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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Any News from the Board Meeting?

I note that the RIF motion passed.   Here is coverage from this morning's Seattle Times' article by Linda Shaw.

Anyone attend or speak?

28 comments:

Kathy said...

From the work session:

21% principals found MAP to be an effective monitor of student progress...to me, sounds low. 61% of principals noted MAP to be "Somewhat effective" to monitor student progress? What does this mean?

38% of principals reported technological support "somewhat" satisfactory"? What does this mean? 36% principals found technological support adequate. Again, to methis sounds like a low number.

Teoh had a positive spin- 74% satisfied or "somewhat" satisfied with technological support...and 82%"somewhat" effective monitoring tool.

Teachers will be surveyed.

Millions will be poured into testing systems, research, evaluation and assessment- while human resources were eliminated.

Anonymous said...

I just quickly scanned the proposed Board Policies / Procedures. Everyone should look at them. SPecifically, lots of changes to Board governance, homework, retention/acceleration, student fees (Pay for K e.g.), etc. They will be voted on June 1.

Policeies /Procedures might seem really boring but they have HUGE effect. These will be the "rules of the game" and all families need to clearly understand them, and how they are different from previous policies. Please review! Thanks.

Wondering

Anonymous said...

I went to the meeting. Lots of comments on the RIFs and on the bus service provider changes. Everyone in attendence seemed to not support the RIF nor the bus service provider changes. There was a large group of Garfield students there whose issue was not addressed as they were on the waitlist for the comment section.

Robyn said...

To Wondering,

Where would I view the proposed board policies that you mention? I'm not yet proficient navigating the new SPS website.

Thanks,

Robyn

Eric B said...

RIF passed with a general "I don't like it but we have to" from the Board members. Betty Patu talked a fair amount about the RIF cutting the safety net, and ended up abstaining on the final vote. All others voted in favor. Michael DeBell said that he wanted the RIF to be the absolute maximum that the district RIFs. If the state comes back with more funding cuts, then he wants purchases to be cut instead of more people.

A few items that I found interesting:
The RIF deadline is extended for 30 days if the Legislature does not pass a budget by May 15. Of course, Districts have to be prepared if the Leg passes a budget at ten to midnight on the 15th, so this RIF notice has to go forward. However, if the Leg goes over time, then the community could ask for RIFs to be given to different people.

The elementary counselor RIF is down to 1.8 FTEs. Apparently, virtually all schools have found PTA or discretionary money to fund the counselor position.

There are a few grants in the offing that might reduce the RIF further in the next couple of days.

WV: stutur

Eric B said...

One more thing--there were a couple of minority contractors on the speaking list as well, talking about lack of access to the capital contracts. They obliquely mentioned the Silas Potter debacle, and basically asked not to be tarred with the same brush as him.

MAPsucks said...
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Super Confused said...

Eric B - I don't understand how this business of the PTA funding staff positions works. Is it actually considered part of the district budget? If not, why would RIFs depend on PTA monies? Are these staff positions funded by the PTA but employed by the district?

MAPsucks said...
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Eric B said...

Super Confused - As I understand it, the PTA commits to bringing a wheelbarrow of money up to the school to fund a full or part-time position (counselor, art teacher, music teacher, office staff, etc.). The principal then fills out some paperwork to downtown that says that the position is funded with a designated grant from the PTA, and the position is included in the budget. If it was a position that was due to be eliminated in budget cuts, then that position is removed from the RIF list.

I believe that these become part of the District budget. In theory, this process is no different from the Gates Foundation bringing a dump truck of money to the John Stanford Center for whatever project. It's just a different size of grant.

Again, this is my understanding from being around for a while. I am certainly open to correction if I'm wrong. And I can definitely see why you're confused!

Anonymous said...

About 17 elementary schools have lost their counselors! The numbers are misleading. 8.5 FTE counselors are riffed. that equals 17 .5 elementary positions. Counselors are riffed based on seniority that include elementary, middle and high school counselors. As a group elementary counselors have more seniority than middle and high. So the elementary schools lost the services and those counselors displaced will be going to middle and high schools where those counselors have been RIFFed. It was so misleading for them to say there was a 1.8 fte Rif for elementary.

annoyedonomous

KG said...

Pathetic that the Board did not withdraw the RIF on the counselors,

But Central admin. is more important? NOT

This will be very damaging to our most vulnerable students and families in the District. It is easy to damage kids futures with the Boards vote when the people at central do not see the kids served daily. Out of site out of mind.

All this to keep the is huge JOKE called central Admin.

The fight continues.......

Disgusted said...

This is a continuation of the MGJ era.

Administrative bureaucrats are protected while our children suffer.

lassen said...

Right on, KG.

Gosh, we just have no money for counselors, no money for family support workers, no money for career counselors -- but look! As of the new organizational chart Enfield put out, we have lots of money to hire a 6th -- yes, a SIXTH, ADDITIONAL, NEW -- Executive Director of Schools!! One of the highest-paid positions in the district! Yippee!!!

I am SOOO sick of hearing, "We'd love to keep counselors, but there's just no money" and then they turn around and add one of the most expensive and, honestly, useless positions. Ask the personnel at JSCEE who really know what these positions do -- it's a joke. It's like a parent saying, "Sorry, honey, I'd love to buy you a pair of tennis shoes that fit since you have holes in yours, but times are tight and we just don't have any money. Now, give us a kiss goodbye because mommy's late to her pedicure appointment and she has to stop at the casino first."

Give me a break. This is a travesty and people need to be held to account. Add up all of the newly titled "Interim Assistant Superintendent" positions and the "Executive Director" positions and you have quite a PHALANX surrounding our new Interim Superintendent. It's not "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." This new boss is worse -- increasing Executive Directors in this budget climate while RIF'ng people who have direct and life-saving impact on kids?

Unconscionable. Shame on you, Dr. Enfield, and shame on the Board for not challenging this. So weak and scared they seem to be. It's recall time.

Disgusted said...

Our directors are spineless.

Despite calls to decrease HQ funding, fund classrooms first, budget surveys etc., our children are thrown under the bus in exchange for continued adminiistrative support.

We've joined the ranks of reformists throughout the country. Our classrooms are gutted to fund fruitless efforts.

Business teachers were eliminated. How will this impact our academies?

SPSLeaks said...
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KG said...

For years the District continues to treat central Admin. as though they are the second coming of Jesus. This has probably cost the District 200 million or more dollars that should have been applied to the classroom if you go back far as I can remember, 1995. Director DeBell said our core mission is to assist the teacher.
Why is it really the core mission to protect the central administration? Here LAYS the LIE.

The superintendent also said that this was the core mission. Seems like a lot of B S to me. I agree with you Lassen about the education directors and one of them is Michael Tolley, I have been in meetings with him and he pays no attention because he plays on the district Blackberry all the time. He shows no respect at all to people he views as the bottom. We all need to fill the next board meeting with 500 plus people and demand the RIF of this bloated admin. I would start with about 30 of the coach positions that are considered Central admin. Oh sorry Tolley first. There needs to be more public involvement down at the Stanford center.

MAPsucks said...

In light of the less than glowing principal MAP survey numbers, two Board members asked the head of Research, Evaluation and Assessment, Mark Teoh, if he had any input from teachers. He said no, but they could do that...! Actually teachers have been surveyed, a number of times. Maybe REA will keep surveying them until they like the answers they're getting.

The detailed survey comments were difficult to get a hold of. Guess I shouldn't feel bad, not even Board members are permitted to see them.

Winter 09-10 MAP Teacher Survey (marked for internal use only

Spring 2010 MAP Teacher Survey

KG said...

Our Board is also Anti-union. Last night at the meeting Peterman, which is one of the companies who bus school children was represented by many drivers and their business manager. They spoke well how their union company provides better work conditions for their drivers and better livings and that the school district should retain this company so First Student will not have a monopoly with the district.

Also the business manager from Teamsters Local 174 spoke and asked the Board to please make sure if they decided not to re-new their agreement with Peterman then please have First Student hire their drivers that lost their jobs.

WOW! asking the scab outfit to hire their union drivers. Talk about doing little for his members,
going to a scab outfit? Sounds like Wal-Mart to me.
This Board voted to terminate just continuing the assault on workers rights.

Actually this is an assault on students as there will be no jobs for them. Unless they get to Central administration there will be a ton there.

Charlie Mas said...

I can't be the only person who noticed that not even a single one of the Board actions had any community engagement at all.

KG said...

The number one problem Charlie and then the #2 problem is that Central monster $.

MAPsucks said...
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MAPsucks said...

what I don't get is:

If MAP is crap as a formative assessment (and by teachers' comments it is); and

If it's sole purpose is to compare schools across the district (as part of the school performance framework) to target interventions; and

If, as DeBelle asked again, we don't even know what interventions even work (e.g. SEI, RTI); then

Isn't this all just a criminal waste of time and money while students and teachers suffer?

Anonymous said...

Robyn,

I am not a tech head so I don't know the link. Go to the new website and go to the Board section. Go to the recent (yesterday) Agenda. Read down it and click on the colored links for the proposed policies.

Thanks,

Wondering

Anonymous said...

Eric B said:

"The elementary counselor RIF is down to 1.8 FTEs. Apparently, virtually all schools have found PTA or discretionary money to fund the counselor position"

NOT TRUE! Close to 20 elementary schools are losing their counselors. It would have been even more but some schools are sacrificing other core services to keep the counselor or are using PTA money which is a sign of a real sick and inequitable system. Level 1 schools are losing their counselors. No wonder the achievement gap is so big. These positions should be valued and covered centrally.

The board should have turned down the RIF like Vashon and other districts.

Seems the only folks that don't value counselors is the school board. They need to go before the next budget. They are hurting our kids with their decisions and lack of understanding.

SW

mirmac1 said...

Ah, SW, we see now why the Board is clueless about what interventions work. No one can tell them and they lack the curiosity or tenacity or intuition to figure it out for themselves. They're thinking maybe it's because of lack of TIF HR analysts or not enough IT people or maybe it's because there arent' enough executive directors of schools.

What is it, year 3 of the Strategic Plan and millions of dollars later, and SPS in its infinite wisdom RIFs some of the hardest working, lowest paid, most effective staff in our Tier 1 and 2schools. Huzzah!

Anonymous said...

SW, the superintendent doesn't value counselors either. Not just the board. Everyone else seems to, I agree with you on that.

Mirmac1,truer words have not been spoken: "What is it, year 3 of the Strategic Plan and millions of dollars later, and SPS in its infinite wisdom RIFs some of the hardest working, lowest paid, most effective staff in our Tier 1 and 2schools. Huzzah!"

They make terrible decisions along the way and then blame the educators for the lousy results and use it as a reason to devalue them more. No wonder SPS has such a lousy graduation rate and such disparity. All that was cut with the RIF were the type of intervention services that are aimed at the achievement gap.

forkeepingcounselors

Unknown said...

oh- and what about Wendy Kopp and the "there will be 20-25 TFA teachers in Seattle in the fall" A new director for big $$$ and in September let's just see what happens. Disappointing.