Thursday, April 21, 2016

How Would You Change the District Budget?

From a comment by Board Director Sue Peters:
I invite Melissa, Charlie and readers to start a thread or send the Board emails on their Dream Budget or People’s Budget (with a nod to Councilmember Sawant, who initiated a similar proposal with the city's budget): What would you like to see added to the school district budget? What would you like to see removed?

Because we are working within the reality of an unfulfilled McCleary mandate and thus limited resources (the state's failure to fulfill its Constitutional duty to amply fund public education), everything we add to our wish list will require an adjustment somewhere else in the budget.

What expenditures or initiatives should stay or be added? What should go? How can we make the most of the resources we have to better serve our students, teachers and schools?
The current Seattle School Board is seriously committed to directing as many resources as possible to the classroom. (As all boards likely are.) My own position is that we need to fund the fundamentals first. My question to you all is: How do we define fundamentals? Counselors? IB programs? Language immersion IAs? New curricular materials? School supplies? More staffing--where? Wraparound services? Ample time for lunch and recess? Fully resourced libraries for all schools? Arts and PE for all students? A computer for every student? Cultural competency training?

Have at it.


Eric B said...

My first cut is that "fundamentals" includes all programs that the District started in schools. I expect that's a big list, but I have a couple. If the language immersion schools need IAs, then the District needs to fund them. IB costs should be covered. SpEd/IEP support should be provided. Approved curricular materials should be provided and updated on a reasonable schedule. I'm sure there's lots more. I don't think I'm talking any groundbreaking stuff here.

How to pay for all that? Well, there's some basic cost savings. If they fund IEPs, they probably reduce the number of lawsuits and payouts about IEPs. That may or may not cover the entire cost of doing it right. Three or four of the $100K+ salaries (plus benefits) added over the last couple of years could cover all of IB. Honestly, I think that anyone who does not see students on a daily basis needs to justify their existence in the organization. For some people (eg the JSCEE people who package food for schools), that's not hard. For others (eg the many new directors and managers), it might be a lot harder. I don't know if that's enough to cover all of the needs or not, but it would be a good start.

You know, really go to the model of funding schools first instead of just talking about it.

Anonymous said...

In general, more people, less tech.

My specific pitch: Counselors. My son had terrible difficulty adjusting to kindergarten; we moved him to a public school in a different district when he started having panic attacks every day before school. Stevens didn't have a counselor, the new school did: a month or so after she intervened and found ways to help him feel safe while she worked with him on some of the social-emotional skills that he was lacking, and now he's thriving, no discipline incidents, working well above grade level, may not even need an IEP. None of the rest of the things on that list, not PE, not arts, not recess (recess was one of the big problems for a kid who didn't feel safe, and then acted in ways that made other kids feel unsafe) can help a child who can't cope with the classroom.

That's just my personal experience; I would put IAs and people whose work fills IEPs in the same category.

Former Stevens

BFDayMom said...

No ipads or computers in elementary schools. Kids get 6 hours in school a day, many get plenty of time playing computer games outside of school.

Our school just installed 3 computers in a Kindergarten class and now instead of playing with other kids during "choice time", they compete to use the computers to play reading games. (Iread licenses are $35.00 per student)

Imagine the field trips this class could have enjoyed with the thousands of dollars spent on computers and software licenses.

Anonymous said...

" If they fund IEPs, they probably reduce the number of lawsuits and payouts about IEPs" What do you think the $150,000,000 per year is used for?

Maybe if they use evidence based approaches and follow the IDEA then they might see the law suits reduced.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Better food for lunches.
Why do Seattle students have to drink apple juice grown in China, or eat green corndogs?

Transportation for kids who want to go to a school that is not in their catchment area, but in a contiguous catchment area.

Cut the number of people making six figures downtown.

Better Priorities

Betsy said...

I truly believe the budget for SPS should start from the ground-up not from the top-down. I would start by letting schools create their own fully-funded/wish-list budgets. Keep anything that would improve academic outcomes for ALL kids. If a particular school thinks smaller class sizes, IAs, counselors, etc. will improve outcomes for their population, fund it. If another school might not need all the same staffing, don't fund it. After the actual schools are funded, fund the other areas in SPS like central admin. It strikes me as bat-shit crazy that the grown-ups downtown are funded before the kids.

I absolutely agree that technology should not be introduced in elementary school except for disadvantaged populations that might not have access at home to acquire the skills. There was just a study put out that kids who take hand-written notes do better than those that take notes on laptops. Cut technology, testing, the many layers of admin between the Superintendent and the Principals. Add art, PE, music, drama, language, recess back into school budgets and we will see academic improvements. Same things worked much better in the past when they were handled by the schools instead of being centralized to downtown.

Nyland recently commented that laptops are so great for teachers. Well, my kid's school regularly gets bagged-on for having a PTA that raises so much money at our auction. You know what we funded last year? Laptops for teachers. If they are so helpful, Nyland needs to find money in the huge SPS budget to pay for them instead of more highly paid admins and pet projects. Don't start pre-school until we can fund the basics for k-12. And, yes, successful programs like IB and language immersion started by SPS should be funded.

Jane & Mela said...

Computers and technology should not be a priority especially in elementary school. I understand the importance of teaching computer skills to older students in middle and high school- especially those with limited access to computers at home. But in elementary school I don't think computer or other forms of technology are beneficial. More arts, more PE, fully stocked and staffed libraries -that's much more beneficial. Also important support staff like nurses. Less testing- think of all he money we'd save if we weren't paying the test companies all that money for tests and test prep materials etc. Huge waste of money.

Anonymous said...

Zero out the Executive Directors, and the Director of Executive Directors. Use the savings to fund full-time nurses and/or counselors where needed.

-- Ivan Weiss

SMU said...

Money to pay private school tuition so out of area student-athletes (emphasis on athletes) can be places in a strip mall diploma mill and then farmed out to local high school teams so that we can compete with . . .

Anonymous said...

My suggestion would be better math curricula for middle and high school students. Too many kids are unprepared in math and end up in remedial classes in college. Also, the District should use the Math in Focus materials already purchased for elementary students and stop experimenting with other programs (hopefully they have stopped the Scope and Sequence confusion).

I also like the suggestions for expanded PE and more counselors. Much better than endless testing.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Get rid of executive directors and teacher/principal coaches, add classroom teachers. Agree about slashing elementary technology budgets. Savings should go to classroom size first (especially if we can reduce splits).


Patrick said...

Identifying specific cuts is the hard part. I'd nominate reducing the IT mission. Schoology is so bad almost no teachers use it, and when they do almost none of the students or families look at it. The Source is helpful, but a report home if students are missing assignments would be just as helpful. How about just giving the teachers email and a place to put documents for their classes for download if they want to? Get good at what's important and forget about what's not.

Anonymous said...

For those of you saying to slash elementary school technology - how would you then help kids understand keyboarding enough to be able to take the computerized tests? At our school kids have been spending time with the District's "Typing Agent" so they can have enough skills to take the tests efficiently. Like it or not, the kids are taking these tests, so they should know enough keyboarding so the typing part isn't the barrier to taking the tests.


Lynn said...

It would be cheaper to pay the modest fee for paper and pencil tests than the millions of dollars we are spending on technology for testing.

Anonymous said...

The terrible irony of the State requiring a computerized our elementary the computer lab (where they are to learn keyboarding among other things) is closed for eleven weeks to administer the computerized tests. Ouch.


Anonymous said...

Lower class sizes. But first get the overcrowding and capacity issue fixed. We need an immediate solution. The middle and high schools will implode in the next few years before capacity is added (not in time) for high schools.

Parents who themselves attended WA public schools accept 30-40 kids in a class as "normal". Many areas of the country including the East coast there are 17-23 kids in a class K-thru high school. My child had 30 kids in elementary, currently has an average of 32-36 in "core" middle school classes math, LA, science etc. not counting electives like band/orchestra that have 65-97 students. Teachers also have on average 5 sections, so they have to get to know 160-175 kids. Nuts.
- help

Anonymous said...

I think it's hard not to agree that SPS is overly top heavy in 6 figure salaries - I get that this is an expensive city to live in, and sometimes you need to pay more to attract better staff, but the focus of "paying more" should be in the classroom - teachers, aides, nurses, librarians etc - not admin positions.

For example - there's a new job listing for "Director of Policy, Board Relations & Special Projects" with salary range of "$85,670.00 - $118,284.00 Annually" - I love this line in the job description "serves as a strategic problem-solver and adviser for senior staff and the Board. Seriously? there aren't enough people sitting around thinking down there?

Classrooms first. Admin last.


Charlie Mas said...

Ooooh! I should apply for that job! I would dearly love to be deeply involved in policy development, board relations, and special projects!

Melissa can have the spot on the Times editorial board, I want this gig.

Anonymous said...

I generally agree with the sentiment to shift more of the funding to classrooms, with one exception: we need more funding for program evaluation. We don't have to evaluate every program or service every year, but there's plenty that would benefit from evaluation at any point in time. Hire a full-time evaluator to work with the data we have, collect new data as needed, etc. They can look at specific programs, do comparisons across schools to try to tease out what's working or not, etc. It doesn't have to be that expensive, and can help lead to big improvements. Before we make decisions about whether to expand, replicate, cut or modify programs, let's look at the data to see what makes sense.

Simple Logic

Watching said...

I recommend the district allocate $3M into schools. These dollars could fund elementary school counselors, or other services.

Every other school in the state funds IB programs and it is time for SPS to do the same.

The board should revisit policies that provide free space to private entities. SPS lost $12M due to the state lowering the levy inflator, and $4M in federal funding. In short the district lost $16M in funding this year and issues regarding the levy cliff have not been resolved. It is not unreasonable for the board to consider the needs of SPS- first.

Watching said...

I would also like to see the board invest dollars for students with dyslexia, and professional development related to meeting the needs of students that have been impacted by trauma.

The district provides data to many entities and there is a cost to the district for providing these services. I'd like the board to impose fees for those that request data.

Anonymous said...

Eliminating computer-based standardized tests in K-2 (and not replace them with pencil and paper tests) would lower cost due to testing and eliminate any need for computers in the classroom at those grades.

They can do keyboarding in 3rd grade if needed. I didn't learn typing until college, and yet somehow or other I still make a living programming.


Po3 said...

1) Eliminate the executive director positions, the deputy supers can take over those responsibilities.
2) Eliminate coaches who have an office at the district and instead pay teachers in the buildings extra to take on coaching roles.
3) Get rid of Schoology!
4) Get rid of SBAC and MAPS and any other test floating around and replace with ITBS.
5) Slash technology in K-5. see #4.
6) Add the staff that each school needs based on the population served.
7) Fund IB.

Anonymous said...

I agree with less technology emphasis, as long as access for underprivileged kids remains a priority, my kids are exposed to massively too much screen time at school. Perhaps tech summer camps for low income kids could be funded with a portion of the old tech budget?

I would really like them to reprioritize things like shop class and home ec over programming languages and such (my programmer husband agrees!) It's much easier to learn a coding language later, but physical and financial literacy can be hard to pick up.

Fewer coaches that don't work with children.

A rebalancing of the arts, my visually inclined kids have WAY fewer options than their musically talented peers. Maybe the city could fund more of that, perhaps in conjunction with the public art money?


Patrick said...

I'll echo getting rid of computerized tests as much as possible. Standardized testing in generally is an absurd waste of time. We shouldn't do it any more than absolutely necessary, and anytime there are free or inexpensive alternatives to computerized tests we should use them.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, you mean selling data? Hmm. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Second full time counselors for all elementary schools, and please also bring back family support workers. We know that the number of homeless students, and others in need of support of basic needs, is growing but unfortunately the family support program is being gutted at the same time. FSWs were/are funded by the City - get them to bring back full funding for this program, great example of city partnership to provide support services to a strapped district.

Cut testing, specifically non-required district tests like MAP and Amplify. First on the chopping block should be MAP in grades K-2 - too young for all this testing. Second making testing as limited and as cheap as possible given state requirements.

Southend Mom

Cut the fat said...

I would demand the same productivity and accountability out of central staff and management as the district expects from their teachers. This will save a ton of money on redundant and unnecessary positions at JSCEE.

Elsa said...

If the District cut those that lack any value whatsoever (executive directors), the only losers would be the donut shop across the street, starbucks and the restaurant in the old sears building. Several ED's (i.e. Pritchett) are known to arrive late, leave early and spend the majority of the "work" day in either one of those three or hiding in a building accomplishing nothing that benefits anyone but themselves.

alicia said...

I would love to see the line item SPS budget so I could make precise recommendations. I agree completely with Betsy above. I'd prefer more local, by-school control. I don't see the district improving our lives in any way so I place far less value on the salaries that go to the staff there. If they were more transparent, I might be able to understand their value. All I can see are the things our school lacks -- our school is falling apart, the classrooms are crowded, our special ed kids need more support even though we are an access school, we need a counselor to help our school community with compassion towards all kids, and there are too many expensive, ridiculous tests. My kids are in K and 3rd grade. If given a red pen, I'd get rid of most of SPS, the expensive ever-changing curriculum, and the majority of the tests. One a year is enough, and paper is fine.

Anonymous said...

Fund the IB program, it is absurd that it is not fully funded. Plan a solution and allocate budget to address the immediate and projected capacity crisis (5 year SPS enrollment projection report) happening at various schools.Seattle is the fastest growing city in the country, plan & allocate budget in a timely manner. Some middle and almost all the high schools are all currently very full or well over capacity already & it is expected to get much much worse. Special ed kids need much more support than they currently receive and counselors should be funded at all schools. Kids should be able to take a language plus art & music/instrument.

Eric M said...

I'd settle for a $1 instructional supply budget, only 33 students in each class, and a couple boxes of kleenex once every two months. That would represent a substantial, real improvement.

Anonymous said...

Tacoma Public Schools has adopted the Budgeting by Priority process, and all budget requests have to be tied to the four strategic plan goals or a specific definition of support services. They are screened by a review team as well as a team of members of the public, and funded based on what is agreed to be the best aligned with the goals. As Seattle was looking to reduce counsellors, Tacoma has changed is staffing model to fund at least one counselor at each elementary school. TPS funds elementary, middle, and high school IB programs, no fundraising by schools. SPS could take some cues from down south.


Watching said...

It costs millions of dollars for SPS to run the department of Research, Evaluation and Assessment and I"m not suggesting the district sell student data. There are many entities that receive data from the district and I'm suggesting those entities help cover expenses.

I do like the idea of a line item budget, as well.

Greg said...

Here's a link to the 2015-16 budget.

I'm trying to figure out how only $401M of the budget (pp 74) is under control of the schools out of $753M (pp 39). My personal opinion is that the centralized control of the budget isn't producing what we want, and I'd love to see a much smaller central administration focus solidly on helping the schools rather than controlling them through the budget. This history of powerful superintendents with massive central administrations doesn't seem to be working, at least not according to the data I've seen.

Anonymous said...

I would quadruple the funding for Career and Technical Education at Middle and High School. Science in Seattle Schools is a dead horse we keep beating. Students need to learn science through technical/mechanical education and hands-on experience.

Yeah…yeah…yeah…standards-based blah, blah, blah. Science as an inanimate (NGSS-driven) object is no longer a viable strategy to inspire curious learners. Teach students how to build stuff and they will eventually want to engineer and design stuff.

Signed…any dog on the street

Eric Fisk said...

As for the tech budgeting, there needs to be a lot more classes in engineering in middle and high school. There's a big difference between using screens as consumption devices and using them creatively. Kids in middle and high need more opportunities to learn programming. Right now there's long wait lists for intro stem classes while kids are being forced to take foreign languages and language arts for 6 years. I agree tech is not important in elementary school, but it's the key to having kids coming out of high school ready for university or jobs.

Anonymous said...

I'd start by contracting with a LEAN expert to create efficiencies and cost-savings at JSCEE. I'm talking a methodical, impartial, well-documented evaluation of every single position and function. Others here have offered excellent suggestions for how and where to allocate resources.

Anonymous said...

Central office needs to fire the employees who produce no work and just show up and act entitled for their job and their paycheck (about 40% of central positions). Cut out the dead weight, there are too many slackers who keep getting away with it. Get rid of all of the central office six figure 'nothing' positions like director of policy, director of improvement, director of closing the gap. These big wigs creating all these six figure director positions seem only interested in building their own empires and not doing work. I hear that chief of schools job was created to hold schools accountable...then what are regional exec directors doing to earn their fat paychecks???? Dr Nyland needs to clean house, get rid of non-producers and reallocate those funds directly to the schools. School board needs to hold Dr N accountable for this.
-disgusted taxpayer

tiggywinkle said...

In my fantasy budget we'd get rid of 75% of the administration and give the money directly to the individual schools to use as they see fit. I also agree with drastically reducing standardized testing--can't they just spend a couple hours with a bubble sheet and call it good?

Also, I agree with not prioritizing tech--as far as I can tell, computer lab does nothing for my kid--there are 29 kids in there and it's basically game time. Supposedly, they're teaching them to type so that they can take those tests. Totally backwards.

My priorities are class size reduction and support staff/family liaisons to shore up equity at our most under-resourced schools. And buildings--the schools are bursting at the seams.

Kathy Barker said...

College and career center specialists in the high schools! Some students have NO ONE to talk to about their futures.
More "regular" counselors so students are getting more guidance on their courses all through high school.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I have been at various meetings yesterday and today so I do have to catch up.

I have always advocated back-to-basics (but with some already district-generated add-ons) but we start from this absolute premise; every child should have his or her academic needs met. Now we can certainly argue about what that means but again, the basics. Teaching to beyond their skill level to push them ahead with supports who need them either because of disabilities and/or challenges.

Teaching beyond their skill level lets every kid know that we believe in them and believe they can do it.

- smaller class size; I'd go with what is current mandated but not yet met

- safe, comfortable buildings. I give the district credit for investing huge amounts of taxpayer dollars (thank you Seattle voters) in our buildings and currently the numbers are outpacing the renovations but we have to get there soon. We can't have the same expectations of kids in crummy buildings when others are in new buildings with better wiring for technology.

- curriculum that aligns with CC standards. Surprised? Don't be. Because, even if I think these were created in a bogus, underhanded manner, they are here. The goal is to shape them and use them BUT with a discerning teacher's eye for each class. Meaning, no teacher should be tied to any single curriculum. Also with this - also not negotiable - is professional development. Want better teachers? Help them get there as they face the constantly changing winds of mandates and ed reform.

- less testing, better tests when we do. It was pretty funny to try to hear staff tell the Board that there was only a 5% difference in outcomes for HCC cohorts versus HCC kids not in a cohort class. Director Peters asked if one year of SBAC test scores was the only measure. The answer was...yes. Please, one year of a brand-new test ( seemingly too long and not developmentally appropriate in all case) is NOT enough to base any kind of judgment and Peters was wise to point this out.

Melissa Westbrook said...

- I'm in with PageFive on an efficiency expert coming in. Even though it is now old, I'd pivot off the work of the Moss-Adams group and their careful department by department assessments. I'm not sure there is anyone who doesn't believe an overhaul at JSCEE isn't in order. THAT'S where some consultant money should go.

- Promises made, promises kept. Did I think it was a good idea to plunge forward on dual language/world schools? Nope but you can't have a program that doesn't progress. (Former Director Michael DeBell said, over and over, how these parents had been "promised" these programs. That's all good and well but without solid dollars for every year, that was one hollow promise kept that he made going out the door.). Fund these schools.

-Ditto on IB. I have identified (and President Patu said others have as well) that there is money in the Families and Education Levy to support a program that IS reaching kids of color AND is established AND is showing results. The City wants to help? Here you go.

- Promises made and legal rights observed. Special Ed and Native American programs. Enough said.

- Get rid of Ex Directors. Sorry but I see no value-added there and it's costing a lot of money.

- Data use. Sigh. Look, I get looking for patterns and assessing how it all looks. But that whole data thing? A LOT of time and attention and money is going out the door. I'm not sure it's worth it and I'd want someone to tell me how it is. We have human computers called teachers who used to do the same things. And when I see the near millions having been spent over the last decade and yet, Technology says "more" and staff complains that data systems can't work together, I just don't know. It feels to me that I've heard this "systems don't sync up" for a decade or more. It's quite curiously confusing.

- partnership with the City on homeless youth and ELL youth. I say ELL youth because their struggles with language are very much tied to their home life. Their parents don't just want their kids to learn English and thrive; they, as parents, want to be part of that journey. But to sync up all that is going to cost a lot of money and it's money the district doesn't have.

- counselor or family support worker in every single building.

- last, but not least,arts. Life is science, for sure, but we need the arts to express, to share, to live as human beings and we need to bring that our children.

That's what I would do.

Anonymous said...

There are so many more directors and "coaches" than when I started teaching just over a decade ago it's ridiculous. If the academic "coaches" are such good teachers then they should be in the classroom teaching. A couple have been good but a lot are questionable at best.

The only area (central) that may need some growth is tech support, but from what I've heard they're finally getting some support after years of neglect. Then again, I've also heard some of the tech support growth is middle managers instead of actual in the school tech support staff so.... TBD


TechyMom said...

Lengthen the school day in elementary so there doesn't have to be so much rushing. Have playgrounds, libraries, cafeterias, and gyms open and supervised for at least an hour before and after school (7-7 would be better). Fund 8 periods in middle and high school, so kids have room for electives. Add arts to every school. Some private schools do an arts rotation class where you do different things for 6 weeks. Teach coding as a science unit in elementary, and science classes in secondary. Teach all elementary kids a second language.

To pay for this, I would cut downtown staff to a lean support service. If the central office were a resource of support staff for schools, rather than a management organization, it would need many fewer people (half?), and the people it needed would be less expensive. Start all schools at 9:00.

Lynn said...

No lengthening of the school day. Six hours is already more time than necessary for early elementary. Having staff and facilities available to provide child care isn't an appropriate use of our education funding.

No mandatory additional periods in secondary schools either. We have huge class sizes, ancient textbooks and insufficient counseling staff and budgets for supplies. Until we fix all of those problems, we can't increase the school day (and our costs!) by a third. Maybe the city wants to pay for extracurricular enrichment classes at community centers?

Eric B said...

One more: Take a look at all "strategic initiatives" or whatever they're calling all the things that were going to prevent implementation of the bell times change. Any that were not requested by the Board to be reviewed by the Board and eliminated if not desired. That should allow them to eliminate a few FTEs.

Anonymous said...

-Agree with Greg-individual schools should be allocated a higher % of the budget.
- Less spent on central administrators.
- As Melissa & others stated :"currently the numbers are outpacing the renovations but we have to get there soon". Plan to address this problem now. They have the enrollment projection data that shows many buildings (middle & high schools) will be way too far over capacity to function prior to the levy funded renovations/additions being completed. Are those schools going to have to hold classes outside in the meantime?
- counselors in every building.
- less testing & better tests linked to what kids are actually learning.
- Techymom's suggestions regarding a longer school day is important, but perhaps someday when McCleary is actually funded. What about another Levy sent to voters in Seattle funding some of these things in the meantime? I think Seattle voters would support the kids, especially those who will otherwise do private schools.

Anonymous said...

Probably some central administration is needed. It doesn't have to be as expensive as it is. Why should anybody there be paid more than the highest-paid teacher in the district? Possibly there is a good reason in some cases, but in every case, it should be explicitly justified, with a better reason than "that's what we paid last year" or "she's been here for so many years". How many of those individuals provide more value for the students than an excellent teacher?


Anonymous said...

I would...

*Fund schools first, including a counselor, nurse, art, music, PE
*I would fund programs that are proven to help students - such as IB.
*I would not accept grants to create a new program - this just seems to add staff downtown to oversee the program and creates unnecessary swirl and churn for our students and schools.
*Hire consultants to map all the processes at JSCEE.
*Once the mapping is complete, streamline the processes across departments so there are no redundancies. This would enable the transparency to create one central source of accurate information about students for reporting, decision making and lean efficient operations.
*Initiate a hiring freeze for positions outside of an actual school building. *Require Board approval before any new downtown positions are created.
*What to do about unfunded State mandates such as the SBAC? The state is requiring that districts administer a computerized test, yet provide no funding to add the infrastructure needed. Can a waiver or other be obtained to administer the test on paper?
*Seek out funding from the City, State, Feds., Private groups to help fund things like family support, Art, Foreign Language, Music, etc.


Anonymous said...

I am not opposed to lengthening the high school day. It would be easier to fit in an elective or have a full period for lunch. I am very opposed to lengthening the elementary school day. I think my kids are already being asked to sit at a desk for too long. If a longer day came with more lunch time and more recess, I would be open to it, but the trend thus far has been to slowly shrink recess time, and I would be suspicious of any attempt to add more instructional time.

-NW Mom

Anonymous said...

I see a pattern in the comments here and it's interesting that the voters did not want all these types of changes last Nov. They overwhelmingly voted for Pinkham, but it was Christophersen as the only candidate who called for large reductions in central staffing and moving those funds to our schools. He also wanted to lower the required board approved non-budgetary spending limit from $249,000 down to the national average of $15,000 and address policy changes to greatly reduce special educational related lawsuits.

So, school year 15-16 is just about over....has the district improved under our new board?

Same old

BFDayMom said...

In my earlier post, I stated that kindergartners were using computers during Choice time. Fortunately, that was incorrect, and they aren't.

However, computers and educational software are expensive, and unproven in early childhood curriculum. Most agree that young children need less screen time, not more.

Anonymous said...

Cancel the useless behavior mod programs such as Ruler.

Use the money to put amazing and useful innovations such as spelling, grammar, and world geography back in the curriculum.

Also agree on dumping the Ed Directors, especially Pritchett. Use the money for librarians.


Donna Rueth said...

Reduce the staff at the District - we have more than enough directors, assistant directors etc. Money should go to schools, not paper pushers. Cut spending on testing - if we need SBAC, so be it, but Amplify is a total waste of money. Tech is fine in elementary if used appropriately and teachers know how that should be done - integrate into curriculum to enhance what is working well. Counsellors are a MUST in all schools. Class sizes need to be held to a reasonable number, anything over 28 is unacceptable and even that is more than it should be. Resist the temptation to increase the size of all elementary schools. Small is beautiful and creating big schools just to save money is criminal negligence. I could go on.....

SPS Mom said...

Same Old - yes the newly elected board is doing wonderfully and as a resident in his district, I'm very happy with how Scott Pinkham is doing.

Watching said...

State legislators and city council members have legislative assistants. SPS school board is responsible for 52,000 students, and a budget in excess of $1B. It is my hope that the board sets aside dollars to provide themselves with assistants.