some races don't get determined on election day.

I have had a very hard time reading the tea leaves on 1A/1B - it is a source of much confusion to voters.  On the one hand, voters do tend to vote no to items they don't understand.  On the other hand, we are in Seattle where voters love kids and education.

I perceive that 1B may "win" because of the King County Labor Council endorsement.  Unions tend to be good at getting out the vote but we do have the awkward sight of unions against unions for 1A/1B.

 That should tell you something about winners and losers for these propositions and that NO it is not all about the kids.  These propositions are the poster children for "adult issues" and who gets to control that pot of City education dollars.

And because of all the confusion - even the Mayor acknowledges the confusion - I don't think anyone can call it a "win" if either 1A or 1B passes.  

Wednesday, November 5th
School Board meeting starting at 4:15 pm. Agenda
 Action Items

- I overlooked this when it was introduced but there is an Action Item whereby the number of Coordinated School Health staff from the Families and Education levy work in SPS who do Medicaid Administrative work will go up from 17 to 92 staff members.  This is due to a new "interpretation" of Medicaid Administrative Claiming (MAC) rules.  

On the one hand, the district needs this Medicaid reimbursement but, on the other hand, it appears that the amount the district will pay will go up a lot from about $86K a year to over $250K per year.  The contract is not with the Action Item so I will have to ask about this one.

- award of contract for new computers - this one has been delayed to the November 19th Board meeting.  It would seem this will cut it very close to the wire for Spring assessments with the vendor approved on November 19th, equipment coming in during December, and "configuration and distribution to schools" during January.  That's a short time for kinks to get ironed out.

- the vote on the resolution for acquiring the Federal Reserve building for a downtown school.  This section of the Action Item says it all (bold mine):

If adopted, this motion would violate Board Policy 6023, which states in part: 

It is the policy of the Seattle School Board that prior to borrowing any funds or issuing bonds, the district shall identify and designate the source of funds to pay all debt service, including principal and interest. This source of funds and the schedule of transfer, if applicable, to the Debt Service Fund will be clearly stated in the Board Resolution authorizing the issuance of debt. 
Because this motion does not identify the source of funding, if passed it would violate the policy.

There is also this interesting notation under Background Information:

The application also requires specific provisions that will mean the substantial long term commitments by the District, including: 

The District will promptly commence construction to convert the building to a school. To do so will require that funds be dedicated from BTA IV levy plan, long term borrowing, or legislative action, to pay identified costs. While legislative action could happen sooner, the BTA levy is expected to be voted on by the voters in February 2016.
If the Legislature wants to give the district money to do this, great.  But again, the district should not go into ANY long-term debt over this OR take funds from BEX IV.

The Meng Strazzera report - an analysis of expansion of Bailey-Gatzert, John Hay and/or Lowell for downtown students.

Intro Items

- Decision of Public Employee Relations Commission; it appears the district violated labor laws and is required to post this notice about said violations.

To cease and desist from:

- Refusing to bargain in violation of RCW 41.56.140(4) and derivatively interfering
in violation of RCW 41.56.140(1) by failing to provide relevant information upon request to the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 609, in its letter of August 12, 2013, so that it can represent its members in the collective bargaining process. 
- In any other manner interfering with, restraining or coercing its employees in the exercise of their collective bargaining rights under the laws of the State of Washington.

- Board Legislative Agenda for 2014-2015
Operating Budget Funding: Provide funding to enable school districts to provide a high quality education for all students; 
Capital Fund Funding: Ensure districts can provide the facilities necessary for 21st Century education and community participation; and 
Education Policy: Continue to work with the Legislature to provide measures to allow districts increased ability to close the achievement gap among all students. 

 The actual agenda has these notations (partial):

- Operations: If the State fully funded actual expenses of employee salaries, benefits, and positions, this would free up local resources for what they were intended: Enhanced local services to support student learning programs and services.

- Capital: Provide directed capital funding for “distressed schools” in urgent need of support, with focus on Seattle middle schools in need.

- Education Policy – Continue to work with the Legislature to provide measures to allow districts increased ability to close the achievement gap among all students. I'm not sure you can write a more vague statement on education policy. 

- Contract for renovations to John Marshall.  This one has an interesting notation:

All payments have been made to the contractor through the BTA III Levy and reimbursed by the OSPI Distressed School Grant (DSG).
Does this mean the district didn't have to pay for these renovations at all?  
Thursday, November 6th 
College Application Event from 2:30-5:30 pm. at Roosevelt High School.
College Application Events provide one-on-one support for high school seniors navigating the college application process. At these events, students receive help researching colleges, filling out applications, and drafting personal statements. Volunteers, including local college admissions officers, are on site to provide support with college applications and answer questions.

Friday, November 7th
BEX Oversight Committee meeting, from 8:30-10:30 am at JSCEE, Room 2750.

Saturday, November 8th
Community Meetings with Board directors
Director Carr - 8:30-10:00 am at Bethany Community Church
Director McLaren - 11 am-12:30 pm at High Point Branch Library


Anonymous said...

Also this week:

The Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee will meet:

Tuesday, November 4
6:30-8:30 pm
Lincoln Library

The agenda will include:

• Report from Advanced Learning Office
• Update on Highly Capable Policy & Procedures
• Highly Capable site updates and concerns

Email questions or concerns to your parent representative. For the vacant parent representative at GHS you can email me.

Robert Njegovan,


Anonymous said...

Also may be of interest to the folks that live in the NW part of the City and have concerns about how the City is planning with SPS (or not planning as the case may be) for enough school buildings in the future. Ballard had developed like crazy in the past few years, and I think most of the elementary schools have gotten portables in the recent past, and then there is the high school question with Ballard High being full to the gills. Seems like a good opportunity to remind the City that school buildings and school capacity should be part of the Urban planning process?

"Open House 2: Building Character, Streetscape, and Open Space
When Thursday, November 6, 2014, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Location Ballard Carnegie Library
5614 22nd Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
Topic Ballard Urban Design
Event Contact David W. Goldberg
Event Contact Email
Event Contact Phone (206) 615-1447
We have been working with neighborhood groups and non-profits, organized as the Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth, to develop an Urban Design Framework (UDF). This UDF will establish the desired design qualities and examine how development regulations can better shape growth for the central Ballard area.
At a public meeting last Spring, the community expressed their views on the character of growth in the Ballard core. Since then, we have been working with the Ballard Partnership’s Urban Design and Transportation Committee to define responses to the community input on this central issue. The community has overwhelming appreciation for the ability to visit the great variety of shops and restaurants in a beautiful, walkable neighborhood. However, they are also concerned that a number of recent high-density projects being built in the area do not contribute to Ballard’s character. On November 6 we will hold a public meeting to present the initial strategies to better guide development, addressing the bulk and character of development, streetscape design, and public/private open space."


Watching said...

Reuven Carlyle is talking about purchasing the Amgen site for a UW campus. It would be wonderful to combine a UW campus with high school capacity for downtown, Queen Anne and Magnolia.

Certainly a better option than the Federal Bld. that is full of asbestos, and will require $58M in renovation.

Slippery Slope said...

"Operating Budget Funding: Provide funding to enable school districts to provide a high quality education for all students"

Note: The district is NOT specifying K-12 students. Are we watching an attempt to fund prek students?

Transparency Please said...

Difficult to predict the prek outcome.

1A has a very good commercial. Their commercial shows that the vast majority of children will not have access to 1B.

1A also claims their initiative won't raise taxes and this might be an attractive feature.

1B did not receive an enormous amount of support throughout Seattle. Frankly, I'm tired of getting their mailers. It feels like wayyyy too much.

Frankly, both campaigns have spent approximately $2.4M. It would have been nice for these dollars to support direct student services.

Melissa Westbrook said...

TP, 1B has gotten a lot of public support via groups - will that translate to actual votes? I don't know.

Anonymous said...

And I keep hearing and seeing 1B ads - more than 1A. I'm a radio person and I hear a lot of them.

However, I'm still perplexed why pre-K gains aren't maintained. I thought common sense would dictate early interventions would help. So, instead of throwing out the idea, why aren't we looking at cognitive research and finding out what would work?


Lynn said...

Here's some information I found:
Early Interventions

Programs that work

It seems that it takes much more than just preschool to make a long-term difference in children's lives.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we ought to send these to the mayor. Esp. the second one which is very clear and complete. And common sense as well.

I give up. :)

perplexed (not really)

Melissa Westbrook said...

It seems that it takes much more than just preschool to make a long-term difference in children's lives."

Not if you have a good teacher (says Bill Gates).

Wondering said...

"Education Policy – Continue to work with the Legislature to provide measures to allow districts increased ability to close the achievement gap among all students. "

Is the district lobbying for Universal Prek?

AnonMom said...

OT about next week's schedule: I was caught off guard to see that there is no school next Tuesday (actual Veterans' Day, 11/11). My old district would bump the holiday observation to a Monday or Friday. Of course, the last three years have been over the weekend, so it didn't occur to me that Seattle would be different this year. Is this normal, and will the students have a Wednesday holiday next year?

(Doesn't seem fair to staff to have a no-school day on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.)

Jamie said...

My kid is a senior this year, and they've always had Veteran's Day off on the actual day, 11/11. So i would assume it would be the same in years to come.

Anonymous said...

Next year is a leap year so Veteren's Day will be bumped two days ahead to Thursday. I see long weekends for many people.