Also to note, Friday, March 6th is the LAST day of Open Enrollment. So hop to it if you haven't enrolled your student yet.
There is also an Operations Ctm meeting on Tuesday, the 3rd. Agenda here. It is likely to be a truncated meeting as Director Patu, the chair, is not available due to the death of her husband. The agenda appears to be just capital matters.
Then, Wednesday, there's Board meeting. Agenda available here.
One Action item (total) and that's the 2015 Board Code of Conduct. Here's the redlined one and there are changes both good and puzzling.
- they lower the bar on what kind of education SPS students get. Instead of "receive the best education available anywhere in the United States of America," they went to "receive the best education possible."
- #2 - they took out "and will not use my Board membership for personal gain or publicity." I have to say that I don't recall the last time I thought a Board member was using his/her membership for personal gain.
But the part about publicity is less accurate than I might like. I don't think most Board members are trying to gain publicity for themselves but rather, for their POV. I think there is a distinction there.
- then, #11 talks about the relationship with the Superintendent and staff and a change got made. Instead of "respecting the Superintendent's authority to advise the Board, implement Board policy, and administer the district," they changed it to "respecting the Superintendent's role to implement Board policy, and administer the district." That's quite the change because the former assumes that the Superintendent has some kind of authority in advising the Board (which implies power over the Board) and the Board has shaken off that wording.
- Under #13, they weakly state what their duties are but shout out to Charlie, there is "providing oversight" and "holding the district and Superintendent accountable" but no wording about how and what happens if Board policy is ignored or not followed.
Then there are the Intro items, all of which are capital projects.
One is that a Pinehurst project with a change order of $300K+ because they found money(?) to install geothermal wells to "reduce long term operating costs." I say "found money" because here's how they explain this:
"After reviewing the final 95% Construction Documents & Estimate for the Pinehurst Phase 2 project, it became clear that project funds were available to upgrade the building's mechanical system to reduce long term operating costs."
I'm thinking in layman's terms that it means they did not clearly understand how much things would cost in Phase 1 - or rearranged things - and voila! money.
All I know is that change orders cost money so is this all money saved from Phase 1?
Which brings me to a sore subject for me which is the district pouring millions upon millions into old buildings to keep them going. Someday, I'm going to create a chart that will show how much money has been put into aging buildings and I think you'd be shocked. Because it's not a roof here and paint there - it's a lot of money.
Now, of course, I am aware of the capacity issues and the number of aging buildings so obviously, the district has to do things to keep those buildings going.
Eckstein is a good example of an aging building that the district truly does need to keep going. It's large and has hundreds of students. The district is spending - this time around - nearly $4M in fire safety, water lines, etc. But, they can't do the fire suppression system schoolwide in one summer so it's only certain areas.
They are also doing a huge project at Jane Addams for seismic work, a Teen Health clinic, lockers rooms, and science and music classrooms. Pretty important stuff.
Then we come to McGilvra Elementary. McGilvra, like Montlake, are small buildings on small areas and don't really have all that much room to grow (and, I believe, are packed to the gills). But I know from my past capital research that the district has, over at least a decade, poured significant amounts into these two buildings (which are from the 1920's). In fact, I'd be willing to bet that between the two schools, over the last decade+, the district has probably spent about $15M.
For the McGilvra project this time, they are spending nearly $9M. This is for a lunchroom addition, seismic/boiler upgrades, sprinkler system, etc.
So capacity management - along with the long history of deferred maintenance - has put this district in a trap of never-ending capital needs. It's putting money into buildings that may not be worth saving but the district has no choice.
Again, when people ask what policies the Board needs to enforce, it's ones like maintaining buildings and not deferring maintenance. It costs us more in the end.
Thursday sees an Executive Committee meeting but the agenda is not yet available.
Saturday is the Board Retreat but there are no details available for that either.