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Thursday, July 07, 2011

SPS on KUOW

KUOW's Phyllis Fletcher did a piece on the budget on Wednesday.  There wasn't a lot new but I note that Steve Sundquist seems unwilling to admit that yes, some people received raises strictly based on the "market study" or "internal equity adjustments."

From the story:

Board President Steve Sundquist says some of these came about due to the elimination of 90 jobs.
Sundquist: "In situations where an employee is being asked to do significantly more work we need to make sure to retain that employee, so they're in a position to serve the public, that they're fairly compensated for that work. It's admittedly a difficult thing to talk through with people."

No, Steve, we would understand if the district cut back on staff and asked the remaining staff to take on more and paid them for it.  What is tiring is your deflection of the fact that some people got raises just to get raises.  Who paid for the market study?  Why was it important to do now in the midst of the budget work and strife?  And why did were raises given out in the end?

He did this again in the story in the Times about the budget.  

But the district has given raises to roughly two dozen staff members in the central office since September.

Earlier Wednesday, Sundquist acknowledged that it's tough to communicate why the district would give those raises while it cut funding for elementary-school counselors and summer school.

But as the district eliminated the 90 jobs from its central office this spring, he said, some people ended up with significant new responsibilities, and the district wanted to compensate them fairly.

In this recessionary time, this was the most important thing to do?  And is the district worried these people would walk without getting raises?  It's not plausible.  

Dr. Enfield was on KUOW's The Conversation today and I note this new talking point; we don't say "cuts", we say "reductions."  I heard Steve Sundquist say at the Board meeting last night something about being careful when they use the word "cuts" and on this show, Dr. Enfield caught herself as she started to say "cuts" and replaced it with "reductions."  Why that's a better word, I don't know.

Highlights:
  • when asked what happens to schools that can't afford the counselors, she said they asked community partners to step in if they could.
  • she was asked about not buying books and the Supplemental levy and if the district reniged on the promise and she said, "Unfortunately we find ourselves in unprecedentedly (sic) difficult times and we went to the voters and asked for that money for that but we are not legally bound to use to do that and that's why we are being transparent about doing that only in an emergency."
  • She was asked about "more shoes dropping" financially in audits and she said we have some "catching up to do." 
  • She was asked about applying for the job but said the Board could just consider her only for the permanent position without doing a search in January.
  • She was asked about the Ingraham decision and that she stands by both decisions.   She said she hadn't done enough "internally" to support firing Floe. 

19 comments:

dan dempsey said...

How about filing a FOIA for that market study?
Then we can find out who did the study and what it actually said.

Let me see this is the Board that sold MLK to AME for $7million under market value.... odd how the SPS finds itself in such financial difficulties.

Charlie Mas said...

They can't say "cuts" because the budget has actually grown each of the past several years. Their expenses have just grown faster.

If they give raises to people who saw their duties increased, then why didn't they cut the pay for Michael Tolley and Bree Dusseault who saw their duties shrink?

dan dempsey said...

She was asked about not buying books and the Supplemental levy and if the district reniged on the promise and she said, "Unfortunately we find ourselves in unprecedentedly (sic) difficult times and we went to the voters and asked for that money for that but we are not legally bound to use to do that and that's why we are being transparent about doing that only in an emergency."

So the Superintendent, Board, and highly paid central office administrators could not see far enough ahead to realize they would be spending levy dollars for something other than what they asked for. They had no idea at the time of the levy request that the economy was in extreme financial difficulty. They had no idea that government tax collections do not recover until at least 18 months after an economic recovery begins.

It seems this group of leaders is either:

#1 .. clueless
or
#2 .. dishonest

I see no other possibilities.

dan dempsey said...

Steve said:
"In situations where an employee is being asked to do significantly more work we need to make sure to retain that employee, so they're in a position to serve the public, that they're fairly compensated for that work."

We have raised class sizes and eliminated counselors so that teachers will be doing more work. This means that in exchange for more work teachers need to change their existing contract and give $4 million back to the school district..... Huhh???

====
Oh I forgot. Steve is not interested in retaining teachers. He is interested in replacing them with TfA 5-week wonders. This "broadening of the hiring pool" is total BS.

When a district delays hiring math and science teachers until after the 4th of July they are narrowing the hiring pool.

Anonymous said...

"Unprecedentally"

She's Seattle's version (designer clothes, ivy league degrees) of Sarah Palin.

While Seattle liberals may arrogantly dismiss the Palin and her supporters, many are falling for their own version with this power-hungry PR woman.

--Enfield had 7 jobs in 10 year on her way here (personal Race to the Top)

Anonymous said...

BTW, Kay Smith Blum referred to this lame job history-candidate as the "best (SPS superintendent applicant) in three decades" (in the PI article this week).

WHAAAT??? Is Smith Blum impressed by the ivy league degrees? Is this why she is supporting TFA?

People were concerned about Smith Blum's potential elitism if elected to the board. I think this concern may be coming to fruition.

--look at the School Board video footage and how "chummy" Enfield and Smith Blum are together

Cap'n Billy Keg said...

Mr. Sundquist said: "But as the district eliminated the 90 jobs from its central office this spring,... some people ended up with significant new responsibilities, and the district wanted to compensate them fairly."

Really...? You "cut" 90 jobs to "balance the budget", and because you now have the money from those 90 positions to "give raises", you are "saving" money and "balancing the budget"...?

Hey, how 'bout continuing to "balance the budget" and give me a raise - I haven't seen one in 3 years...!

Oh, the stupidity of it all...! The word verifier couldn't be more correct: sumbind

Anonymous said...

Just do a Public Disclosure Request for Lesley Roger's and Strat 360's talking point on "reductions".

More and more JSCEE is full of empty suits mouthing talking points.

Mr Ed

Sahila said...

weasel words..... that's what public ed has come down to.... mirror image of the corporate world...

someone said...

I haven't had a raise in 5 years - I'm just happy to be employed at a job I love. Its so disingenuous (sp?) of them to expect anyone to believe this stuff about the raises. So many are out of work, many highly qualified people - I seriously doubt they've have had ANY problem filling those jobs if someone wasn't willing to work for less.

And that stuff about doing more because of cuts so you should get paid more - when I worked for the state, at an agency facing serious budget cuts, I ended up doing 4 other peoples jobs and mine by the time the agency was shut down - no pay raise. Its a public agency, not a fortune 500 company.

I can't help but feel there is another "shoe to drop" behind it all...

I'll say it again Directors - get real or get out.
wv is dissing - hmm....

Melissa Westbrook said...

Someone else, now come on. You're making a prediction that ALWAYS comes true because there's ALWAYS another shoe to drop.

My vote is for the SAO's report on the sale of the MLK, Jr. building to First AME Church.

Marion said...

Enfield said, in regards to the MLK sale, that the district is working to make sure AME meets their obligations in providing services to the community.

I'm curious who in the District is working on this, and if AME will pay their salary while the staff member(s) spends time to hold AME to their legal obligations.

Anonymous said...

can someone refresh my memory, did SPS actually cut 90 positions from central admin or were they just moved to some other pool?

thanks jpr

someone said...

Yeah Melissa - but that's an easy bet on the SAO report ;)

I guess I'm thinking more, as you've alluded to on several occasions, the infamous "market study" - I think there's a dainty shoe or two behind who funded that, but just a feeling, I have nothing to go on factually.

mirmac1 said...

So some of those folks are doing the work of the maintenance and other blue collar workers who lost their jobs? Does Duggan have the requisite tools?

Inside as well said...

Dan

The "Market Study" was begun in 2006 and since then, HUNDREDS of these raises have been going on.

It is now institutionalized firmly, not for workers (they are always "over market"), only for administrators.

Then, when caught (again), the workers are cut to keep the overall budget percentage down. Like Stanford's cut of custodians as "Central Office".

That one actually had the effect of increasing the administrative percentage as there were fewer at the bottom.

Becky said...

Where does Shaw get "roughly two dozen", I got used the link Dorothy (or Helen) provided ("Try this") and counted 43 since last September. There were over 120 since September 2009.

Who is kidding who Linda?

She should get out (of Communications) more! Or at least read documentation.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I gotta say I agree with Becky. Too many "media" go to press conferences or read press releases and believe everything they are told.

Becky said...

Thanks Melissa

After awhile, with all the questions surrounding us I sometimes wonder if I'm ther only one who can add up lists of names.

Its pretty simple really.

So, its us two versus Steve S. and Linda.