Stories from the Times

Two Seattle education stories from the Times appeared over the last couple of days. One is about the number of Washington state school districts that are going to take advantage of the lifting of the levy lid by the Legislature. Some levies will be in August and some in November. Everett, Edmonds, Northshore and Marysville will each have one in August. Bellevue and Tacoma say they aren't because they aren't sure how voters will respond.

SPS says it has "no choice" because the state isn't supporting education the way it should.

(On that point I have heard legislators say, for many, many years, that they did not want to give more money to Seattle schools because of what they hear about the district. Michael DeBell acknowledged this as a problem several years back. When the Legislature doesn't feel the oversight/management is there and there are results to point to that trend upward, it does make a lot of people unwilling to listen. This is a key point to remember.)

However, this will be the third levy this year (with the General Fund and BTA levies in Feb and this one in Nov.) for Seattle voters AND the City's Families and Education levy is in the Fall of 2011. It seems like a big ask for voters especially in light of the State Auditor's report. Here's part of what I said in the comments section:

I have no problem giving directed money to public schools but unless I see accountability, responsibility and oversight with the money, I won't vote for these levies. The State Auditor's findings bears out that that Seattle Public Schools AND the School Board are not doing their jobs of oversight.

The other story was about the restructuring of the ed directors now called "executive directors of schools". The headline was "Seattle Schools reorganizes oversight into regions" which I thought was interesting because frankly, I'm not sure this reorganization will change a lot. It sounds like the focus is on principals which may be to the detriment of other needed focus for schools like safety, special ed, Advanced Learning, etc. (Also, FYI, the Advanced Learning grant has appeared now as an Introduction item on tonight's Board agenda.)

Michael Tolley will keep his position overseeing high schools (but I wouldn't expect him to go as he came here from Dr. G-J's previous district). The only other two filled positions are Phil Brockman from Ballard High and Aurora Lora from Portland Public Schools (yes, I do love her name). The positions pay from $103,000-142,000. The directors' primary job is to support, supervise and evaluate principals as well as "play a key role implementing the new SAP".

The former ed directors, Gloria Mitchell has retired (good news), Patrick Johnson has gone to Tacoma, Pat Sander will have a "new, as yet undefined role" and Ruth Medsker is interim principal at WSHS.

They also noted principal appointments, most of which we already know, but here's the list they had:

The district also outlined other new appointments Tuesday. Kevin Wynkoop will be interim principal at Ballard High School; and Kaaren Andrews will be principal for Interagency Academy.

Elementary-school appointments include: Stacey "Tate" Loftin, principal for Coe Elementary; Angela Sheffey, principal at Dearborn Park Elementary; Ben Ostrom, principal at Highland Park Elementary; Stan Jaskot, principal at Northgate Elementary.

Three interim principals become permanent: Clover Codd at Alki Elementary; Henterson Carlisle at Madison Middle School; and Jessee Wyeth at Broadview-Thompson K-8.


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