It appears that you can literally buy influence at Seattle Schools around who is selected as principal at any given school. I have two examples.
One is the long-running saga of South Shore pre-k-8. They have been receiving about $1M a year (about $1.5M before 2006) of support, first from the New School Foundation which was then absorbed into the League of Education Voters.
There was an item on the School Board meeting agenda last night to continue receiving these dollars for another two years. Among other things, it was noted that the grant pays for lower class size and a school counselor (two things all elementary parents would very much like to have for their students).
The issue came up about the selection of principal at South Shore pre-k-8. For the second time in a discussion on this issue (the first was at an Executive Committee meeting several weeks back), neither the principal nor the LEV reps clearly told the Board how their process works. I waited last night for the principal, Laurie Morrison, to tell the Board that not only do LEV reps get to sit in on the school interviews for principal but they get their OWN separate interviews with the candidates (it's in the MOU with LEV).
Luckily, Director Sue Peters, who was calling into the meeting, read that section of the MOU aloud and asked about it. Busted. It was pretty amusing to see the principal go silent and then, after the discussion, exchange glances with the LEV reps. (At the Ex Ctm meeting, no one brought it up.) I find this disingenuous and troubling. What's wrong with telling the Board the entire truth?
They were careful to say that LEV doesn't actually have a vote but c'mon,I'm sure they have plenty of influence on the outcome.
So that's $1M dollars worth of influence.
Then, we have the City who just this year attempted to influence - via their procedures for money allocation for the Families and Education Levy grants - who principals are at schools receiving those grants. (We saw this play out in DEEL's recent attempts to take grant money from Sand Point and Emerson Elementaries. The money was first partially put back and now has been fully restored with conditions.)
Those grants were around $330K.
So just off-hand, I know that McDonald and JSIS, among at least 20 PTAs in the district, raise over $330K a year.
Does the investment of those dollars - which match what the City is driving in per school - give those parents the right to sit at the table and listen to/participate in principal interviews?
If not, why not?
What is the baseline dollar amount for SPS to allow any person or group access to principal selection?