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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

News From the Mayor's Youth and Families Initiative

Let the Mayor know your thoughts about funding for youth and families. From the Mayor's office:

To make it easier to keep up with the Initiative as it progresses, we've added a results section to our website; you can go there to see the top priorities identified by each small group at both the large-group workshops and the community caucuses, as well as a map showing the general distribution of our attendees so far.

If you know anyone in the Ballard area who has not yet had an opportunity to participate, the Mayor will be at a community caucus at Ballard High School next Monday, May 3rd from 7-8:30 PM that will be open to the public.

Also on the City budget front:

There are also two very important opportunities for input coming up this week and next in the form of public hearings on the budget. The Mayor will be attending each one along with members of the City Council in order to give you as community members the chance to express your budget priorities and concerns directly to your elected officials:

New Holly Gathering Hall
7054 32nd Ave S, 98118
Wednesday, April 28th
5:00 pm sign-in
5:30-7:00 pm public hearing


North Seattle Community College - cafeteria
9600 College Way North, 98103
Use the 95th Street entrance on the south end of campus
Tuesday, May 4th
5:00 pm sign-in
5:30-7:00 pm public hearing

14 comments:

seattle citizen said...

hmmm...no news is good news?

seattle citizen said...

ah, there it is - when I saw your heading there was no text!

ParentofThree said...

Interesting to read the comments from the various forums. Very clear how unhappy Seattle citizens are with our school system. Which I assume is exactly what the Major wants to see to fuel his case for taking over the district. Not sure that is the answer either.

SolvayGirl said...

From what I've seen of the Mayor's handling of Seattle City Light (where my hubby works) I definitely do not think mayoral take-over is the answer. Not to mention the churn that could happen every time a new mayor with different priorities gets elected. (Though that might not be any worse than the churn SPS has experienced in the past few years with supers).

However, I would not mind seeing the City Council/Mayor playing more of a role (perhaps a rep on the school board, etc.). I believe the strength of public education is important to a city's economic well-being to attract businesses and residents.

Sue said...

Having also had experience with this Mayor and how he works- please please please go to a forum and specifically ask him to stay far away from Seattle Public Schools.

He is the last thing we need.

I like the idea of a council rep on the school board though.

Bird said...

On the question of SPS governance, does anyone think it might be better to have shorter terms for the school board?

I'm somewhat inclined for a shorter term, since school board members generally don't come into the position with a relevant track record that lets you know how they are likely to perform. Elect a dud and it'll take a looong time to get them back out.

On the other hand a shorter term might lead to more churn in directors and might make them even less able to assert oversight and control over the entrenched bureaucracy.

Opinions?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think 4 years is a long time but so many of our directors are not good to go coming in and there is a big learning curve. My personal opinion is that for most, it takes about a year to get up to speed and 18 months to get the courage to actually ask questions and expect answers.

It's funny because there's this argument ying and yang about business types versus activists. We've had both and it leads me to the conclusion that it really is about knowing this district as well as being able to ask questions and not let up until you get answers. It's a hard thing to do.

Many directors just don't get their oversight role of the Superintendent and it's like they forget their job IS to oversee the Superintendent's work.

I have NEVER (despite what some here have said) advocated a City takeover. However, I am coming to the conclusion that unless something changes (and it hasn't despite many Boards and many Superintendents and many citizen committees), we may need some kind of reform. Maybe a City Council person on the Board, maybe the Mayor having a role in Superintendent selection/supervision, I don't know.

What I do know is that this system is not working. And all you have to do is ask parents in any corner of this district and you will see frustration and anger. It shouldn't be this way.

seattle said...

I totally agree Melissa.

I always liked the idea of having 7 distinct board "positions" such as Alt schools Director, Budget Director, curriculum Director, Communications Director, Policy Director, etc.

And, I like the idea of a council rep on the school board too!

seattle citizen said...

School Board positions? Campaign finance reform. Voter education.

ARB said...

Ummm, there was supposed to be a Mayor's youth mtg for special Ed last night... Parents came, nobody showed up to run it.

Sue said...

Well yes, Aurora, that is about the level of incompetence I would expect from McGinn.

i am sorry your time was wasted.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I called up Sol Villarreal at the Mayor's office about the Special Ed caucus. The caucuses were being organized by the League of Education Voters so something didn't happen. He's looking into it. I sure am sorry this happened? Where was it supposed to be?

ARB said...

Spec ed caucus was set for Roosevelt HS Library, 7pm 4/27. All parents who took the time to attend have disabled children--it was hard enough to get to a first meeting, let alone having to arrange coverage to attend a second one. Any chance we can provide written feedback if we came the first time and can't make the next mtg?!

Thanks for following up!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Aurora, I can make sure that happens so stay tuned and I'll put a special post on how to make that happen.