Thursday, March 10, 2016

Going to Audit & Finance Committee Meeting Today

A few quick notes.

1) There's a photo of Lady Gaga at the SPS website regarding the RULER approach to students' emotional needs.  That was bit startling (although she does have another connection to SPS, namely the Mighty C89.5 station at Nathan Hale High that was one of her earliest supporters and that she visited early in her career.) 

2) Also, the heart that the kids and staff at Greenwood Elementary created yesterday made the national news on NBC.  As well, the Mayor dropped by the school to offer his thanks to the school for their support of their community after the Greenwood explosion.

Audit and Finance Agenda

Items of interest 
- Overview of District Investment- they are allotting 20 minutes for this discussion so this should be interesting.  

- Board Action Report: Proposed Loan from Community Schools Fund to Accelerate Technology BTA IV Levy Projects - So reminding folks that with levies, you don't get all the money at once (you do with bond measures.)  I would assume that Technology wants to get things going on a number of fronts.  
However, as I reminded the Board, in the last Friday Memo, the Superintendent was trying to explain the latest AL glitch and said that computer systems for different departments can't interact with each other.  That's the kind of issue that needs to be addressed first.  
The minutes from the last minute reflect that Technology has now going over $250K in spending on outside tech help contract. 

Everything else is the regular monthly financial updates although I do expect that the soon-to-be departure of Ken Gotsch as head of Financial will be noted.
Minutes from the previous A&F meeting show this (bold mine:)
In May the full coverage proposal is reviewed and brought to the committee and board. Washington School Risk Management Pool (WSRMP), provide generous coverage, covering the replacement of all of our building. They cover up to $500 Million of any single loss. We are well covered in terms of the maximum limit. Mr. Staudt spoke about if the District were buying commercial insurance we would be required to report 80- 90% of insurable values or see our claim payment reduced; this is not the case with the WSRMP coverage. 
A number of school districts have under estimated their building replacement values and the WSRMP hired an outside firm to estimate. The District’s buildings are undervalued and we should be at $2.26 billion, even after increasing our property values by $564 million last year to $1.776 billion. We have to bring our values up and have been given until September 2018 to do so. We have a timeline in place and will increase our stated values progressively over the three years, moving to 85% of replacement cost values for September 2016. 
It is conceivable that a single explosion could impact Dunlap, South Shore, South Lake, Southeast Athletic Complex and Rainier Beach, as they are within less than a quarter mile of each other, but the total combined value is just over $114 million. Mr. Staudt clarified this is other than earthquake, flood and terrorism.
 The minutes also stated that PTAs are bringing in about $3M a year in grants to SPS (that, of course, does not cover all fund-raising and volunteer efforts.)

On the pre-K front:
Eugene Gousie spoke about an update on the Head Start budget situation. Mr. Gousie spoke about due to unanticipated budget deficits triggered by the fall’s collective bargaining agreement, Head Start requested $150,988 from the Federal Government to cover 2015-16’s anticipated costs. The Federal Government has provided the amount requested, enabling us to move forward this year with the funds needed to cover program costs. Mr. Gousie spoke about anticipating a shortage of $320,000 in 2016-17. Our options for accessing this amount of funds are very limited. To cover $240,000 of that amount, we are planning to make a request to the Office of Head Start to reduce our slots by 30, which will reduce our classes by 2. We will then need to find additional funds between cuts elsewhere in the program and possibly increased funding when Congress makes allocations for next year. 
Directors asked if the city will assume a preschool site and what the implications for our funding. Mr. Gousie spoke about looking ahead to a sustainable program model in 2017-18, we will need to restructure our staffing patterns to be in line with the funding we receive from the Office of Head Start. This will involve renegotiation of positions with represented staff.
Also, here's the agenda from the BEX Oversight Committee Meeting tomorrow morning starting at 8:30 am at JSCEE.  They will devote most of the time to talking about "modular" buildings and portables.

1. Call to Order (John Palewicz, Chair)
Introduction of Guests and Agenda Approval
2. Approval of Minutes (John Palewicz) February 12, 2016
3. Modular Buildings – Brian Carter, Principal, Integrus Architecture 8:40am
4. Modular Buildings – Dennis Erwood, Principal, Studio Meng Strazzara 8:55am
5. Modular Buildings/Portables Panel Discussion (Brian Carter; Dennis Erwood; Ralph Rohwer, Executive Director, Snohomish SD; Michael
Barrett, Small Works Coordinator, Seattle SD)
6. Project Status: Key Issues (if time is available) 10:10am
7. Confirm Next Meeting’s Agenda 10:25am
8. Adjournment 10:30am

Speaking of BEX, the district announced that the new Hazel Wolf K-8 building has received international recognition.
The building project, designed by NAC Architects of Seattle and officially named Pinehurst School, was a finalist for the “Future Projects Education Award 2015” by World Architecture News (WAN). Projects in Vienna, Austria; Kerala, India; Canoas, Brazil; Seoul, Korea and St. Petersburg, Florida were the other five projects named as finalists.

In selecting the Hazel Wolf K-8’s new home in the Pinehurst building the WAN judges noted the school design has been “thoughtfully conceived to use the building to encourage learning.”
They mentioned that the Hazel Wolf K-8 program’s environmental focus provided the criteria for the school design. Judges praised the courtyard teaching areas including the planting spaces and storm water management program. The botanical garden and the living wall at the main entry will further entice student exploration of their environment.

A school building project in Brazil was announced as the winner, with special mention of Hazel Wolf K-8 at Pinehurst as an “extremely close second.”


Anonymous said...

Melissa, since AL recalled 100+ emails sent in error on Friday (as you referenced in your letter), there haven't been any further decisions communicated by either letter or email. Notifications are supposed to be rolling but the whole process seems to be at a standstill. Is the MSC being allowed to proceed?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Troubled, sorry, I don't know. I'll see what I can find out.

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