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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who Gets to Give Input for Staff Recs on Budget?

It was called to my attention that, for whatever reason, the district is using recommendations from a group of principals without giving other staff the same ability to give input.

Backstory: the Superintendent created a training group, the Superintendent Initiative for Leadership (SILD) to give professional training to principals that includes working with staff at headquarters. Fine (although part of this professional development work for leadership has been done with contracts with a UW group and we've spent roughly $300K on this over the last two years). However, now it seems that group of principals (and a few other staff0 who went through this training got to sit down for 3 hours last Thursday to go over the budget.

What about the maintenance staff? Security? Custodial? What about all the other people who keep our district running? What about their ideas and concerns?

Here's what I wrote the Board today:

I am planning to attending the Work Session on the budget today. In advance of that, I wanted to draw a couple of issues to your attention.
  • Don Kennedy sent a memo saying, among other things, that the SILD committee (and I thought this was just a leadership training group and not a committee; how did it changed into that?) had a Jan. 6th work session on the budget. That committee, as I understand it, is overwhelmingly principals. Why did the principals get more opportunity to give input on the budget than other district workers? I believe there is just one person from maintenance (grounds keeper).
  • Don Kennedy, with two hours notice on a snow day, calls a meeting with district staff to discuss the budget development process. I know it's not his fault that it's a snow day but this looks suspiciously like he and other leadership realized they didn't give ALL staff the same opportunities and now, with no notice, can say, "see we asked staff". You should call him out on this issue.
  • Also, not to beat a dead horse but it would be fair if one of you acknowledged that $2M of this budget problem is from having to move $2M from Operations to Capital because of the audit finding about the Small Business Works program. This happened under Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's watch and it never should have. This program morphed from one to give information to small/minority businesses about doing work with SPS to a $1M a year operation. That was wasted money and now we lose that money from Operations.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Off topic here I suppose, but wondering if anyone knows anything about board member amendments to the NSAP. Evidently they had an executive session (or something "executive" that I'm not sure is open to the public or not) yesterday morning (1/11) to discuss the amendments from 8 to 10am yesterday. Thanks for the response!
Lynn

Anonymous said...

Did that small group of principals stand up for meaningful inclusive services for children with disabilities or, like what we saw in the teachers contract, did they through our children's rights and needs in the general education classrooms under the bus?

Concerned SPED Parent

Maureen said...

I second Lynn's question.

Also, somewhat related to SILD, any word on the terms of the PASS contract?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn,you should write the Board; I don't know anyone who attended the Executive committee meeting.

SPED, I would think the principals would stand up for those children given how it impacts every classroom in their school. What might be good to ask is if your principal went through the SILD training and if so, what did he/she hear or learn about SPED service delivery?

I don't know about PASS but I suspect they are close to signing a contract.

Anonymous said...

Both the director of special education and the head groundskeeper were part of the SILD group. Obviously the majority of participants were principals and assistant principals, which makes sense when you think about the numbers of folks in leadership positions.

AIEC

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the head of security was part of SILD too.

AIEC

Anonymous said...

Wow Melissa. Are you kidding? Most principals don't give a flip about sped students. And are happiest when they find a closet in their building to stuff them into. Even under ICS most schools seclude sped students, in rooms, in the hallway, playing video games, etc. The easiest way for them to deal with sped students is to suspend them. MOst of these suspensions are overturned at hearings, but only after students have missed tons of time in school.

Another Concerned SPED Parent

Michael H said...

The former internal auditor was also part of SILD.

Anonymous said...

Dear Another Concerned SPED Parent

Aren't principals' hands tied by the teachers' contract? There wasn't much commitment in that contract (was there ANY?) to students with special needs as general education students FIRST.

The failure rate of students with IEPs is a result of the lack of commitment by the teachers' union to teaching all comers in the general ed classroom. AND the lack of accountability. Exactly 1 student with a disability in the south end was able to pass the math HSPE. And only 30 in the district.  Three high schools had no students at all, with disabilities, pass the HSPE! The majority of these students are cognitively capable. Almost none receive their education from people who know the academic area --instead, they're carted off to a resource room where an overworked sped teacher is supposed to pull a rabbit out of hat.



Signed, disillusioned with the teachers contract

MAPsucks said...

Did NWEA get to weigh in on how much of our budget they want in their trough?

Sandy Blight said...

Lessons learned within SILD are not carried beyond Lip Service by those who sponsor it.
For example, although SILD lessons advocate for Data, Accountability and Relationships,those who sponsor it advocate for inattention to data, blame for accountability and intimate clicks of rumor bearers.
Don Kennedy (in his infinite wisdom) decides to use SILD members as a shield to take the blame for decision making blunders that he has made in the district.
Classic Seattle Public Schools - expect no less.