Friday, May 11, 2012

Updates From SPS Communications

Teresa Wippel in Communications was kind enough to get back to me (on a Friday afternoon, no less) for the answers to some pertinent questions.

1) When will we see a formal proposal for transportation?  Staff is still tweaking/revising and it won't be final until the Board meeting.  But she believes the start times will "remain essentially" the same and "a few schools that will start a little later (emphasis on little)."

2) Yes, Superintendent Banda WILL be at the Board meeting.  There will be media accessibility to him after the board vote (I believe she means to confirm him as superintendent).  He will also be visiting some schools on Thursday and media can tag along.  So I know what I'll be doing. 

Given the fluidity of the situation with the transportation plan, I would strongly urge you to show up at the Board meeting whether you speak or not.   I believe the opportunity of Superintendent Banda seeing what parent activism looks like is important.  The Board should see it as well (and whether it embarrasses anyone in front of him would go in the "oh well" file). 

Given our current Superintendent's silence on this issue, I would suppose she is letting the staff and the Board take the lead and it will become Banda's problem.

Again, to sign up to speak, call (or hit send if e-mail) at 8 am on Monday morning.  The phone number is 252-0040 or boardagenda@seattleschools.org.

Also, it appears Director Smith-Blum's community meeting tomorrow has been CANCELLED.


Charlie Mas said...

I will be writing to the Board and asking them to table the Transportation motion for another two weeks to allow that time for community engagement.

If they do not do this, then they will be voting on a motion that has not been seen by the community. The press release made it clear that the two weeks between introduction and action were the only community engagement this motion would get and now - with no final version available until the meeting, it won't be getting even that.

Demand two weeks for community engagement. Write to the Board and ask them to defer the vote.

SP said...

The Board Action Report on the May 16th agenda now has the updated/amended transportation proposal, with Tiers & bus times (still no schools listed in the tiers, but at least this time all middle & high schools are shown as in Tier I). Is this then the final version up for Board vote?

"The bus arrival/departure time windows shall be:
High Schools & Middle Schools: between 7:25 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.
First Tier Option K-8 Schools: between 7:45 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.
Third Tier Option K-8 Schools: between 9:00 a.m. – 3:55 p.m. First Tier Elementary Schools: between 8:00 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.
Second Tier Elementary Schools: between 8:30 a.m. – 3:10 p.m.
Third Tier Elementary Schools: between 9:10 a.m. – 3:45 p.m."

Anonymous said...

"Given our current Superintendent's silence on this issue, I would suppose she is letting the staff and the Board take the lead and it will become Banda's problem."

I would add that Enfield has also allowed the staff and board take the fall. While there is plenty of blame to go around, she has been the superintendent during this entire process (and the buck stops with her).

It's interesting that Dr. Enfield had the spare time and energy to approach Melissa and threaten legal action to potential writers of this blog--on the same night this "transportation plan" was unveiled to the board.

My condolences to Highline.

--enough already

MS parent said...

YIKES - a 7:25 AM arrival time for MS/HS still implies a "significant" and not "minimal" (IMO) change to bell times. Currently my MS kid's bus picks up at 7:15 and arrives at 7:35 AM for a bell time of 7:50AM (15 mins earlier than in 2010-2011). A 7:25 AM bus arrival time then still implies to me that they are planning to shift already brutally early start times for MS/HS even earlier - apparently to 7:35 or 7:40?. We need to continue to keep pushing for clear communication of WHAT ARE THE PROPOSED BELL TIMES, for all schools, and give us a few weeks to process and respond. WHy is that so hard?!

MS parent said...

SP can you please provide a ink as to where you found these updated proposed bell times info?

SP said...

Yikes- MS parent has something there-

The news release says, "New proposal calls for return to current 2011-12 transportation plan."

But, there is a slight difference between this current year's plan and the plan which was approved by the Board on 2/10/12 (which is the one put on the Amended plan this afternoon.

The 2 most noticable differences: 2011-12 plan has MS/HS bus arrivals at 7:30am, but at 7:35am approved 2/10/12 for 2012-13. Also, the biggest difference is that 1st tier Option K-8 schools were at 8:00am arrival time for 2011-12, but changed 15 minutes earlier to 7:45am as approved on 2/12/12 for 2012-13.

So, if the district in the press release really stated we are returning to the current 2011-12 plan, then they definitely have the wrong times in the new action report.

To see both plans- go to the Board's page on SPS website. The May 16th agenda is right on the main page. To see the 2/10/12 agenda (with the red-line version showing what was changed from the current 2011-12 plan) and the May 2nd agenda, you have to go to the Archives section (on the right side of the main page).

SP said...

link to School Board page (or, SPS main page--tab for District---to School Board):


(absolutely hate these absurd links!)

Jan said...

SP -- I guess I am confused. I thought that one of the problems with the current system is that the schedule doesn't actually FIT within 25 minutes -- and that was the reason for going to 45. Is that right? If they move stuff, are they just acknowledging the reality of what is going on? Or is there more to this?

Because as much as I don't want to move times earlier for MS/HS kids -- if the reality is, the current schedule just doesn't work, and now it's mid-May and we can't really do a big, proper Bellingham job of it (well, ok -- we wouldn't have done it that well anyhow -- but whatever), I am not sure what else they CAN do at this point.

Under the circumstances, what do we want as an interim solution? (I confess, I am particularly bad on this because my kids virtually never took buses -- they either walked, when it was close enough, or we drove them because the old, old cross-town buses took too long and were too unpredictable.)

Po3 said...

Revised Highschool/MS:
High Schools & Middle Schools: between 7:25 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.

Proposed last week:
First Tier HS/MS/K8 7:25 2:20

What I am missing here? We are still looking at 6:30am pick up for a 45 minute ride to get to school 10 to 15 minutes before the bell.

Nothing has changed for MS/HS, except that ALL of them are now on this schedule, versus only those on Tier 1.

Anonymous said...

Nathan Hale will be THRILLED.

Notsomuch. Bet no one has even communicated with the school.


Anonymous said...

MS Parent said: We need to continue to keep pushing for clear communication of WHAT ARE THE PROPOSED BELL TIMES, for all schools, and give us a few weeks to process and respond. WHy is that so hard?!

The answer is because they don't know what they are doing (staff + board), they are not communicating (staff + board) and they are trying to duck and cover from the public and the press (board mainly).

Get real. They don't have any bell times as of tonight. I am certain of this. They (the staff)are going to fling these at each school, most of whom won't have any idea of this latest change, and tell the principals "deal with it." They (the board) will sidestep the fallout.

Better get out and testify on Wednesday, people. And don't forget, public testimony is now earlier than it used to be. And limited to 2 not 3 minutes. So that the public won't make too too much of a ruckus.