Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Other Shoe to Drop?

I note that there is now a Budget Work Session before the State Audit Exit Interview session (from 4:45 pm to 5:30 pm) and before the Board meeting at 6 p.m. 

I would assume something serious has come up or rather, the budget is not ready and more cuts are to come.

I will be attending so I'll let you know.

There is an article in the Times about the weightiness of the Board meeting.  One thing got missed in their coverage on the changes to the advertising policy:

School Board members intend the money eventually to go to high-school student governments, which were hit hard by the elimination of advertising and junk food in vending machines.

No, the district intends to keep some of that money and this policy should more clearly spell it out or it should say what the district would use the money for itself.  They are waffling "we have no idea how much money will come in, blah,blah."  Check with other districts but I think the district is seeing this as a source of revenue for itself and not the students.  Don't hold your breath, kids.  You're likely to see a lot less money than you think. 


Anonymous said...

The policy is vague and has slippery wording. It does not specify where advertising can and cannot be placed.

The original policy states "advertising will not be permitted on scoreboards, reader-boards, building facades, walls, or floors, or Memorial Stadium or District Athletic fields." That language has been struck from the new policy.

In its place, it is worded, "For example, advertising on the annual calendar, on some fields, on stadiums and scoreboards, and on some school signage..." My read of the new policy allows for advertising anywhere, really. It's too unrestrictive.

-really SPS?

suep. said...

Here's a simple idea for how the district could save a ton of money and resources: Cancel the costly and unnecessary MAP® test.

The district has spent millions on it already -- and counting.

We don't need advertising plaguing our kids' learning environment -- we need the district to stop wasting existing resources on expensive boondoggles.

mirmac1 said...

Hey, let's save money by putting advertising in the MAP test! The kiddies can get quizzed on what cleanser gets out the toughest stains, or what hot new toy they MUST have for Christmas!

Someone said...

There's a quote by Mr. Harmon in the Times story - something about cuts coming from schools "discretionary spending"
- not up on such things - what does that mean? Can they choose not to pay the Alliance to handle their monies? ;o)

The advertising thing just seems so obvious that they intend this as a revenue stream that will never see a kid -

And again with the counselors, ELL specialists etc. Does SPS still have all those mid-level "coaches" that used to be dicussed? If ever there was an opportunity for savings, if those still exist. Geesh - everyday, I wonder about these people more and more.

Kathy said...

I attended all of the budget workshops except the last one (2.5 hours). The budget process lacked details.

Did anyone attend the last meeting? I"d love to know if there was increased clarity.

Kathy said...

One last comment...Sherry Carr complained the district hadn't provided a sustainable budget. Yet, she spent the past 4 years approving everything MGJ put in front of her- which was non-sustainable.

Someone said...

Well if one wanted to amuse one's self - the Kitsap Sun has a database of last year's salaries by employee - verrrry interesting - there would appear to be some "opportunities" for budgeting there - why do people get to make over $100,000 - it's a public SCHOOL DISTRICT not a Fortune 500 company. This I do not understand.

Seatle Public Schools

mirmac1 said...

Well of COURSE the U.S. Chamber of Commerce presents this case study of SPS dysfunction. Did you know that Alliance for Education employees are actually employed by the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce?

"Special interests, including the Washington Education
Association and private donors, also play an active
role in Seattle elections. Because there is no campaign
contribution limit, they can exercise significant power.
School board members are unpaid, but most devote
considerable time to their duties. This creates a dynamic
in which people attracted to serve on the board are, in
the words of one civic leader, “incredibly altruistic or
advocates for a single issue.”

To foster a more cohesive and effective board, Seattle’s
Alliance for Education, a largely privately funded local
education fund, has invested in board retreats and
training in partnership with governance experts, including
the Center for the Reform of School Systems."

Well, look who's the culprit and who's the white hat.

Brita Butler-Wall said...

Hello all,

The proposed ad policy change is a Trojan horse. It looks simple--sell a few ads at Memorial and other sports stadiums and help ASBs.

But the accompanying procedures will be automatically revised and these gut the entire effort to give kids a few hours of ad-free life while at school. If the board votes to adopt the proposed policy, they will allow Channel One, ads on school busses, ads in the schools, ads on vending machines, you name it.

Note also that this is a sop to ASB. They used to be dependent on selling sodapop to classmates to fund their activities, until we set nutritional guidelines for the schools for health-and-learning reasons.

Please read the Procedures, not just the proposed policy. Seattle schools have been ad-free for 15 years and our district is a national leader in this area. The devil is in the details.

Brita Butler-Wall

Anonymous said...

Looking at the salary listings, the discrepancies are alarming. A central office district administrator in Curriculum & Instruction has 1.5 years of teaching experience and makes $103K; a teacher with 26yrs of teaching experience makes 72K; another teacher with 6 yrs of experience makes 45K. I guess the lesson is less teaching experience makes you a better and higher paid administrator. huh?

That's where are money is going....

mirmac1 said...

Well, the emergency budget work session was to discuss why we're up a creek without a paddle because of "gap" issues. Again, there's no way to test these theories becaues of the opacity of the entire budgeting process. It's like the blind men and the elephant; well, you can see a little bit of savings here, but then there's a new budget bust there (meanwhile $$$s are going where?!)

Compare the following:

5/16/12 Gap analysis

4/12/12 Gap Analysis

So now we can't have our $1M in Transpo savings. AND C&I screwed up the HS SS textbook adoption by $400K, Oh, and did you know that somehow the state changed the Full Day K apportionment. Oh vey. What a pickle.

I don't understand why the 11-12 SpEd reporting fix was removed from the 5/16 version. I understand that we've recovered all that money - so there's a gap solution. And directors thought that perhaps we didn't need to buy SS books for EVERY HS just because some HS schedule every student for SS at a time, instead of separate semesters.

Anyway, it's as clear as mud so was a resounding success at instilling fear and panic into the board.

mirmac1 said...

The HS SS text adoption increase was just a "puhleeze!"

If you try to reconcile the 3/15/12 C&I mtg minutes, with the 5/2/12 Board adoption, I see no mention of an oops we need $400K more.

Jan said...

Thanks Brita. It is always nice when those who actually dealt with this issue before return to remind us of how we got here -- and why we don't want to go back (I wish John Stanford could have come back in 2009 to remind us, from his experience with Madrona, why we should never return to co-housing elementary APP with neighborhood school programs -- but oh well).