Seattle School District Announcements

 From SPS Communications regarding the Strategic Plan, SE Region and Hiring/Spending Freeze:

Strategic Plan

Seattle Public Schools will host five community meetings to share information and ask for public comments about updating the District’s current Strategic Plan, Excellence for All. 

The updated plan will guide academic and operational priorities for the next three to five years and include ongoing benchmarking to measure the District’s performance.

The community meetings will be held:

· Monday, April 1, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at Eckstein Middle School auditorium, 3003 N.E. 75th St. (Interpreters available in Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, Amharic and Tigrigna)

· Tuesday, April 2, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at Chief Sealth International High School auditorium, 2600 S.W. Thistle (Interpreters available in Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, Chinese, Tagalog, Amharic)

· Saturday, April 6, 10 a.m.-noon, at Garfield High School commons, 400-23rd Ave.(Interpreters available in Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, Chinese, Tagalog, Amharic and Tigrigna)

· Monday, April 8, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at Ballard High School commons, 1418 N.W. 65th St. (Interpreters available in Spanish and Somali)

· Tuesday, April 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at Aki Kurose Middle School lunchroom, 3928 S. Graham St. (Interpreters available in Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, Chinese, Tagalog, Amharic and Tigrigna)

Each meeting will include a joint presentation by district staff and Pivot Learning Partners, the consultants hired to assist the district with the strategic planning process; a summary of the work of the Strategic Plan Task Force and an opportunity for community attendees to offer their perspectives verbally and/or in writing. The updated Strategic Plan is expected to be presented to the School Board for introduction at the June 19 Board meeting and for action at the July 3 Board meeting.

To learn more about the District’s Strategic Plan please click here

SE Region

As many of you know, Michael Tolley, who served as one of the two Executive Directors of the Southeast Region, is now our Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. Bree Dusseault, who shared the other Executive Director responsibilities, left in February. Since then, Michael has been filling in, along with support from other executive directors, with both positions. At this time, we need to ensure we have a team in place for the rest of the year, while we conduct a search for the new Executive Director of Schools for the Southeast Region.

In 2010 a commitment was made to have two Executive Director of Schools for the Southeast Region for two school years (2011-12 and 2012-13). As that timeframe is about to expire and given our current budget situation, we have made a decision that the second Southeast Executive Director of Schools position will not be filled.

Mr. Tolley will continue his involvement in the Southeast, but I am pleased to announce an interim support team led by Michael Starosky, Human Resources Consulting Principal, who will provide coaching, peer-to-peer and non-evaluative technical support to the principals. Additionally, our team of Executive Directors will provide professional development, supervision and evaluation of Southeast region principals through the end of the school year.

We expect to hire a permanent Executive Director of Schools for the Southeast Region before the school year ends, and we will seek input from staff, family and the community as part of the process.

 Hiring Freeze

In anticipation of an $18 million budget shortfall for the 2013-14 school year and with State legislative funding relief uncertain, Seattle Public schools is implementing a non-critical hiring and spending freeze until further notice.

This freeze is expected to save at least $2.5 million, which can be carried over to assist in building a balanced 2013-14 budget. The District will prioritize activities that contribute to accelerating academic progress for all students, while at the same time being responsive to the significant financial issues that both the school district and the State face.

The District is currently developing for the next school year the general operating fund budget, which will be approved by the School Board in July.

In the past five years, Seattle Public Schools has closed combined shortfalls of more than $120 million. During this time, funds have been prioritized for the classroom and the majority of reductions have come from central office. The percentage spent on central administration has dropped from more than 9 percent to less than 6 percent of the total budget. While dramatic enrollment growth has increased the overall budget amount, multiple years of state and federal funding reductions have left the district with a shortfall each year, which has resulted in the elimination of jobs, programs and materials.

“We know these measures impact our employees, and we appreciate everyone’s understanding of the need to take this action,” said Duggan Harman, Assistant Superintendent of Business & Finance. “We are hopeful that the legislature follows the recent Supreme Court order and funds the K-12 increases it has previously committed to. If this happens, the path to a balanced budget becomes clearer.”

Critical positions that are needed for either safety or classroom instruction are excluded from this freeze.


mirmac1 said…
Non-essential positions. wonder they're not filling Bree Dusseault's or Tolley's former positions.
seattle citizen said…
The lead of the “non-profit” Pivot Learning, Merrill Vargo, started the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative (BASRC) in 1995, a grant-making and support organization in San Francisco. That became Pivot Learning Partners.
From their 2011 IRS 990 non-profit form (worth a read for its mission statement):
Contributions and grants: 2010 - $740,000; 2011- $2,700,000

They’ve doubled their salaries paid from 2010 to 2011, to five million. Revenue was nine million in 2011. Assets are over three million.
Vargo’s salary is $158,000, very nice for a non-profit. Four director/managers make from $110,000 to $133,000. Three of the four board members make over $100,000 from “related organizations,” while drawing no salary from PLP

The following is from the abstract of The Challenge of Supporting Change: Elementary Student Achievement and the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative's Focal Strategy - Final Report, a study done on the results of the “focal strategy” that reform organization (BACRC) undertook in San Francisco. Make of it what you will.
(1) In the [SF] districts that participated in the focal strategy [an attempt to bring managerial reforms down to the trenches], there were improvements in achievement during the years of the initiative, but these improvements were either similar to or only slightly greater than improvements in similar districts in the Bay Area that were not part of the focal strategy; (2) The evidence suggests that the BASRC focal strategy is not associated with substantial districtwide improvements in average elementary student achievement on state standards tests of reading; and (3) Although BASRC originally intended to support both districts and schools in a "bottom-up and top-down" approach, in practice the focal strategy primarily served district leadership, was not sustained at the school level, and, thus, typically did not lead to specific changes in instruction or specific instructional supports at the school and classroom levels.
seattle citizen said…
Oh, in case people are confused, I meant the above to be a comment on the Strategic Plan part of the post. Pivot Learning has been hired for some amount or another to assist SPS with its new Strategic Plan.
Anonymous said…
Curious if parents know how many $$$ go to their PTA's administration ... i.e.: WSPTA (required) training, photocopy costs charged by school, seminars, conventions ... what is an acceptable percentage??

PTA mom
mirmac1 said…
Pivot Learning - brought to you by Jose Banda, and your friendly Alliance for Education.

Why bother going to one of their "community chats". They'll just put in their reform wishlist and claim that the multitudes wanted it.
RosieReader said…
PTA Mom, Between $8 and $9 of each member's membership fees for to the regional/state/national PTA. The trainings in Seattle that are relatively close by seem to average $40. 4 officers x 4 trainings equals $160.00. If you want to send anyone to the Convention that's $140 per person. I don't know how much the Legislative assembly costs, but I'd guess it's about the same as the convention.

Indirect costs include all the time spent at those trainings, conventions, etc.

This is why some schools re question the cost/benefit equation of remaining within the PTSA structure. Stand alone entities avoid all the time/money now funneled away to support the structure of PTSA.

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