Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tweets from Press Conference

1h1 hour ago
“It’s a balancing act,” says ’ Jacque Coe — says there are schools that beat enrollment projections and in need of teacher.

“These are not cuts. No one is losing their job,” said spox Jacque Coe of impending teacher shuffle.

Why not allocate teachers conservatively to avoid cuts? says that's logistically tough. Adding teachers also disruptive.

Coe says they’re “moving less than 1 percent of teachers,” and that these are “not cuts,” no teachers are losing their jobs. Teachers will be “moved to positions of highest needs” – if one school has less enrollment, they’re being moved to one where “children have a need for a teacher because of class sizes … it’s a balancing act … it occurs in every district around the state.” 

Class sizes?  Again, the district should, within a week, tell us the class sizes in every building so we can all contrast and compare.

When we’re talking about the overall class ratio .. there’s going to be some variation from school to school.”

Last year, more than 300 students opted out to other districts, Herndon said, this year, more than 1,000. But, he says, they don’t know why those parents opted out. 


She says this was “earlier notification” than in years past. 

She says that they don’t want to slow down the process, because “waiting (longer) will be just as disruptive.”  

Asked again why they don’t have a list of schools that are losing and gaining teachers, Herndon said, “Because we’re still working through the process.” He also said they’re trying to work toward “the least disruption.” Asked how these moves save money, Herndon says, because if they’re moving a teacher from one position to another, they wind up with one position instead of two. The number that’s been circulating, 25, they say, is accurate so far as they know. Coe says she’s hopeful we’re going to have a list “soon.” 

She says almost every elementary school has “an extra teacher” at their building, “but that’s not enough.” Friday, she says, is when they “should know all the staff who are being moved … but it’s still a very fluid process.” The deadline for changes to be in place is October 26th.

Coe says that “private funding” (like the Alki Elementary fundraiser, though it wasn’t mentioned by name) “lets the legislature off the hook” and they would “encourage parents to talk to their state legislators.” 

Asked about the letter that legislators sent to the district asking them to hold off on these changes, Coe says, “When last I checked, the Supreme Court was waiting” (for legislators to fully fund education). She reiterates that it’s not responsible to “dip into reserves.”

I know that Jackie Coe is new but the DISTRICT is also being left off the hook for basic education funding via massive PTA spending on staffing.


Anonymous said...

How rich. In the Operations meeting today, staff is going to discuss efforts for the levy. As of today's SPS press conference I'm not voting for BTA. I don't trust downtown to handle my money wisely which to means sending it right back out to the classrooms. That's my bottom line.

Feel free to spread the word starting today that there will be other parents like me voting like me due directly to central staff's attitude and its philosophy of what's important in this district.


Also done said...

Done, I'm right there with ya. I've voted for levys for over 20 years but not this time.

katie said...

What seems to be missing in this conversation is that SPS has left a lot of money on the table.

The State did increase funding dramatically for lower class sizes. However, SPS can't get that money because they are not lowering the class sizes.

This is really a finger pointing game.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

This does not add up; teachers are not all interchangeable. Will they move a science teacher to fill a SPED role?. A music teacher to fill a math role?

Anonymous said...

She reiterates that it’s not responsible to “dip into reserves.”

So my guess would be it is legal to "dip into reserves".

How rare to bring responsibility into a discussion.

Imagine where a "responsibility" discussion could go.

Boggled Mind

Anonymous said...

Is that financially responsible or educationally responsible?

Inquiring Mind

Lori said...

Seems to me that healthy reserves are there to help get through an emergency or short-term crisis. The legislature is already in contempt over McCleary, so that has to get resolved, somehow, someway in the next several months to what? maybe next year or two?

So new money will be coming in sooner or later, right? Are our legislators really going to go to jail rather than fund McCleary? Are they going to allow the Supreme Court to shut down all schools state wide next year due to criminal underfunding? I mean, the impasse simply has to end at some point in the relatively near term.

And if that's true, dipping into reserves this year doesn't seem irresponsible at all. And if we aren't willing to use reserves now, when would we ever?

Personally, I don't believe any of this is intended to push a mayoral control agenda (suggested somewhere in comments recently) but I do wonder if this is partly designed to stir up parent anger in an attempt to bring the McCleary case to an end via Olympia, with kids, unfortunately, stuck in the middle while the adults argue and point fingers.

Anonymous said...

Do they honestly think we voters are that stupid?

Thinking they can distract us by dangling a bright shiny lure in front of our faces and we will all just not notice that big old elephant in the press room? (That elephant would be the recent raises for cabinet and the hiring of additional high priced suits in JSCEE while they want to make up a tight budget on the backs of kids by yanking teachers).

Parents' priorities: Kids

JSCEE priorities: themselves (at least, that what it appears given their repeated choices, actions, and, staunch defensive of their choices and actions)

The District's spin was insulting. It is not like buildings are dripping with extra teachers and lavished with outlandishly small class sizes. As if.

If this District is coming up short, can't make a balanced budget, then, cut bodies from JSCEE not from the schools. Take from the reserves. Show us you are at least breaking a sweat.

Until the District talks about why we can't afford NOT to have a Charles Wright but how we CAN afford to do without a teacher at Sandpoint or BF Day or Whitman or JAMS, making a cogent and believable argument about their priorities, then, I will just have to stick with my priorities (kids first) and vote NO on school levies.

They honestly don't get it. Its about the kids, stupid. #kidsNOTcuts

Blah blah blah blahing about how were short students, so how we are short money, how we missed projections, how we must cut teachers (removing a teacher from a building is a cut - don't call it a redistribution), etc, is maddening. What about the reserve funds? What about the BALLOONING central staff indirect overhead? What about their recalcitrance to cut themselves? What about their greed in giving themselves raises and lightening their own loads by hiring underlings to do their work for them? (Talking about the cabinet; chief of schools, anyone?)

Nothing else will force them to heel, nothing else will pierce their reverie, nothing else will extract decent management of OUR money to nurture the minds of our children who they are charged to care for and educate. Nothing. Except a NO vote. That is the absolute only thing they understand.

Dr. Nyland, Director Carr, go ahead, blame the legislature (passing the buck and pointing fingers is free, but it doesn't make you all look like competent leaders), but don't forget while you are assessing blame, look in the mirror: why are you spending our kids' money on yourselves, not on them? Why aren't you even acknowledging the surging JSCEE admin costs while you talk about how there is no money for kids and so you must cut teachers and blame the other politicians?

Until you have a moment of clarity and demonstrate to the voters good faith, clear focus on the priority (kids), and careful stewardship of resources and by announcing JSCEE layoff of staff (need suggestions? ask the blogonauts) and cuts in salaries for cabinet suits, don't come looking for a single teacher. And, don't expect that your levy is an automatic pass either.

Only a failed levy can humble you and help our kids. If it passes, it will be more of the same. More talk to the hand, more, 'we can't afford teachers, blame the legislators'. This voter is not taking the bait and biting at the shiny lure. Betting that plenty of other voters are not biting either. People see through you.

Vote NO

Anonymous said...

Regarding the 16.4% increase in the district office budget and the 28.6 new positions... (from the WSB).

The district office budget ($6.1 million) does show a 16.4% increase. Those components are:

• Budget adds 28.6 new positions (salary & benefits)..……………….…………….……….$3.4 million
• Adds board/levy election costs to budget………………………………..……………….……..$1.0 million
• Includes increase in legal services cost………………………….……………………………………$0.6 million
• Includes State authorized 3% COLA………………….………………………………………………..$0.6 million
• Includes increase in State pension funding for all Core Admin staff...………………0.3 million
• Adds amount for important HR class & compensation study…………………..……….$0.2 million

Total……………………………………………………………..……………………………………….$6.1 million

NOTE: The 28.6 new district office positions addressed many critical district needs including:
• Staffing up required special education support positions……………………………….….8 positions
• Adds strategic Initiatives “light version” as discussed at recent work session..……6 positions
• Additional Teaching & Learning instructional support specialist…………………..……4 positions
• Additional classified staff to payroll to implement timely hourly payroll……………..4 positions
• Improve Human Resources service capacity in Labor Relations and Recruitment……………………………………………..…………..…………………………………………………....3 positions
• Strengthen critical Communications Office support……………………………………….……….…..1 positions
• Other grant funded or minor fractional position count changes……...……………....2.6 positions

Total………………………………………………………………………………………………………...28.6 position


Anonymous said...

So around 25 schools are losing a teacher and the district office hired 28 people per the post above. Do they really think we are that dumb?


Anonymous said...

Asked again why they don’t have a list of schools that are losing and gaining teachers, Herndon said, “Because we’re still working through the process.” He also said they’re trying to work toward “the least disruption.”

Does Dr. Herndon know he works for us? We pay his salary? He has to answer to us?

Does Dr. Herndon know his work product, including drafts, such as lists of potential cuts, belongs to the public?

So, if he is 'working through the process' that means he does in fact have a list, just not a final list, and as press are asking for the list, he's got to produce it. Sure, he can divert them and force them to go through channels, but then he only makes himself seem ever so ...petulant.

In essence, he did not tell the whole truth. He danced around it. When asked a direct question, why don't you have a list, he did not truthfully answer, 'we do have a list'.

He obfuscated. He went on about working through the process, which is such a dodge!

If it is not the whole truth, then... was it a truthful answer?

He has a list.

An honest answer would be something like, "yes, I have a list. It is draft. Our process is iterative because we change our minds about which buildings we are really going to cut, depending on many factors, including what politically we can get away with, and so the list is not a final list. But regardless, I won't release even the draft list that I do have, not until demanded to do so via our public disclosure officer who forces me to, because I really don't want to have to answer for the decisions made by me, Brent Kroon, Guillermo "Bill" Echeverria because I can't be bothered and it won't change my actions because I am not going to suggest to Larry that Bill gets laid off and I get a salary cut to make the budget balance without having to resort to teacher lay offs. Plus, I don't want you to see the draft because then you could poke holes in the obvious inconsistencies of how different schools get treated differently and thus with this level of transparency, you would be able to attack my judgement and call out the political stuff."

Him and his SOS (Start of Schools) team (yes, ironic title of the hatchet crew) are doing this in secret without consultation so that communities are caught unawares and are less able to defend themselves against the SOS.

Did Dr. Herndon really think this leadership style will help him pass his levy no problem? That the votes won't ever revolt in an attempt to demand transparent and accountable leadership?


Questioning Numbers said...

Do these "district office" numbers and "leanest" admin include the EDs, the Asst Supers, etc? I don't see the new position for Head of Schools (or something - the new intermediary between the Supt and EDs). Can one of the amazing number crunchers on this blog clarify?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Posted on other thread but the October 2015 Enrollment data (by school and totals) is finally available Seattle Public Schools P223 Enrollment Report
October, 2015(Adjusted, Final)

total student count listed at 53872


Anonymous said...

-Fedmomof2 ... perhaps the Senior staff could do an impact analysis of the Return on Investment in terms of education provided by adding 28 at district office.

I wonder if they believe the shuffling of 25 teachers will have any negative impact on student learning?

I have no idea how these wizards think. I am equally baffled by the Board.

-- Dan Dempsey

Joseph Rockne said...

I will not be voting for any levies (or, indeed, any new taxes until I have some confidence that the taxes are necessary and would be used wisely. We have a hole on this city that wants to be a tunnel. A seawall that is half completed and wildly over budget. Infrastructure that has been allowed to crumble and become inadequate for or needs.

The John Stanford Center sits like a Death Star sucking up money and an incredible rate. There are hundreds of "professionals" that are paid handsomely and do not set foot in our schools. There is an ex general counsel collecting his salary while waiting for the year to which time I'm sure a nice pension will feather is bank account.

Here is what I want. A new superintendent. One that comes from outside education. One that has no plans to stay in education. I want a complete reorganization of the John Stanford Center. I want lean management principles.

The JSC has become a clubhouse where "leaders" hide and our dollars die.

kellie said...

So central office is increasing by 28.6 FTE over and above the increase to central admin.

I read through all the OSPI changes in the funding formula and learned that a large chunk of the increase in state level funding is for lower class sizes. There are lower classes sizes in the formula at ALL grade levels, with big changes at the K-3 level for high poverty schools.

There was a also a 22.6 students was the basis for Lab Science, Skills Center, AP and IB classes. Does anyone know how this is applied at the district level?

I can't seem to find those ratios anywhere in the Weighted Staffing formula.

mirmac1 said...

Kellie, look at the ginormous WSS budget spreadsheet I posted. All ratios are shown. Download as .xls

Anonymous said...

My kid's AP classes at Hale are way over 22.6. AP Physics is around 32 and AP Calculus is around 40.


Anonymous said...


Want to send a message to Dr. Nyland that you will NOT tolerate this cloaked, inconsistent and chaotic teacher cut process? Want to get his attention about something THEY want?

OPT YOUR CHILD OUT OF STANDARDIZED TESTING NOW. Amplify is starting now. Do what is best for your family, but, I will be opting our kids OUT.

If everyone could do this, Tolley and co. will definitely sit up and pay attention.



kellie said...

Thanks HP,

I know that the vast majority of the classes in SPS are not anywhere near what the OSPI documents says is included in the funding formula.

OSPI says funding for secondary is at 28:1. The WSS is at 30:1.

I am hoping that someone on this blog understands why there is this gap?

28:1 makes a ton of sense at secondary. Master Schedules are by their nature inefficient and therefore a 28:1 funding ratio, actually provides enough teachers for a 30:1 contract ratio. In other words, 28:1, creates an overall ratio for teachers to have 140 students each. As students don't come in nice neat little packages, it means that the range would be closer to 130-150 per teacher.

At the moment, there are students at every high school that are unable to get the classes they need because the master schedule is so tight. A change to 28:1 would mean 4 more teachers at Garfield, Roosevelt and Ballard and 3 more at most of the others.

It would also mean 1-2 more at all the middle schools.

I am hoping someone understands this. Anyone?

Anonymous said...

Hale surely needs another Physics teacher and another Calculus teacher. There were a ton of kids who couldn't get into Physics. So many that they made kids choose either AP Physics or AP Environmental, you couldn't do both.


Jan said...

Joseph Rockne wrote: "Here is what I want. A new superintendent. One that comes from outside education. One that has no plans to stay in education. I want a complete reorganization of the John Stanford Center. I want lean management principles."

I want a new superintendent too. But there is no inherent "magic" about educators or non-educators. Plenty of private companies have foundered (or would have, were it not for monopolies) over horrible management. A large local tech company (which shall remain unnamed) spent years thrashing through the blight of "stacked ranking" and misapplied VAM principles -- which killed creativity and collaboration, fostered terrible decision-making, and drove the best and brightest of the high tech graduates into the arms of other tech companies with more enlightened management. It is not alone. We look at these as "successful" companies, because they were big enough to survive the foolishness -- but people inside them can attest to the waste, lost deals, missed opportunities, attrition of best and brightest, etc. caused by destructive management.

And while lean management is nice -- it only works in schools if the ultimate management goals are the support of learning in schools. If "managing lean" just means further starving the schools of support -- it will not result in forward progress. So while a good superintendent may not HAVE to be an educator, they have to value learning -- above ALL else -- and they have to value the huge contribution to learning that is made by teachers -- in classrooms, unfettered and able to use their judgment to figure out how to present materials, motivate kids, instill enthusiasm and a love of learning.

And -- above all, perhaps, they need to be able to identify principals who actually do good principal work, from those who hinder it -- and work on promoting and cultivating the good ones. A poor principal can ruin a good school faster than almost any single other thing, and a good one can save a school the same way -- just see what a difference the principal at Rainier Beach (who I think was not an educator, by the way, but values kids and education -- and is a leader) has made. I don't know him personally, but after years, YEARS of having the District cram one bad principal choice after another (sometimes, two principals at a time -- BOTH bad) on RB, they finally were given some say so into their principal, and I think they have been VERY happy with who they picked. If SSD had the intelligence and humility to go to their OTHER parent communities and ask for assistance in picking principals, they might get these results more often.

Anonymous said...

It might be helpful if somebody wrote up and circulated a carefully and strategically thought out resolution of what needs to happen before fed up SPS parents will be able to back a levy and before they will stop actively encouaging thier neighbors and peeps to vote against. For one the levy should be written to prohibit the district from redirecting and from borrowing levy funds funds after approved. This is one of the many important issues Michael Christofersen talks about. He says the District uses the levy dollars as a slush fund.

Thinking Out Loud

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jan, I agree - the right person, whether educator or not - is the key. What I want is someone who has roots here and wants this job for a long-term. That's why a national search is a bad (and costly) idea.

I also agree that the principal IS the thing at a school and sadly, it very hard to get one for every school.

Mr. Chappelle at RBHS is an educator. I totally agree that communities should be part of a principal search.

Well, under levy rules, I believe that EVERY levy is simply a pot of money. (The Move Seattle levy has that in the fine print - there is nothing that makes them do part or any of the projects listed.)

Naturally, it behooves a governmental entity with its hand out to actually do what is listed on the voters guide, otherwise the next time they have a levy, people can say they didn't do what they said they would.

But yes, the Board could write its own policy on how the district uses levy funds.