Thursday, December 17, 2015

Yes/No

Yes, I like that Local 609 continues to stand up for its members who work for Seattle Schools.  They have, once again, prevailed in "wage theft" cases against the district.  From The Stand:

In July, Local 609 attained settlements of $11,000 on behalf of six members in the Nutrition Department for missed meal and rest breaks that their work schedules prevented on a daily basis. As part of the settlement, a whole new employee time-reporting system has been implemented at Seattle School’s Nutrition Program that will help address this issue of missed breaks and unpaid “extra time.”

They also settled an issue where workers were required to take mandatory training off the clock.
This month, two settlements of just under $30,000 were also achieved on behalf of two longtime workers in the Facilities Department of the School District, who had been misclassified for nine years. This settlement was a lengthy and extremely difficult process.

No, I don't like that this seems to be an on-going problem in the district.

Yes, I like that Ballard High continues to kill it in winning awards for their work for Ballard's film/video program. From SPS Communications:

Four Ballard High School student filmmakers have won Cinematic Arts awards from the National YoungArts Foundation – tying the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) for the most winners from a single school.  The accomplishment is particularly exciting because Ballard is competing nationally with the likes of LACHSA, which draws students from all over the LA metro area in competitive enrollment.

Those students are Coleman Andersen, Leo Pfeifer, Sho Schrock-Manabe and Meagen Tajalle.  (FYI, you should probably remember Leo Pfeifer's name because I predict he will probably become a well-known filmmaker someday.)

Yes to the naming of Coe Elementary's new library and its naming for two teachers, Karen and Richard Kearns.

Between them they shared 78 years teaching in Seattle Public Schools and the community until October 2014 when Karen died unexpectedly.

No to early district messaging on the upcoming Operations and BTA IV levies.  Word is that the Superintendent is saying that the BTA levy is going to cut the backlogged maintenance in half.  There's no way - even with BEX IV ongoing - that is true.  Let's see that data.

As well the district has its "Report to the Community" on the levies which says a lot but leaves out several key issues.

One big "Yes" is this statement:


For more than 30 years, Seattle voters have supported Seattle students by approving renewal of operations levies and capital levies or bonds.

Folks, I hope you realize this does NOT happen in other cities and states.  It just doesn't and it's a measure of how Seattle citizens value education.  Now we just have to get the legislature to value public education and fulfill McCleary so that those dollars we put forth on district operations can go to other needs and programs. I look to the new Board to get the district to be more transparent on these issues and trust that if they tell the full truth about any given situation in the district, they will get the backing (via trust) from parents and community.

But the Report does not state how many buildings we have, how old they are, the backlogged maintenance amount and how much of that Operations budget goes to maintenance.  Also, saying Cedar Park has been "modernized" is a little like saying the Viaduct is safe.  Sure, you can use it but "modernized" is a stretch.

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