Coming Up This Week

As several people have reported (thank you), the district has quietly extended Open Enrollment thru April 15th due to changes in transportation services. This is at the News and Calendar page but not noted as a change on the Enrollment page. From the notice:

A decision expected at the Feb. 16 School Board meeting. The Transportation Department will be sending out letters notifying families about students' transportation eligibility for next year. Open Enrollment is being extended to give families more time to consider whether these proposed changes will impact their choices for next year.

What is to note at the Enrollment page is that the SPS Service Center will be closed all day this Wednesday, the 16th for training on the new Student Assignment System.

Open Enrollment Period - March 15th - April 15th

Tuesday the 17th
There isn't an open meeting on Tuesday but there is to be a 3 1/2 hour Executive Session on Tuesday. It is about a complaint against a public employee, evaluating employee performance and discussion of potential litigation with legal counsel.

Wow, that sounds like a whole lotta legal issues. And legal issues with legal counsel.

Update: My bad- the key word is "with" - the "potential litigation with legal counsel" is not litigation involving legal counsel but apparently something that may be pending that needs to be discussed with SPS legal counsel.

Wednesday the 16th
There is the Public Hearing about the Construction Management Exit Conference (audit) from 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Naturally, as it usually goes, it will be Chris Jackins and myself speaking. (Remind me to let you know what the letter to me from the State Auditor said.)

In my discussion with Sherry Carr on Saturday (about the $3.3M that was overlooked/forgotten), she said AFTER the public hearing (which should take about 20 minutes), the Board will then be having another Work Session on the budget. That Work Session will probably start around 5 p.m.

Then they will have the regular Board meeting from 6-9 p.m. Here's the agenda.

As previously mentioned, the transportation services standards are to be voted on at this meeting. Apparently, this has triggered a changed to the NSAP Transition Plan and they are introducing AND voting on these amendments. (This is contrary to what Tracy Libros said at the press conference about the 2011-2012 Transition plan and any changed. She said the changes in the transportation plan would not affect the Transition plan.)

Apparently they need approval of some money - $5,940 to hire temporary staff because of "manual processes that will be required". Here's what is key on this amendment (only partially put forth below):

Because of the current financial constraints and the opportunity to realize significant savings by reducing transportation services, transportation to all attendance area schools within each service area would not be provided. Changes to the Transition Plan to align with proposed changes to Transportation Service Standards are shown in the attached document, along with minor edits for clarity as discussed during Board consideration of the Transition Plan on January 19, 2011.

However, families may wish to request assignment to different schools based on changes in
transportation service. Open Enrollment is being extended and will run from March 15 – April
15, 2011.

Basically, if they don't pass this amendment about 600 elementary school students would not have access to transportation to their assigned school for 2011-2012 nor would they have guaranteed assignment at their attendance area school. I recall others here noting this flaw.

There is also a vote on allowing native/heritage speakers of languages other than English to demonstrate their abilities and receive World Language credit in high school. Here's the policy and the Superintendent policy (why there are two, I don't know).

(Also, question? They note "information to all our Parent Advisory Committees within our schools". I know I've only been out for 6 months but is there one of these committees at every single school now?)

It also looks like BTA III is kicking into high gear with numerous projects listed.

Thursday the 17th
Operations Committee Meeting - 4-6 p.m. No agenda available yet.


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StepJ said…
The proposed amendment to the Transition Plan causes me great concern for Bryant Elementary.

There are a lot of kids from the Bryant area that received mandatory or low choice assignments to John Rogers, Sacajawea, and Laurelhurst. I only list these three schools as to my knowledge they do not have either ELL or Spectrum programs, or were moved to a different Middle School Service Area.

With the loss of grandfathered transportation for Attendance Area Elementary schools, and no ELL/Spectrum community stop buses there is no way for these students to receive yellow bus transport from the Bryant area to these distant schools starting in 2011-2012.

With a guaranteed assignment to Bryant how many kids will transfer back? As Bryant has zero room to add portables and every single room in use for classrooms - how will this extra influx be accommodated? Maybe the kitchen, gym and cafeteria will move outside to a tent?

Or can Bryant apply for a permit like a café to place seats and space heaters on the sidewalk? Good golly.
Maureen said…
StepJ, do you know how many of the 600 impacted kids are from the Bryant attendance area?

Most of those kids who are not currently at attendance area schools will be ok for two years. If you look at the Rogers area transportation Zone map, you'll see that there is an 'intermediary zone' in which Rogers students who live in the Bryant area can walk to Bryant and get on a yellow bus to Bryant. Unless I'm mistaken, only those inside the Bryant area, but outside of walking distance to the red boundary would be able to apply the amendment to the Assignment Transition Plan to get access to Bryant.

You can follow the links to all of the schools Transportation Zone maps here.
In the Assignment Transition Plan Amendment doc it says that 3600 kids live inside those intermediary zones. Another 600 live outside those zones and wouldn't have access to a school they can get to without the amendment. The amendment reads, in part (p.3):

Students in this situation will be guaranteed reassignment to their attendance area school if requested.

They can also choose to stay at their current school without transportation.
StepJ said…

No, I don't know.

The walk zone for elementary to a bus stop is .5 miles. Lots of kids that live in the Bryant area were given assignments to schools that are more than 1.75 miles from their home.

1.75 as in the 1.25 mile zone, plus the .5 mile walk to the bus stop within the 1.25 miles zone.

Laurelhurst will not have a bus stop within the Intermediary Zone as it was moved to a different Middle School Service Area.

Sacajawea and John Rogers do not have ELL or Spectrum -- which means catching the bus at Bryant to get to either of these schools is not in the proposal. The bus stop at the local Attendance Area schools is only for ELL/Spectrum and other program transportation.

Do I think that kids that lose transportation to their distant school, have an opportunity to return to their walkable school, and have younger siblings yet to come will change -- in the case of Bryant...yes.
Michael H said…
In the Tuesday the 17th section of your post you say "... discussion of potential litigation with legal counsel." You then say "And legal issues with legal counsel". I can't tell if you are trying to be silly/funny/smart-alecky or if you are implying that there are legal issues with some of their lawyers. But, seeing as you cannot discuss legal issues in an executive session without a lawyer present, I would suggest that it simply means they are going to talk about something legal, and a lawyer will be present.
I was trying to be flip but honestly, I interpreted that last "potential litigation with legal counsel" as the legal counsel possibly suing the district. Of course, any time they discuss items in Executive Session, there is a lawyer present. And, anytime they discuss anything about employee issues. I just thought that an odd phrase.

I'll ask for clarification.
Michael H said…
Flip! That was teh word I was desparately looking for!! :)

OK, so what about this...."Remind me to let you know what the letter to me from the State Auditor said.)"

Details, details!!
Maureen said…
Sacajawea and John Rogers do not have ELL or Spectrum -- which means catching the bus at Bryant to get to either of these schools is not in the proposal.

I don't understand this part. Sacajawea, Rogers and especially Laurelhurst all have intermediary boundaries that include the Bryant building (Laurelhurst's actually covers most of the Eckstein area and a chunk of the Hamilton area). I think that the kids assigned to those schools will get transportation for the next two years (so will not be eligible for the NSAP transition amendment.)

Am I missing something?
StepJ said…
I was looking at the wrong iteration of the Service Standards document. :-(
Maureen said…
Oh good! I was getting worried that I had missed an even NEWER iteration! :)
Lori said…
But, the point remains that some families are going to be getting a pretty raw deal. If you look at the maps, the southeast corner of the now-McDonald area, which used to be Bryant area, is where a lot of families reside who got mandatory assignments to John Rogers in the past.

They may be perfectly content at JR now, but suddenly, they are going to have to go to Bryant, the school they initially wanted, to wait for a bus to take their child to a school they didn't actually choose in the first place? I'm sorry, but these people really *deserve* continued transportation to their current school. They did what was asked of them way back when by taking a mandatory assignment to a school 50+ blocks away from home. Saying they can now transfer back to Bryant, thus crowding it even more, when their kids have friends and an established community elsewhere is not really a solution.

What a mess.
Lori said…
geez, I'm still confused. The kids in my example currently at JR are now in the McDonald area, so I guess their choices will be walk to Bryant to catch a bus to JR, OR transfer to McDonald, which is now at Lincoln.

Good grief, if I can't make sense of this, and I think I pay attention to what's going on, how will families that don't read this blog or go to coffee chats and evening meetings figure this out?
Anonymous said…
Melissa, there are TWO policies because the Board policy is to make them feel like they are relevant, and the Superintendent policy is what the staff is really supposed to do...

MAPsucks said…
Oh! I hope that 3 1/2 hour session is to discuss MGJ shilling for NWEA while she was on the SPS clock. Bad form : )
Anonymous said…
Wow, I loose my transportation, but my next door neighbor keeps transportation. And this is to my assigned school.

Walking Parent
dan dempsey said…
Coming up this week ... tic tic tic,

If a bill like HB 1891 does not make it out of committee on or before Feb 17, then WA state authorizes Randy Dorn to adopt the Common Core State Standards.

This adoption of CCSSI will mean more funding of more State Sponsored smoke and mirrors. We need the of funding the education of students, but instead we get funding for more administrative bureaucrats far removed from the classroom to say what should be done and how it will be measured.

Check out the WA parallel with Delaware HERE.

37th District Dem's meet tonight:

Monday 2-14-2011, meeting at 7:30 at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center (3515 S Alaska St) in Columbia City.
(Social time begins at 7:00)


Here is my letter to the Chair of the 37th District Dem's


My opinion of the WA Gov and education under her guidance.....
Anonymous said…
Laurie Rogers has another posting about the CCSS and HB1891 (written by Bob Dean):
Maureen said…
Walking Parent, From what I have heard from Tom Bishop, kids can walk into the yellow doughnuts (from inside or outside) to catch a bus on a space available basis as long as they can do it safely. So as long as the bus isn't full, your kid can ride the bus with your neighbor. You'll have to contact the transportation office to do it though-it won't be automatic. (SPS makes more money from the state for every kid on a bus, so they'll be happy to do it as long as there is a seat.)
seattle citizen said…
Did anyone else feel uneasy when this week's Board Agenda had a language change regarding NSAP:

"AS#1 changed to Pinehurst K-8"

I clicked on the agenda for 2/16, saw the change, clicked on the Action Item New Student Assigment Plan Transition Plan link, and on the bottom of that is a link to Actual NSAP Transition Plan including zone maps. Sure enough, all the other option schools are named for their programs, but AS#1 is now, I guess, named for it's building.

What's up with THAT?!
Maureen said…
Re Pinehurst, I wondered about that too. All of the enrollment info seems to refer to "Pinehurst" and from what I could see, didn't even say "formerly AS#1" anywhere. It is especially weird because last time I looked, the AS#1 website doesn't say "Pinehurst" anywhere. I emailed Tracy Libros last week about a few mistakes regarding Option School Enrollment posts on the new web site and I suggested they cross reference the two names.

I didn't catch the fact that it is now named after the building.

I wonder if there is some drama underlying this or was it a Site Council decision.
seattle citizen said…
Maureen, are you suggesting that perhaps the program has been renamed "Pinehurst K-8"? If so, I must have missed the memo.

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