Seattle Schools, like other Washington state school districts, has to deliver an October 1st student count to OSPI for funding. I have been hearing from several schools, especially elementaries, that they get their schools geared up with services only to suddenly see a loss of students because of some kind of change/switch that the district does so that students leave their schools. Apparently this has happened to some schools last year and it appears it will happen again this year.
Naturally, if you are planning around X number of students and 25+ leave, you'll lose a teacher or other staff. That throws the entire school budget off.
For example, this is an issue at Sand Point Elementary where they have a large number of ELL students - some immigrant but some from UW grad students from foreign countries. When OSPI put forth a directive this summer to SPS about their ELL services, SPS had to scramble to provide ELL services at all neighborhood schools. That meant moving students from one school to another.
Naturally, for programs like ELL, Special Ed and Highly Capable, it would be a great thing to have kids attend their closest school AND get the services they need. But the true fact of the matter is that, at any given school, having a critical mass of kids who need those services. It lowers the cost tremendously for the district.
I heard about this issue this weekend at Rep. Gerry Pollet's community meeting. He pointed out that SPS is in a bind.
On the one hand, if you put a program at one school in order to meet a critical mass of students for one kind of service, they may not be in their neighborhood school (and all the benefits of that association.)
On the other hand, if you move all these students to their neighborhood schools, you do two things. One, you take a child who may be happy at their school out of that school. Two, SPS could still find itself out of compliance with OSPI (the original issue to start with) if they can't supply the services the student needs at the new school.
Is this happening at your school?