Despite great fanfare at the announcement that Seattle Public Schools had made an agreement to fund International Baccalaureate (IB) classes at Rainier Beach High earlier this month, the district says promising to support that program does not mean giving it extra money.
“They have enough money to make the hard choices to pay for that program, though it’s always at the expense of something else,” Deputy Superintendent Stephen Nielsen said. “We never said we were going to add dollars above and beyond what they are already getting.”
“This has everything to do with what ‘support’ means in Seattle,” Nielsen said. “The way we do things is unique, and I’ll own that. But we have not walked away.”
No offense but bullshit. The district could have stated what they meant by "support" from the get-go and did not. I would ask Mr. Nielsen not only to "own" how SPS operates but to "own" that this was a foul-up of the highest order. I can only wonder what the RBHS students will think.
To add insult to injury, State Senator Pramila Jayapal, from the 37th LD in Seattle, wrote an insert for the state budget, targeted to RBHS' IB program. The grant was written for high schools with a 70% F/RL and an IB program.
Except she forgot to mention this to anyone at RBHS and the one other school that qualifies is Yakima's Davis High. Nielsen says SPS is applying - there is no mention of when the application is due - but again, a day late and maybe a dollar short.
I said I was going to read the district's "Gold" book on the budget and now I really need to. Because truly, where is all the money going? Why is the district's policy to open programs that they cannot fiscally support?
This is all fairly frustrating when you have the state PTA saying parents shouldn't be wasting their time advocating for McCleary and the district's largest grant partner is PTA funds.
What's a parent to think?
One thought I have is that maybe the last Board should not have extended Superintendent Nyland's contract an extra year.
As well, I was told that the overnight field trip for 5th graders at Stevens Elementary is back on and the students will take that trip in a couple of weeks. But the Times reports that none of the 5th grade teachers are going but soon-to-leave Stevens' principal, Kelley Archer, is. Principal Archer says she doesn't know "specifically" why teachers aren't going. What does SEA say?
Phyllis Campano, acting president of the Seattle teachers union, said the teachers did have concerns about safety, specifically student behavior, and they wanted to have more adults than the minimum requirement.Some students aren't going either:
“It was about putting the right supports in place, like extra staffing (on the field trip),” Campano said. “The teachers felt the district didn’t do that.”
Parents said about a fifth of the students aren’t going either because of their own concerns about safety — or as a show of support for their teachers.What's somewhat concerning is that issues that the teachers would know about with students are not going to be shared with parents. Here's what one parent said:
“Am I going to camp with kids that have something going on that I don’t know about?” she asked.I am now learning that there are major issues happening at Laurelhurst Elementary with student behavior that some parents believe is concerning/endangering for other students including two alleged suicide attempts. That is deeply troubling especially for an elementary school. More on this to come.