Monday, August 17, 2015

Update on Agreeement with City on Pre-K

 I'm first going to say that this is all complete nonsense that NO board in its right mind would agree to.  

Second, I had a pretty long public ed day (Watching entire Dorn press conference on SBAC, interview with Dorn, attending Governor press conference in Sea-Tac and going to Highland Park Elementary.)  It ended with me attending a Town Hall at Highland Park Elementary over their status as an "intervention" school.  (HUGE shout-out to the parents and teachers - in a full library - who showed up on a hot August night. More on this to come.)

However, to the point of this thread, there were a couple of City Council members there; Tom Rasmussen (who no one but me seemed to recognize) and Tim Burgess (the so-called Godfather of Preschool).

Want to know what Burgess said?  Well, first, it was "sorry to run" but he stayed long enough to tout the F&E levy and all the great things that Highland Park is getting (and that's true but he left out one thing that I'll get to in that Highland Park thread) AND that arrogant guy said that there would be 14 City preschool classrooms opening this fall in our district.  

No "hopefully" or "maybe" or "possibly."  He didn't even look down the table to Director McLaren (also in attendance) to give a thumbs up for her approval.  Because, really, does he need it?  Apparently not.  McLaren stayed silent.  The whole time.

I was so irritated that I said to Burgess as he strode out the door, "Very sure of yourself?  I don't know."  That is very, very disrespectful to say that when it (allegedly) still needs the vote of the Board to accept the money.

So kids, the fix is in.  And FYI, McLaren does not have any idea of what is happening.  I tried to tell her but she had somethings in the Agreement mixed up with Terms and Conditions.  Appalling and yes, she will vote yes.  (McLaren really thinks she is voting for the Agreement.  That's not what I'm seeing and I will ask for clarification from district Communications tomorrow but the Action Item seems clear.  They are voting to approve taking the money - not the plan.)

The Exhibits portion of this whole business are finally up - there are A, B, D, E (no, I don't know where C went to).

There is good news and bad news.

 Exhibit A:  Program Outcomes - short and odd

The City is investing SPP Levy proceeds to achieve the following outcomes city- wide:
  • Children will be ready for school.
  • All students will achieve developmentally-appropriate pre-academic skills. 
  • All students will develop both socially and emotionally.
  • The readiness gap will be eliminated for SPP participants.
All SPP investments will contribute to at least one of the above outcomes. 
Specific Definitions:

School readiness is measured by:

- The Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS).
- Assessments identified in the Comprehensive Evaluation Strategy (Evaluation Strategy), adopted by the Seattle City Council August 10, 2015. 
First, I'm not sure what this list has to do with the district.   Second, it has never been proven that a "6-hour academic day" is "developmentally appropriate" but that's what the City says it will be providing.
 
Exhibit B - Terms and Agreements - Good news - here's where the Termination clause went (and I won't apologize for my righteous anger over its deletion in the Agreement - these Exhibits just got put up today.) BUT, it is written in a cagey fashion that truly puts the district in the hot seat.  To whit:

Section 550. Termination and Suspension

A. For Cause: The City may terminate this Agreement if the Agency fails to perform any of the terms or conditions of this Agreement, and such failure has not been corrected to the City’s reasonable satisfaction within a reasonable time period of no less than ten (10) days, but no more than thirty (30) days, after receiving notice specifying such failure. If the City terminates the Agreement for cause, the City shall be entitled to all remedies available at law or equity. Upon termination, the Agency may immediately stop performance of all work under this Agreement.

B. For Reasons Beyond Control of Parties: Either party may terminate this Agreement without recourse by the other where performance is rendered impossible or impracticable for reasons beyond such party's reasonable control, such as but not limited to, an act of nature; war or warlike operation; civil commotion; riot; labor dispute including strike, walkout or lockout; sabotage; or, superior governmental regulation or control. Upon termination, the Agency may immediately stop performance of all work under this Agreement.

C. Loss of Funds: In the event that, for any reason, federal, state or local funds allocated to or by the City for services contracted under this Agreement are or become no longer available to the City for the purpose of conducting the program/project or compensating the Agency, the City may suspend without recourse the Agency's obligation to render services to the City and the City's obligation to pay for further services, by providing written notice to the Agency specifying the effective period of such suspension. Any such suspension shall have no effect on the Termination Date. Alternatively or subsequently, the City may terminate the Agreement.

D. By Mutual Agreement. Either party may terminate this Agreement for any reason at the end of a quarter term upon sixty (60) days written notice to the other party. In addition, the Agency may terminate this Agreement at any time if it determines that such action is necessary for the health, safety, or education of students or staff.

E. Notice: Notice of termination pursuant to A, B, or C of this section shall be given by the party terminating this Agreement to the other not less than five (5) business days prior to the effective date of termination.
See that Part D.  If the district were to choose to invoke it, I'd lay odds it would go to court.

F. Actions Upon Termination: In the event of termination not the fault of the Agency, the Agency shall be paid for the services properly performed prior to termination together with any reimbursable expenses then due and together with any costs necessarily incurred to terminate the services, but in no event shall such compensation exceed the maximum compensation to be paid under this Agreement. The Agency agrees that this payment shall fully and adequately compensate the Agency and all subcontractors for all costs, expenses, losses, liabilities, damages, taxes and charges of any kind whatsoever (whether foreseen or unforeseen) attributable to the termination of this Agreement.

Uh Oh:
Section 350:


Grievances by Participants

The Agency will establish a system through which applicants for and recipients of services under this Agreement may present grievances about the activities of the Agency or any of the Agency's subcontractors. The Agency will make all reasonable efforts to address and resolve the concerns raised by recipients of services. 
Who is the Agency?  The district.  The district is responsible for grievances by those who use the preschool program.  What! 
Student Privacy - not good enough

Section 510. Identity of Program Participants/Benefits Recipients

The use or disclosure by any party of any identifying information concerning the identity of any participant in the program(s), or any of the services or benefits provided under this Agreement for any purpose not directly connected with the administration of the City’s or Agency's responsibilities with respect to services provided under this Agreement, is prohibited except on written consent of the participant or recipient or client, his or her attorney, or responsible parent or guardian or except as otherwise may be required by law.  

Exhibit D -Investment Plans, Payment terms, and Reporting Requirements - Uh oh, the City will only pay on how many days the student has been enrolled.  And that would be SPS' problem because...?  The City has created the program and all its parameters and yet the district is responsible for students staying in the program?

Exhibit E - Invoice Form - it is hard for me to read this and see something off but I perceive there is.

Mother of God, what a cluster-something.

And yet, it will pass.

12 comments:

mirmac1 said...

You are correct Melissa. The board is just voting on taking the money, and letting the Superintendent finalize the agreement however he sees fit.

OMG said...

Has the city inserted themselves into SEA collective bargaining via P3?


"The City and District agree that any conflicts in these three areas will be
discussed between SEA and the District (when the three topics above are
negotiated), with input from the City, and conflicts will be reported back to
the City.
The City and District will work collaboratively to achieve agreement with
SEA in these three areas recognizing the need for timely completion."

Documents do not reveal compensation for central administrative functions. Is the district providing funds to the city/prek as a public gift?

Ms206 said...

I'm a Seattle native living in Philadelphia. I'm a teacher for The School District of Philadelphia. I try to stay informed about what is happening in Seattle and appreciate this blog a great deal.

The SPS needs to focus on K-12 education, especially with the gridlock in Olympia about funding K-12. The only preschools with which it should be concerned are the special education preschool programs (Early Intervention).

One of the things I learned when I took economics in college was that firms specialize. Has the City developed a department that specializes in pre-K or early childhood education? I rais this issue because here in Philadelphia, there is an Office of Early Childhood Education within The School District of Philadelphia. The Office of ECE doesn't provide universal pre-K, but administers Head Start programs and Bright Futures programs. (I'm not sure what exactly is the difference between the two programs, but Bright Futures is not Head Start). Due to budget constraints, the School District has been restructuring ECE programs (meaning contracting out the programs to private providers and overseeing these programs instead of running them). The District has a curriculum for District-run ECE programs. Teachers and paraprofessionals who work in the District-run ECE programs are members of the educator's union here, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT). I am going into my third year of teaching. The school at which I taught my first year had a Head Start program in our building. The teachers and paraprofessionals were a part of our building, but operated differently. They operated somewhat independently of the elementary programs, but still were a part of the staff at the school. However, they attended seperate professional development programs when we had school-based PD. Head Start didn't participate in our school-wide assemblies. But the teachers had a mailbox in the office, used the same copy machines. They were basically a "school within a school." I now teach at a different school. I teach a lower-grades class for kids with autism. One of the kindergarten teachers at my current school was formerly a Head Start teacher in the District. She just changed positions to become a kindergarten teacher.

A key difference between Seattle and Philadelphia is that Philadelphia has room in many of its buildings for ECE programs.

I say all of this just to illustrate how things are done here in Philly. The City may be wise to consult with or visit other cities in order to learn how to best administer ECE programs. Personally, I think that it makes more sense for ECE programs to fall under the local school district than the city, but I also understand that SPS has a lot of issues and it may be too much for them to take on ECE programs at this time.

Ms. 206

OMG said...

The board is ABSOLUTEY not signing-off on the Service Agreement. The Service Agreement allows for two signatures- and one of the signature lines belongs to the city.

Agreements, that include the entire board, have signature lines for EACH director.


http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/15-16agendas/081915agenda/20150819_SPPServiceAgreement_CleanSinceIntro.pdf

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ms. 206, the City did sent out a large committee to visit several cities (Boston was one of them). No city is exactaly the same but Seattle has decided to create its own vision of pre-K (complete with a "6-hour academic day").

The City had an office of Education which, because of pre-k, has expanded to be a department of Education and Early Learning. They hired an ex-charter school operator to run the Early Learning dept.

Melissa Westbrook said...

OMG, tell that to Marty McLaren who I believe is being clueless rather than disingenuous on that point.

OMG said...

The board should have been allowed to vote on the Service Contract, and city funding at different times.

The city/district essentially made it very difficult for the board...."if you don't accept this agreement, poor children won't have the opportunity to go to prek."

Anonymous said...

The City has already said they have other options if SPS doesn't "play ball." If the Board votes no, the poor children can attend PreK at one of the other sites available to the City.

? - Can the City be involved in SEA contract negotiations just from this agreement. It would seem that the SEA would need to agree also - but, I'm not familiar with the process.

-StepJ

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Sadly I think Carr wants this as a 'legacy' that she can sign off on and not deal with the consequences. I would prefer this be looked at with the new board makeup but Carr is on a mission regardless of how it turns out....

Melissa Westbrook said...

Carr is acting very much like DeBell with dual language. In fact, at a town hall I attended at Highland Park, the question came up of what WestSeattle elementary will get a dual language program. Highland Park would like it but many have heard it has gone to Sanislo. So the district folks at the meeting - Veronica Gallardo and Israel Velez and Marty McLaren - all said there really wasn't a lot of money coming to a dual language school. McLaren said it was a decision by an earlier Board to commit to a flow of schools from elementary to middle to high school.

DeBell forced that thru.

Carr is going to force pre-k the same way (but with much worse results).

OMG said...

Melissa made a good point. Exhibits include A,B,D and E. Is it significant that there isn't an Exhibit C? Is there a missing document?

OMG said...


Ok. There is an Exhibit C, but the district didn't attach to BAR.


Section 100. Performance Targets and Scope of Work
Throughout the term of this Agreement, the Agency shall support the City’s Seattle
Preschool Program Levy Goals included in Exhibit A and achieve the Performance
Targets described in Exhibit C to this Agreement as an Agency provider of SPP by
providing the Scope of Work (“Work”) implementing a Program consistent with the
description set forth in Exhibit B to this contract.