Sunday, November 08, 2015

This and That

Hey, the Alliance for Education had their Roaring Twenties fundraiser:

What a wonderful night we shared on Saturday and what a powerful statement of support to the more than 52,000 students in Seattle.  You contributed over $400,000 to support students in our public schools - wow!  This is by degrees a significant increase over the past few years and yet another compelling testatment(sic) to the generosity and commitment to high quality public education that exists in our community.  Thank you!

Well, it's great that they are still saying they want to give to Seattle Schools but I wonder how?  (Oh wait, the first face I see on their photo roundup of the event is...Don Nielson.  Never mind.)

Really good piece from Seattle Education by parent Carolyn Leith on the possible raise for Superintendent Nyland.

As we at this blog have all seen, from the past two school board elections, counting your chickens before you count all the votes is a bad idea.  It appears some pundits (see Publicola) thought that the City Council races were a done deal.  Not so fast.  It appears that Lisa Herbold (over in West Seattle) is close to overtaking Shannon Braddock.  As well, Pamela Banks Tammy Morales is quickly gaining on long-time councilman, Bruce Harrell. 

Some updates on the school board races - all of them have seen the gap widen between candidates.
Pinkham is up to nearly 70%, Geary at nearly 63%, Burke is at nearly 81% and Harris is at about 76%.  Fun fact - every single race had over 300 write-in votes with Pinkham/Christophersen having the highest number at 497. 

Photo: Real Change - Alex Garland
Do you read Real Change newspaper?  I try to every single week; it's a darn good little newspaper AND you find out things you don't elsewhere.  They covered the RBHS issue of needing ORCA cards very well.  I learned these things from the article:

The students outlined short- and long-term goals: First they want 50 orca cards at Rainier Beach High School to double the size of the pilot program, they want low-income youth who live within the walk zone to have orca cards, and they want year-round bus passes for any students receiving free or reduced-price lunches.

Already city officials are responding. The Seattle City Council is deliberating over the 2016 budget, and councilmembers are exploring whether to include funding for bus passes. School Board member Betty Patu said that she was working with Councilmember Bruce Harrell’s office to find a way to provide more passes. Staff at Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s office confirmed that he and Harrell are working on the issue now but could not provide details on a specific proposal.

As well, they covered the announcement of a state of emergency over homelessness by Mayor Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine.  

Both Murray’s proclamation about city homelessness and Constantine’s proclamation on countywide homelessness were unexpected. They come at a time when city budget negotiations are underway. The city’s current 2016 budget proposal allocates an additional $1.5 million to homeless services, with $40 million already being invested annually. This $5.3 million ordinance is a part of the 2015 supplemental budget. 

With the city’s share of the funding, the mayor intends to spend the funds to achieve a number of goals, including investing to specifically address the needs of homeless children in the school system. At Bailey Gatzert, for example, 71 out of 350 students are homeless. 

“Most families will stay in their car, because that’s the last place they can live,” said Lee. The city’s response to vehicle residency includes funds for “operational/navigational support” and security.

Superintendent Nyland, in his State of the District speech, referenced how Bailey-Gatzert students were receiving "food backpacks" - backpacks that send food home for the weekend for kids dependent on school for breakfast and lunch.  (I cannot find in my notes who is helping with this effort but I believe it is Seattle University which is moving mightily to support SPS schools near them.  A big thanks to them for their dedication.)

The last figure I heard for SPS was about 1200 homeless students.

About City pre-k in Seattle Schools, apparently the Seattle Foundation gave out grants and one recipient was Community Day School Association.  From the blurb:

Community Day School Association (CDSA) provides affordable, high quality kindergarten readiness and before- and after-school enrichment programs in Seattle Public Schools primarily for underserved children. CDSA develops strong partnerships in the community to deliver effective programming – partnerships include free rent through Seattle Public Schools’ Community Alignment Initiative, ...

I think the new Board should reconsider this idea of free rent.  With space a premium and dollars being stretched thin, maybe now is the time for nominal rents at Seattle Schools for all groups accessing SPS' buildings.

Here's an interesting ask from the Attorney General's office: can a school board director serve on another public board?  I'm not sure who Rep. Sam Hunt (who is asking for the opinion) is referring to but he's looking for guidance.  Apparently someone is both a school board director AND planning commission member.  Things like:

3. Does holding such dual positions violate the appearance of fairness provisions of RCW 42.36? How is that determination made, and what remedies are available to address it?

4. In the scenario presented, what obligations does Washington law impose on the person holding dual positions in regard to confidential information?

5. Under what circumstances, if any, may a school board exclude an elected member from executive session because of concerns about incompatibility of office, conflict of interest, appearance of fairness or confidential information?


speducator said...

Great news about Lisa Herbold. I think you meant Tammy Morales, not Pamela Banks.

Anonymous said...

Do the for-profit (I assume - high tuition, anyway) PRESCHOOLS located in SPS buildings all receive FREE RENT?


Melissa Westbrook said...

I believe they do Casey.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Whoops, thank you Speducator for the correction.

Anonymous said...

re: weekend food backpacks

Queen Anne Helpline and Ballard Food Bank both support this program. Great places to spend your holiday gift donations.


Anonymous said...


I never understood how a preschool, which I'm sure is nice and all, but cannot serve working families too well due to the short hours, and charges the tuitions listed below (copied from their current website), receives FREE RENT! and a lovely, made-for-small children facility......when our own district programs for preschoolers (with special needs) are booted around when buildings "fill up." Who decided who gets free rent?

Oh, for example, the private preschool at Greenwood Elementary school :

Morning Program 8:45/9:30 a.m. to 12:45/1:30 p.m.
2 Days $451.00
3 Days $636.00
4 Days $793.00
5 Days $925.00

Full Day Program 8:55 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. (offered only at our Greenwood Campus)
2 Days $636.00
3 Days $862.00
4 Days $1,069.00
5 Days $1,285.00


seattle citizen said...

WA code says that if your pre-school has ages 30 month to six years, staffing ratio is ten kids per one adult. If the above preschool in Greenwood had, say, 20 kids, that's (at an average of, oh, $1,000) $20,000 per week x 50 = one million dollars.
Am I missing something? The only big cost would be insurance. I can't imagine that costing even $200k a year, so do the two required staffers split $800k?!
I MUST be missing something....

Anonymous said...

University Food Bank supports the Packs for Kids at JAMS with the PTSA coordinating the packing. Great program.


Ann D said...

About the on-campus private preschools, I asked the same questions a few years ago as our cooperative preschool worked very hard on maintaining consistency in its facility as it is hard to locate affordable soace when they are bumped.

What I heard back from the school board was that it is the Community Alignment Partnership that establishes the use of facilities for onsite child and daycare (preschool) programs. That this was part of the intention, to allow families to have easy access to care facilities around town. Also that the Famikies and Education Levy helped pay to build these annexes around the district and that was part of the conditions. I still disagree with this free rent concept since the programs are barely accessible and have very low overhead.

Here for your reference is a link to a cope of a CAP lease contract. See section 1.10 that establishes a market rate and says it will be free as long as they do what they have agreed to do.

When you consider how the district's preschool programs get bumped, that these programs and facilities are heavily subsidized, and then add on top the City's free preschool program that they also don't want to secure additional new space for around town it kinda disgusts.

ne mom said...

Those prices are competitive with other private preschools in the area. Where does all the money go?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ann for that information. Do these programs go rent-free in perpetuity? The Greenwood program is a short or shorter "preschool day" which only benefits those who can afford it and do not work. The preschool at Stevens, by contrast is an actual childcare, open from 7:30 until 5:30, costs less and accepts childcare subsidies.

And, Seattle Citizen, As of a few years ago, at least, staff at this preschool said they earned 10.00 per hour, no sick days, no insurance. Hopefully that has changed, but nope, money never actually goes to teaching staff.

Still bugs me that they we funded made-for-small-children facilites, while our district programs are pushed into portables or abandoned buildings.

Just saying.... (over and over)


Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the specific preschool in Greenwood pays the teachers - many of whom are certified teachers, some with masters, like the teaching professionals they are, NOT hourly workers making minimum wage. It is a business with several locations, the others are in facilities it owns. I also believe the teachers have health insurance, and had it long before the ACA.

If we're going to talk about wanting people in the child care industry paid well, then we have to accept it when they are paid well.

Also, the preschools in school buildings - like the one in Greenwood - provide before/after care to students before and after school. Rather than let the space sit empty, it is then used for preschool during the school day ... I think it's good business sense, if you're required to have special spaces, to use them as much as possible.

One of my children does a one-day after school program in the school cafeteria rather than in a "space" - and it's pretty lousy, frankly. Very little enrichment, sitting at the cafeteria benches, can't do different stations of stuff. The dedicated room the kid used to go to was MUCH better.

- chill

Lynn said...

Seattle Citizen,

Those are monthly tuition costs.

cmj said...

From Carolyn Leith's excellent piece, bold mine:

"Teachers spend an average of $513 a year of their own money for classroom supplies, books, and professional development. Nyland’s raise would cover these out of pocket expenses for 26 teachers in the district.

Seattle Public Schools has 2,982 homeless students. Teachers at Middle College would use their own money to put homeless students in hotels because these kids were often harassed by adults in shelters. Remember Middle College? It was the life saving program at High Point that Nyland closed. Here’s a thought. Let’s use Nyland’s $13,000 a year raise to create a fund that provides safe housing for our homeless students?

The West Seattle Food Bank provides weekend food packs for 100 students from five schools. The Seattle Foundation supplies some funding for this program. Nyland’s $13,000 a year would go a long way toward keeping this essential service going."

seattle citizen said...

Ah, thanks, Lynn. Now it makes sense! Of course I want day care teachers paid well, but that million seemed a bit TOO well....I don't have kids so I don't know costs....

Anonymous said...

The one at JSIS donates quit a bit of money ($20,000+) to the school and PTSA for playground expenses and other things. Sometimes they make up the difference when there's a shortfall in fundraising


Maureen said...

every single race had over 300 write-in votes with Pinkham/Christophersen having the highest number at 497 How many of those were for Eric B?!

Maureen said...

Re Childcare at JSIS donating funds.... Reminds me of Gates and Allen donating to education....If they can donate that much, their rental cost should be increased so the school can count on those funds, not experience them as at will charity.

Lynn said...

Wait a minute. JSIS provides space for a childcare program when there were 25 children on the kindergarten waitlist who didn't get in this year?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, chill - unless things have changed drastically since 2013-2014, MOST of the childcare/preschool staff that I interacted with were actually paid hourly. The head or lead teacher (1) may be on salary, but most of the staff are "assistants." If this business can afford to own buildings for their other branches, why free rent at Greenwood? They can't pay some of that tuition for rent? (or playground upkeep or copy machine use, etc?)


Anonymous said...

The Hunger Intervention Program (HIP) provides weekend food packs for kids at John Rogers and Olympic Hills, and I think also at Viewlands and Broadview-Thomson.

It's a very worthy cause.

-North-end Mom

mirmac1 said...

Am in mediation with district on the matter of the huge disparity between developmental preschools and SPP classrooms. I want quick action to remedy this separate and unequal system. There is some movement to find a solution but it's too slow for my tastes. And given that these 3rd party preschools like the one at Greenwood are not district-run, we have less pull to require them to be fully-inclusive - however, they do receive "significant assistance" from SPS, a recipient of federal funding and bound by Title II. SPS can compel them to fully include preschoolers with disabilities.

Anonymous said...


You are in mediation? In what capacity?

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Does SPS really ever do anything meaningful in a mediation with SPED families, except to waste families' time and good will? Move on Mirmac! Don't be distracting by these delaying tactics. Especially if it's the SPED Director at the table opposite you.

Been there

mirmac1 said...

As the complainant.

Anonymous said...

I believe you are attempting resolution, not mediation. Mediation involves an impartial 3rd party.


mirmac1 said...

Thank you GL. You are correct. : )

Anonymous said...

Been There. You can use mediation to stall. And keep you in a placement. You can drag out the hearing phase, maybe even for a whole year. So, when "wasting" time is your aim - mediation is good!


mirmac1 said...

Looks like the deal is off. I don't tolerate delays well.