Sunday, June 14, 2015

More Nonsense about the City's Preschool Program and SPS

Despite the fact that most Board committees only meet once a month, here's another meeting of the Executive Committee for June.  With just a single item on the agenda.  What's that?  Why the next City/SPS Preschool agreement, of course.

The odd thing here is that the Executive Committee meeting of the Whole, which was two weeks ago, saw this particular partnership agreement rejected by the Committee to even move it forward for consideration by the Board.

Now the Executive Committee meeting of the Whole two weeks ago never had this preschool agreement attached to their agenda so I can't compare what has changed from that one to the new one.

From the BAR:
Space/Facilities: Seattle Public Schools is experiencing significant enrollment growthand does not have adequate capacity to meet it. Given the opportunity that exists with SPP, the City will be leading conversations to identify space.
I almost do not have to write one more single word on this subject because that statement above should scare every single SPS parent.  The City thinks that THEY have the best "opportunity" in the world for SPS and THEY will lead the conversations on how to find space.

I have one word for them on that subject - NO. 

This district has so little space that it is insulting to current school communities to believe that the City is going to sweep in and tell SPS where the space is.   (I also have no idea what Charles Wright does except work on this project.  I mean, he was telling the Operations Committee just weeks ago that he needed $1M for consultant to help him with his job.)

PLEASE - write the Board (schoolboard@seattleschools.org) and tell them NO to this newest pre-K partnership with the City.  
The first thing that strikes me is the three district locations for these preschool classrooms is that one of them is already operating.  The three are:
  • Bailey Gatzert, 1301 E Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98122
  • Van Asselt, 8311 Beacon Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118 
  • Van Asselt, 7201 Beacon Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108 
Bailey Gatzert already has a preschool classroom in it, supposedly paid for via the Gates Foundation.  Now, suddenly, the City will pay.  No explanation given.

(FYI, I believe the two Van Asselt locations are a bit confusing.  Van Asselt (the school) is in the old AAA building.)  

Page 2


EARLY ACHIEVERS & MERIT: Pursuant to the Partnership Agreement, the District will adhere to the requirements of Early Achievers and the Merit System. The District will plan to be fully enrolled in these programs by December 31, 2015. 
Okay, I'll bite.  What are these requirements?  What does "fully enrolled in these programs" mean?

STUDENT ASSIGNMENT: For the 2015-2016 school year, the District will enroll students into District-operated classrooms pursuant to SPP guidelines.

What are these guidelines?  And wait a minute, after 2015-2016, does this mean ANY students in the city can enroll, not just those within the district's student assignment plan boundaries?  That's not what we were told by Cashel Toner, SPS' lead on this initiative.

page 4

FAMILY ENGAGEMENT: The District will provide a culturally relevant plan for partnering with families and communities to improve child outcomes on an annual basis.

On whose dime will this "culturally relevant plan" be paid?

As well, the District only gets 75% for a "baseline payment" with a 25% "performance commitment.  According to the BAR, there are some mystery grants the City has that will backfill that 25%. 

Where's the big money? Well that would be here in the document, Budget Proposal, where the City lists, under "Facility Costs" "rent/mortgage" at a whole $9.72 an hour.  So we have capacity issues in this district, maintenance issues in this district and yet the District can rent space to the City at about the minimum wage?
Now in this budget narrative, it says that there "is no basic rental fee for Seattle School District educational programs."  Problem is, this is NOT an SPS program - it's a City program.  The reason I know this is because the District would not need all these "agreements" for its own programs.  

No, no and no.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

"EARLY ACHIEVERS & MERIT: Pursuant to the Partnership Agreement, the District will adhere to the requirements of Early Achievers and the Merit System. The District will plan to be fully enrolled in these programs by December 31, 2015. Okay, I'll bite. What are these requirements? What does "fully enrolled in these programs" mean?"

See:
http://bfy.tw/LCU

NotHard

Melissa Westbrook said...

NotHard, yes, I can Google as well. But the terms of what the City means this phrasing to be might be different than merely enrolling in either program. That's why it's a legal document.

ProSleep Mom said...

These pre-schoolers seem to be funded to the tune of $18K/year- which is what, double to triple the funding for K-12 students? They have the money, they need to pay their own way- every penny. And the District needs to remember that their job is K-12; the last thing they need is mission creep, for which they absolutely do not have the bandwidth.

Anonymous said...

Melissa - the agenda for the June 4 executive committee meeting does have links for a BAR (?), Attachment 1 and Attachment 2 for the preschool service agreement item. Doesn't look like what they put online for tomorrow shows what changed, but there is at least something from before to compare against.
http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/committees/Exec/2014-15/June%204,%202015/20150604_Agenda_Exec.pdf

Thought I'd share

InWritingPlease said...

Charles Wright TOLD the board that there are plans to put TWO city prek programs into the district. Not so. We're seeing attempts to put THREE prek classrooms into the district. The city also plans on partnering with state run prek programs and federal run programs (Head Start). It is not clear if the city has partnered with existing Head Start and state run programs.

It is becoming clear: The city will enroll and lead efforts to find space within SPS. Get the picture? What is missing from the picture? The state is mandated to lower class size. The board would be smart to strike any language, in an agreement, that allows the city to determine space.

The Partnership Agreement made NO mention of the district paying 25% for teacher performance. The board would be smart to put language into the original Partnership Agreement and make it clear that the city will pay for all aspects of
teacher pay.

The city has been working on this prek initiative for years. They know exactly what they are doing.

InWritingPlease said...

One thing is clear: It is essential to have all aspects of the city/prek agreement in writing. One can not trust the words of district officials.

mirmac1 said...

I place the blame for pushing out SpEd preschoolers at Dearborn Park and Concord Elem for FEL preschool/afterschool program - on the City's back. I was told "these other programs wouldn't exist if they weren't in their neighborhood school" Once again SPS displays its ignorance and utter disregard for IDEA.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thought I'd Share, I saw that. I see no live links to the actual documents discussed in the BAR.

Anonymous said...

I see what you mean, Melissa. Weird that they would bring an item to the committee to approve an agreement, but not actually include an agreement (for June 4).

Thought I'd share

Anonymous said...

Policy 5251

District officers and employees will demonstrate the values of integrity in the performance of the District’s business, accountability to the law and to the people we serve, stewardship of the District’s resources, and independence in the performance of our jobs. District officers and employees have been entrusted with a noble and important task, educating our community’s children, and should strive to live up to the highest ethical standards.

So are district employees and the board following 5251 purpose?

Board of Directors 2015 Code of Conduct


2. Uphold Board Policy No. 5251 , Ethics, and avoid any conflict of interest or th e appearance of impropriety which
could result from misuse of my position.
3. Uphold all applicable federal and state laws and regulations. I will acknowledge that decisions can be made only
by a majority vote at a Board legislative session and I will not represent myself as having individual legal
authority within the district.

sheepness inSEattle

Laughable said...

From Preschool Budget Narrative:

"Budget considerations:
 The SPP funding model is designed to fund 75% of projected costs in an initial installment and
the remaining 25% in an incentive pay model. SPS is projected to meet the criteria for the 25% performance pay". (!) Where are the guidelines?

Who is paying for heat and water?

"Rent/mortgage –4260 SPIII. Rates and Charges for Various Groups: A. Seattle School District
Programs, There is NO basic rental fee for Seattle School District educational programs."

The district is planning 0.12 FTE for planning and compliance with SPS Collective Bargaining- laughable:

"0.12 FTE Planning, Conference and Preparation teacher time (PCP) at average cost. This would
support one section of Gym, Art, or Music per day depending on the PCP offerings at a particular
school. This will allow for compliance with the SPS Collective bargaining agreement."


SPP wants access to nurses. Good luck. Most buildings share a nurse. Nutritional services, too.

Anonymous said...

SPS is sending out mixed messages. SPS Staff have acknowledged in public meetings that BEXIV is not enough, but this is what is included in the Seattle 2035 EIS:

IMPACTS TO SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The latest Seattle Public Schools capital program, BEX IV, ensures adequate capacity to meet enrollment projections for the 2021/21 school year, 13 years short of the comprehensive plan update planning horizon of 2035 (Wolf 2014). Student enrollment would likely continue to grow as population increases in Seattle, affecting school capacity in the long run.

(from page 28 of the "impacts" section)

Of course, maybe the theoretical capacity meets the theoretical 2020 projections, but aren't those projections already out-dated?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Hell no on sharing nurses. Guess who'll eat up most of the nursing time? The preschoolers. We have a nursing shortage in SPS as it is. Ask HR. Ask the nurses. And Families and Education Levy wants to SCALE BACK health funding to schools. What a farce. Pull funds AND sponge off SPS. No way.

If SPS administration can't bring their managerial selves to say NO to this overrun on K12 funds, hope the SEA takes a hard look and kicks these sorts of 'sharing' agreement bullet points to the curb in their summer contract negotiations.

DistrictWatcher

kellie said...

So the pre-school programs are to receive access to daily PCP time, which is being defined as 30 minutes in art class, music class or gym class.

Most elementary schools are already struggling to provide this. Ten years ago, it was typical that all students would get gym three times per week in the gym with the gym teacher. This model met the state standard but also maxed out with about 16 homerooms per school.

As schools started to get crowded, this was one of the first things to go as there was no longer the possibility of scheduling the gym efficiently enough to provide the state standard. The same things began to happen with art rooms and music rooms and then came "art-on-a-cart" because there was no longer an art room.

It sure looks like the SPP wants to have all the amenities that come with a Kindergarten classroom but not pay the direct costs of these services let alone the full loaded costs. I can't imagine the .12 staff time would come close to covering this.

Anonymous said...

The pre-school initiative could further weaken SPS and aid in the appearance of even more district dis-functionality. That might fuel more mayoral take over speculation or further attempts at splitting up the district. Parents who don't get free Pre-K could possibly be persuaded to vote for new initiatives granting the city more oversight.

One just needs to look around to see the huge change in demographics in Seattle and wonder if SPS can really serve the new Seattle and it's rapid growth. We have to admit SPS hasn't handled capacity issues well and it might be too late to gain control and save the district from radical changes in management. What a perfect plan, the pre-school program is a Trojan horse, but no one sees it.

CC

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am repeatedly tweeting about this issue and including Mayor Murray in my tweets.

At least they will be a record somewhere.

I do sense a hurry-up attitude from DEEL as they may worry about who gets elected to the Board. Taking the district WILL take time. They need a docile superintendent (check) but they also need the Board's okay. Legally, there is nothing they can do about that.

Disaster said...

Enrollment

The Partnership which was signed by Peaslee, Carr, Martin Morris, McLauren and Blanford stated that enrollment would be handled by the city. Now, we have a BAR that states SPS will enroll students and the city will enroll in 2016. One thing is clear: You can't trust the city. Here is exact language:

"As outlined in the Partnership Agreement, the City intends to centrally manage applications for
and enrollment in SPP for 2015-2019.
Bailey Gatzert:
Currently enrolled students will be grandfathered into the classroom 2015-2016
Van Asselt:
Seattle Schools will enroll students for the 2015-2016 school year.
Original Van Asselt:
Seattle Schools will enroll students for the 2015-2016 school year.
In 2016 Seattle Preschool Program classrooms will be enrolled by the City of Seattle."

It is worth noting that tuition collection goes with enrolling students.

Charles Wright can't manage his present work-load and there is NO way he'll be able to manage this project, too.

Anonymous said...

So the plan is to pay 75% of costs and then create an incentive bonus where the remaining 25% of costs, is paid based on success metrics.

Therefore the best case scenario is 100% reimbursement and the most likely scenario is less than 100% reimbursment and no scenarios where there is more than 100% for great performance.

How is that a payment plan??

KT

Disaster said...

Enrollment

The Partnership which was signed by Peaslee, Carr, Martin Morris, McLauren and Blanford stated that enrollment would be handled by the city. Now, we have a BAR that states SPS will enroll students and the city will enroll in 2016. One thing is clear: You can't trust the city. Here is exact language:

"As outlined in the Partnership Agreement, the City intends to centrally manage applications for
and enrollment in SPP for 2015-2019.
Bailey Gatzert:
Currently enrolled students will be grandfathered into the classroom 2015-2016
Van Asselt:
Seattle Schools will enroll students for the 2015-2016 school year.
Original Van Asselt:
Seattle Schools will enroll students for the 2015-2016 school year.
In 2016 Seattle Preschool Program classrooms will be enrolled by the City of Seattle."

It is worth noting that tuition collection goes with enrolling students.

Charles Wright can't manage his present work-load and there is NO way he'll be able to manage this project, too.

Disaster said...

BAR page 4:

"Enrollment Services
The City intends to centrally manage applications for and enrollment in SPP for 2015-2019. The
City and District acknowledge that aligning enrollment services is a shared goal."

Translation: The City intends to centrally manage applications, except for 2015-2016. Then we will have the district manage all enrollment, which also includes tuition payment.

Disaster said...

The city will NOT be handling SEA negotiations. That job is given to the district:

"SEATTLE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: Pursuant to the Partnership Agreement,
the District will work with the Seattle Education Association (“SEA”) to ensure the
District will meet the requirements of SPP. The District agrees that work with the
SEA will begin upon execution of this agreement and conclude by December 31,
2015."

Disaster said...

Correction: City wants district to enroll for 2015-2016...despite Partnership Agreement claiming that city will enroll.

seattle citizen said...

So they won't be finished negotiating with SEA before this is all to start in September? That's kinda nuts. Damn the union, full speed ahead!
Maybe they'll get Scott Walker in to negotiate.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Disaster that is ABSOLUTELY correct. The partnership agreement said the CITY would handle enrollment for at least 3 years and I was suspicious about that. So no surprise at what is happening with an actual agreement for services.

Ditto on Charles Wright who is positioning himself for something bigger (like Cashel Toner).

Where's the PTSA when you need them?

Disaster said...

Here is what is missing:

Children will be in SPS schools. Is it the expectation of the city for SPS to pay for legal costs? What happens when a kid falls and breaks their arm on the playground. Who is responsible?

The agreement kept talking about the "Agency" that will conduct developmental screenings, maintain records etc. who is the "Agency"?





mirmac1 said...

Do you mean the SCPTSA? We're not miracle workers nor barn burners. SCPTSA cant do much without a vote of its members. Frankly we'd all do well to make sure we elect board members who recognize who districts are supposed to serve.

Ann D said...

It sounds like there may be a reason that SPS wants to continue to manage enroll,ent and then the City will take over. While a stated goal, there are costs associated with managing the additional enrollment and I would expect the City to pay SPS for these services.

Where is SPS legal in all this? Why aren't they upholding the interests of the district, particularly in light of the district's legal responsibilities and State and board-established scope of work? I wouldnt syand for this contract in my business and the dollars at stake here are much higher, the implications far greater.

Charlie Mas said...

I suppose it is unrealistic to expect that the school district would ignore the City's pre-school program. It would have been funny if the District just smiled at the City and told them "Hey, good luck with that. Our sole focus is K-12, so we won't have anything to do with your project. But we wish you the best!" Yeah, that would have been funny, but it wouldn't have been realistic or productive.

On the other hand, the level of the District's involvement and the extent of the District's commitments appears to have gone much too far. The District has devoted staff time - which it does not have but the City has stacked to the ceiling. The District is being asked to devote building space - which it does not have but the City does have (community centers). The District is being asked to devote personnel - which it does not have but the City does. And I don't see the City paying the full freight. This is not a good partnership. The school district needs to pull away a bit and the City needs to step up a lot. More than anything else, the City has to start writing some checks. Big ones.

Anonymous said...

If the city's preschool programs have access to PCP time, do those PCP teachers need an early childhood ed. endorsement or is that covered in their K-12 certificate?

NGC

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ann, Carr has been clear in her expectation that SPS won't be paying for these additional staff/overhead costs. That's great but if it's not clearly delineated in the agreements, well, it's anyone's guess.

I honestly think the City thinks SPS is dumb or malleable or both. That's why I said the SCPTSA should step up and tell the district - we as parents in overcrowded, underfunded schools are worried about the time and costs being devoted to pre-K.

Disaster said...



'Where is SPS legal in all this? Why aren't they upholding the interests of the district, particularly in light of the district's legal responsibilities and State and board-established scope of work?"

That is my question, too.

The amount of poorly drafted documents are proliferating and they are getting attached to the BAR. The board (minus Peters/Patu) made an enormous mistake not getting clarifying language into the main Partnership Agreement; language that would protect the district.

After the Partnership Agreement was signed, the district learns that they are to be responsible for 25% of teacher pay. What other surprises are in store for the district?

The Partnership Agreement stated that the city was going to enroll students. Now, the city wants the district to enroll students. What other surprises are in store for the district?

Let's just look at the issue of legal costs and liability issues. How will this be handled and who will pay the bill? Legal costs and settlement agreements loom into millions of dollars.

Seattle Public School houses Head Start and it is the intention of the city to partner with Head Start. The amount of children in the city/district prek could rapidly extend beyond 3 classrooms.

While it is highly reasonable for the district to support the city, the manner in which this is being rolled-out is a mess and I'm not confident the district is protected.

The WSS includes funding for high risk and vulnerable populations i.e. elementary school counselors. Presently the WSS is unfunded by $11M and atleast one community is protesting and wanting counselors. Look at the school budgets- elementary school counselors are missing.

It is fine to support the city, but not at the expense of underfunding the WSS. I'm not at all confident the district has a grasp on financial implications.

Disaster said...

The pre k initiatives focus on children with traumatic early childhood experiences and this is wonderful. However, these same kids are going to get thrown into elementary schools without counselors. Doesn't make sense.

Melissa Westbrook said...

the district learns that they are to be responsible for 25% of teacher pay."

I don't think this is entirely true. What the BAR says is that SPS said they would not pay that 25% and that the City has found some mystery grants to backfill that amount.

HOWEVER, how long is that for? One year, two? No idea.

mirmac1 said...

A mystery grant, huh. Sounds like the TFA language. District got yanked on the choke chain by lightweight Lindsay Hill. Oh, wait. She's lining up to provide those "highly qualified" ECE "teachers" Deja vu all over again.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yeah, so first the Gates Foundation was to pay for the first year at Bailey-Gatzert, then the City. Now it appears that is gone and the City will pay for all of it. Was the Gates Foundation "grant" a placeholder under the preschool initiative was passed?

And the mystery grants for the 25% backfill? Who is that?

I'll have to ask.

Disaster said...

Scroll to the very bottom of this page- Exhibit B. You will find a list of performance measures which include conducting health screenings, making sure teachers have updated professional development plans and developmental screening exams are part of the performance metric that must be met to receive 25% reimbursement.

The city's Department of Education has enough staff to run SPS, and the department is combined with Health and Human Services. The city needs to do this work.

The board should reject this portion of the contract and put this work onto the city. The city appears to be taking little responsibility and putting enormous amounts of work on the district. The district already has too much on their plate.

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/committees/Exec/2014-15/June%2016,%202015/20150616_Exec_SPP_DRAFTServiceAgreement.pdf

Anonymous said...

This is crazy under so many levels.

1. SPS has NO space.

2. Bailey-Ganzert isn't even fully enrolled this year despite the "high need" (hmm, maybe because a 6 hr day with no before/after or transportation isn't feasible for many?).

3. All of this raises an even bigger space issue than it looks like on the surface. Right now SPS can get away with providing a crummy 2.5 hour day, 4 day a week preschool with minimal access to typically developing peers because preschool isn't required, no public option is available (this is pretty similar aside from the peer group to the Seattle Parks and Rec programs). But parents can and should fight that poor experience if there is moving towards universally available preschool. And SPS has no room to have preschoolers there for a full school day, let alone to expand to actually include any meaningful amounts of typically developing kids in their program. If nothing else they should their current opposition against delivering itinerant services in private preschools since they will now demonstrably be failing to provide LRE.

North Seattle

mirmac1 said...

The school board knows full well the inequity with how SPS handles Developmental Preschool. I gave them this from the USDOE;

http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/inclusion-policy-executive-summary-draft-5-15-2015.pdf

After SPS made the decision to fully load 12:1:2 Dev PreKs with ONLY students with disabilities, PreK teachers had to file a grievance to ensure the 12 INCLUDED some typical peers.

Of course when I filed a complaint about the discriminatory treatment of SpEd PreK kids at the Old Van Asselt "support facility", suddenly SPS says the CBA provides for typical peers and will have four in OVA next year. What a bunch of lying weasels.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the CBA is. When we were looking at preschool, we were told by the teachers that they had up to 12 kids with IEPs and *could* have (at teacher discretion) up to 4 typical peers.

I think it's easier to get away with since there's no real public options for preschoolers now, but with the city program? No can do. Of course, as best I could tell reading through all of the city docs, they theoretically want to include kids with IEPs, but there is no way with their ratios (1:10) and the limited extra funding they've proposed for kids with IEPs they could actually resource up to support them...

North Seattle

mirmac1 said...

The lying weasel implied that the 12 would INCLUDE 4 typical peers. Sitting in the board conference room, I knew that was a lie, but my guess is every policy maker and top administrator took that as gospel. In my spare time I intend to disabuse them of this notion, and remind them that staff must be held to the highest standards of integrity service.