Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Open Thread

Superintendent Nyland, along with other superintendents throughout the region, laid out the problem with the levy cliff yesterday.  There's a good Q&A on the issue.
“This is a critical issue for our districts and for the 420,000 students we serve,” said John Welch, PSESD superintendent.  “The $228 million we could lose beginning in 2018 if the current levy lid is not extended translates into fewer teachers, bigger classrooms, and a lower quality educational experience for the students.
Meanwhile, over at the Washington Policy Center, it's all about breaking "a promise" to taxpayers to sunset this legislation.  They completely ignore the fact of the outcome of not extending it for a year AND the fact that the legislature has not completed McCleary.  That was a huge promise that has not been fulfilled.  Basically they are saying, "you districts knew this was coming and you already get a lot of money that you spend incorrectly so too bad."

One issue the district might consider in all this boundary/SAP/school openings discussion - there are new charter schools opening next fall right in Seattle.   One is a middle school in the International District (eventually a 6-12.)  Another is a 6-12 school in West Seattle.  A third high school located in South Seattle is going to continue to expand to a full 9-12.  I have no doubt that people will continue enroll in these schools.

Now, of course, it is a bit interesting that, despite the fact that the last law didn't hold up in court and there was a lot of hair-pulling and chest-beating over how hard this was on the kids in those schools, they are going forward.  But if the Supreme Court decision brings forth the same result, no one can say they didn't know.

Governor Inslee has declared January 2017 to be School Board Recognition Month.  Thank you to all those who step up to serve in this mostly thankless job.

Something fun to let the kids know about; names for full moons like Lunar Wolves and Worms.

Another fun thing that might interest kids; someone is building a database for animal farts.  It's all science, you know.

A fun (and funny) video, maybe not to show the kids - might give them ideas, is a North Carolina principal who lets students know school won't be happening because of weather and then proceeds to have a Ferris Bueller day to himself at school.

What's on your mind?


Kathleen said...

Principals and school districts are in the midst of preparing their budgets.
House Bill 1059 would delay the levy cliff. House Bill 1059 was passed out of the House. However, the Senate's companion bill (SB 5023) has not gotten a hearing. Please consider contacting the Chair (Senator Zeiger) and Vice Chair ( Senator Fain) of the Senate Education Committee and ask that SB 5023 be given a hearing. I recommend contacting Senator Ann Rivers, too. Thank you! Senator Zeigher can be reached at 360-786-7648, Senator Fain can be reached at 360-786-7692.

Sample script: Hi my name is______. I am calling to encourage the Senate to provide a hearing for SB 5023. SB 5023 will delay the levy cliff. The House has already passed the companion bill ( HB 1059) out of committee. The state is failing to fund education and some districts rely heavily on levy dollars. Some districts are reliant on levy dollars to fund 24-28% of operational costs- which includes teacher salaries. Districts and principals are in the midst of creating budgets and there is much uncertainty. The timeline and Collective Bargaining Agreements require the district to deliver pink slips to teachers before state funding is known and high poverty schools will suffer the most. The levy cliff is a manufactured crisis that is creating uncertainty in our schools. This is a time sensitive issue and please address this issue immediately. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

"The levy cliff is a manufactured crisis that is creating uncertainty in our schools."

This is very true.

SPS collectively bargained raises for teachers with funds it didn't have ---- with only the assumption that McCleary would be solved. That is entirely on SEA, the district staff, and the school board.

SPS chose to run a levy at 28% rather than 24% like other districts who had the 28% limit and were previously grandfathered in at the higher percentage. That is entirely on the district staff and the school board.

SPS manufactured this crisis.

Albert S.

Another View said...

"SPS collectively bargained raises for teachers with funds it didn't have ---- with only the assumption that McCleary would be solved."

SPS settled the teachers strike and got children back to into schools.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, assuming the Legislature would get this done, with a court order AND daily fines, was a mistake.

Anonymous said...

Somewhat random question here . . .
I've heard that some HS kids are taking the required .5 credit of "health" online in order to free up time in the HS schedule (for other core classes). Is there one online class most kids are taking? Is it private or through the community colleges? Can someone point the way? Are these classes pretty universally accepted by the SPS high schools? Do kids get some flack from the counseling office for doing this?


Anonymous said...

I have an 8th grader whose typing skills are pretty lacking. (She can hunt and peck incredibly fast, but I don't think this is going to get her through high school.) Can anyone recommend a private typing class - something that could be done after school, on weekends, or possibly a summer "camp"? I'm curious how other middle schoolers/high schoolers have learned to type? Our SPS elementary school never gave any meaningful typing training.

Thank you.

--8th grade parent

p.s. - prior post about health class was also from me

Lynn said...

Every school has a different policy on giving credit for online classes. I recommend you contact your child's high school and find out what they'll give credit for. Definately get it in writing. It would be a good idea to take it over the summer if possible.

You might look at Typing Agent. (Link is here on the middle and high school tab:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Another View, for pointing out that the SEA and the district held you and your child(ren) hostage for higher salaries.

Have you ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome?

Albert S.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, assuming the Legislature would get this done, with a court order AND daily fines AND one year ahead of schedule, was a mistake."

FTFY, Melissa.

Albert S.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, Albert.

Anonymous said...

--8th grade parent

Check into BYU's health class, worked very well for us and no flack from the school.

HS Parent

Lynn said...

Get permission first. Some high schools won't give credit for BYU classes.

Anonymous said...

It's free and used by school districts. A student can create an account so progress is saved. We had our child spend 15-20 min a day, every day, until the basics were covered. The program was straightforward, gave user feedback, and didn't have a bunch of silly games. With a younger student, you might want to consider starting with BBC Dance Mat Typing.

-good luck

Anonymous said...

Lynn is right, even if an online course is accepted at your high school for credit, it must be pre-approved with paperwork on file before the course is started. Talk to the counseling office & make sure the paperwork is done before your students starts the course.

- HS Parent