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?

22 comments:

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 problem...you 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.

Tee

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!:

https://www.parentmap.com/calendar/54192

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

Anonymous said...

@ very concerned - Thank you thank you thank you!

I agree - we all need to write to the entire City Council and now. I wrote to all of them and got simply inane and clueless replies that tried to pacify me or over ride legitimate concerns. They will pass this ordinance unless people get involved and lobby them hard. Do write to everyone on the Council - not just your district rep. -NP

Anonymous said...

"Update: The bill is (Council Bill 118794).

Email info re above issue:
Mayor Edward Murray ed.murray@seattle.gov
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Councilmember Tim Burgess tim.burgess@seattle.gov
Councilmember M. Lorena Gonzalez lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov
Councilmember Bruce Harrell bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
Councilmember Lisa Herbold lisa.herbold@seattle.gov
Councilmember Rob Johnson rob.johnson@seattle.gov
Councilmember Debora Juarez debora.juarez@seattle.gov
Councilmember Mike O’Brien mike.obrien@seattle.gov
Councilmember Kshama Sawant kshama.sawant@seattle.gov

-NP

Np 1240 said...

Interesting information and good reason to keep charter schools out of Washington state:

"The Bond Buyer reports that charter schools in California are seeking access to bonds for school construction, putting them into direct competition with public schools for the same money. Public schools have the advantage of stability and longevity; charter schools come and go with frequency. Public schools have higher bond rating than charter schools. Caprice Young, quoted in the article below, is a former president of the California Charter School Association, a powerful and wealthy lobby, and she now is CEO of Magnolia charters, which is part of the Gulen (Turkish) school chain."


https://dianeravitch.net/2016/09/25/california-charter-schools-fight-for-access-to-bond-funds/

Anonymous said...

Would anyone be willing to share talking points against Council Bill 118794, or their letter to the council? I can only find samples of letters "for" the ordinance. Those are very much on the theme of "compassion," but I feel this ordinance is actually the opposite of compassion. It's enabling and subject to significant abuse.
also concerned

Anonymous said...

@also concerned. Go to TIMBURGESS.COM. In his City View column, he lists a number of reasons why he doesn't support Council Bill 118794. The bill is in his column dated Sept 9, 2016. I don't always agree with Burgess, but this is time I really do!
Concerned

Anonymous said...

A couple possible letters to the City Council are below.

Be sure to indicate in the subject line that you oppose Council Bill 118794:

Dear Rob Johnson (or whomever you write to),

I completely oppose Council Bill 118794.

I believe that homeless people need homes and supportive services and that all of us need to be able to use our parks and school playgrounds for their regular and customary purposes.

Making it OK for the homeless to sleep in parks and on school grounds, as well as other places enjoyed by the general public, degrades the quality of life for all and will lead to increasing crime and other problems without solving the horrific housing problem in Seattle. A bill like this one will also draw additional homeless, outside of our area, to Seattle, only exacerbating this crisis.

Vote NO!

Best,

Anonymous said...

Reprinting for Anonymous below:

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Would anyone be willing to share talking points against Council Bill 118794, or their letter to the council? I can only find samples of letters "for" the ordinance. Those are very much on the theme of "compassion," but I feel this ordinance is actually the opposite of compassion. It's enabling and subject to significant abuse.
also concerned

9/25/16, 8:15 PM

-NP

Anonymous said...

Sorry the VOTE NO comment at 9:34 am was from me -NP

Anonymous said...

And another, longer version (based on upstream comments on this blog):

Dear Rob,

Thanks for your reply, but you are not addressing my concerns at all. To wit:

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 to 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.

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. There is no way we as the public can prevent campers from moving into our neighborhoods if the legislation passes.

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 safe and appropriate housing and not sacrifice our neighborhoods and homes to a misguided and foolish plan.

Sincerely,

-NP

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the resources NP and Concerned. This is very helpful. I actually did sign my comment but it can't hurt to have it here twice!

also concerned

Anonymous said...

Response to Seattle Tired:

Tacoma's enrollment has been sliding and the decline is projected to continue. They would be happy to have you. :)

http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article25865221.html

Happy WithSPS

Anonymous said...

I've been told that Rob Johnson can be swayed on this encampment bill but he needs to hear from folks in his district. Please contact him and let him know how you feel!

2boysclub