Agenda Update

On the Board Agenda tonight there is an Introduction Item which is a Resolution by the Board and the District on RTTT. It seems to be pounding a nail with a sledgehammer and I think that's for the Board's benefit.

Mainly, the sky is falling and if you don't join us, we'll never see money again.

Here's the intro language:

The state’s Race to the Top application is due to the US Department of Education on June 1,
2010. Signed Partnership Agreements are due to the Office of the Governor on May 17, 2010.
If this Resolution is approved, the School Board President and the Superintendent will sign the
Partnership Agreement and both the Agreement and this Resolution will be submitted to the
Office of the Governor by the May 17 deadline.

Here are the additions to the language:

The estimated allocation of $54.38 per FTE is based on all 295 districts in the state signing onto the Partnership Agreement. If not all districts sign on, the SPS allocation would be higher. As a corollary to that, should SPS fail to sign the Partnership Agreement, the district would not receive any of the formulaic dollars. Put another way, formulaic dollars only come to those districts that sign the Agreement.

As mentioned above, should the district fail to sign the Agreement, we would forego these funds. Given that the required components are actions that we are currently taking or will be required to take as a result of state law changes, it seems short sighted to forego dollars that would help move the work forward. Therefore, the recommendation is for both the Superintendent and School Board President to sign the Agreement.

Put another way, failure to sign onto one or more of the optional components would preclude the district from competing for additional dollars.

It should be noted that the Partnership Agreement itself, except those elements required by state law (the required components) is null and void if the Race to the Top application does not
receive funding.

The overarching recommendation that both the Superintendent and School Board President sign off on all components of the Partnership Agreement is based on a theory that the district should retain as much flexibility in this process as possible. As discussed above, failure to sign parts of the Agreement would result in either failure to receive formulaic funds or an inability to compete for additional funds.

Given the district’s budget troubles and the fact that we have work underway in all of the
required areas and many, if not most of the optional areas retaining the flexibility to receive or
compete for additional dollars is the best action for the district.

This issue will be discussed by the Principals Association of Seattle Schools (PASS) at their
Executive Board meeting on Friday.

The Seattle Education Association (SEA) and district staff have met about the Partnership
Agreement. In order for the SEA to sign on to the Partnership Agreement the Representative
Assembly (RA) of the SEA must meet and authorize the SEA President to sign a Memorandum
of Understanding with the district. The purpose of the Memorandum is to recognize that a
number of issues in the Partnership Agreement are topics for bargaining, and to commit the
district and the SEA to engaging in good faith bargaining about those issues. If both parties
sign the Memorandum the SEA will also agree to sign onto the Partnership Agreement. The RA will be meeting on May 17th to discuss this issue; we will be working with OSPI to extend the deadline for submitting signatures to accommodate the SEA's schedule.

Anyone sensing a little desperation here? Pleeeasse SEA, sign our document. PASS, you too?

I would urge everyone to read this resolution because it gives pretty clear information on RTTT money, what needs to be done to get it and how it would be spent. Of course, that leaves the question, is it worth it? (And a whole $55 per FTE? Great.)

They are also voting on an Action Item to create a Native American Parent Advisory Committee. It was recently discovered that the district had mishandled federal dollars for Native American students and one of the reasons was no parent advisory committee. They are on a very tight schedule here:

In order to enable district eligibility for federal funding, it must have an operating Parent
Advisory Committee (PAC) and approved bylaws. The bylaws must be approved by the Board
of Education prior to the PAC election scheduled for April 27th. This has to be in place to apply
for a grant with a due date of May 5th.

So in just a couple days, the district is going to throw (almost literally) a parent committee together to get the federal grant money. It was noted at the Board committee meeting where this was exposed that the feds could drop our district to the bottom of the list for past non-compliance.

Here's a laugher from this item:

It has long been the practice of Seattle Public Schools to support the work of parent groups and
organizations. It is the policy of the Seattle School Board to encourage participation by members of the community to advise the Superintendent and Board in School District decision-making processes.

Very funny. They don't support us; our hard work and PTA dollars support them. And advise the Superintendent and the Board? Please. Any time there is any committee, they get thanked and the work gets shelved.


seattle citizen said…
didn't the SEA meet last night or recently to vote on this? Anyone know the results of that vote? Or am I in la la land?

WV exhorts us, when playing a championship match with our best team on the field: subnoman
seattle citizen said…
Here is the Washington State notice to districts telling them what is necessary for RTT. Note that in the district's agenda item it says, "for example...." and lists a few things we would have to do. This document, below, has the exact items, and ALL of them.
Sahila said…
You all need to speak to Joan NE about the RTTT rules and regulations... she's studied them in detail and cross-referenced them with the education bill recently passed in Olympia...

She's been calling out misinformation that's been presented to teachers, obviously intended to scare/persuade them into allowing the SEA to sign the MOU to get RTTT applications going...

I cant explain this stuff, she can...

And be warned ... its very dense material... not an easy read - I admire her skill and stamina in plowing through it...
Sahila said…
SC - they did meet to vote on an aspect of RTTT... that vote got adjourned till next month cos they ran out of time... some union people are worried their leadership will find a way to sign on, without their approval...

It seems they voted (60/40 split, I heard), to sign a MOU to allow a School Improvement Grant (considered by many to be a mini-RTTT) at three low performing schools. Apparently, despite strong opposition, the majority voted to go along with the argument that "the state will force these changes next year regardless, so we should take the grant and get some money at least" The SIG incentive pay is building- wide, based on improvements so people also might have been influenced by that.

Again - JoanNE is the expert in this realm of education fantasy land, on a par with Meg Diaz's expertise with number crunching.... better to ask her...
dan dempsey said…
It has long been the practice of Seattle Public Schools to support the work of parent groups and
organizations. It is the policy of the Seattle School Board to encourage participation by members of the community to advise the Superintendent and Board in School District decision-making processes.
" ...decision-making processes ...decision-making processes???

So much so that when a school board decision is appealed in Superior Court ..... it is apparent that information submitted by the public is not only ignored but is missing from the decision-making process.

These folks need to construct more believable lies.
Sahila said…
As to SPS's mismanagement of federal funds for the American Indian Heritage School, native people have been complaining for years about the treatment they have received at the hands of the District:

In terms of forming this committee, check out the press release from the Urban American Indian Alaska Native Educational Alliance, issued on April 9 2010:

I think the District should be prosecuted for fraud...
dan dempsey said…

Follow RCW 28A.645.020 (that is a law not some Ed School nonsense).... the SPS does not do this or plan to do it (state law??.. who cares? not the SPS).

Forget the BS about "to advise the Superintendent and Board in School District decision-making processes."

They have no mechanism to allow the public to do so nor do they care to improve.
dan dempsey said…
update: 2-3-2010 original approval of NTN contract

3-5-10 Appeal filed

3-25-10 RCW 28A.645.020 last day to submit the record on which the decision was based

4-7-10 ... decision approved again

The materials that should have been provided on 3-25 might be available tomorrow ..... anyone believe what I will get tomorrow was actually used by the board on 2-3-10????

If so why wasn't the district able to provide it on 3-25 or at least in time for it to be useful to appellants in making an argument for the 4-7-10 redo decision?


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