First, after review by hired reviewers, the Washington State Charter Commission staff are recommending approval of two new charter schools in our state. These are the recommendations that the Commission members themselves will be considering at their next meeting on August 13th.
The schools the applicants have put forth:
Operator: Innovation Schools
School Name: Willow Public School
Grades Served: 6-8
School Location: Walla Walla
Operator: Summit Public Schools Washington
School Name: Summit Public School: Seattle #2
Grades Served: 6-12
School Location: South Seattle
Both schools received "Meets" standard in four categories (out of four measures with "Exceeds" being the best, followed by "Meets," "Partially Meets," and "Does Not Meet.")
I note that Summit has this named at their website at "Summit Public School:Sierra" and both appear on the application but under the Proposal Overview, it's "Summit Public School: Seattle #2."
Second, the SEA has an update on their bargaining activities(partial):
Seattle Public Schools will receive at least an additional, and
substantial, $37 million in discretionary state and levy funds this
coming school year, according to SPS budget director Linda Sebring.
About $20 million of that is from the state, along with another $17
million from the levy (levy funding is tied to state funding; the more
state funding, the more levy funding, too).
These discretionary funds are in addition to funding to provide COLAs
and K-3 class size reductions. Some of the funding will be needed to pay
for TRI and salaries for non-state funded staff.
"The District was more forthcoming about their budget this year than
last time we bargained, when they kept trying to deny the existence of
additional reserves,"said SEA treasurer and Madison Middle School teacher Jennifer Matter.
The District projects a very healthy ending fund balance of 8%.
Bargaining team members were glad to hear that the District has been pro-active about hiring more K-3 teachers to take advantage of state funding to lower class sizes.
"We could see it coming," Sebring told our team. "And we knew if we waited until the state finalized the budget to start hiring, we wouldn't be able to find enough teachers."
Seattle parents need to know their kids aren't going to be tested to death come September. They need to know their kids have the recess time they need to grow socially and physically, and to be the best learners they can be. They need to know that all kids will be treated equitably, both in discipline and in learning opportunities.
Educators need to be able to afford health care and housing, and to feel respected for the jobs we do. We need workloads we can manage, and which don't force us to make sub-optimal decisions for kids. We need an evaluation process that promotes growth, and has safeguards that promote fairness and reliability.
It appears they will be voting on three contracts - paraprofessional, certificated, and SAEOP (office) - at their August 24th General Membership meeting.
"The public is with us on all of our key bargaining issues: living
wages, reining in testing, ensuring sufficient recess, sensible
evaluations, supporting equity, and reasonable workloads," said Phyllis Campano, SEA vice president. "We're hopeful that the superintendent and school district are on the same page as well."
More interesting news from the SEA newsletter:
Family Support Workers
Schools and families also rely heavily on Student and Family Advocates
(SFAs) and Family Support Specialists (FSSs). But, perhaps because FSW
funding is from the city, those jobs are paid much more than FSWs. And
as FSWs have been laid off due to changes in city funding, they can't
move into vacant SFA and FSS positions because they are at a lower pay
grade even though they are performing the same job duties, and maybe
even additional ones!
"A few years ago, having a couple of kids in the school with inhalers was a big deal," said Jenny Evans, admin secretary at Thornton Creek. "Now we've got 167 kids at my school with medical needs. I've got two drawers full of inhalers, a foot locker full of Epipens, and two more drawers of other medications. And a nurse for just a day and a half each week."
Nurses joined our team this week to present a proposal to increase the number of school nurses, as well as to provide them the time to get schools ready each year.