Friday, October 09, 2015

Newest Seattle Schools Messaging on Staff Cuts at Schools

From SPS Communications (to my e-mail at 5 pm):

Media: The following letter is being distributed to all SPS families this afternoon. It is a reminder of our annual required enrollment count process. We are still in the process of finalizing staffing adjustments at schools, therefore individual school information is not available at this time. Once adjustments are final, principals will communicate with their schools.
Dear Families,

Every year at the start of the school, districts across Washington State go through a process of comparing enrollment projections with actual student counts. School districts receive state funding to pay for staffing based on actual student enrollment (counts) as of October 1st. Seattle Public Schools (SPS) undergoes a staffing adjustment process to monitor enrollment at every school, adjust staffing levels relative to actual student enrollment, and comply with negotiated staffing ratios. This process is not unique to Seattle; all districts undergo the same process of staffing adjustments by school relative to the actual numbers of students who enroll and attend. Staffing adjustment decisions are made to match student needs with limited staff resources across the district. 

In Seattle, 52,399 students enrolled in the district this year, according to the 10-day student enrollment count. That is an increase of 411 students over last year. While we have more students this year, the number is lower than we projected by 675 students.  This translates into $4.23 million in less revenue, not including the enrollment decline impact on Special Education, Transportation or Nutrition Services. The reduction in staffing allocations will reduce the impact of the loss of revenue. The number of students who left the school district to go to another is higher this year than last year.

As your principal may have shared with you, staffing adjustment recommendations were developed by a team of representatives from School Operations, Human Resources, Enrollment Planning, Special Education, Budget, Capital Planning, Continuous Improvement, and English Language Learning using enrollment data. The team considers multiple factors including equity and detailed school, class and program configuration. Staffing allocation analyses are conducted at the individual class and grade level. Staffing allocations were reviewed and approved by the Superintendent’s Cabinet. Some schools have additional enrollment and require additional staff.  Some schools have lower enrollments and require staff reductions. 

It is important to note, teachers and instructional assistants will continue to be employed by SPS. Each staff member will be reassigned to another school. This process is a careful matching of individual skills and qualifications of certificated staff to school positions and needs.

Eight start-of-school substitutes were added district-wide and funded centrally in schools where principals believed their enrollment number was going to be higher than the district projection. Principals used this resource to support start of school efforts. The goal is to reduce the number of classes without a teacher, and to mitigate for last minute enrollment changes. Based on enrollment counts and class configurations, seven of these eight substitutes will be removed from their schools and returned to the substitute pool because anticipated enrollment did materialize at the individual schools.  The eighth will be converted to a teaching position to support enrollment. 

The School Board has highlighted resource stewardship as a board priority, refocusing the district on the importance of assuring responsible management of its limited funding. While more students are enrolled this year, the number is still lower than projected. With less revenue district-wide, SPS must reduce the staffing budget from schools with lower enrollment and add staffing budgets to schools with higher enrollment to ensure our class sizes and support personnel are equitably distributed to best support all students’ teaching and learning. 

Additional good news is that elementary schools have benefited from an increase in funding for teachers in order to reduce class size (about one additional teacher per building) as part of the Legislature’s action in June.  And the district has invested more in staffing for unique situations (mitigation) than we did last year. Reductions are never easy – and especially so after the school year begins. Average class sizes district-wide, however, are improved over last year at the elementary level. 

We know that these changes are not easy for our schools, students, staff, and parents/guardians.  Such decisions are a delicate balance of financial resources and needs across the entire school district. Our district team takes this work very seriously and tremendous effort and thought goes into every decision about every classroom in every school as the team works hard to allocate limited resources to the greatest need.  In a situation where one school loses a staff member, that individual is moved to a school which has less staff and desperately needs more.  

Staffing adjustments are being finalized, and your school principal will communicate that information once completed.

Michael Tolley                                   Flip Herndon
Associate Superintendent                   Associate Superintendent
Teaching and Learning                       Facilities and Operations


#Weird said...

I'm finding it very hard to believe that this e-mail didn't come directly from the superintendent. Instead, this e-mail was sent from Michael Tolley and Flip Henderdon.

To make matters worse, Tolley/Henderdon throw the board under the bus.

Where is Nyland in this story?

Anonymous said...

Can I admit that in addition to the content, it grated on me that they don't seem to know the difference between a countable and an uncountable noun? Fewer teachers, not less, Dr. Tolley. What hope for our students if the head of C&I doesn't even know the difference?

Also, such BS about average class sizes being smaller at the elementary level. Unless I'm missing something huge?


Ann D said...

Principals are experts in enrollment projections how?

Also, why not give a two week window to give parents and their students a chance to switch schools and balance resources that way first. If you know the option might be better ELL or slightly smaller class sizes or even a more desirable school or location then maybe the change could happen at the student level. But no one ever offers the option.

Anonymous said...

flibber has concern over....

the difference between a countable and an uncountable noun.

Hey with Readers and Writers workshop how can you expect Tolley to know this?

I mean really is precision with language of any importance "to be College and Career ready"?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

The real problem.... Special ed IAs being cut at every secondary school, and cut drastically. The "access" program cuts along with the "we will use IAs anywhere we want in the building" clauses in the contract are coming home to roost. Some special ed classrooms will literally have 0 staffing. Teachers haven't been hired, subs are never available, and IAs have been cut or are on various leaves. Nobody is driving the boat. Meaning.... sped classes have 0 staffing. Good thing the students are non verbal, because who knows what doozies they would come up with if they could only speak. This situation is WAY WORSE than elementary staffing being off by a kid or 2. Nobody really believed there would be smaller classes did they? What we really need is a parent strike! Especially parents of students with disabilities.

Sped Reader

Anonymous said...

A little confused about how - if the whole system has less money - all these staff are still being retained within the system? How does that math work?


Anonymous said...

This is an abysmal bit of public communication. Condescending, passive, and inscrutable.

A kick in the teeth to families who are already reeling because they've just lost their teachers.

Is there no one at SPS who (a) can write coherently and (b) is tasked with communicating with parents proactively (BEFORE public outcry)?

Just awful.

Imagine what it would be like to live in a city where doing things better was at least something we pretended to strive for.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sped Reader that we need a parent strike with 52,000 students not in school next September.

SW Mom

Anonymous said...

It is outrageous that sped staffing numbers are not included in the released information about cuts.

-HS Parent

Anonymous said...

Well it's definitely written to obscure rather than inform, but then that's the SPS way, right? Sigh....

Here's the one line that stands out to me:
While we have more students this year, the number is lower than we projected by 675 students

So....what that says to me is "we screwed up on projecting so your kids are going to have to suffer upheaval, but hey, we tried...."

bleaaahh - these people are so obtuse. You got it wrong, so YOU, SPS Admin, should have to lose someone on YOUR payroll, not at the school level. You have jobs BECAUSE there are schools. Why is it y'all keep forgetting that? Sigh....


Tresanos said...

I just read today's Seattle Times article on enrollment and staffing changes. The Times article quoted Nyland as saying that "schools near district boundaries 'lost students during the strike as parents found spots in Highline or Shoreline or Renton.'" This statement is very disappointing because at leadt in the case of Shoreline it is patently incorrect. Shoreline is not accepting out-of-district enrollments at most grade levels. In NE Seattle the entire SOS-Shoreline boundary belongs to Olympic Hills elementary. Not only did that school not lose a teacher, they are actually GAINING a teacher. It is very concerning when the Superintendent himself makes a statement so contradicted by data. One might almost think the goalis purely messaging-- to associate any negative news item with the teacher strike. Dr. Nyland, I am very disappointed by such tactics.

Anonymous said...

Michael Tolley didn't have time to write a letter that didn't expose his pomposity and obtuse nature because he spent all week threatening staff at schools, rejecting their feedback, and reprimanding those who disagree with him. Even when later, he decided he was wrong.

My favorite in this letter is that they want parents NOT TO WORRY! Staff will still have jobs! What about my KIDS, who just got used to one schedule, settled in a series of courses with familiar teachers, who have to start from scratch? Do they have no kids, or have they never worked with kids before? Moving class on Oct 12th SUCKS. Combining geometry with algebra SUCKS. 28 kids in an elementary class in a growing part of town with inevitable incoming students (like all of the last 4 years... LOOK at the data!) SUCKS. I'm happy to hear that the teachers have jobs, but I'm more concerned that this district screws up enrollment EVERY YEAR and kids pay the price EVERY YEAR.

The district office needs to learn that they're simply employees, like the rest of us, not gods or royalty. They work for us, with us... not above us. They are not our bosses, they just have a different job than we have. They should actually enter our school buildings, engage in dialogue with staff about needs and trends, and learn from us. We staffs are NEVER surprised in the number of !surprise! kids that show up to our school the way the district is.


Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the classroom teachers that are being cut are not losing their jobs, but are being put into the sub pool, so they will still be collecting the same paycheck. So where are the savings to the District if we are still paying for those teachers? Why not just leave them where they are? Make no sense, and as some have suggested, seems punitive as a sort of retaliation for the strike.

Not Impressed

Lynn said...


The money is saved by not hiring substitutes over the course of the year.

Meg said...

wait... SPS knows that the number of students leaving the district this year for other districts is higher than in past years?

They have long admitted that they do not track on reasons students leave the district - whether for private, or moving away, or to squeeze into another district (many of which, as has been pointed out, have closed to additional out-of-district students). How are they so sure that students left because of the strike, rather than maybe being on the waitlist for another district all summer?

And if they have the data, why are they not sharing the public enrollment data about students leaving SPS for area private schools or other area districts?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sped Reader that we need a parent strike with 52,000 students not in school next September.

SW Mom

How, exactly, will that help students? Missing days of school, again? If you want to send a message, OPT OUT of SBAC. This school year.

When a student leaves one district for another district, they fill out an inter-district transfer form. SPS should have data on the number of transfers both in and out. If a student chooses private school, or moves, they simply don't have a record of where they went.

-a reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Flibber, I'm with you on less versus fewer.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it would be helpful for readers to post their thoughts on the Seattle Times story so that casual readers get a more balanced sense of the problem.

I know it is hard to get projections right, but why the district insists on not just saying that ----- and instead blames an enrollment projection error on the strike -------simply seems wrong. It's an incredibly provocative statement. I had hoped Dr. Nyland was a more thoughtful leader than this statement indicates, so I am deeply, deeply disappointed.

This appears to be another example of what many of us think is the true problem with SPS: deadwood + rot downtown. Blame "it" on families. Blame "it" on teachers. Never deep self-analysis of JSCEE. Never an apology. Just stonewalling.

If we can't fix the core how can we ever keep the branches --- our schools -- healthy?


Lori said...

SPS *could* track where students go when they disenroll. If you look at the on-line form for disenrolling, they don't even bother to ask. They could add a few checkboxes for "moved" or "private school" or "homeschool" at a minimum. If I worked in enrollment planning, I'd kinda want to track those sorts of trends.

Then again, not everyone officially disenrolls. But, they could do outreach, right? Do schools do this themselves? If a student is on their roster but hasn't shown up all of September, do they call those families and inquire? Or does no one try to find out where that student is?

I also wonder if with inter-district transfers, they don't become official until October 1, which is maybe why Nyland said what he said? Let's say I request and get granted a transfer to Shoreline in the spring for the next school year. Perhaps Shoreline waits until they have their October 1 numbers before officially claiming the SPS student? Or do you lose your SPS spot as soon as you are granted the transfer? I'm just thinking out loud about how it might be possible to have it *appear* that a bunch of transfers happened in the fall when in reality families had those plans all along. Just speculating.

And I have to agree with those on others threads who feel that increases in disenrollments are due to instability and unpredictability. With a kid in the class of 2021, I have absolutely no idea right now where she will go to or graduate high school. After all the other capacity-related stressors we endured over 6 years, we sought other options and took one. I just couldn't handle the drama and uncertainty any more. It's sad, because in my heart I'm a public school parent and supporter, but I had no idea it would be so exasperating and, quite frankly, detrimental to my emotional well being.

Anonymous said...

Exactly Lori, I was a private school parent for K-8 with my kids partly because of the instability of SPS. It was choice schools at that time and it was too stressful with the lotteries, etc. We only opted for public high school because my kid wanted a bigger school and I was okay with it because I knew which school. With boundaries changing and limited option seats in high schools it is no wonder people are voting with their feet.

As I stated before, everyone I know of that opted for Shoreline schools did so in May. They never intended on attending SPS. The teachers' strike had absolutely nothing to do with it.


said-it before said...

Surrounding districts are smaller and there's more accountability at the central office. Seattle is too big. It's central office is overpaid,under-performing and seems accountable to no one. Isn't that what happens when companies become too big? Name a corporation that kept quality when it stopped being local? SPS is not local anymore. It has grown into a behemoth with the money soaked up by the management class.

Also, the teachers were on strike several weeks ago. We didn't need soup or smiles. We needed parents to be out there in red shirts with picket signs getting in the faces of central staff. Today would be a different story if we'd been in solidarity together. Teachers and parents have far more in common than parents and administrators. Too late.

Melissa Westbrook said...

It's central office is overpaid,under-performing and seems accountable to no one."

That kind of sums it up.

We didn't need soup or smiles. We needed parents to be out there in red shirts with picket signs getting in the faces of central staff. Today would be a different story if we'd been in solidarity together.

Not fair and kind of ungrateful. Teachers have a union to guide them and parents have? PTA which, on these things,supporting parents at a district-wide level, is not good at it. PTA is more comfortable in legislative and fundraising roles.

It would be great if the TEACHERS now rose up to support the parents.

Jon said...

Again, there's a very simple solution to this issue. They could cut staff at headquarters instead of teachers in the schools.

kellie said...

I just finished reading all the staffing adjustments posted in the other thread. The staffing adjustment recommendations completely contradict this message, in its entirety.

The staffing recommendations are primarily opportunistic staffing cuts. The cuts are deeply targeted at schools where by the creation of the "additional split grades" there would be minimal overage fees paid to the teachers.

So another words ... someone with a very sharp budget eye (and that is no-small-compliment - a very talented budget analyst did the work). Took at look at every school to examine for any possible savings.

So this is where my ongoing theme of "Who is in charge of the work of education?" comes in.

The list of savings opportunities, is just that, opportunities to save a few dollars. It is a neutral documents. It is not an education decision.

However, the majority of the items are the list would be immediately rejected by anyone who was focused on education.

The Schmitz Park example, was particularly shocking to me. Schmitz Park has been called Schmitz-mille because of the ridiculous over-crowding. They were given a full time sub at the beginning of the year with the expectation that they were going to need an additional teacher.

That school has been incredible with all of the intensity of the portables. And ... They want to

* +1 student above projection
* Do not require additional FTE due to class config
* At 26 FTEs, 2 splits and 4 class overages

So SPS is saying that at one of the most crowded schools, you should take advantage of the opportunity to save an FTE that would have been given under the funding formula, an instead have two splits and 4 class overages.

I am shocked and that does not happen often.

Anonymous said...

We sent our kid private in 2013-14 without letting the district know. It might not have been nice to do it that way, but we never heard a peep from the district asking why the no show.

-No Show

said-it before said...

Please, we would have zero credibility if we tried to rise up again. Even and especially with parents. This is your gig. Don't put it on already overworked teachers - remember PATCO? We are at some risk if Nyland should so choose. One crazy Reagan . . . Nyland? Besides, we didn't gain much.

Parents, your kids are valuable. You have the most to lose. Get your red shirts out of the closet, put picket signs in your hands, and become visible. There are more of you than there are of us.

BTW, I agree with Jon. There is too much money at headquarters. Somebody else said administrative staff was cut before. Why not now? Two school staff members plus for one Halfaker? Put two Halfakers together and you get five school staff people. And that's just a start. Could the board make that happen? Are these people all protected by contracts? I know teachers under contract cannot lose their jobs. They can be shifted but they must remain on the payroll.

Anonymous said...

We went private in 2013-2014 as well. I did notify the district and told the school. Still, on the first day, apparently they called my daughter's name in every class for attendance. Then we did an interdistrict transfer to Highline for my son the following year. The paperwork and transcripts had to be done in June, which we did. Still, he was sent a bus assignment and schedule for his high school in August. Not sure what else we could have done.

Rare Commenter

Anonymous said...

The District has data on the number of homeschoolers because, like inter-district transfers, there's a form. Homeschoolers file a "Declaration of Intent to Provide Home-Based Instruction." The form must be filed annually "by September 15 or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester," so in the fall. This is data all districts have. SPS might have seen a spike in homeschoolers this fall due to the ruling on charters. Students filed "Declaration of Intent" forms to stay enrolled at Summit.

-a reader

mirmac1 said...

I'm finding a strong correlation between the "top secret" WSS equity committee's (headed by Clover Codd) largess, and this claw-back of funds. Enrollment my &^$. The cuts correspond nearly one to one to the reduced class sizes in high poverty schools of 1:22. Compare

Briefing Staffing Adjustment (who are they briefing, I wonder?)

2015-16 WSS school budgets This file is a huge spreadsheet with many tabs. Download from Scribd in .xls format. There are many hidden columns and rows. Expand them for a better understanding.

On the "staff stds-elem 1" and "2", scroll to the bottom of each schools allocation. You will see where FTEs "above model" are listed. Yet in the Reg allocation FTEs are calculated using 26:1 for K-3 and 28:1 for 4-5.

I don't think this is a change in enrollment, it is taking back the WSS reserves. Doesn't matter if it hurts kids and places them in crowded classrooms.

Anonymous said...

Re: Kids leaving for other districts...

Shoreline announced early last year (February?) that it had closed enrollment for out-of-district students, grades K-6. What I think may have happened is that Shoreline, and perhaps other districts, had out-of-district kids on wait lists all summer, and the wait lists were moved after school started in those districts. This could have happened during the SEA strike, but I think it was purely co-incidental. If Shoreline is like SPS, out-of-district students are the last to be let in.

There is a form that has to be filled out and sent to SPS (the resident district), and

"The transfer request is not complete until the resident school district has submitted the request to the nonresident school district, and it has
been accepted. The student remains the responsibility of the resident school district until the effective start date at the nonresident school."

Link to Choice Transfer Request Form:

So, SPS should have received these forms and knew how many kids were on wait lists for out-od-district schools.

Also, just K-6 was closed in Shoreline (Shoreline elementary schools are K-6). I wonder how many transfers were accepted for grades 7-12? I've heard rumors, for instance, that some Hazel Wolf K-8 families enrolled their kids at Shorecrest HS, rather than at an SPS high school.

The upcoming elementary school boundary changes and middle school assignment changes are probably a big reason why families are fleeing to out-of-district schools. The School Board approved a total of 21 independent boundary changes for North Seattle in 2017, with chunks taken away from the attendance areas of 16 different schools and given to neighboring schools. The most-highly impacted schools are those near the Shoreline border (John Rogers, Olympic Hills, Northgate, Olympic View, Sacajawea, Broadview-Thomson, Viewlands, etc...).

Link to 2017 boundary changes:

- North-end Mom

said-it before said...

Interesting mirmac. I think high poverty schools (aka high at-risk schools) should have class sizes as low at 1:18. Perhaps the money being spent for pre-K which does have controversial results/data should be going to really reducing even further those class sizes. Keep commitments to class size and staffing at the rest.

Does anybody down there really think these things out?

Anonymous said...

I'd say mirmac is on to something. Some students will need more resources than average (that's the reasoning behind WSS weighting factors), but at some point the effort to balance resources goes too far and cuts into the bare minimum that all students need. At what point do the cuts go too deep and need to come from elsewhere, not from classrooms?


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I understand, but are you saying that the district is seeing it as an equity issue and they want to spend the money on high poverty schools. Since they have chosen to spend the money elsewhere, the district doesn't have the money they want to do things that they think will increase equity so they are squeezing every dollar (teacher) they can out of schools so they can spend the money where they want to spend it? Is that what you are saying?

Kellie, if you are right and I understand correctly, it is pretty amazing budget cutting to figure out how to cram students into split classes without needing to pay over for that. I've had large numbers of kids in my classroom before but did not get overage help because theoretically, in the building, we could have made a split grade class and reduced the numbers. (Like that would have helped; a first/second grade split with only 4 first graders in the second grade class.) Works on paper, but not in reality. I've always chosen to keep the larger class so that they kids could stay together.

Really this should be about the kids and not just mathematically moving teachers around. I know it has been said before, but if they laid off a few over-paid people at John Stanford there would be more money for mitigation. At this point, there is no pain for downtown people if the numbers are wrong. It's only the kids, families, and teachers who are feeling it. Until the district feels it, nothing is going to change.
Lousy Process

Watching said...

I'm hearing stories that SPS has K classes with 26 and 29 students.

Ann Dornfeld is doing a story on this issue. If you have a child large elementary classroom and/or experiencing the loss of a teacher Ann Dornfeld.

We have some very large elementary classrooms. Do we know whether or not private prek classrooms are within these buildings?

Mirimac's Briefing Staffing Adjustment document is disturbing. Kids aren't widgets and shouldn't experience this level of disruption.

Watching said...

Clarification: If you have a child in a large elementary classroom and/or experience the loss of a Ann Dornfeld.

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

Both my kids had K classes in SPS of about 26 students (9 and 15 years ago) - with no aide. One of those classes had 2 students with Aspbergers/autism and about 6 ELL students, with only minimal pullouts or help for those students. That's too big, but we dealt with it.


Anonymous said...

Coe has kindergartens with 30 kids in them right now. Why is SPS staffing at 26:1 in K-2 if the state is funding K-2 at 22:1 this year? What is SPS doing with that extra money? And how is it legal to have 30 kids in a kindergarten if they are being funded at 22:1? Does the district have checks and balances to make certain class sizes are lower? Those parents are paying almost $272 a month for their kid to be there all day with 29 other kids- that seems criminal. They'd be a lot better off going half day in a class of 15.
QA Dad

Lynn said...

The state only funded lower class sizes for high poverty schools this year.

Ed said...

Really, Tolley doesn't care what any of us thinks. He is a MGJ hire and therefore, untouchable.

The last cut in central administration was in the 70's.

Anonymous said...

@Ed, the last cut in the central office was in the 70s because of a LEVY FAIL

The Staff have GONE OUTSIDE THE WSS to yank teachers because they could: when you have a big school like Schmitz Park, with so many sections, mashing them together, creating lots of splits, ends up being able to squeeze out a teacher and therefore save one FTE.

This, to a school trying to manage the MAJORITY of their children not in their building.

If we are so hard up for funds, then layoff the change management project management and deputy super -- layoff the really high big wigs; no kid will miss them, and total quit the whole Amplify/Beacon testing scheme, that too will save millions. SSP will keep on sailing without Charles Wright and without Amplify. How about we dump the teacher mentors too?

I will vote no on the levies, the for first time ever. Assuming it fails, I will vote yes when they bring it back 6 months later provided they can point to 10 JSCEE employees who earn $100K+ that got laid off.


n said...

Oh please watch right now. It is CSpan book TV panel talking about Dale Rusikoff's book The Prize talking about the 100million Zuckerberg gave to Newark's schools. Since you missed the beginning, find it and replay it. Several excellent panelists one of which is a Kipp direct who said that the biggest difference between Kipp and public schools is that the money gets down to classrooms in the Kipp schools but not in public schools. This is a good program. Mary Bennett just talked about transparency and the lack of it.

I hope, Melissa, you'll watch it. I know you will be glad you did.

Anonymous said...

Re: @Ed "The last cut in central administration was in the 70's."
That is true, yes.

Back in the 1990s though Superintendent John Stanford did cut a layer of central administration, that same type of layer that has been recreated and deepened today. Under Stanford there were some central administrators (too many executive ed director - type positions for instance) who either had to return to being building administrators or were told to go back to the classroom if there were no more building admin positions.

--Baile Funk

Melissa Westbrook said...

Said it before, I will gently said again (myself) that respect goes both ways. I would ask that teachers respect how much the parents of this district do.

If Kellie thinks that something is wrong, that's good enough for me.

Once again, we see the mismanagement of the district in full view. But, as someone who has watched this district, I do not believe most of those at the top are unqualified or lazy. In fact, I think they are smart and know very well what they are doing. I hope to get to a more thorough analysis soon but I'll try to break it down here in brief.

1) Nothing is ever as it seems in this district. Could there be multiple motives/agendas for what staff is doing? Yes. But they will just say they are running a crowded, underfunded district that is still picking up the pieces from a terrible recession in many old buildings. They believe that data is king and parents are basically fundraisers.

One agenda I believe that is in play are a couple of senior staff and outside players trying to take over the district. What better way than to have disgruntled parents, overcrowded classrooms and under-resourced schools? That should NOT stop any parent from rising up.
But knowing what all the cards on the table are is useful.

2) But senior staff have some major problems, some of their doing and some from management teams past. They can't dance away from these problems and are trying to keep most of them on the downlow and divert attention.

app dad said...

"So SPS is saying that at one of the most crowded schools, you should take advantage of the opportunity to save an FTE that would have been given under the funding formula, an instead have two splits and 4 class overages.

I am shocked and that does not happen often."

yeah Kellie splits and overages have been the norm at HCC/APP ES

Anonymous said...

From the staffing recommendations doc Mirmac posted - they consistently use their "projection" errors as the reason for pulling FTEs. So once again, Central gets it wrong and the kids suffer. I still firmly believe whoever did the bad projecting should suffer, not the kids in the classroom. SPS admin continues to pretend kids are widgets on a game board and not flesh and blood humans who might suffer from this upheaval.

bleaaahhh what a nightmare Admin has become...


kellie said...

Another part of this messaging should include.

For the last three years total enrollment has been OVER projected by about 300 students, which was the cause of the October shuffling for the last three years.

So this year, instead of being 300 over, they are now 675 over.

There is a basic flaw in the projection methodology that I have been explaining for years. The same flaw that caused the UNDER projection for so many years is the same issue that is causing the OVER projection.

I am not surprised at all that projection would be over this year. When schools are in survival mode for multiple years, people that would typically have been in public schools begin to make other choices. This pattern has been very clear for over a decade. Once a school becomes "saturated" people make other choices.

In other words, there is a point where a school gets so crowded that people leave the system.

So another answer to the 675 over projections is

* the same 300 over projection, that has been true for three years
* An additional 375 over projection, due to over crowding, and instability around the opening of new schools, bell times and boundary changes, etc.

kellie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kellie said...

@ app dad

Splits and overages are "normal" as in statistically normal, in that many if not most elementary buildings (state-wide) have at least one split class or one overage.

As funding is granted on student:teacher ratio and students do not come in nice neat little packages, every building has the challenge of how to divide up resources. As most teachers and families HATE split classes, for a wide variety of reasons, buildings try to do everything they can to minimize the number of split classes

At many buildings, the BLT has made the decision that in order to avoid split classes, they will over-load one grade and thereby under-load a different grade. For example, to avoid a 2/3 spit, schools will have 3 larger than typical 3rd grade classes and 4 smaller than typical 2nd grade classes.

What is problematic about this round of budget cuts is that ....

* It is one thing when a building decides that they will overload a grade and underload a grade to avoid splits. The cost / benefit is clear and transparent and typically well communicated to staff and families. It is an intentional decision.

* It is another thing, when a school, uses its budget allocation to optimize one thing and then the district comes back and says ... because of the decision that the building made to avoid splits, we can now ask you to ADD a split class and remove FTE.

All of the schools that are listed as "pull due to class configuration" are schools, that are now receiving fewer FTE that the WSS ensures BECAUSE of how the building configured the teachers and classrooms. In the second case, there is no benefit. You now have the split class you tried to avoid AND all of the classes are at max or overload. Here are just a few examples:

Alki - +10 students above projection, pull due to class config
Beacon Hill - 1 students below projection, pull due to class config
Wedgwood - +16 students above projection, pull due to class config

Greenwoody said...

This letter should be Tolley's de facto resignation letter. He clearly doesn't understand the problem and shows no concern whatsoever with the disruption he has caused. And he won't take responsibility for his failure.

If Tolley is still employed by the end of the month, march on JSCEE and demand his head. Seriously, people need to start losing their jobs at SPS over this stuff. Otherwise it will just keep happening.

said-it before said...

It seems they are all too smart to lose their jobs, Greenwoody. So we will continue paying them and their numbers will increase. Sigh.