Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tonight's Work Session May Provoke Debate

Kellie LaRue has posted the agenda for tonight's Work Session which includes a section on the 2017-2018 budget.  Naturally, that includes the issue of staffing based on enrollment.  That then brings in the issue of waitlists.  (I also note the inclusion in the agenda of a waiver for 2017 graduates that some readers had asked about.)

Page 15 of the agenda has this question (that I've asked before):

What to do with Last Minute New Revenue?

When the state budget is passed, AND IF we receive more revenue than anticipated, what should be done with that increase?

  • SMART Goal funding
  • More for equity High Needs schools 
  • Fall enrollment/split classroom adjustments 
  • Middle School math 
  • Central admin restoration 
  • Other
Recommendations will be part of the June budget work session. 

Let the Board know your thoughts on spending of any new revenue before the June budget work session.

It is also noted that the district is still waiting for action from the City Council on the funding for two tiers for transportation next year.

Page 11 starts the discussion of waitlists.  Items to consider:


Our goal this year is to notify schools of any adjustments by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 16, 2017. 
This is almost to the day the same time as last year.
Waitlist moves are predicated on staffing, not just space capacity 
 This is the first time that I have ever seen this  stated in writing. 

But, that seems to be a statement about neighborhood schools, not Option Schools.
Waitlists for Option Schools continue to be moved based on available seats in classrooms

Staff says that there are only a small number of families impacted by waitlist movement.  I'm not sure that should guide the policy especially if siblings are involved.

– To date about 6,000 of students were on waitlists for 2017-18.
– 3,000 students have received their first choice! 
– 2,200 students currently on waitlists 

Larger number of families negatively impacted

– These schools/families don’t know that they would be impacted and we haven’t heard from them, but we will 
I'm not going to reprint the entire page but read page 26 (of the agenda, not the presentation).
 I hope the Board asks some hard questions here.  I know that one parent has done a huge job of creating an Excel sheet that shows that some simple movement - not all the waitlisted students but some - would be fair and be able to have the least impact to schools that might experience fewer students.

The page 28 asks a striking question - "What schools should have a waitlist?"  Well, now that's getting way into the weeds and sure to provoke more arguing.

Another staff question - "Clarify what 'capacity' means."  Seriously?

On the very last page, they note they are considering a Work Session for Waitlists.

From the Soup for Teachers Facebook page, a discussion.  I urge you to read this carefully - there are key thoughts here.  Take it away Kellie and others(partial and bold mine):
Erin Kinsella Klones I'm trying to follow this wait list argument.
So waitlist enrollment is based on staffing, not space.
So while our school (DPIS) has space for lots more K students, we are going to lose 2 teaching positions based on current enrollment. 
Then the district ongoing to turn to the waitlist families and say Sorry, DPIS doesn't have the staffing needed to increase enrollment. Do I have that right?


Kellie LaRue You got it!!!
Terminology  
Kim McCormick There's apparently a new definition of school capacity...WSS "capacity???" This term/concept never came up (that I can recall) during our Capacity Management Task Force meetings...From the work session presentation " Waitlist moves are predicated on staffing, not just space capacity, " and, under wait list movement considerations, "Is there capacity within the WSS staffing allocation?"
Kellie LaRue Yup. that is a brand new argument. Enrollment gives a projection that everyone at the school knows is inaccurate and then open enrollment comes and folks actually want to be at the school and viola ... Nope we have to split siblings because we didn't staff to accommodate siblings.
About the process:
Kim McCormick So the budget department has taken over enrollment planning???
Kellie LaRue Pretty much. They have essentially negated the entire point of open enrollment. Now the only point of open enrollment is to fill a school to projections.
Stephanie Morris That they made before any human parent had a chance to express a preference, and as far as I can tell completely disregarding excess building capacity.
Questions
Emily Lieberman These are the questions/comments I am sending to the Board:

 1) Are you following your promises to families about school choice as outlined in the SAP and SATP? There is no criteria in those documents that says choice is limited based on "effect on other schools" or "staffing allocation" so long as there is building capacity available.

2) Last year Stevens was not allowed to move its waitlist based on "equity" despite acknowledged space available in the building AND available staffing allocation. It is UNFAIR to take away two teachers and refuse to move our waitlist this year because of the district's erroneous refusal to move our waitlist based on "equity" last year. (Several of the kids on the waitlist are on the waitlist for a second year in a row because the district refused to admit them last year.)

3) Does refusing to allow choice assignments to some kids based on their home address cause unequal treatment of some families (i.e., those who live close to lower-performing and/or non-waitlisted schools)? Are the families who live in the areas excluded from the choice process more likely to be lower-income families or families of color compared to the areas where choice assignments are allowed?
Kellie LaRue Because of staff turnover, I think the "institutional memory" that open enrollment was the mechanism to keep siblings together is completely lost. They are treating split siblings like a family problem, not a district problem due to shifting boundaries.
 K-8 STEM news
Cecelia Lehmann I also just found out that Stem in west seattle an a option school with space is not getting their waitlist moved. I dont know much as im not at stem but the apparently the district is floating the idea to move them to schmitz a smaller building.

Melissa Westbrook Is that the idea? Because many of us said Boren was too big for - what was at the time - a K-5 school.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

We got our student into their choice school jumping over 13 other kids. It's amazing what a good lawyer can do for you.

usual business

Anonymous said...

@ usual business, what was your argument/justification, and with whom in SPS did you negotiate?

Equity Issues?

Eric B said...

A couple of basic comments on this.

First of all, 2200 students on waitlists is 4% of the district. That's not small.

Second, "Waitlists for Option Schools continue to be moved based on available seats in classrooms" (p. 23/31 of the PDF) is at best very generous spin. Center School has space and the same waitlist it had in April. Same with Cleveland. Same with lots of other schools.

Staff apparently also want to set final staffing numbers on 6/16 (p. 22/31). Oddly, that's almost certainly before the Legislature will get around to setting this year's budget, so we won't know what the state is paying until later. Once staffing for schools are set, it will be even harder to move waitlists.

The spreadsheet for middle and high schools has been sent to the board.

Anonymous said...

SPS is using this process to justify closing down the option schools. That's the obvious conclusion reached by the available evidence. Don't assume the people working at the JSCEE are trying to do the right thing. They're not. If you are an option school parent, watch out: SPS wants to eliminate your program and your school entirely. Fight back. Force the board to change the waitlist policy. Demand accountability.

I know everyone is just going to roll over and let staff get their way, as always. Maybe this is the time we fight back and say no?

Optional

Anonymous said...

I'm not exactly sure which one of these arguments if any cause the district to act, but here is the list;

1. The district gave assignment assurances both written and verbal.
2. The district is manipulating student school assignments in violation of it's commitments.
3. The district is exposing students to risk by forcing them to move from a school in a low crime area to a school located in a high crime area.
4. The district is acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner in awarding school choice assignments.

There is also the possibility of just receiving a letter from a lawyer in its self was enough.


usual business


kellie said...

This whole process really illustrates the dangers of circular arguments.

This was the designed process. Low staffing allocations are given pre-open enrollment. These are conservative allocations and it is typically expected that all or most schools will hit this number.

Then during Open Enrollment, families make their choices. There has always been a Post Open Enrollment adjustment based on the NEW INFORMATION that is gathered during Open Enrollment. For example, Center School worked very hard to attract new families and they are way over their budgeted projections. Historically, Center would be given additional staff in late April/ Early May to accommodate the "new information."

As far as I can tell, what is NEW this year, is that rather than having a post Open Enrollment adjustment, they are trying to make ONE and only one staffing adjustment in June. This is a reasonable point of view based on the $50M budget gap.

However, there are MULTIPLE unintended consequences of this budget-only point of view.

1) They are holding family hostages based on the ... wait for it ... initial allocations that in no way reflect Open Enrollment.
2) They are actually creating a self-fullfilling prophesy, where more families leave the district because of broken promises. This enrollment drop (that is caused by their actions) winds up justifying the decision to not allocate staff.




kellie said...

I have only examined middle and high schools budget allocation vs enrollment.

Post Open Enrollment, Middle School have 400 more enrolled students than are included in the budget and High School has 500 more enrolled students than in the budget.

Most of the schools are at or over initial allocations. The only exceptions are Eckstein (-1), JAMS (-7), McClure (-17), and Cleveland (-8). So if they were following their own rules, the waitlists at these schools would move.

The bottom line here is that some additional staff will need to be allocated at both middle and high school. It simply doesn't matter to the district which school the staff is added but it really does matter to families.

Historically, we have moved the list and then added staff. That process aligns with district promises.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm not sure that the district is trying to get rid of Option Schools (they did build for Hazel Wolf and Thornton Creek) but they may be trying to whittle down the number. That they are discussing moving STEM K-8 from Boren to Schmitz Park raises my eyebrows.

I perceive that staff may want this because they have other plans for dollars (did you note that one thing they want if they get McCleary money is administrative staff put back at JSCEE?)

I wrote to the Board and said that the waitlists (within reason) should move this year. All of this dissembling from staff does nothing to negate that their reasoning is NOT part of the SAP Transition Plan (which is what they are operating under) and flies in the face of previous statements/promises.

The Board cannot let that stand or they will be then acceding to staff based on staff wants, not policy and certain not parent desires/concerns. That would mean even more lawlessness for this district.

Operations - and that includes enrollment - need to be right. Our district will NEVER move forward until that gets done.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, this seems pretty simple to me. Did the board authorize the staff to process waitlists in this manner? If not, why is the staff doing so? If the staff persist, who will lose their job for defying policy and the board?

It is not acceptable to use any new funds from the state to put back administrative staff.

Optional

Anonymous said...


Despite the numerous,

"huh?"s
"wait, what?"s
"Seriously?"s
"But how could they not know?"s

for just about everything everywhere (overcrowding, middle school math, ELL, Spectrum destruction, SpEd, Title IX, preschool, RIFs, waitlists, principal placements, middle college, transportation, IB funding, ETC.), seems like with this new "voodoo" of the post-Tracy-Libros assignment rubric that does not follow the board-approved criteria embedded in either the NSAP or post-NSAP transition/growth boundary plans, this district truly has finally #JumpedTheShark

There is no way Lincoln will be able to get off the ground with these clowns driving the bus. That is what will unfortunately truly show the apex of ineptitude, despite the good intent of Mr. Burke.

If SPS can't cope with it's most basic function, putting butts in seats, how can there be faith they will be able to execute a high-stakes, truly sophisticated imperative deliverable such as a comprehensive secondary high school in a neighbour hood drenched in high achievement?

They can argue some more about equity, while families who see the writing on the wall make alternative escape plans. They've stuck around to try and fix it, voting levy dollars faithfully, volunteering, showing up to meetings for community engagement that are little more than canned road shows purely for the purpose of ticking an item off their list... but high school will be the Waterloo, and smart families are simply not going to show up on the battle feild.

#SPSWTF

Melissa Westbrook said...

Optional, the staff is working on what the Board has asked to get done.

As Charlie as pointed out - over and over - the district is lawless in many ways. Board after Board created policies that have been manhandled and ignored by staff. Often, when confronted, staff says, "sorry", the Board says, "Don't do it again" and well, you know what happens.

Will this Board finally put their foot down and say no to all of it? We'll see.

Yup to all that #SPSWTF said.

I would also gently posit that the district needs a new superintendent.

Anonymous said...

This is unacceptable. Whether or not intended the net of what Downtown has done is to put a new assignment plan in place.

THIS WAS NOT THE INTENTION OF THE NEW STUDENT ASSIGNMENT PLAN.

The board can and must put its foot down. Immediately.

Restraining staff and site capacity to balance budget needs is bassackwards. The point is, to the best of its ability, staff should examine the demand of STUDENTS for site enrollment and associated staffing and adjust the budget accordingly. CUSTOMERS FIRST

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

On the wait list issue,

How does the district determine placement? I emailed my choice form less than 2 minutes after the opening and we got 18th. Another school parent sent there's in by mail and is 4th on the list. Is placement set by lottery?

MS Parent

Price-is-Wrong said...

MS Parent,

The district takes all the choice forms submitted during the open enrollment period in Feb. and they go into a pool together. You can still submit choice forms now--you just can't get into any school that's not your geozone school (you're guaranteed that) or anything that's impacted (your only shot of getting into an impacted school is the submit your choice form during that February window and lie back and think of England). If you live in a neighborhood with desirable schools you CAN usually get into schools that families consider less desirable. If you live in a neighborhood with less desirable schools, you CANNOT usually get into schools that families consider more desirable.

The school in the geozone next to mine is very highly rated. It's lovely. Thriving children all over the place, artwork, a jam-packed library full of appealingly curated books from this century, playground space that doesn't look like Bertha's digging pit, other advanced learners so yours isn't the only one and doesn't have to sit in the corner while the other children learn...

But you can't get into that school from here. We're only 2 blocks from the geozone boundary, but we've applied for years and never made it off the wait list. Siblings barely make it off the wait list. We could move two blocks. Or rent out our house and find a rental in a geozone with a better school. Or do what all the other local families in our area of the geozone do (private school or option school).

But one thing's been clear to us for a while. Only residents of some neighborhoods have choices. Not others. And the choice is a chance to buy a lottery ticket in the two week long open choice lottery.

Spin the wheel, Vanna!

Anonymous said...

@usual business

I would like to do the same thing as you did. Do you mind sharing the name of the lawyer you used? Pinky77@gmail.com

Anther parent

Anonymous said...

@Spin the Wheel...and next year they may randomly decide to move the boundary another block or two and twist their process for dealing with the SAP and waitlist politics. It's a...

Guessing Game

Anonymous said...

MS Parent,

All of the applications received within the two week window for Open Enrollment are all processed together after Open Enrollment ends. It doesn't matter when you turn in your application just as long as it is turned in during the Open Enrollment period.

If there are more applicants than space available there are a series of tie breakers to determine who gets an open seat, and then the order of the wait list. The last tie breaker is a randomly assigned lottery number.

-StepJ

Eric B said...

At the work session, a few directors pushed Herndon and Berge on why they are holding waitlists due to budget considerations, when that's not in the approved policy or the procedure. Both of them said with a straight face that it's not in policy or procedure, but it's their practice (what they've done for some period of time), so it's all OK. Straight up, no ducking and weaving. I certainly hope a board majority can come down on that pretty hard, or there will be no point in having a board at all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info. Eric B.

No, it is not OK for them to arbitrarily make up their own Enrollment Policy. Wow, just wow. Did they flip off the Board Directors while they were at it too?

-StepJ

Anonymous said...


@ Eric B

Wow, they admitted that? Is that a fireable offense? To go against board policy?

It IS going against policy: when the board sets out a policy, it is for staff to follow it. Not make up their own parallel universe. If kids want into a building, and, there is space, even perhaps a sibling, they need to let them in. They don't get to bar the door. If there is a school that cannot attract or retain students, then the district should figure out why and improve the school. I would really like to see accountability. It is not too late. Sept. 2017 is months away. The waitlists should be combed over, with a view toward facilitating families, not schools or employees. Schools are for kids. Not the other way around.

This is so, so, so offensive. What else are they doing? This is the team that is running the Lincoln opening? The billion dollar capital budget?

And please, perhaps you will join the board? Seattle really needs you.


Scared and Scarred

Anonymous said...

School boards are worthless, we should elect the superintendent.

End schoolboards

Anonymous said...

There are kids getting into their choice schools. How is it that some kids who are not sitting at number one on the wait list are jumping over other kids and getting assigned to their choice schools?

Getting angry

Anonymous said...

Eric B,

That is outrageous! We have had many years of work to negotiate the NSAP & transition plans, trying to balance disparate needs. Staff can not just overthrow the whole thing without going through the process to change policy, including getting public input. The board better reign this in or they will have no power going forward at all.

-HS Parent

Anonymous said...

So they are saying we have "official" procedures and then "actual" procedures?

It's not just that the apparent current practices aren't IN the approved policy or procedures--they are actually CONTRARY to them by not letting students in when there's capacity.

School Board members, is this ok?

freeforall

Anonymous said...

School Board members reply...let them eat cake!

LOL

Melissa Westbrook said...

End Schoolboards, so just an elected superintendent and no one else? Not much oversight there.

Anonymous said...

@getting angry--Last year the district dissolved the Stevens waitlist with 18 kids on it (many were siblings or current students) and then let 11 *OTHER* kids have choice assignments to Stevens (our PTA learned this from a FOIA request). Imagine how infuriating that is to the families who were excluded. So that's one way the district is handing out "backdoor" choice assignments and letting families jump over the waitlist.

--Stevens parent

Anonymous said...

-Stevens parent- WOW! Not only going against the set policy, but also how unethical and unfair to those poor kids and families. Those Stevens parents need to bring this information to the board, with the data from the FOIA request. My guess is they will be repeating some of this craziness this year. That is not o.k. Those poor families with siblings and/or current Stevens students. What was the explanation of then letting 11 "other kids" not on the waitlist into Stevens?
-Appalled

Melissa Westbrook said...

Stevens parent, let me understand.

There were 18 students on the waitlist last year. That waitlist got dissolved with none of the 18 moving off the waitlist.

Then 11 other students entered as "choice." Meaning,they were NOT students in the assignment area but their parents had just chose Stevens?

What is the document you have? Is it actual enrollment data or e-mails to parents or what?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

@Melissa, here is the text of the FOIA request and reply received by our PTA president:

"How many students received "choice" assignments to Stevens for the 2016-17 school year? 11 students were added to Stevens, Gen Ed, new to the site and not residing in the Attendance Area."

We have submitted a follow-up FOIA request regarding the dates on which these students were admitted. But we are quite sure that it was after they dissolved the waitlist because all the siblings were waitlisted and we believe that *none* were let in (except one in October through some appeal process). The district held a meeting regarding our waitlist in May 2016 and told us (via the ombudsman) that the waitlist would not be moved and no siblings would be admitted despite our physical and staffing capacity (and they referenced fairness to Madrona, I don't remember the exact wording). Of course, Stevens had LOTS of physical and staffing capacity available, so although the district refused to move our waitlist they had seats to fill and apparently filled them with other kids.

So several of the kids on this year's waitlist are current families with kids on the waitlist for the second year in a row. It's very upsetting to know that the district excluded our current families intentionally and then let a bunch of other kids in.

@Appalled, we have been trying to get the District and Board's attention about this with no success. There has been no response as to the reason they would do this. We have contacted and met with individual directors, senior district staff, and spoken at the last two Board meetings. We have encountered what a friend calls "the blank stare of bureaucracy." If anyone has suggestions for who to turn to at this point, I would love to hear them.

--Stevens parent

Anonymous said...

@Melissa--also, yes, your understanding above is correct. The waitlist ended slightly smaller than it started but that did not represent kids admitted--rather, it represents families who asked to be taken off the waiting list when they wrote their checks to private schools (they hoped that asking to be removed from the waitlist would give the remaining siblings a better chance of getting in).

--Stevens parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

I do not understand admitting choice students when there had been a waitlist. Those students should have been refused.

Left Out said...

This same thing happens at other schools. We have friends who have been on the waitlist trying to get into an option school for two years in a row and haven't made it off the wait list and into the school. And we have other friends who moved to the area from out of state after the wait list was dissolved and were able to just start at the very same option school. Why didn't that seat go to one of the families on the wait list?

Anonymous said...

@Left Out--what a bummer. We were especially disappointed at Stevens because we kept pointing out all the excess space and asking how they were going to fill it if not with the families on our waitlist that were already so invested in Stevens (including siblings and current students that changed addresses). The Director of Admissions explicitly said that they wouldn't let in any other out-of-boundary kids after denying admission to our siblings and current students. But of course it looks like that's exactly what happened.

--Stevens parent

Anonymous said...

I know someone who entered private in 6th because Eckstein freaked them out, then didn't like the private school so they then waltzed into Hazelwolf on the third or forth week of school and had a fabulous middle school experience....

Fairness NOT

Melissa Westbrook said...

Fairness Not, Hazel Wolf is an Option school and they got in? That's hard to believe. ( not that I don't believe you but again, where is the consistency?)

Anonymous said...

@Melissa-yes, Hazelwolf the option school let someone in to the 6th grade class during the third or fourth week of school after a phone call from the parents...I kid you not. I think it's because they were designated as private, so that might put them on a priority list after waitlists are dissolved.(??) why do they disolve waitlists and how do you get considered after they apparently start over with their enrollment list? It's all a little mind boggling.

I also guess that the student was let in because it wouldn't hurt Eckstein to lose a 6th grader who was already private, but otherwise would be assigned there if they didn't get in to HW.

There is no consistency, it's confusing, and the system seems really unfair to those wanting choice who have an underenrolled neighborhood school. There should either be choice or no choice, this approach to give students lucky enough to have great schools that are maxed out a choice but not to those who have schools that are struggling, or just have randomly small grade bands. Where's the equity in that! Be clear, and use approved policy.

Wishing Well

Anonymous said...

For the Hazel Wolf student getting in after the Wait List dissolved it all depends on the timing. If it happened within the last two years when the wait list dissolved before the start of school, it is outside of policy. However, in years prior there was language in the NSAP and Transition Plans that a student "new" to the District could attend an Option school if there was space available after the wait list had dissolved. So, if a student had attended private school the year previous and had not attended SPS in the current or previous year they could get in to an Option school after the wait list had dissolved. Same is true for someone who had moved to SPS from another District. This is not the case in the past two years, as this language has not been included in the Transition plan. The options for assignment for a new student to SPS after the wait list is dissolved is their Attendance Area school, or a Service school.

In the case of Stevens, which is an Attendance Area school, there has been no provision within the past nine years of enrollment rules to allow assignment for 'choice' applicants after the wait list has been dissolved.

-StepJ

Melissa Westbrook said...

Step J, I should go back and review. I had thought if you were private and lived in Seattle, it would not be possible. Sure, coming from out of district, maybe (not saying you are wrong, I just haven't read this in awhile).

Melissa Westbrook said...

It all gets curiouser and curiouser.

Anonymous said...

I also recall a conversation I had with Sherry Carr when she was a Board Director. My argument was that Enrollment should have some discretionary decision making power as there could not be rules to guide each and every unique scenario. Sherry was adamant that this should NOT be the case. As a Board Director she felt she had a fiduciary responsibility for the well being of the District. She was very firm that not following the rules put the District in jeopardy for liability. Her resolution was to work with me and Tracy Libros to amend policy - definitely not to break policy.

From the examples given on this blog, enrollment policy is clearly not be followed. I'm not a lawyer, but actions from Enrollment Planning strike me as Arbitrary and Capricious.

I suspect this has been going on for at least two years now. At the least the part about Enrollment Planning capping enrollment at a school, and not moving wait lists (or skipping wait lists entirely) per their own made up rules. Likely, why FOIA requests are now needed to get enrollment information that used to be published to the website. Trying to keep their rule breaking quiet and out of the public eye.

I am very appreciative for this forum so that families and schools from across the district can share information and daylight these rule breaking, deceptive practices.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

For the Stevens folks, it seems like a logical next step would be to get an attorney on board and contact the district that way citing the FOIA information and asking that SPS correct the error by letting those waitlisted attendance area/siblings in to Stevens. Seems like they only listen to attorneys...
-NP

Anonymous said...

Reading this thread in dismay. The district *may* fix the Stevens situation (let in all siblings for Sept. 2017, for example) to appease this group if this group makes enough noise, but, that is not enough. The district should not deviate from the policy the board set out in the first place. If they board wanted to 'create equity' by writing a rule that said the district can never place a non-F&RL student who resides in an attendance area whose school is Title 1 or X% F&RL in a non-title 1 school (be it option or a different AA school) for any reason whatsoever, the board would have done it. But, they have not. Because gating kids is not equitable. You can't create equity by being inequitable.

So, what @NP said, GET A LAWYER.

Here is my comment about the Lowell situation, it applies here too. Bottom line: the quicker you get a lawyer on board, they quick your situation will be resolved per the facts, merits and law. Seems like all three are on your side, Stevens.


FIX IT


Attorney time!

Seriously, the answer is an attorney. Not the board, they are completely toothless. Whether or not they are up for election; whether or not they care; they can't do anything other than wring their hands and wait for a self-serving Friday Memo to mansplain in a vague and lame wordsalad.

This needs to be resolved immediately (I am not telling you anything you don't already know).

After 14 student years in the SPS system, I can tell you the ONLY thing that gets their attention and gets a resolution done is that which includes the calling card of an attorney.

The district doesn't care about kids,their mandate is not to care, their mandate is to comply with the law. That is their only deliverable. What they do care about: political optics. Negative coverage in the Seattle Times hits them where they live. They quake in the boots when they think they have to show up in front of an administrative law judge (because then they are no longer in control, and can't obfuscate, delay, or deny. They actually have to answer someone (no, not to you parent, who they don't care about, but to the judge who has real power). That creates a different attitude because they are no longer on home turf. They have to play by someone else's rules, and it is remarkable the night and day difference. Smart principals do not let controversies get outside of their buildings, because then they know they just lost control and are now risking their career in some fashion. That becomes a different calculus. They may suddenly see your point.

It is terrible that they can't just be counted on to do the right thing, but there you have it. With SPS, it is the outside attorney thing that gets their attention. You might think this is hostile or too aggressive or disproportional, but it really is not: it is about professionalizing the circumstance to move the ball forward so that children are done right by.
FIX IT

5/26/17, 4:43 PM

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a referral to a lawyer that represents families in these kinds of situations? Thanks in advance if you can recommend someone.

--Frustrated