Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bell Times: They Will Be A'Changin'

This Wednesday's School Board meeting sees the Superintendent's introduction to change bell times.  What has happened is that a large number of schools - primarily elementary schools - have shifted to Tier Two, leaving about 13 schools in Tier One (I think there are eight elementaries). 

What appears -to me- to be happening is that the Super and staff are trying to get the "We want two tiers" out of people's minds.  Staff doesn't really want to have to suss out the real costs and present them to parents. (Do I think it is truly $8M for two tiers? No.)

So how to divert parents off that idea? Whittle down the Third Tier to a handful of schools and let other parents attack Tier Three parents for being "selfish" to not think of the greater good. 

Brilliant on the part of staff and not-so-lucky for the Tier Three people. 

But I think so much time has gone by, that it's likely a done deal if only because people are probably now tired of talking it to death.

For the record, I think, for ALL students concerned, the district should have provided real numbers on the costs, found that money and had two tiers. This is real and vital part of the school day for BOTH students and parents. 

111 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. Two tiers is better for families and for students. What are the costs? Three tiers can make it difficult to get to work if you have one kid in an early school and one kid in a late school. Or you have kids unattended and getting to school on their own, with less supervision. Three tiers doesn't make sense to me.
NEmom

Anonymous said...

MW, I think your first statement is misprinted: "What has happened is that a large number of schools - primarily elementary schools - have shifted to Tier Two, leaving about 13 schools in Tier One (I think there are eight elementaries)."

Your later paragraphs have it right. There are <10 elementaries left in Tier 3. All others (except K-8s) are Tier 1.

Elementary school is a LONG six years. I can't support having neighboring elementaries (e.g., Bryant and View Ridge) start hours apart like this.

TWO TIERS

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll gently point out that there is some "glad it's not me" to all this because when it was Sand Point who was going to be the ONLY NE elementary in Tier Three, I didn't hear a lot of the other NE elementaries speaking up for them. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Well, not to be a bubble burster, but there are indeed extra costs associated with 2 tiers. Its just plain math - you need more buses to accomplish that and buses cost money. More than likely means returning to 2 bus vendors, as the current one doesn't have sufficient drivers for the existing situation, let alone a change. Believe it or not, this isn't some conspiracy thing for once. Can they do it? Sure, but it's not a cost neutral situation. Will they do it? Probably not - there's something else going on here and the extra $8 million is a red herring....for what, I'm not sure...

reader47

Anonymous said...

@Melissa,

The latest proposal does not have any elementary schools in Tier 2. They are in either Tier 1 or Tier 3. High schools, middle schools, and some K-8s are in Tier 2.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Our school suddenly appeared in Tier 3 in the Oct. 13 (?) presentation to the C & I Committee.

No notice at any of the public meetings. And, not even any notification from the district to our school about this change!

Two Tiers is the best option for students and their families. The educational benefit of Tier Three escapes me.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

There was/is a NE Group of parents that were advocating that all NE Elementary Schools be on the same tier. All, including Sand Point.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

Nathan Hale and Jane Addams Middle School - across the street from each other - will have the same start? What are they thinking?! So many safety issues. Parents, speak now or forever hold your peace.

-craziness

Melissa Westbrook said...

Step J, I didn't hear that at the Bell Times forum at JAMS.

Craziness, you should tell the Board that because Sealth got a promise of not having the same start time as Denny because of their proximity.

Karen said...

You nailed it Melissa. I was surprised to hear a PTA President on the news last night complaining school will start when her kid is ready for a snack. Well, many of us have been on that schedule for the past 6 years! And, we are at schools without the generous transportation benefits that her school receives. Meaning, I am lucky if I can get to work by 9:45AM, but if we had transportation, maybe I'd get in by 9-9:15. Huge difference. I am even luckier I haven't yet been fired!!

I personally think the latest plan negatively impacts the least number of kids. Schools with high FRL and low transportation benefits should get to pick their start times and everyone else can get filled in after that. Schools with generous transportation benefits should be in the first or third tier without question due to daylight issues for walkers. Said another way, no school with a huge transportation zone and small walk zone should be in tier 2. Schools with small attendance areas should not be in tier 2, either.

Patrick said...

Of course there would be some cost associated with two tiers, but we deserve a real analysis of how much it would really be. There would clearly be an educational benefit as well, a more concrete one than a lot of the strategic initiatives JSC spends their time and money on.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

As a parent of a child at JAMS I am delighted they will start at the same time as Nathan Hale - this is precisely what the JAMS principal wanted to foster greater resource exchanges.

Anonymous said...

So, is this really the final version of the start times, or just the third version of the final version, with a fourth or fifth yet to come?

I wish they'd quit changing things. I get tired of having to rearrange my whole schedule every few years when the start time at one school or another that my kids attend is changed (good thing my boss is flexible with this). Now my youngest child's 3rd tier school is apparently being switched to 1st tier - meaning the seven year old will be home an hour before any of her older siblings. At a school with no on-site after-care. Did they even consider day care arrangements into their choice of which school is on which tier? Seems like after-care would be pretty popular with any school ending at 2:10, but I guess we'll all have to make out individual arrangements.

We'll sort something out, but it would have been much easier for us to just leave the 3rd tier elementary in the 3rd tier where it was.

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

...this is precisely what the JAMS principal wanted to foster greater resource exchanges.

Do you mean send HCC students to Hale for classes instead of offering them at JAMS? What, exactly, does "foster greater resource exchanges" mean?

-curious

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Yes, my understanding was that was a possibility. However as a concrete example my son's music teacher also teaches at Nathan Hale.

Anonymous said...

These latest recommendations came out with no notice to communities.

No notice, after the LAST version said FINAL on it.

Ludicrous. Unhappy communities need to push back on the lack of notice or engagement with their schools.

-skeptical-

Po3 said...

I also find it no accident that the proposal staff is submitting pits families against each other and fully expect that no changes will be made as a result.

Sad as we were so close to improving the academic lives of MS and HS students.

Anonymous said...

http://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/seattle-superintendent-wants-new-start-times-for-schools/

This article is touting $3 million (not 8?). There shouldn't have to be a scenario where "glad it's not me". They shouldn't have said it was a no cost solution if truly there is a cost to getting all elementary schools and K-8s, all middle schools and all high schools on the same age group schedule. The Tier 3 kids are now paying the "cost" for everyone else to benefit. Doesn't matter who they put in Tier 3, it's not okay. And many parents in the Tier 3 scenario were helping contribute and advocate for the earlier start times since they have already been experiencing some of the latest times in the district. Sorry guys, your kids not only don't get the benefit but you've been isolated in your community and get to start even later.

Anonymous said...

MW – I am speaking from personal direct experience. If there were parents at the JAMS meeting advocating to move/keep Sand Point to Tier 3 all by itself – it would make me quite upset. One: It would mean these parents succumbed to perhaps the most heinous tactic of the district, pitting families against each other to divide and conquer. Two: We are a community of neighbors, friends, families whose kids play street ball together, play in the same parks, etc. It is wearing how often entities and individuals try to break our community apart. We would like all of our community elementary schools to be on the same tier.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

When Jane Addams was the K-8, many of the kids came over to Hale for math classes. I think having the 2 schools start at the same time is great. Hopefully it will help Hale's band grow over time. I have noticed this year, several freshman band members with JAMS tee shirts on.

HP

M said...

Yes, current plan impacts least number of kids, but is that equal? Equal bell times for all. District has done an excellent job pitting parents against each other on this issue.

Anonymous said...

I agree with PO3. If funding continues to be the excuse we hear, it seems our time would be additionally served to find a way to put pressure on long term sustainable funding from our state. Washington's Paramount Duty. It really does pit us against one another with all these financial patchwork, last minute notification, halfway solutions.

Jet City mom said...

My daughter attended Summit, and at the time some Summit high school students were able to attend classes at Hale, and students from Hale could participate in programs at Summit. I believe they also shared some buses.
I would not ever want my kid to attend a school that started later than 9am.
It makes for too late of a day, and getting kids to pay attention after 3pm is more difficult than before 8am!
After school activities are also very important. I know a ton of kids whose after school sports programs enabled them to perform better in school. But those generally begin at 4pm for elementary kids.

M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

@StepJ

I attended the JAMS Bell Times meeting. There were no parents that I was aware of advocating to keep Sand Point in Tier 3 (their assignment in the DRAFT Final Recommendations). There were a number of parents asking why the Tier 3 assignment contained all Title 1 and high FRL/ELL schools (Sand Point, John Rogers, Olympic Hills and Northgate were all in Tier 3 at the time of the JAMS meeting).

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I would be very upset if JAMS was moved back to tier 1 because of proximity to Nathan Hale, I really hope that doesn't happen. The early start has been very difficult for our family, and our student is already waiting in the dark, even before daylight savings time shifts.

JAMS parent

Anonymous said...

I totally get the need for two tiers, but I like this version better than the last one and support it. I know way too many middle and high schoolers who are poster children for the research for later start times. Tired, depressed, less motivated, moody, and not doing as well in classes. I'm sure folks who don't have a kid this age will write off that list as simply being teenagers or puberty, but that's not true. Current middle and high schoolers need change yesterday.

StepJ and NE parents: half of elementary schools already start at 9:30 and in the NW, at least, some do and some don't. It hasn't been the death of our community. Generally speaking I think most parents prefer not to be in the 9:30 group (which is when my elementary aged kid starts), but I think many staff like the 9:30 start. Fine minds don't think alike about elementary start times.

I understand that once again SPS is failing at engagement (the list is so long) and once again, they are throwing out plans that are hard to keep up with (again, the list of times they've done this is so long). However, when I look at the latest plan it seems better - not perfect, but good.

I think we'd all like our kids to start around 8:30-9:00, but I don't think that's coming her anytime soon. I'd like to see the numbers, too, Melissa, but I'm not going to hold out (and hold off change) for that when it's possible to have middle and high schoolers starting at 8:50 next year. Start my elementary aged kid at 9:40 (10 minutes later than now) or 8:00. Pros and cons to both for any family or school, but they are outweighed by the pro of the middle and high school times.

Support It

Anonymous said...

Karen, what "generous transportation benefits" are you talking about?

NE mom

Anonymous said...

Does the bus system ever change or get studied for maximum efficiency? I seem to always see a lot of buses riding around nearly empty and with the change to neighborhood schools, which should be more walkable, restricting transportation to out of attendance area schools (or whatever the line is) and moving middle and high school students on to metro, it seems there should be a way to collapse some of these empty buses and achieve the goal everyone wants - two tiers. Figure out a way to charge for transportation. Everyone gets to ride the bus, but how many are driven by parents every day? Perhaps those that will never have their kids riding the bus could opt out and routes could be collapsed that way. Just seems like 13 schools in Tier 3 should make it more manageable to think outside the box and make transportation work for 2 tiers.

Box

Melissa Westbrook said...

Box, there's a GREAT question.

We were told,several years back, that they had overhauled the system and saved millions. Was this transparently documented? No. Did they tell us where the "savings" went? No.

I think there are things that could be done to streamline the system but again - the district does not want to clearly explain where all the money is and where it goes.

That means we need a change on the Board and, sadly (because I personally like Superintendent Nyland), a new superintendent. We need people who want to bring down these walls and these silos.

SPS Mom said...

When JA K-8 was in the Jane Addams building, the Hale and JA K-8 start times were just 10 minutes apart I think - and it was fine - and this was with 500+ kids in the JA building. Certainly JAMS has more kids than JAK-8, but I would think it would still be doable.And, as some have stated, buses could be shared, students could walk between Hale and JAMS for classes, teachers could be shared. I would keep the two schools starting at the same time.

Location Matters said...

Support It, you seem to be forgetting that a 10 minute later start time actually means a 30 MINUTES LATER END TIME -- after 4pm. Boren STEM K-8 was listed in Tier 2 of the "Final" version and then inexplicably changed to Tier 3. I am also a parent who lives in their so-called "walk zone" which I have brought up to transportation, risk management, SDOT, etc because they expect my elementary student to walk down a crumbling 110+ step staircase through a greenbelt littered with drug paraphernalia and broken beer bottles and, due to the obvious lack of houses in a greenbelt, no one to hear or see anything should a child slip or fall on the under-maintained stairwell. The city does NOT do anything to their stairways in icy or muddy conditions and the district has NO contingency plan for these kids to get transportation if the walk route is iced over.

And I just live in part of the walk-zone. A lot of it? Up and down Delridge. Simply a great place to send 5 year olds walking in the dark at 4:15 in the winter. I will give SDOT some props for finally (3 years after the issue was raised) putting in a crosswalk and light for families needing to cross Delridge (a 35mph major N/S thoroughfare in West Seattle). I don't know many adults who would walk up and down Delridge after dark. And, with the insane start/end times, I can guarantee that it will force many of the families in the walk-zone to make this trip unaccompanied. This is a very middle-class neighborhood with loads of immigrant families and lots of Section 8 and SHA housing.

As for schools with "increased transportation" such as Option Schools? Each of these schools has a walk-zone just as far-reaching as every other school (except Pathfinder, which I've never understood). So, you can't pull that card either.

Aren't the high school students the ones needing the latest start times to account for biological rhythms? How many high schools on Tier 3? ZERO.

Melissa has called it correctly. SPS is clearly doing a bang-up job of pitting schools against one another and every person just shrugging their shoulders at the fate of "others" is doing the district's dirty work very well. Good job. After the major support shown during the strikes and outpouring of nearly universal condemnation for their mid-October teacher swapping, now is the PERFECT time for them to successfully divide and conquer. After all, what does it matter if a few schools get screwed? People are tired and are just so relieved to have it "not be them" that they won't raise a fuss. Nice job.

Anonymous said...

In their defense, there is a pretty new set in charge of Transportation - people who "get" the logistical problems involved and who are working hard to make real fixes to ongoing "behind the scenes" issues. The person who orchestrated the whole 3 tier bus debacle, Tom Bishop, is long gone, as is his deputy. There's a reason for that. Well, many reasons actually. However I think you'll see some good things coming down the pike from the new crew.

intheknow

Had it said...

My son's elementary school just found out last week that we are on the list to be moved to Tier 3. We are already starting at 9:30, which feels ridiculously late (since my middle schooler starts at 7:50). Now we are hearing that next year will be a 9:40 start, and the following year the bell time will be 10 am. 10:00 in the morning! That's not nothing. I'm glad the Title I schools are no longer being asked to bear the brunt of this ridiculous proposal, but that doesn't mean other schools should. There has to be a better way. Come on, Seattle! We have some of the smartest, most well-read and educated people in the country living right here. It's embarrassing that we can't figure this out.

Had it said...

Also, Location Matters brings up a good point. Why weren't any (or all) high schools on Tier 3? Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

I'm really happy there's progress for the middle school and high schooler bell times. I just think it's really shitty they aren't finishing the job and are leaving 13 elementary schools behind. The excuse is a heavy bus bill (anywhere from 3 million to 8 million to 15 million?). So do we just leave those schools behind indefinitely because they're now small enough #s that they'll never be able to get heard? There are going to be unanticipated consequences to these schedule changes, both good and bad. But I think we should all be in it together. That's what public education is supposed to provide.

Prosleep Mom said...

@Had it said
This 10am time is a rumor, and has no basis in reality; please get that out of your mind.

The latest proposal is head and shoulders above all the previous ones. It's not perfect, but waiting for perfect means waiting a long time, or maybe never. Schools at the unpopular Tier 3 have been reduced from 33 to 13; this is substantial progress. Virtually all middle and high school students are at times recommended by the AAP; this is also huge progress.

Logistics has worked hard on this, and has done much more than they said was ever possible before. There have to be considerable efficiencies built into this schedule to make it cost neutral.

We are seriously harming our adolescents; this needs to change, the science is so strong on this. Please ask for more, there are cases to be made, but please look at the big picture and send a letter of support for this proposal. The board needs to hear from us.

Had it said...

Prosleep Mom - your comment about the 10 am start time being a rumor is an interesting one. Our entire school community was informed that this would indeed be the case starting in the fall of 2017. Can you provide facts to the contrary?

Anonymous said...

Support it, no elementary school teacher I know supports the late start time. We've been on the late start time for awhile and see the impact it has on the kids. They're exhausted and don't learn well at the end of the day. Also, I don't think it should be about who wants what. It should be about what is the best time to start school that maximizes learning. Tier 3 is not it for elementary!
ls

GarfieldMom said...

Disclaimer: I am not the expert at transportation/buses that others who read this blog are. I just like to dig into numbers and try to understand them. But I'm a newbie at it.

Routes for regular ed students and HCC students usually have pretty full buses. Routes for SPED and homeless students often don't. Also, regular and HCC routes will have fewer students at the start of AM and end of PM routes as riders get on/off during the trip. So when you see a bus with few riders on board, you can't really know whether the bus is fuller at another point in its route or whether it's a route that serves a specific population.

There are far more routes in play than just the three tiers. Kids go outside the district for special services, or because they are homeless. There are early ed routes, half day K routes, routes for students who get therapy during the day, Team Read routes, routes for students in certain after school programs, skills center routes, routes for SPED kids in transition programs, etc. Some routes are regular M-F, some just one or a couple days a week, etc. Plus field trips and buses for athletics (which are not even included in the hundreds of routes in the database)... there's no two ways about it, we are using a lot of buses.

I looked specifically though last year's database searching for "frivolous" routes and I'm just not seeing them. Every route listed that made me say "huh, what the heck is that?" turned out to have what I would consider a reasonable explanation for its existence, at least on first glance. If someone has different info, I'm all ears.

There are inefficiencies in capacity usage for a lot of SPED and homeless routes, but I understand there are reasons they use buses vs. cabs or other smaller capacity forms of transportation even for small numbers of riders, having to do with how the state reimburses, I think. And I hope no one here is going to bitch about providing transportation for SPED or homeless kids.

It's entirely possible that our vendor (First Student) simply doesn't have enough buses/drivers to go to two tiers and still meet all our other transportation needs. We'll probably never know without a heck of a lot more transparency from the district, which I won't be placing any bets on.

Anonymous said...

Melissa wrote "...the district does not want to clearly explain where all the money is and where it goes. That means we need a change on the Board and...a new superintendent. We need people who want to bring down these walls and these silos."

Melissa, in District 1 it is Christofersen - not Pinkham - who will best fill these shoes you have set out. If you want to be considered an unbiased reporter then you should stop passing judgment on Michael. You have a personal issue with him that prevents you from being unbiased. I note that vitrually none of your statements about Michael's suitability for the office of School Director relate to Michael's positions and ideas.

Michael Christopherson has original and very sensible ideas about how to improve accountability and transparency. Here are links that document Michael's seriousness about addressing these issues.

1. http://info.kingcounty.gov/kcelections/candidatesonballot/pamphlet/pamphlet.aspx?cid=53876&listtype=FILING&eid=1266#c27435

2. http://christophersen4schools.blogspot.com/2015/10/ask-candidate-questions.html

3. http://projects.seattletimes.com/2015/election-guide/#/candidates/Cristophersen

Signed "No I am not Michael"

Anonymous said...

@GarfieldMom
Categorically - First Student can not do two tiers alone. Back in the days when SPS HAD 2 tiers there were THREE Vendors, plus cab/speciality transports for SPED/McKinney Vento etc.

First Student just can't do it with their existing fleet and are already stretched very very thin for qualified drivers.

There are problems getting adequate drivers for several reasons. This is partly due to an upswing in the economy - it's a very low paying job with weird hours and no benefits. When the economy is bad, people will do just about anything. When the economy is better, they have other, more lucrative and attractive choices. That is the current reality. Can the situation change? sure. Will it? This is SPS after all. Who knows!

reader47

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll have an update on the Board races including Mr. Christophersen who says big things that seemingly cannot be backed up. He is a poor choice for the Board. And "No I am not Michael (but probably his wife)" - only two-name monikers, please per our comment rules.

Lynn said...

GarfieldMom,

Can you tell me where you found bus route information? I suspect that if routes were planned carefully within each region the tiers could be shorter.

Prosleep Mom said...

@had it,
Regarding start times in 2017: The union contract specified that all schools would have 20 minutes added to each day, and that the fifth day would be either early release or late start by one hour. It also said they would bargain on the exact implementation of this plan.

If you are trying to add 20 minutes to the school day, you do not subtract 20 minutes from the morning; this would be totally nuts. I have attended many of the community meetings, Board committee meetings and Board meetings, as well as asked the question of negotiator Jon Halfaker at the SCPTSA meeting.

You can read the negotiation paper on this topic here:
http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/News/Whats%20New/sps-mou-20-minutes09122015.pdf

I think the real question about this whole plan, which somehow became a top priority negotiating item in mid-August, is how the District plans to pay for it. The price tag I have heard is $60 million, and also that no funding source has been identified to pay for it. I'm still trying to find the answer to this question. The other questions are what is the impact on teaching and families, is this the best schedule, and where is the public engagement on this plan anyway?

I can only think that something got lost in translation about the 20 minute addition to the day....

Prosleep Mom said...

@Lynn,
I did a Public Records Request for the transportation data set last June. I shared it with GarfieldMom and am happy to share it with you and anyone else who is interested.

Anonymous said...

Mellisa wrote And "No I am not Michael (but probably his wife)" - only two-name monikers, please per our comment rules."

No. Not Michael nor any member of Michael"s family. Michael does in fact have supporters.

I am not surprised to see misattribution by certain posters on this blog.

Christophersen Supporter.

Not Michael.

Anonymous said...

@had it- ProSleep Mom has been very involved in this process from the start, and always seems to have accurate information. If she says the 10AM start for tier 3 in 2017 is a rumor, then I'm inclined to believe that. Proving a negative is hard (e.g. you asking her prove that the rumor is untrue), but if your school has officially communicated this information to your school community, could you please copy/paste that email/letter to this blog? I've seen the letter that was sent to families of one tier 3 school today, and that information was NOT included, so I'd be very interested to see what was communicated to your school.

As far as the 9:40 start for elementary, my kids were in a school with that start time for four years. It wasn't our preferred start, but it ended up being fine. Sports usually didn't start until 5 or 6, since parent coaches needed to get home from work.

This current scenario isn't ideal, and I wish it were two tiers rather than three. However, the later start times for all middle and high school kids in this plan is SO important that even this imperfect solution is an enormous step forward for our kids and the district. If we rally against it and the district bails on the whole thing, they're unlikely to ever revisit it since the staff has been opposed to it from the start. If this gets squashed, and if your start time is already at 9:20, you'd still be at that time, but your kids wouldn't then get the benefit of the later start when they get to middle and high school. The bigger picture is more important than having two tiers instead of three, at least IMO.

-Seattle Parent

mirmac1 said...

"(anywhere from 3 million to 8 million to 15 million?)" I get it. Why the hell is it so hard for the district to comply with full public disclosure?! I've been pushing this for the last 2 weeks. They think everything's "draft" until they post some watered-down version on the website or point you to the F-195. That's BS!

If we didn't have to second-guess numbers that we KNOW are inflated/inaccurate/pure fluff, then maybe we could be rational and less reactive!

Melissa Westbrook said...

"The price tag I have heard is $60 million, and also that no funding source has been identified to pay for it."

I don't know the cost but yes, the district negotiated something they don't know how to pay for.

Anonymous said...

I notice the Seattle Times has the headline "Superintendent wants bell times changed" and presents the latest proposal as a reasonable one set forth by the Super and in line with the AAP guidelines etc (which I agree it is -not perfect- but reasonable and better than what we have or what was previously proposed.). But the thing is ... I'm not convinced the Super (or others in charge at SPS) do want to change bell times. The tone of the article makes the tinfoil hat wearer in me think this is all spin. SPS wants to seem like the reasonable ones, proposing a change to bring start times in line with recommendations and other districts and leaving the community/parents to argue against it (because it doesn't currently work perfectly for everyone) - so that ultimately they can say the communities didn't want this, make no changes, but still come out looking like the good guys. I hope I am wrong but all these years in SPS have made me wary (and weary).
Folks, remember this is how SPS rolls. Pits communities against each-other- it's chess but our kids are the pawns.

tin foil

Anonymous said...

Everyday at Ingraham, one of those Tour Seattle! busses (you know, the kind with big windows and drawings of Space Needle, etc on the side) drops a group of kids off at school. I don't know who the kids are or where they come from, but, maybe Seattle School's could contract for more of these busses. It seems like tour companies would have a surplus of busses and drivers during the "off season". Could be a win-win for all. Just a wacky, out of the box thought.

Gigi

dj said...

My elementary kids will all be on the late schedule under this proposal. Out two-working-parent household has been dealing with the 9:30 start time since it was implemented; a lot of elementary families already are on the schedule. At least we have relatively flexible jobs. Still, with the horror of getting my middle-school student to school at 7:50 or dealing with that child's chronic sleep deficit, as imperfect as this schedule is, I am in favor if it over no change at all.

Anonymous said...

Exactly DJ,

Bailey Gatzert is the only ES that is significantly later at +1 hour. All others are a change of 10-30 min. Most only 10 min. The sky is secured tightly here folks. I do think the district threw some schools under the bus on this one but unfortunately until the State figures out its mess this is the best we will get.

Thanks again to all who fought for this victory. Now let's see how they solve the self inflicted wound of not enough HS seats.

APP Dad

M said...

The current proposal comes at the expense of our youngest children in 13 Tier 3 schools. All our children deserve equal bell times across elementary schools.

M said...

All children in every Tier deserve equal start times. While it benefits older children, it comes at the expense of our youngest children in 13 Tier 3 schools. Let's not penalized the minority in order to make progress. Let's collectively demand a better plan.

Anonymous said...

If our parent community persuades the board to abandon the school start time changes, that will be the end of the matter. It has taken 5 years of advocacy to get to this point, fighting the district staff the whole way. Staff tried to persuade the board that this issue was not worth the time investment & would require taking something off the strategic plan if the board insisted on addressing bell times. It would be a relief to staff if this issue just goes away & they are proved right that it was a waste of staff time.

If our bell times remain what they are now, not only will our teens continue to suffer with all the health, psychological, and academic penalties that go with constant sleep deprivation but many more of our elementaries will continue to be on tier 3 than under the new plan. The new plan is an improvement over the current bell times for most teens & most elementaries.

Yes, the district should hear that their transparency & manipulation through this process has been atrocious. But please do not sink this ship, there is not another one coming.

-Alum

M said...

If being an advocat for what I think is best for my children makes me selfish than call me selfish. I will support equal bell times for all children, and will not support a plan that penalizes a minority of our youngest children. We are these children's voices. Each child deserves equal bell times regardless of their age or Tier.

M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Oh please. Where was your outrage for the tier 3 schools for the last 3 or 4 years?

~nimby

M said...

4 years ago, my child had a MORE reasonable start time and end time. It's been a slippery slope of start and end times since, and will continue under the revised bell time plan. Let's not penalize a minority of our youngest children.

Anonymous said...

nimby - living with tier 3 before (which already sucked) when all the surrounding elementary schools in your community have the same schedule is a completely different situation than being one of 2 elementary schools in your community who start and end school almost 2 hours apart from the majority of schools in the area. This is an observation from someone who does not have young kids/is minimally impacted by the tier 3. I am sick of everyone calling out those tier 3 schools as being selfish/not taking the hit for the greater good.

NE Mom of 3

Lori said...

I have to agree with M, and for the record, I no longer have an elementary student so this isn't nimbyism. But I can see how those pretending it's a victory to have "only" 13 schools on the third tier irritates the families for whom the third tier is a burden.

And as M alludes to, the third tier has been moving a few minutes later year after year, so that they can say "Oh, it's only a 10 minute change" without pointing out that the cumulative effect is something like 40 minutes by now! I remember when the third tier started around 9AM.

I haven't looked at the complete list of third tier schools, but Cascadia at Lincoln is about 750 this year and uses more busses than any other elementary school. Kids in the northernmost neighborhoods have the longest rides and some have no sidewalks. How is transporting them at the height of the evening rush hour and dropping them off around 5PM - or later, with traffic - all winter okay?

And if you're in a K-8 that's moving to the first tier, how is that okay for your middle schooler? What a mixed message. We are moving bell times so adolescents can get more sleep because that improves outcomes, reduces accidents, etc, YET, some small handful of adolescents are being given an *earlier* time next year?

Someone at the Times said it's okay because K-8s are option schools and if you want a later start for MS, just transfer to the neighborhood MS. Is there room for all the grades 6-8 kids at, say, Broadview Thompson to suddenly transfer to the neighborhood middle schools next year? And even if only a small number move, how will that affect class offerings? Is this the best way to support our K-8s?

And what if Cascadia's late start affects enrollment there? Is there room at neighborhood schools for kids to stay? That hasn't been our experience in NE Seattle. The schools have been pushing kids out to APP for years now due to overcapacity.

At a time when capacity is brittle, introducing new variables that will affect parental decision making seems unwise!

Melissa Westbrook said...

I know where they could find some money.

Part of what I told legislators at their "listening tour" on Monday night was that back when I was in school - admittedly a long time ago - we had these "assessments" (called quizzes) that teachers generated themselves. These quizzes were quick and allowed the teacher to assess if he/she was reaching the students and make adjustments. It allowed students to know if they were understanding what was being taught.

We actually (and this is true), got a man to the moon - and back - with this system of teaching and learning.

So maybe we don't need that $3.5M assessment contract. Maybe we don't need to give the Superintendent - who makes more than the governor - a raise or bonus.

There's some money right there.

Isn't it the district's job to make parents happy with the school system and to do everything they can to improve academic outcomes for ALL students? Because parents who are happy invest in their child's education and don't become frustrated and detach from it. Students who get enough rest and feel secure in how they get to school will do better.

Why doesn't the district see this as a priority?

Location Matters said...

It's not the 10 minutes later in the morning, it is the 30 minutes LATER in the afternoon that is the real issue. Again, 9:30 to 9:40 less of a deal but 3:40 to 4:10 is the difference between daylight and sunset in the winter. Again, I have yet to hear why the kids needing the later start times are NOT in the latest tier makes any sense. Let me guess, because it doesn't work for them to get out later in the afternoon? So, biologically elementary does best earliest and high school does best latest yet the district isn't making either of these happen. Also, considering that most high school transportation is Metro-related, wouldn't putting them on Tier 3 be the least disruptive?

Anonymous said...

@M, and to all parents who are upset about being in the 3rd tier: Alum is right that if you sink this ship, another one won't be coming along. You are advocating for your elementary-age kids, and I get that. However, they won't be elementary-age kids for long. Their future selves will NOT thank you for sabotaging a plan that they will need as middle and high school kids.

Elementary school is 6 years; middle and high school are 7 years total. PLEASE look at the big picture, and realize that even though it may be a pain for them to have a later start now (and my kids had a 9:30 start for 4 yrs!), it will DEFINITELY be worth it when they/you get to middle and high school.

For all of us who believe this imperfect plan is still a HUGE step in the right direction, we should be writing/calling the board today to express support of the plan, since the 3rd tier families are likely to be vocal at the board meeting today. The district will look for any excuse to kill this plan, and we can't let the only voice they hear be the voices from the 3rd tier who are against this plan. Again, I speak as someone who lived the late start for 4 years of elementary with 3 kids, but who now NEEDS the later start for them in middle and high school. The later start time will benefit ALL our kids when they get to middle and high school, so we should all join in supporting it.

-Seattle Parent

Anonymous said...

Seattle Parent

Please come and pay for the lost wages of parents who cannot get to work on a regular schedule with children waiting around for bus to school long after the regular work day has begun. The 13 schools that have been singled out for the 3rd tier include many FRL families and I'm sorry SPS, our world is a 9-5 world. It is ridiculous to ask families to have their kids wait around for school until nearly 10am. Get real.

Frustrated in the 3rd tier.

Anonymous said...


Cascadia and TM have always had late starts, because of the lengths that some families have to go to get there it would be impractical to have a tier 1 start. And next year start and end is only changing by 10 minutes.

Many of the other principals were asked which tier they wanted and some chose tier 3 so older siblings could provide child care.

This in no way can be considered a nimby issue as everyone of those ES kids will soon be going up to MS and HS. It's all of our back yard!

This is not ideal but I feel it is as close to that as it can be with current Admin and Board.

APP Dad

Anonymous said...

@frustrated- I definitely understand. We're middle class, and both parents work full time and always have. Child care is a juggling act regardless of when the kids spend their 6+ hours in school each day, but that's what we sign on for as parents, and there's never been a guarantee of start/end times for school. Our school start time in elementary changed from 8:40 to 9:30 from one year to the next in elementary and stayed at 9:30 for the next 4 years, with parents having absolutely no say in the matter.

Before-school care is more expensive than after-school care and that's hard, but the science for middle and high school students is still the same.

From http://www.startschoollater.net/:

The healthy, safety, and equity benefits to starting middle and high school at times more in sync with the sleep needs of students are irrefutable. Benefits include:
• Improved alertness, memory, attention, and cognitive processing skills.
• Improved academic performance that may be twice as great in disadvantaged students
• Reduced tardiness, truancy, and drop-out rates
• More sleep per night and reduced fatigue
• Reduced depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors
• Improved athletic performance
• Reduced risk of obesity, eating disorders, and diabetes
• Improved mood and impulse control
• Stronger immune system
• Reduced risk of stimulant and other substance abuse, and high-risk health behaviors especially during early unsupervised hours in the afternoon
• Reduced delinquency
• Fewer car crashes and better psychomotor performance
• Increased visibility during commutes to school
• Long-term economic benefit. A recent report published by the Brookings Institution predicts that starting high schools one hour later would result in roughly $17,500 in increased future earnings per student in present value - a benefit:cost ratio of at least 9:1. (From: http://www.startschoollater.net)

Again, my family knows about the experience of the 3rd tier first hand, and it ended up being okay. The much bigger deal for all our kids is the need for the later start in middle and high school, which they will get with the current plan.

-Seattle Parent

Anonymous said...

But the current plan is only for one year...what happens when the additional 20 min are added to the school day? 9:00 starts for HS? or 8:20 starts? 10:00 starts for ES? We don't know, but will have little say, won't we? "Only 10 min" adds up after a few years.

-not sold

M said...

Why should a minority of elementary students not reap the same benefits of an earlier start time that is best for their learning, and given to 90% of all other elementary schools with the revised bell times? Why should families in Tier 3 settle for 6 long years of continually later start and end times in order to enjoy 7 good years of start and end times in MS and HS. The cost to our Tier 3 children is too great.

M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynn said...

What is the benefit to the current Tier 3 students of making no change?

Anonymous said...

Yeah Lynn, very true but again it is only 10 min.

APP Dad

Anonymous said...

No matter what the bell times are, there will always be a group of students for whom it is a hardship. There will be students whose bodies don't follow the typical sleep patterns, there will be students whose transportation is different, or students who need to do things for their families or their jobs that are hurt by their bell times. There will be parents with work schedules that are seriously impacted by start times, no matter what the start time is. It is true now that the majority of secondary schools and 33 elementary schools have bell times that are a hardship. This plan will improve that.

Voting this plan down will not improve anything.

-Alum

Puzzled said...

I don't understand why people keep saying that adding 20 minutes to the school day would mean starting school 20 minutes later. Wouldn't that actually be subtracting 20 minutes from the day? It seems that the start times would either stay the same if the 20 minutes were added at the end of the day, or would be 20 minutes EARLIER if the additional time was added to the beginning of the day. Correct?

Anonymous said...

I think it might be helpful to reframe the way we are looking at this issue. The current plan actually *reduces* the number of schools in Tier 3 by a lot. Tier 3 is already a thing; I have had kids in Tier 3 for several years and will next year too. This year there are 33 schools on Tier 3. Next year, under this proposal, there will be only 13. This year, 33 schools start at 9:30. Next year, 13 schools would start at 9:40. That is already a huge improvement vs the current system, sleep studies aside.

Furthermore, of those 13 schools, twelve of them are already on Tier 3. So ONLY ONE school in the entire city is slated to start more than 10 minutes later next year compared to this year. One.

M and frustrated, I admire your idealism, and I think if you look at the big picture you'll realize you already got what you are asking for. Twenty schools were moved off of Tier 3, and 6 of them were Title 1 schools. That's a win.

If you want to direct your advocacy effort, direct it on behalf of that one school that was strangely moved to Tier 3, Bailey Gatzert, a Title 1 school for whom the late start might be a true burden vs an inconvenience. But advocating in the context of one school is much less likely to derail the whole plan.

Tier 3

M said...

Yes, the current plan does offer improvements, but it comes at the expense of Tier 3 children. I fully support bell times that are equal, and the current plan is unequal. Why should the minority be penalized for the majority?

M said...

It is an improvement, but about the other 13 Tier 3 schools? Ignore them?

Anonymous said...

M, please reread Seattle Parent's very comprehensive list above. Especially bullets 5, 10 & 12. These are actual life-or-death outcomes. So yes, in that context, I think 13 schools on Tier 3, 12 of whom would be there anyway, is a fair compromise.

Tier 3

Anonymous said...

M,

You say that the cost is too great to have any elementary students at 9:40 and it is better to leave the secondary schools early. Though that does not help the 33 schools on tier 3 currently.

I understand that you want to advocate for your child. But are you sure, it is better for your child? Do you know that it is more important for your child to have early starts now that to have late starts as a teen?

I remember the kids in elementary school. I was in the classroom a lot so I got to know them. I could never have predicted which one would become a cutter, or be hospitalized for anxiety, or be in a debilitating car accident, drop out, or give up on becoming an engineer because having math class 1st period for 2 years in a row was too harmful. They were all well adjusted, bright kids from supportive homes. Yet all of these things happened in high school to children that I knew from my kid's elementary.

Teens have very little executive function at the best of times, but when they are sleep deprived it becomes even riskier. They don't have even the scrap of emotional resources left to apply the self-discipline required in overwhelming situations. The risks are even higher for students who don't have lots of support at home. The risks for teens are higher than those for elementary school kids. None of us should assume that our children are immune to the teenage pitfalls. Those pitfalls are worsened and harder to recover from when teens are basically jet lagged all the time.

It may be hard to imagine now with an elementary school child, but getting your child successfully through teenagehood can be like walking a knife's edge. I hope you will have the advantage of later school starts when that time comes.

-HS Parent

M said...

I fully support bell times that improve the outcome for ALL children. I do not support a plan that penalizes a minority of students. Aa a parent, I know what is best for my children as you do know what is best for yours. The District has brilliantly pitted parents against parents, and naturally the majority is going to feel it's a fair compromise to leave Tier 3 students behind.

Anonymous said...

M- you don't get it. We already have a lot of 3rd tier elementary schools who start at 9.30 (like mine). This is not a new hardship! Where have you been advocating for earlier ES start times for the last 3-4 years?? Sure, start times will change for some schools but the net diffference is minimal. We will not sacrificing the wellbeing or inconviencing the parents of any more ES students than we currently are (just different communities being affected perhaps). But would be benefitting large numbers of HS and MS students - which will be your student one day!
Look at the big picture.

Think ahead

Anonymous said...

Just want to put in my $.02 here - everyone is arguing how lousy it is that 13 schools are left on tier 3 - frankly, my youngest daughter's elementary is being moved from tier 3 to tier 1 next year and it will NOT be an improvement for us.

I certainly agree with making middle school & high school start later, having a teenager myself, but it is kind of annoying that everyone is assuming that everyone with elementary school kids wants Tier 1. People seem to assume that all younger children are bouncing out of bed at 6:30 AM & ready to board the bus at 7:30. Not the case at all in out house. I'll agree 9:40 is too late, but 8:00 is too early, and that is no improvement.

Maybe having schools in the same area with different start times would give parents some leeway to choose the schedule that works for them (assuming one can get in to any school other than one's neighborhood school, that is - I realize that is not the case everywhere).

Mom of 4

karen said...

I hope everyone on here making reasonable points such as Tier 3's comments at 12:33PM is writing to the Board multiple times! If the Board only hears from folks like M, this is done for good and all these efforts will be lost.

I strongly feel that while this plan isn't perfect, it is a HUGE improvement - one that provides equity for many more children.

Well said, Tier 3!!! I really appreciated the comment. I thought I was the only person left who could see the big picture instead of my elementary kid's sweet little face, which, in a few years will be full of zits and needing a lot more sleep. I can see the big picture.

Anonymous said...

There are elementary schools on Tier 3 (9:40 am) right now who, for their own reasons, don't want to be on Tier 1 (8 am) anyway, so M and others please do not get upset on behalf of those schools if you do not even know what they want. As to the rest, it sounds like some of you on either Tier might be up for a trade? Find a school unhappy with the new start time and propose a switch to the district together. It's worth a try! But let's work together to keep our middle and high school kids at the later start times.

BT

Karen said...

http://seattleschools.org/directory

To NE Mom from several posts earlier, I am picking no fights with the generous transportation comment. I am not begrudging the option schools their bus service, I just think the middle school walk zones coupled with their start times are insane!

To answer your question about what I mean, please click on the above link. Then, scroll down to Salmon Bay K-8 or Louisa Boren K-8 and take a look at their transportation maps. There is a small walk zone at these schools and a huge area that gets transportation.

To put my comments further into perspective, click on any attendance area middle school that you are familiar with and look at how incredibly large their walk zones are. It's laughable to expect these children to walk that far to school - especially when kids need to be to school before 7:30am in many cases! They'd need to leave home by 6:30am or earlier.

So, I don't get how kids who choose an option school get "generous" transportation benefits and petition for the "best" start times while kids who are expected to walk some CRAZY routes to school don't get transportation and are saddled with the "worst" start times. To further that, the "best" start/end times are well within daylight hours, but they are also getting transportation. This unjustly gives "double-safety" to those kids. Meanwhile, some elementary, middle and high school students have "double-danger" by having a very long walk at least one way in the dark. Kids on the early start do their danger walk in the morning. Kids on the late start do their danger walk in the evening.

I hope the Boren K-8 PTA president's interview was heavily edited due to the above inequities of transportation, walk zones and start times. I could never be worried about my child's snack time while 1000's of children were in danger daily.

I hope that ramble makes sense when you look at the maps. People like M that are against their elementary kid starting at an undesirable time while middle school kids face these walks in the pitch black are so incredibly selfish or short-sighted. I don't know which one it is, but it's not looking out for the greater good!

Anonymous said...

What I would like to see is some long term planning information made public. It is not enough just to see next years proposed bell times. If SPS is intending to add 20 mins to the school day (and have a early dismissal day each week) I would like to see what the impact of this will be on any new start times that are implemented.
Firstly, I think it is rather outrageous that the district has decided to adopt this extra 20 mins without any public notification/consultation and the only reason we found out was via the strike/teacher pay negotiations. But even more disturbing is the lack of information about they intend to implement it- for instance would they be:
-adding 20 mins to the end of the day = same start time, later finish?
- adding 20 mins at the start = earlier start time, same finish?
-adding 10 mins at both ends = 10 min earlier start, 10 min later dismissal
-doing the same at every school or would they have some start some earlier or some finish later?
Surely it is important to know now, otherwise in 1-2 years time we will all get a potentially unpleasant surprise that may even negate the changes we would be making for next year?
And anyway, what is the actual benefit of adding 20 mins x 4 days then taking away 2-3 hrs 1 afternoon per week = it pretty much cancels out!!!

Long term planning

M said...

Good point BT and others! I do appreciate the well thought out comments on this string. The trade idea is intriguing.

Anonymous said...

Yeah must not have been communicated correctly, because weekly early dismissals would be shorter overall hours. Could it have been monthly? regardless that issue shouldn't reflect back on these proposed changes. As all of this may change with more money from the state once they fully fund k-12.


-app dad

Robyn said...

I don't think the Board is hearing much support for the latest bell time proposal. So, if you think it's a step in the right direction, you should send them a note! I just got a response from a Director that made me think there are loads of negative comments heading their way but not too many positives.

Tier 3's earlier comment showing the huge number of schools that will have improved schedules proves this is a huge step in the right direction! My kid's elementary will stay tier 3, but it almost has to due to the long bus rides of many students. It's really difficult, but we make it work.

Although not perfect, if you think this is at all an improvement over what we have now, send the School Board an e-mail. Don't assume other people are sending positive thoughts, but you can rest-assured the Board is hearing from many opposed.

Anonymous said...

MS and HS kids need later starts. I have one of those very tired middleschoolers. And I have a Tier 3 elem kid. Yeah, it's not ideal to have a 7:50 and 9:30 start time but we do it and I will be happy for my elem kid to have a reasonable start time when we start MS with that kid because that is really when it counts. I would be much happier with an earlier elem start but for the common good, I'm fine with staying in Tier 3. It an improvement for most schools and more importantly, MS and HS need it. Seriously folks, kids and families and after school activities adjust! SPS has done a fabulous job of pitting us all against each other once again, but if this is the best proposal we can get out of them, then I support it. Get this approved and then start pushing the new Board to get more transparent about the costs and hold SPS accountable to finding a solution or putting the screws to the transportation vendor.
-SPS Tired

Location Matters said...

Why aren't the MS and HS being put in Tier 3? If later is better, then give them the latest start! Parents of older students can leave for work and be (generally) assured that their kids have the skills to make it out of the door on their own.

There are also MANY fewer high schools than there are elementary. Why not make those 13 schools in Tier 3 high schools?

While I can no longer find it on the SPS website, they already have plans in place for the extra 20 minutes. In Tier 3, this means a 4:20 end time.

Again, why are the students who are the most in need and the most capable of self-transport, high schoolers, not being put in Tier 3?

Anonymous said...

Location matters makes a very good point - why shouldn't all the tier 3 spots be MS and HS?
I still think its better to go with this proposal and maybe tweak it in future than to stick with the status quo.

Thank ahead

Anonymous said...

Initially MS was in tier 3.

But many parents complained. Middle schoolers travel longer distances through unsafe neighborhoods after dark & use public transit. Also programs like Team Read depend on ending the same time as high schools. They went to the meetings. So MS was shifted earlier. Frankly I am amazed that a whole bunch more elementaries weren't shifted to 3rd tier to make up for that. Seems like someone in transportation has seriously been trying to move toward 2-tiers.

There will not be any proposal that doesn't provoke many complaints. Every bell time will be a hardship for someone. Someone is going to make sacrifices no matter where this lands, even if there is no change. Even if it is 2-tiers. It is not a question of if, but of who & how many.


-also tired

Don Miller said...

All the advocates for the later bell times are joking right?? My daughter's HS start time will start 10 minutes later than it does now......is that extra 10 minutes going to really make a big difference in sleep deprivation? NO! There are only 24 hours in a day.....you push the start times back so they start later, they get out of school later, the after school activities are later, they get home later, they are doing homework later, they are going to bed later, and they are getting the same amount of sleep.......did we accomplish anything??? NO. You can spout all the "proven medical benefits" but the problem with those is it will only work if your child has no other activities outside of school or home. For those kids who do other things, than the point is mute. SPS needs to stop hiding behind the "we are doing what is best for the kids" and just say we are doing what is most cost effective for us. When have they ever done anything that has been about the kids. If this were truly about the HS and MS kids then no elementary schools would be Tier 3, we all can agree on that. If they are so for changing the times then it should the same for ALL not most.

Broad Mom said...

Mr. Miller, I would have to disagree with you. Your daughter must go to a high school that is already lucky enough to have a later start time. My son's school will start an hour later which I think will make a HUGE difference for his academics. He is chronically sleep deprived. Biologically he has a very hard time getting to sleep earlier than 11 PM or so. Have you seen the studies indicating that this is true for most teens? There will be plenty of time for activities and homework in the 7 hours between 3:30 PM and 10:30 PM.

I truly hope this change happens.

Anonymous said...

This document shows this year's bell times side-by-side with the proposal for next year. There are a couple of high schools already in Tier 2 this year, but most of them are currently in Tier 1.

http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=2927552


Tier 3

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tier 3 (10/21/15, 12:33 PM) – that reframing is really helpful.

I have always been in favor of later starts for MS and HS. Even before we got there, even when our elem school started later. Just from reading the research. Now that I have kids there, geez louise – it’s the right thing to do. And I agree, we don’t want this train to leave the station w/o headway because I doubt there will be another go round. A key aside -- this initiative has been in the works for YEARS. Surveys and committees and task forces and public testimony and public meetings/ community outreach. I know some families are new to SPS and are cycling in but the time to protest has past I think.

My personal feelings aside, how do we get around this roadblock?

Two ideas:

1. Would it work to have 13 schools who need to be in Tier 3 CHOOSE to be in Tier 3? With some incentive? Like class size reduction, or funds to go to before school programming, or library/classroom books or tutoring dollars or __________ (insert incentive here). And would this cost less than the figure to get us to Tier 2? That way the school community knows the benefits of the choice. Still might not fit each and every student/family, but nothing ever fits 100%.

2. I would be 100% willing to pay for bus service, just like I did for Pay for K and like I do for school lunche. It is a big convenience to have my child transported to and from school. I understand not everyone is in this position but should we at least talk about it? Check my math (not my strong suit) 53,000 SPS students minus 19, 610 (which are the 37% which are FRL) = 33,390 / $5million (one estimate to get to 2 tiers) = $150 per year per kid. (/10 months of school = $15 per month per kid) Right? Are there enough people who can and are willing to pay for bus service to make it reasonable. We could even have a scholarship system where families could pay more?

I’m just tossing out ideas.

signed,
eleanor

Anonymous said...

The idea that some might pay some for transportation is interesting, but you'd have to subtract all those in walk zones as well. And those who are eligible for buses but don't use them (I drop my daughter off at her school because it is on the way to work for me and we can leave 20-30 minutes later.)

I'm also interested in allowing parents to opt-out of bus routes on an annual basis. Right now the buses are "full" but because of people like me, they have lots of space, typically. If we could have a way for some parents to just say that they don't want bus service for the year, then we could run fewer buses... Right now there's no way to do that. And you can't really charge people if they want to opt out entirely and can't...

Another transportation issue is what happens when families lose service based on the boundary restructures? With the new WP site schools opening up in 2017, there will be more boundary jockeying that will affect communities and bus eligibility. For next year Hazel Wolf families in the Eckstein service area are losing bus service but I hear there are currently 6 buses that come from the Eckstein service area to HW. What if those families were willing to pay? What if there were designated hub stops so the bus would only need to make 4-5 stops rather than a dozen stops? Some of those families will lose transportation in 2016-17 just to regain it possibly when the Eagle Staff Middle School opens in 2017 (in the Mapleleaf, OV areas.)

It's a complex issue, certainly.

~bussing madness

Anonymous said...

Oh - and Licton Springs is going to be dealing with families losing transportation as will likely Broadview-Thompson. Also, as communities move to interim sites and pick up community members close by as students and then move to other sites, they will as well. Hazel Wolf gets it a littler earlier than some of these other communities, but it will continue to be an issue and it would be great to come up with a reasonable solution. Salmon Bay is an example from the past where a solution would have really helped that community.

~bussing madness

Lynn said...

eleanor,

I believe the district is only willing to make a change that is cost-neutral - so giving Tier 3 schools benefits in exchange is not likely to happen.

Only about 18,000 students were riding yellow buses last year.

State transportation funding is based on estimated cost for the current year and is limited to the prior year's actual cost (adjusted for schools that are opened or closed.) If we were to charge a fee for riding the school bus, the next year's funding would be reduced by that amount. The state funding calculation also takes into account efficiency - so if we were to switch to two tiers and increase our costs by $8M, the next year's funding would increase, but likely not by $8M. Staff has not provided any data on this. The other question is where we'd find additional buses and drivers. I hear this is also a problem.

Anonymous said...

Rats. Forgot about the walk zone and 'opt outs' of bus service.
Double rats that only 18K rode the buses.
Triple rats that charging for service would reduce our state funding allocation

more rates about the cost-neutral meaning benefits in exchange wouldn't work.

oh well

:( eleanor

Anonymous said...

Response to my email supporting bell time changes for MS/HS:

Thank you for your email to the School Board regarding your support of the 2016-17 bell times for our District. We appreciate the time and effort you have made to contact us.

The most recent recommendation detailing proposed times at all schools was released on October 13, to schools and public, to allow for community review and send feedback before the November 4, School Board vote on the 2016-17 transportation standards. From the community input we have received, it is apparent that most families desire either Tier 1 (8am start time) or Tier 2 (8:50am start time). However, the District does not have the funding for only a two tiered- transportation system, which requires more buses and is estimated to cost between $8-15 million. Therefore, a Tier 3 transportation system must be maintained, while working to build a schedule to accommodate later start times. With limited funding, the Board has limited options.

In late September, the District held five community meetings to review and comment on a draft recommendation. The feedback received indicated that moving Title 1 schools to the latest arrival time (Tier 3) would worsen the opportunity gap for students who face some of the greatest challenges. Therefore the decision by the Superintendent and his leadership team was made to update the recommendation to move all Title 1 schools to Tier 1 or 2, and create a budget neutral scenario for the rest of the school’s bus routing system. In this way, there will be less schools in a Tier 3. Through implementing these priorities, the District will be able to reduce the current (2015-16) number of Tier 3 schools (33) to 13 Tier 3 schools in the current 2016-17 recommendation.

The District continues to take feedback on this recommendation at the arrivaltimes@seattleschools.org until November 2nd. Your input will help guide the district to make the best choice for our district.

-change BTs

Anonymous said...

Yes, congrats seems to be in order for the majority. Please thank the minority of students riding Tier 3 buses for the victory. Has anyone seen the details behind the $8-$15 million estimate for two tier busing?

Anonymous said...

Our current system costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $2400 per rider annually, per OSPI. I don't have the report right in front of me with that figure but it's far more than I expected and more than I have seen reported by the district.

The issue of ending up with reduced efficiency is hard to figure out. There's a formula for efficiency but Seattle's efficiency is always 100% apparently because we are so much bigger than anyone else we can't be compared.

GarfieldMom

Anonymous said...

So if all high schools go from 8:50 to 3:20, does that mean sports practices will run until 6:30-7pm? That will push dinner time for families with kids in Metro sports to 7:30 pm or later. I guess maybe those kids can adapt to eating later, and football softball etc can play with lighted fields, but what about cross-country? Running through some of the more woodsy and isolated trails in the dark wouldn't be possible because of safety concerns. .

I know many who read this blog don't think that sports are important; but high school team-sports can teach kids many valuable skills if the coach does it right (and the parents aren't vainglorious loons living through their kids' accomplishments) - kids learn to win gracefully, lose without falling into despair, resiliency, persistence, cohesiveness, unselfishness, team work, sacrifice, courage, pride of accomplishment. Some kids are late bloomers academically, sports can give them self esteem and confidence, teach them to work and play pwell with others. And it's also fun, healthy and keep kids out of trouble and bad choices. I had friends who stopped smoking so they could be better athletes. While I think we go way overboard with the win at any cost and the big money in football and basketball, I think it'd be a mistake to not have school sports. Many families can't afford the high costs and travel demands of club sports.

What are the district's plans for after school sports?


CCA

Anonymous said...

@CCA

My son plays Ultimate Frisbee at Hale. Hale's school day currently starts at 8:40 and ends at 3:10. Ultimate practice runs from 3:30 - 5:00. If a game is scheduled after school, kids on the team are released early from 6th period. I don't have any experience with other sports, but they probably have similar practice times.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Am I wrong, or do 5 out of the 10 Tier 3 elementary schools also foot a yearly $2800 bill for full day kindergarten? Seems like these families are unfairly burdened twice...pay for K, plus lose 100 minutes of optimal learning. Stinks if you live in that neighborhood.

Lynn said...

It's not surprising if that's true. Title I schools were not put in the third tier unless they requested it (Bailey Gatzert.) This is the last year of pay-for-K across the state.

Anonymous said...

Well that's good news. Families won't have to pay $2k to have their 5 year olds start school at 9:40.