Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Open Thread

I attended the first community meeting on the growth boundaries last night.  A bit of a mess.  No signage as to where to go, started late, didn't have the microphone working for quite awhile - not good.   Flip Herndon was even wandering around like the rest of us, trying to figure it out where to go.  So many map and yet so little information.

I'll have a write-up on this meeting but you might want to get ready for some loud advocating.  It appears the staff is somewhat trying to twist the arms of the Board in order to get what staff wants.  The Board should have none of it.

Growing pains?  SPS is not alone.  From the Issaquah press:
The average size of the district’s elementary school is 622 students, while middle schools are averaging 960. The three high schools’ average is skewed as Liberty has just 1,200 students while Skyline and Issaquah have more than 2,200 each.
Good op-ed over at Crosscut by Bill Keim, the head of the Washington School Administrators Association on McCleary.  What makes it good reading is his documentation of spending by the state.
During the past four decades, a big part of why Washington’s education funding system went from near the top among the states to near the bottom is the powerful pressure exerted on the legislature by anti-tax forces. This isn’t just an opposition to new taxes. As the attached graph from the Washington State Budget and Policy Center shows, we’re nowhere near the level of state revenue as a percent of personal income that we were two decades ago.

In a 2014 presentation on this topic, David Schumacher, director for the state’s Office of Financial Management, said this decline represented a loss of $15 billion in revenue for the biennium. That would be more than enough to address the state’s education funding shortfall.
Community Meeting on Saturday:Director Patu - Caffe Vita from 10am-11am
Community Meeting on Sunday: Director Geary - NE Library from 2:00-3:30 pm

What's on your mind?


kellie said...

Dir Geary's meeting was moved from Saturday to Sunday, still at NE library.

Anonymous said...

You know how people are always saying how kids don't arrive at their neighborhood school in neat little packages of 20?

Well, SPS staff has come up with a way to remedy that geo-split 8 elementary schools and one K-8, pulling hundreds of kids out of these schools, then add them back during open enrollment, but only if they can fit into the tidy packages of 19, 22, or whatever the class size mandate may be.

The largest boundary change areas are in lower-income neighborhoods and impact Title 1 schools.

Only the kids from families who know how to navigate the open enrollment process, have the flexibility to be put on wait lists, and don't rely on yellow bus services will have the opportunity to stay at their school.

What is the monetary reward for meeting the class size reduction mandate for 2017-18? Is that what is driving this madness?

-reality check

Anonymous said...

I agree Reality Check.

Another reason why reducing a child's only chance to stay at their school to the open enrollment process is unfair, is because it doesn't serve families who work and require before/after care unless they can afford to sign up for and pay deposits on 2 programs or can afford private childcare. It's a process that serves only those who have more flexibility of time and more financial resources.


Anonymous said...

Melissa - You wrote: "It appears the staff is somewhat trying to twist the arms of the Board in order to get what staff wants."

Will you be going into more details on this? If true, I find it highly-distressing. We have a Board that seems to want a more in-depth review of the plans for the 2017-18 boundary changes and their implementation. If approved and implemented as recommended, there could be massive disruption of the educational pathways for 100s of students. I am glad we have a strong Board.

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

NE Mom, I will try to but it's a subtle thing that I see and read between the lines. I think staff feels somewhat too overseen by the Board but I also think the directors feel a keen need to provide oversight to voters and taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Well, kudos to the directors for feeling that need to provide oversight!

From what I can tell, there were just a handful of change areas that were re-evaluated/re-negotiated, but I can't find much in the way of actual data for these (beyond that presented for Cedar Park/Olympic Hills/John Rogers). I can't find any indication that the other really large change areas (i.e. Viewlands to Olympic View, Olympic View and Sacajawea to Olympic Hills, etc...) were ever re-evaluated. Some of the reasons for justifying the Olympic Hills geo-split is based upon the number of kids moving into the new Olympic Hills building from these other attendance areas. It is a lot of churn, and I'm not understanding why it is necessary to disrupt so many students and school communities.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Between all their Ed awards and cooperation between schools and the district, plus spray parks and this new in-city pool...I'm starting to get seriously jealous of Tacoma!:

Seattle Tired

Anonymous said...

Center School enrollment is down. What happened to the Principal? Was she moved to World School? Why is Jon Greenberg not on the staff list?

- Curious and Curiouser

Anonymous said...

I keep trying to post and it keeps disappearing. I'll try and put it in two posts.

Here's an update on the encampment ordinance making its way to the city council. I urge you to vote to your rep and ask them to vote "no". If more than 6 council people approve, they can override any veto from Murray (if he vetoes it).

I attended and spoke during the public comment period at the meeting yesterday. It was long and lawyerly, much time spent parsing the difference between words like unsafe and hazardous. No time at all was spent on offering actual solutions to the homeless problem.

My take away is that the city simply wants to legalize the existing piece-meal, do it yourself approach, where any public property is fair game unless someone can prove it is unsuitable. Once 5 or more campers establish a homestead they are to be provided with assistance from the city (port-a-potties, dumpsters, sharps containers). Any challenge from the public will suffer a prolonged battle in the courts. Without the city advocating for responsible, managed and safe encampments there is no way we as the public can prevent campers from moving into our neighborhoods if the legislation passes.

Very concerned

Anonymous said...

Second part of post.
As written currently the legislation permits:

1. Free two day camping pass, no questions asked in “Landslide-prone green space, shoulder of the road, areas where heavy machinery operate, SCHOOL GROUNDS, sidewalks, certain areas of parks when not in use, sites for neighborhood use.”

2. Five day passes available to camp in hazardous conditions such as “Garbage build up, needles, human waste, flammable or explosive materials.”

3. Permanent open ended camping permits to camp in “Certain green spaces, under roadways and bridges where not blocking sidewalks, not endangered by or impeding traffic.”

It does not attempt to address adequate housing or additional managed tent cities, except to say that we cannot even enforce the proposed rules unless there is available housing transfer people to. In other words, if we don't find a place to put people, we can't disturb any encampments in the third category I outlined above.

I don't think it is right that the homeless population is being given all the power to decide where they can camp. The city needs to get off it's behind and make some tough choices about where to put them. They are here already, and they aren't going anywhere soon.
Very concerned