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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Meetings/Events for the Week Ahead

First up this week, if you want to speak at Wednesday's Board meeting, sign ups are taken starting at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning (Monday the 6th).

Also tomorrow (night) is the NW School Reports meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. at Whitman Middle School. Again, all the principals from schools in that region will be there along with central staff.

Tuesday afternoon is the Audit and Finance Committee meeting with the focus on Audit. This is a longer meeting, from 4-7:00 p.m. which leads me to think something big is being covered (or they need so much time because our district has so many issues to cover from the audit).

Tuesday, the 7th is the Central School Reports meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. at Washington Middle School.

Wednesday is the School Board meeting starting at 6 p.m. One highlight will be the election of new Board officers with Steve Sundquist expected to be the new Board President.

If you don't want to attend a Board meeting, LEV is having an event discussing The Parent Revolution.

Thursday the 9th is yet another "Integrated Planning" Work Session on the Transition Plan and the budget. This is from 4-7:00 p.m. at Stanford headquarters.

Thursday, the 9th is the West Seattle School Reports meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. at West Seattle High School.

23 comments:

Olliesdad said...

Ughhhh, Sundquist. Now the train has really gone off the cliff...

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I am on the steep learning curve with SPS issues right now. Please tell me why Sundquist is a possibility as a lead--I'm happy to read more if you direct me to previous posts. I'm unimpressed with him!
Central Parent

Sarah said...

Central Parent,
Start with the State Audit. The State Auditor reported public assets are at risk due to ineffective policy and oversight. Despite MGJ's inability to manage district finances, Sundquist extended MGJ's contract. Of course, Sundquist failed to provide adequate oversight of district finances.

seattle citizen said...

Another meeting of note is Dora Taylor's Parents Across America meeting Sunday, 1:30. Contact Dora at dora.taylor@gmail.com.

I can't speak for Dora or PAA, but my understanding is that this group is forming to offer a common voice for those who are looking for better ways than the current "reform" agenda.

Dorothy Neville said...

Central Parent, annually, the board selects new president and I believe the committee posts shuffle all around. So the politics for Sundquist to become the new board president would be internal politics among the board members. I suspect that longevity, whoever hasn't been president yet, and other such factors come into play.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Central Parent, as Dorothy says, it's internal politics as to who becomes president (or who wants to). It's not a good thing that he so firmly backs MGJ and doesn't do a whole lot of questioning of staff. On the other hand, it may free up Michael, who does sometimes press staff, to do more.

SC, I try to just put the week's worth on Sunday and announce weekend meetings later.

Georgia said...

Blog authors, I wanted to let you know that I wrote a piece for the Garfield student newspaper, the Messenger, that covered the Central meeting in December in detail. It goes into the district's plans for APP, and I also quoted this blog in it, so it seemed like I should mention it here.
(Hi Charlie!)

Georgia said...

Oh, and the link is here:
http://www.garfieldmessenger.com/news/2010/12/03/divide-and-conquer/

Bird said...

Does the board president actually wield any meaningful power?

Charlie Mas said...

Yes, the Board President does actually wield some power.

The Board President presides over the Executive Committee which sets the agenda for the Board Meetings. Want something on the agenda at the Board meeting? It has to go through Executive Committee.

The Board President is also automatically on the Board of the Alliance for Education - and should know enough to disclose it.

The Board President presides over Board meetings and can cut off debate or extend it.

The Board President is always one of the Board members who writes the superintendent's evaluation.

There's more, but that's enough.

Director Sundquist is getting the job after serving as the Vice President, because he (along with his class of 2007 cohort) is next longest serving, because he sounds so concerned yet votes so conservatively, and because he wants it.

Hi Georgia!

Here is a link to Georgia's article

peonypower said...

Georgia- nice job. Go read the Delphi technique on the internet to see how "divide and conquer" works in this district at public events. It is standard operating procedure now at all public meetings.

There is a link on one of the other posts on this blog

Also- the C and I meeting is coming up next week and the science alignment issue is not getting any better. Will be going to a meeting tomorrow on this and it should be interesting to see what happens. The head honchos still refuse to meet with department heads to discuss the issues around the alignment.

The First Arnold said...

Why is the SPS president placed on Alliance for Education's board?

Charlie Mas said...

First Arnold asked: "Why is the SPS president placed on Alliance for Education's board?"

You'd have to ask the Alliance that question.

Charlie Mas said...

We now have the agenda for the audit meeting tomorrow:

1. Financials – K. Technow 20 min
This could be the usual boring fake review of cash flows.

2. Ethics Program Presentation – N. Treat 30 min
Thrity minutes?!? Really? To say what? I wonder if Mr. Treat will share the number and nature of ethics complaints currently under investigation.

3. Audit Response Team Update – R. Lirio 15 min

4. Performance Audit Capital/Management – R. Lirio 15 min
This should include a calendar of annual reports to the Board but something tells me it won't.

5. Status of Board request for update on Small Business Development Program/
Small Works 10 min

The status is likely to be "We'll get back to you on that."

6. Board Resolution Follow Up 15 min
The idea of this Board either showing resolution or doing follow up is hard for me to believe. I'll wait until I see it.

a. Internal Audit Policy Changes and procedure proposal first draft
And who is writing this draft?

b. Status of Website – all updates and current status reflected per
last meeting discussion

The most important thing probably isn't part of the update: the changes that the Board needs to make to improve their oversight.

c. Hiring of Board Governance consultant
Hmmm. Will this person be different from the Board Office Manager? How much help is the Board looking to hire?

7. Integrated Planning – Continuation of 2011-12 Budget 40 min
I hope we get to see some progress on budget priorities.

8. External Audit Firm – D. Kennedy 10 min
This is really un-necessary and expensive.

9. Kindergarten Tuition – D. Harman 15 min
Interesting that this made the agenda

Charlie Mas said...

According to the Audit Response Web Site...


Key elements of the audit response include:

A governance and oversight team was established to make oversight more effective.

The Audit & Finance Committee will meet one additional time each month to focus on Audit response; and 3 to 4 oversight work sessions of the whole board will be added.

The Internal Audit function will be redesigned, and an Ethics Officer has been appointed.

A senior level audit response team has created and is implementing a detailed audit response plan – each finding is being addressed.

A training plan for staff will be developed and is a key to ongoing compliance with policies.

So the response has been to establish a team, schedule meetings, appoint an officer, another team has made a plan, and an unknown agent will make a training plan.

That's quite a basket of inaction verbs. You'll notice that nowhere in that audit response does anybody actually do anything.

Jan said...

True enough, Charlie. The verbs they need are "fix" and "correct." The subject nouns they need are either "we" or "the Superintendent", the object of the verb is "this problem" or "this audit finding." And then -- they need, for each one, a prepositional phrase that reads "by no later than [and a date here].

Done. Voila. Shorter. Clearer. And oh so much more "accountable."

Charlie Mas said...

There is a special meeting of the Board in executive session this week.

The meeting is scheduled for 4:30 to 5:15 on Wednesday, December 8 in advance of the Regular Legislative meeting.

The agenda reads:
"Executive session to discuss complaints against a public employee and to discuss potential litigation with legal counsel"

I don't know what this is about.

Does anyone?

Melissa Westbrook said...

5. Status of Board request for update on Small Business Development Program/Small Works 10 min
The status is likely to be "We'll get back to you on that."

This whole thing is quite the mystery destined to go into the file folder that says, "Shhh, big mistake. Do not read."

Thing is, I know Mary Bass was instrumental in getting this off the ground and I know she never would have let this get out of hand. Someone, somewhere gave this a kick-start and I want to know who it was.

Maureen said...

c. Hiring of Board Governance consultant

Is this the WSSDA 'thing' that Melissa referenced in a different thread (to align SPS Policies with the WA State School Director Policies)? I think she said it would cost $6000.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maureen, I think you are right about that connection.

owlhouse said...

If you're looking for one more option this week, join us for the Nova craft fair tonight. You could even make it a double-header as Nova isn't far from the Central Region School Report meeting at Washington.

Nova Craft Fair
Tues, 12/7, 6-8:30p
@Nova- 300 20th Ave E
Admission is free, crafts starting at $1.
Cider, singing and crafty-ness.
Everyone welcome!

Charlie Mas said...

At the Audit and Finance Committee meeting this afternoon, the Committee is supposed to update the Audit Response Log.

Let's take a look at it, shall we?

Lot's of stuff is marked done. I hope it really is done.

Some things that are not marked done have passed the due date given in the Response section. For example, A5.17 and A5.18:

"A5.17 Fuel cards. Employees do not accurately enter vehicles mileage at the time of fill‐up.

A review of fuel card usage processes needs to take place. Estimated completion is 9‐30‐2010.

A5.18 Fuel cards. District staff shared PIN numbers in violation of policy.

(See Response 5.17 above)
"

So if this was supposed to be done by 9/30/10 why isn't it marked as done?

Likewise there are a lot of items about travel and car rental stuff, AE2.1, AE2.2, AE2.3, and AE2.4 that were supposed to be resolved by 10/31/2010. What's going on with these?

Here's one of my favorites:
"AE3.1 Superintendent did not disclose financial relationship with vendor.

The Superintendent has publicly disclosed all applicable relationships. (October
2009)
"

Except, of course, we know that the Superintendent did NOT disclose all applicable relationships. She didn't disclose her relationship with the Alliance for Education. The status on this little action item needs to be corrected.

AE5 and AE8 are also labelled with Fall 2010 and October 2010 projected completion dates and need to be updated.

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