I was around then and I always did think of the Alliance as its own separate self but it was very much put forth as being a fundraising (to help meet challenges and gaps and provide enrichment) group as well as a civic cheerleading group for the district. I remember the early years of pre-first-day-of-school pep rallies at Mariners field with a huge number of parents, teachers and children.
But there was a lot of upheaval and the Alliance morphed much more towards its business side. I believe the Alliance was impatience with the slowness of change and very much wished it could control who sat on the Board and their governance.
But these letters! Well, there's some hurt feelings, misunderstandings and at least one item that I suspect could end up in court.
Highlights from the district:
"...to outline concerns about the Alliance CEO."
- discord with former Superintendent Susan Enfield and the CEO of the Alliance, Sara Morris
- discord between former Superintendent Banda and Morris
- discord between Superintendent Nyland and Morris
- MOU had been expired for more than a year, then renewed for three-month periods until March 2015.
- the Seattle Teacher Residency MOA (with Alliance, SEA, UW and SPS) is also expired (but using "expired terms" of MOA.
- the district spent money on a consultant to try to iron out the differences (I recall this)
And, the Alliance funded travel for eight principals without the knowledge of the Superintendent or head of principal development. As well, they allege the CEO spoke to PASS leadership without going thru the Superintendent.
The mission of the Alliance has shifted from supporting student learning to focusing on three things;
- an unsustainable STR model
- a desire to change District leadership either through direct turnover or through governance change
- a desire to be a more independent (critical) voice for change in regard to District leadership.
You are asking SPS to help raise funds to pay for Alliance overhead, to pay for Alliance staff who are critical of SPS decisions and leadership, and to support the funding of programs that are either unsustainable, contrary to the wishes of SPS, or a surprise to the Superintendent. This simply cannot continue, which is why we are moving to dissolve the relationship.
What does this mean?
- It means that SPS will legally separate (with a formal Board resolution, no less).
- The Alliance can no longer use the SPS name in promotional materials or represent SPS in any way without permission.
- The district will no longer participate in Alliance events.
- The Alliance won't be fiscal agent or grant sponsor.
- Discuss how to transfer any SPS collected endowments. This one is the one that may take legal action.
In firing back, the Alliance has its own lengthy letter and even uses a chart, for a point-by-point rebuttal of the District's charges.
- the Alliance is okay with the STR MOA with the district contributing $230K this year and just $50K next year. The future of the program beyond that is murky.
- the Alliance will continue with fiscal accounting services thru this year. They say they would apply to keep doing this if the district has a contracting process.
- Endowments held by the Alliance include exclusive property provisions stipulating funds are the exclusive property of the Alliance. This is where there could be a tug-of-war.
- the issue around the PPPE stems from the Alliance saying that the only grant PPPE ever gave "was overseen by the HR director" who didn't meet deliverables and "the grant was withdrawn.
For the life of the district, I'm not sure what this change means. I don't know how much money will go away. The Alliance will continue on - I was told this - but how they support public education is unclear.