Monday, August 28, 2017

Seattle Schools This Week

Wednesday, August 30
Regular School Board Meeting. Agenda


Highlights:

- this is the first regular School Board meeting for the school year 2017-2018

- Action item - Approval of solar projects for several schools.  The district would received a $500,000 grant from the state Department of Commerce for a $2M+ job. I was against this item when it was introduced for a couple of reasons.

One, there are schools that have facilities/maintenance needs and it seems wrong for this project to jump ahead of them.  Two, the district is using funds from BEX II and BEX III for the majority of funding needed.  I don't even have to check but that isn't what voters were told the money would be used for when said they said yes to those two levies.

It bears repeating that when we vote on levies - you are voting for a bucket of dollars.  Sure, a list comes attached but clearly we see the district is hoarding cash (BEX II? That was voted on in 2001 and they still have dollars?) AND spending it on what they believe is its best uses.  I don't agree on this one.  But kudos to Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA who is kicking in $50K.

- Action item - Acceptance of the League of Education Voters dollars - $2M - for the continuing support for South Shore PreK-8.  This is the non-emergency item that is being as an Intro/Action item.  It's disappointing that the Board continues to allow this to happen but it certainly shows the power of outside entities to drive that action.

- Intro item - CSIPs.  This is the annual joke that staff puts forth to the Board and the Board murmurs how all the CSIPs are kinda vague and is this plan really happening and then they vote yes on it.  Charlie has always been right on the language used - full of edu-jargon but not a lot of action, no parent could read it and believe it.

The claim is that it's a living document that is regularly updated throughout the year and that BLTs monitor this.

Wait, what? Not all schools have BLTs.  Not all BLTs have parent members.  Updated throughout the year? Well, I'll have to pick 10 schools and track their CSIPs this year and see how that plays out.

Hilariously, the BAR says that Executive Directors help make sure CSIPs are carried out.

The whole thing is an exercise in silliness and, once again, it would be good if the Board put its foot down and demanded better.

Thursday, August 31st
There are two ribbon-cuttings for renovated schools - Meany Middle School and Olympic Hills Elementary - that may see a quorum of School Board Directors in attendance.  Oly Hills' event is from noon to 1 pm and Meany Middle School's event is from 4-5 pm.

Also on Thursday, the waitlists will be dissolved.

16 comments:

Well? said...

Considering S. Shore K-8 receives significantly more funding. Here are 2015-2016 test scores: 38% of 3rd graders passed SBAC LA and 29.6% of 7th graders passed SBAC LA. Moving on to math: 40% are passing 3rd grade math and 27% are passing 7th grade math. The school has a 63% Free and Reduced Lunch population.

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?schoolId=3517&reportLevel=School

Leschi has a free and reduced population of 53%. 61% of 3rd graders passed LA SBAC and 67% of third graders passed math SBAC.

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?schoolId=1033&reportLevel=School

Leschi's 3rd graders, without the support of LEV, outperform S. Shore.

I'd like to hear the superintendent's comments regarding this issue.

Well? said...

Rainier View elementary school has a free and reduced lunch population of 76%. This number is higher than S. Shore's 63% FRL number.

48.6 % of 3rd graders are passing SBAC LA and 63% of 3rd grade students are passing SBAC math. Both of these numbers are higher than S. Shore.

The numbers of 4th and 5th graders passing SBAC LA and math increase to 60%-80%. Rainier View outperforms S. Shore.

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?schoolId=1109&reportLevel=School

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Melissa Westbrook said...

And this is why I'd like to do a case study on South Shore. It's been 10 years and it would be interesting to see what the outcomes are.

Curious, you kind of went off the rails there with your cryptic remarks. Sorry but that's not going to work here.

Well? said...

The board is responsible for oversight. It seems to me that the superintendent be answering some tough questions.

LEV will never be held accountable.

CascadiaMom said...

I happen to think the solar is a great idea, because "the schools selected will create a positive cash flow." I know it's not the spirit of BEX, but there are not many projects that will continue to generate income for SPS for the next 30 years. In addition to the obvious environmental and educational benefits.

Does any one know of any other income generating activities in SPS?

Anonymous said...

I do go off the rails when I think about the kids that SPS has failed. I would think the district could embrace the 21st century and make it clear that there are services available for all students who need guidance.

I believe the district does triage on students and some are deemed beyond saving.

Curious

Anonymous said...

...like I said, IMO, SPS pats itself on the back using South Shore as an example of a successful high FRL school when the school is propped up with $1,000,000 a year and as noted in previous comments, produces no better results.

It's literally and figuratively a facade, what with the fancy building, multicultural emphasis and ability to attract some kids who could afford private school.

SPS needs to implement changes that make a difference. How long have they had plans to eliminate the Achievement Gap?

The administration is complacent and unambitious. The board is the same.

And many kids are suffering.

Curious

Melissa Westbrook said...

CascadiaMom, maybe. I'm not sure the district is that great at managing that kind of effort but I'd like to be proven wrong. Yes, the district generates cash from leasing space (Oak Tree, property off Lake City Way) and the parking lot at Memorial Stadium makes about $1M a year. They also rent space at schools which is a sore point for some schools that get heavy use as the schools don't keep any of that money (and we've seen some schools give away space free). The only leased space I know of for schools is Center School which I think is something like $17K a month.

Curious, are you referencing something specific?

Anonymous said...

So why does the city of Seattle charge SPS for the use of space at the Seattle Center yet SPS gives space to the city of Seattle for their pre-schools?

HP

Patrick said...

Excellent question, HP!

Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, I think I'll ask the Board. Because the City said that if the Armory (formerly Seattle Center) is redone, the school could stay but I would think at a higher price.

Why can't it be free if all the space for Pre-K is free to the City?

Anonymous said...

$17K a month sounds like it might be just utilities, custodial and maintenance.

I did notice on Center School's Wikipedia page the controversy surrounding its formation as a predominantly white school for QA/Mag students in 2001.

I don't think$17K is much money for that space. I would guess the Starbucks downstairs pays that much or more.

The city rents some space for its pre-school program at non-SPS sites. I don't see the problem in helping kids get pre-school as it helps the district when the students enter K better prepared.

my 2

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, if the City pays nothing for multiple district sites, then the City can forgo payment for the Center School. That's my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Jenny Durkan will be more accommodating in providing assistance to the district.

Be a great question to ask her: if she would forgo rent at the Armory in exchange for using SPS property for city purposes.

She says she wants to help SPS; let's see if she can walk the walk.

Mike

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