Sunday, June 13, 2010

School Board Meeting Agenda

Tomorrow is the sign-up day for speaking at Wednesday's School Board meeting. You can either call 252-0040 or e-mail the Board office, boardagenda@seattleschools.org.

As previously noted, there will be a rally at the John Stanford Center at 5:30 pm prior to the Board meeting to voice concerns over over superintendent, Maria Goodloe-Johnson. If you are not coming to the rally or Board meeting, I urge you to write to the Board with your opinion/thoughts about Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's abilities to guide and lead SPS.

The agenda has some interesting items:
  • a resolution for the $48M supplemental operations levy to be put on the ballot in November. I had written about this in depth previously so I won't go into again. The cost to the district is $525k but they are hoping that would go lower if more items get on the ballot. One thing, though, is that there is language in here both specific on its uses and vague on its uses depending on the year. The first year 2010-2011 is specific but after that it says:
Funds received in the subsequent years of the supplemental levy would be used to create or enhance programs across the district and to provide instructional services to our students that would otherwise be cut due to reduced State and Federal funding.

This is somewhat troubling because that leaves a lot of money for whatever the district wants to throw it at. I feel like some of that should go to developing programs at the newly reopening schools to make them attractive to parents and making it worthwhile to have reopened those buildings.
  • The $1M funding for laptops for Cleveland STEM students. These would be for 9th and 10th graders for this fall, 11th graders next fall, and 12th graders in 2012-2013. It seems that if they are going to spend this money, Cleveland STEM is a go.
  • Most interesting is the introduction items of the "Extension of superintendent contract and compensation" and "Resolution on the superintendent incentive measure". The agenda states that both will be posted prior to introduction in conjunction with the evaluation reports. I'll ask how soon they will be posted. The title of the first item gives me pause. I'm thinking that it is just a formal title and not the reality of what the Board will be doing, namely, extending her contract.


Central Mom said...

It is likely King County will put a public safety funding measure on the ballot this fall. McGinn wants the seawall. Who knows what other funding items are out there. Plus we know the city will put the Families and Education Levy on the ballot next year.

This is Seattle, home of the pro-education levy votes. But really...in this economic climate with many worthy causes, does anyone think all the funding initiatives will pass? I don't.

And I think the education lvey could be hampered by the just-passed BTA vote. A whole lot of people do not distinguish between the various pots of money that the district is asking for.

Moreover, if I were the city, given the poor interaction between district and municipal leaders, I would be really ticked off about the district jumping at the chance to go after those dollars, because of all the items on the list, I think the district levy will most impact the Families and Ed city levy later on. Which in turn would mean more school-city dysfunction later on.

Further, I am very curious about the way the board does and does not think their vote on the superintendent's performance will impact the fall ask for dollars.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Central Mom, I am of the same opinion as you. However, I am in a group with a member of committee for the Families and Education levy and she just gave a shrug when I told her about the district's levy. I still think that voters could look askew at this levy (or the City's levy Fall 2011) and say "this one or that one but not both".

Again, I think you are right about how the Superintendent could impact the levy. There are a lot of people who aren't happy and may just say they won't vote for a levy where she directs the money (and give that after year one we have no idea where the money is going i.e. a blank check), it may be a valid consideration. If the Board were to extend her contract, the levy could be in trouble.

ParentofThree said...

Anybody have the final tally for Stem? $800K NTN, $1M Computers, $500K Performance Management

$2.3 Million plus the cost to run the building and pay the staff.


dan dempsey said...

Oh yes MAP and Cleveland STEM have a few thoughts on that HERE.

Topic: Math Genocide by Caste and Ethnicity

MAP is one of the engines that makes it go.

Orbits Seattle 5 year Math Report needed for full understanding HERE.

Sahila said...

Community Vote of No Confidence stands at 252.... not bad considering the wonderful weather and everyone being out and about enjoying it. My wish is to get to 500 by Wednesday's Board Meeting... please sign and spread the word...


Sahila said...

Another fawning Seattle Times editorial, saying how well MGJ is doing handling all that philanthropic money and improving education in the District...

If you disagree, go here and tell the Times...


Anonymous said...

Who writes the stuff in the Seattle Times now?

There's another fluff piece editorial about how wonderful things are with SPS and there is no name attached to this "editorial".

Honestly, anyone have any idea what the deal is between the supe and the Times?

Inquiring minds would love to know.

Check out:


gavroche said...

I am willing to bet any money that this piece of nonsense was written by someone inside SPS and passed on to the Times for its worthless imprimatur.

What utter garbage.

This line, though, is pretty funny:

"Another layer of transparency comes next fall when the district issues report cards showing how schools, administrators and even individual employees are doing."

What the heck is a "layer of transparency"? Isn't that an oxymoron?

Geesh. Even SPS's p.r. is poorly executed.

dan dempsey said...


Vocab difficulty:

Transparent, Translucent, Opaque

confusion reigns......

No matter the dude abides.


dan dempsey said...

I would prefer a violet semi-metallic pearlescent semi-translucent layer for my car ...
no layer for employee performance.

Ever notice that TEAM MGJ has no clue about how to address student learning?

The k-12 Math program ...(???)

The WA Math Standards and the MAP are a complete and utter fiasco.

The district has no required grade level math expectations, they teach nothing to mastery ... so what is there to report?

That is why the MAP is perfect.

It makes no usable reference to any student's performance in regard to mastery of any WA Math Standard.

Thus for $450,000 plus annually we still have no clue as to who needs the required effective interventions in the long ignored D44.00 and D45.00 .... but thank God we have a tool for going after those slacker teachers. Surely another half a million well spent.

Charlie Mas said...

The Board said at first that they would not approve STEM until the budget for the school and the funding sources were identified.

It was made clear - at the time - that a significant amount of the funding was to come from private sources. I'm just not seeing that.

Instead, I'm seeing more and more District money going to STEM. Now this $1 million for student laptops. I guess they had to do that because, as an Alternative Learning Experience, the students have to be able to work outside of class and all of their work is supposed to be on the NTN network. They have to issue the laptops so all students can access the network from outside the building - even those who don't have a computer at home.

I'm going to see if I can find, somewhere in all of the STEM updates, something about what the budget for this school was supposed to be.

dan dempsey said...


But Now ....
thanks to those at OSPI with sharp analytic skills Seattle's three failing schools of 47 in the state are among the 18 receiving School Improvement Grants.

Seattle gets $2.1 million on the Strength of these interview answers

Certainly BERC Groups' Cleveland analysis that NTN sure looks like it matches to an RttT plan would be a clincher.

If anyone finds evidence of a real plan to improve student learning in any of the above let me know.

Wow 41 schools applied and only 18 got grants. Wonder what those 23 who got zilch are thinking?

Sahila said...

"Community No Confidence" signatures just hit 264.... climbing at a rate of 50/day... not bad, considering the wonderful weather we've had this weekend when people have had other things on their mind and other things to do... shows just how strongly people want rid of MGJ...

if you havent read and signed the Declaration yet, please go here and think about adding your voice...


And please - spread the word - copy and paste the link into all your social networking sources eg:
*Compassionate Action Network,
*other listservs,
*your local community phone trees,
*blogs you read and write
*at work
*your neighbours, friends, relatives
*your local politicians and their affiliations etc, etc...

This Declaration is for all Seattle residents - we're all stakeholders in this...

Let's show the Times just how ridiculous their pro-MGJ stance is and how much of a fantasy they're putting out there as the truth...

I'd love to get us to 500 signatures by Wednesday's rally/presentation to the Board...

And the Declaration will stay live until the Board vote on July 7th...

lendlees said...

Is it just me, or does anyone else wonder why they need $1 million for laptops? If the students are going to access all of their curriculum via the NTN network, then $350 netbooks would be just fine. Not $1K full functioning laptops.

Every time I see these huge sums of money going to Cleveland, I can't help but think about the fact that my child's PTA has to fund half of the necessities at his school. Not laptops...counselors, librarians, instrumental music, recess monitors.

Charlie Mas said...

I had to look around, but I found it.

Here is a presentation December 9, 2009, that shows the budget and funding sources for STEM. This is what was shown to the Board as one of the "deliverables" that were required prior to the Board's final approval of the creation of the program.

It's going to take a while, but we can put together a spreadsheet that compares this budget with the amounts actually spent.

The differences are jaw-dropping.

For example, the amounts budgeted for the services NTN provides are completely blown away by the NTN contract. The line items are "Training on model and approach" and "Content-specific professional development". The budget for these two items totaled $549,000 for the whole three years.

The amounts budgeted for technology are getting blown out as well. "Technology Upgrades" was budgeted at $900,000 for the first three years, but we're spending $1 million in the first year alone. "Software purchase" is listed as $300,000 for the startup only with no further expenses. Could this be part of the NTN expense?

The total budget shown to the Board for creating STEM and operating it for three years was about $4.3 million. They have blown right through those numbers.

Where's the accountability? When is anyone in the District leadership going to compare the actual costs of STEM with the proposed costs?

Charlie Mas said...

By the way, if there are 400 students in grades 9 and 10 at STEM - and I'm not sure that there are - then $1 million works out to $2,500 per laptop.


Melissa Westbrook said...

The BTA III had a couple of pots of money for STEM. One of them was for technology and I assumed this was for the laptops (although the motion doesn't say so). The other pot was for nebulous stuff and so I think, per Charlie's discovery of how much each laptop could cost for each student, there is a lot of slush in these pots. There shouldn't be.

Charlie, you should let the Board know this immediately.

Charlie Mas said...

The expediture is shown as $1,014,696 for the purchase of laptops and software, but it doesn't say how many laptops will be purchased. There's nothing else on the shopping list. It is shown as an annual expense rather than a one-time expense.

That is $2,500 per laptop. That is INSANE.

Charlie Mas said...

I just spoke with the Board's office and apparently some additional information about this motion will be posted later today. Apparently the expense covers more than just the laptops for the students - although that is the only thing mentioned in the motion as it currently appears.

Dorothy Neville said...

I was thinking it would be like the oops that happened to the OLPC project. Not only do you need laptops, you need all that extra wifi and server capability and other infrastructure. Plus some insurance against breakage and loss (even self insurance ought to cost something to hold in reserve) plus spare parts...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, a slush fund for whatever comes up. Very nice for Cleveland.

seattle citizen said...

"$1,014,696 for the purchase of laptops and software...as an annual expense rather than a one-time expense."

What?! EVERY YEAR?! If this amount is for both laptops (unnecessary, as lendless points out: Netbooks work, and are easier to carry) AND for support (wifi, insurance etc) then shouldn't it be a "one time expense" for the hardware (say $500,000 every...five years and THEN the annual support for another $500,000?

District upgrades its computers in classroom every five years or so. Are we to believe we need to buy new laptops every year?

Where do the other schools go to sign up for this luxury?

Lori said...

is the district hoping that the promise of a new laptop, perhaps as often as each year, will be enough of a draw to fill Cleveland? That's what I suspect.

seattle citizen said...

"mmm" says Homer, "shiny laptops...."

seattle citizen said...

In the agenda, the title of one of the Consent Agenda items is wrong: It reads
"3. Repeal of E40.00 – Community Schools policy (Holly Ferguson) –
Approval of this item will repeal policy E40.00-Community Schools"

When, when you click on it, the actual Policy to be repealed is E04.00

This seems to be a problem - someone reading the agenda, wanting to comment or whatever, would think the Board Consent item is E40.00 )"Disclosure of Public Records") and might thereby be left ignorant of the true action.

seattle citizen said...

Also, in the Consent Item to repeal E04.00, the "Issue" description cites the Alliance, and interesting citation. I wonder if t he Alliance is now SPS's research arm?
"Recent input by our principals and research undertaken by the Alliance of Education have indicated that while we have many willing volunteers in our schools, the district has not created an organizational structure that will allow our volunteers to be successful"

Charlie Mas said...

I think the idea is to buy new laptops for incoming freshmen. The students would then keep the machines for the whole four years they are at the school and then return them. At that point the laptops will be four years old and nearly worthless so the next year's incoming freshmen would need new machines.

Oh! Wait! That's not right.

According to the motion: "Implementation of Cleveland’s 1:1 computer model will begin by issuing laptops to 9th- and 10th graders in the fall of the 2010-2011 school year (those students enrolled in one of Cleveland’s new STEM-focused academies). In the 2011-2012 school year 11th-graders will be issued a laptop and 12th-graders will be issued a laptop in the 2012-2013 year (at this point, the model will be at full implementation)."

It says that these machines will be for 9th and 10th graders, but that they will issue new machines to 11th graders (not incoming freshmen) next year and then to 12th graders the following year. So the kids who sign up for STEM as tenth graders this year will get a new laptop each of the next three years.

Of course, it could be that this is just a spectacularly badly written motion.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's an interesting element of the NWEA contract on this week's Board agenda.

The Action Report includes this element:

"On January 6, 2010, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson provided to the Board of Directors at its public meeting the disclosure of her appointments and the appointments of her husband, Bruce Johnson, to any non-profit boards. Attached. In that disclosure statement Dr. Goodloe-Johnson listed her appointment to the NWEA advisory board for which she receives no compensation. Other than to make this further disclosure statement, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson will refrain from making any comment about this matter when it comes before the Board."

The Disclose Statement is attached.

Here's an interesting part of the Disclosure Statement:

"3. Appointment of you or your spouse as a non-salaried officer of a nonprofit corporation.

Board member of NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association)
Board member of Broad Center
Board member of United Way of King county

Are we to understand that the superintendent is no longer a member of the Board of the Alliance for Education? Her name still appears on their web page as a member of their board. Interestingly, she does not list her participation on the Alliance board on her biography. I wonder what's up with that.

dan dempsey said...

In regard to computers consider the in ability of many NTN schools to even have a junior class 70% of the size of the class that started in 9th.

Sundquist said about NT Sacramento the students appear to be graduating at a high rate. That rate when determined by 9th grade class sizes that started would be 37% and then 44% .... the number of computers required for grades 11 and 12 may be much smaller than anticipated.

Once again remind me of why Carr, Maier, Sundquist, and M-M voted to do this..... NTN STEM thing.

Is the illusion of competence projected by the board still fooling anyone?

Do not forget Calculus required of all. --- (still believing?)

wseadawg said...

Do you see now why Gates and his buddies "invest" so much money into education? Are we all clear now? "A computer on every desktop." Remember that motto?

Teachers get better over time. Technology goes obsolete.

The best schools will be discussing Shakespeare and Beowulf while the worst schools will have kids sitting at computers following scripted programs.

So which group has the brighter futures and which one becomes the future lackies?

More facebook anyone? Recent figures say social networking is costing us 1 Trillion dollars per year in productivity in the U.S.

More computers Please!

Any questions?

dan dempsey said...

It seems clear about the whole school board agenda thing... after attending the Math Work session I now get it.

The District is out of Control
(check with Meg if unsure on this)

The Board presents a facade to cover #1

In Issaquah "General Public" testimony is given at the start of the meeting. ...BUT....

Testimony specific to particular agenda items is given after the Staff presentation on the item and before the general Board discussion of the item. WOW!!! does that make testimony a lot more difficult to ignore.....

Clearly this would make it more difficult to continue with the presentation of the facade covering for the Board's out of control district.

Tell me about the governance model again.... I find it so reassuring when I'm half asleep.

dan dempsey said...

Hey WSEADAWG... nice observation on the computers. Let us not forget the need to buy more computers for MAP testing for all.

HERE is my testimony for WED. on MAP testing.

seattle said...

"Again, a slush fund for whatever comes up. Very nice for Cleveland."

Yup, and speaking of the STEM slush fund the advanced learning grant that the district was just awarded will go to Cleveland as well (along with Sealth and Ingraham). It's a grant that was awarded to SPS to add more AP and IB classes to our high schools. But wait - remember STEM won't have any AP or IB classes.

I called the advanced learning dept to ask why STEM would get grant money intended to increase AP and IB offerings when they won't offer either and was told that the grant was applied for when the school was Cleveland and back then they did have AP classes. Now that the school is STEM the money will be used for "other" things to strengthen the program.

Why? Why wouldn't this AP/IB money go to another school that really needs more AP classes? I'm sure Franklin or WSHS or even Hale would have loved to have it.

When will the money stop pouring into STEM?

seattle citizen said...

Janice, if your report is true, that seems like a blatant misuse of grant funds. Who gave the grant? Are they aware that the school they gave the grant to no longer exists, and that the money will be used for non-AP/IB offerings?

Meg said...

The final STEM presentation with budget information (on January 20th) estimated the 4-year total cost for STEM at $2.6-2.8m. This was a substantive revision from the on Januray 6thestimate of $3.8-4m. Both of these estimates appeared to be a mix of capital and operating costs.

So. In the capital levy, $1.6m was specifically for STEM. There is now the $1.1m for 1:1 laptops which estimates this as an annual, not one-time cost, although I will say that the description makes it sound like it'll be every other (I'll be nice and assume every other). For 2010-11, Cleveland is receiving $440k in performance management funds. Much has been said about the $800k contract.

$1.1 (laptops) + $1.6m (levy) + .4 (performance management) + .8 (NTN contract) somehow doesn't equal less than $3m. It comes to $3.9m (and if I erred on basic math, please be nice when you point it out. I need coffee like you wouldn't believe today). That's not including the advanced learning grant, or the federal money Cleveland is supposed to get. In ONE YEAR, Cleveland is exceeding the combined estimate for the first four. Oh, and the cost over-runs are during another budget crisis, when schools across the district are looking at severely restricted budgets. But only a bunch of whiny complainers who don't like change would point that out.

SPS mom said...

It is an Advanced Placement Incentive Grant from the US Dept. of Education. The following link provides a description of the program and a list of awards:


seattle citizen said...

Thanks, SPSmom, here's the award from that link (I wonder which seven schools, HS and MS, will be getting the money?):
"PR/Award #: S330C090065
Award Amount: $697,117
Grantee: Seattle Public Schools (WA)
Contact: Robert Vaughan
Phone Number: (206) 252-0134

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will increase student enrollment and success in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses in four high schools and three middle schools. Two of the high schools will focus primarily on the expansion of AP courses, while the remaining two high schools will focus on enhancing their implementation of the IB Diploma Program. All seven schools will work to implement foreign language programs in Chinese and Japanese. The project will align instruction and curricula from middle to high school to create articulated course pathways, provide academic coaches to enhance teachers' content knowledge, and provide academic and social supports to low-income students with the potential to succeed in advanced academic coursework. SPS will provide teachers at the high schools with four types of sustained professional development, including instructional coaching in English, math, and science; dedicated time for collaborative planning, peer observations of instruction; and attendance at AP or IB workshops.

Meg said...

The grant is for just shy of $700k, and says that 4 high schools and 3 middle schools will benefit from the grant.

Janice (or anyone else), is the whole grant now going to Cleveland, or just the portion they would have gotten before they became a STEM school?

seattle citizen said...

Meg, I reread Janice's post, and she wrote that Ingraham and Sealth are also getting part of it (and some un-named 4th HS?) also three middle schools.

So maybe Stem is getting 100k under the guise of being Cleveland?

The grant does seem to allow the money to be used for non-AP/IB purposes: "Chinese and Japanese...align instruction and curricula from middle to high school to create articulated course pathways...academic coaches to enhance teachers' content knowledge, and provide academic and social supports to low-income students with the potential to succeed in advanced academic coursework. SPS will provide teachers at the high schools with four types of sustained professional development, including instructional coaching in English, math, and science; dedicated time for collaborative planning, peer observations of instruction..."

Sahila said...

Meg - would you speak at the rally tomorrow about the numbers stuff?

You are about the most knowledgeable person in the District on all of this, and financial shenanigans are a huge factor in MGJ's peformance...

Let me know on 206 679 1738, or at metamind_universal@yahoo.com... I'll try to send you an email later this morning with more specifics...

seattle said...

The grant money is being split between three high schools (not 4) Ingraham, Sealth and Stem, and their feeder middle schools ( AKI and Hamilton, but can't remember the other).

Melissa Westbrook said...

I just e-mailed the Board about STEM using Charlie, Janice and Meg's data. It was a long e-mail but I hope they read all of it. I closed by saying:

"Directors, you need to be asking some hard questions (and follow-up questions) now. The technology budget for three years now covers one. Cleveland is getting Advanced Learning money even though they will not be offering AP or IB; there are other schools that could use this help like Rainier Beach High School. And to sum up, the budget for STEM at Cleveland is expanding. You need to get staff to clearly explain why this is, where the money is coming from and then make some hard decisions. Just because Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is putting all her eggs into the STEM basket, doesn't mean you should. ALL our schools deserve attention."

GreyWatch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GreyWatch said...

Hamilton isn't a feeder for any of those high schools. Technically with the new sap there are no feeder middle schools. Most Hamilton kids will either end up at Roosevelt or Ballard depending on which side of aurora they live, and of course APP kids have the option of going to Garfield.

I think there was a desire to have the immersion kids from JSIS feed some place (ingraham?) where they could take language at an appropriate level, but I don't think there is a guaranteed feeder option for this.

Charlie Mas said...

The action report for the purchase of the laptops at Cleveland has been updated. The $1 million is for the next three years, not just next year. It's still more than was budgeted. I wonder if anyone on the Board will mention that.

Director Maier has added an amendment to the resolution that expresses the District's commitment to build a Skill Center. The focus of his amendment is that the Superintendent has to figure out how to pay for it. Funny how they can be fiscal hawks for the Skill Center but not for STEM.

seattle citizen said...

Janice, the actual grant synopsis, from the fed's website, says this:
"Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will increase student enrollment and success in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses in four high schools and three middle schools."

So if you heard some other numbers, then someone is operating outside the grant parameters.

seattle said...

SC, you can always call Robert Vaughns office like I did and verify some info for yourself. The number is 206-252-0130. They were very willing to talk with me about the grant.

I was told that the money was going to three high schools and 3 (or 4?) middle schools.

The point is that money intended for AP/IB is going to STEM when STEM doesn't offer AP or IB. It is not what the grant was intended for and there are other schools that it should go to.

Thank you Melissa for writing the board!

seattle citizen said...

Janice, that's my point also, that not only is the money not going for it's intended purpose, but eveidently it's only going to three high schools instead of the four stated on the grant synopsis.

Just more shenanigans with money...