Sunday, December 08, 2013

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, December 9th
Curriculum & Instruction Committee meeting from 4-6 p.m.  Agenda. 
Update on math adoption scheduled.

Wednesday, December 10th
Executive Committee Meeting, 8:30 am to 10 am. Agenda.  Mostly review of upcoming Board meetings and legislative matters.

Oversight Work Session; Finance. 4-5:30 pm.  Agenda
Interesting to see on page 13 that in nearly every division in the Budget department, spending is to go up in 2013-2014.  This after our new CFO (and that's what I'm going to call him because these lengthy titles are a pain), Ken Gotsch, said at the Board retreat that the current shortfall is between $18-19M and they have to look for reductions.  They could try keeping the budgeting for these divisions at their current levels for one.  (In fact, the "assistant superintendent" - I'm not sure who this is -  has a budget that goes from  $301,117 to $484,269.  That's up over 30%.)

On page 15, they have a page titled "Key Opportunities & Risks" with one "threat/risk" being Adequate funding for the implementation of the strategic plan.  Another one is "underfunded mandates."  Look, if the Strategic Plan costs too much money, scale back.  If Common Core is hurting our bottom line and there aren't the resources to support it in our schools, ask OSPI for the ability to wait a couple of years. 

On page 18, Key Department Staffing per 1000 students, SPS is way over anyone else in Budget, second largest in Payroll and in the middle in Accounting. 

Oversight Work Session: Facilities, 5:30-7:00 pm. Agenda
Here's a fun fact from the presentation:
SPS has "approximately 9.4 million square feet of building space and 825 acres of land at 97 schools across the City of Seattle."

Now here's a contrast with the Finance presentation.  For the budget and staffing, you see some decrease.  Here's the bad news - it's in custodial.  How can we be spending less on custodial when the number of schools is growing, not decreasing?  Grounds has a modest $10K increase and yet, again, we have more schools coming online.   Go to the Department budget/staffing and you get a stunning visual on how many fewer maintenance personnel are working on our buildings. 

Preventative Maintenance gets a shot in the arm of about $1.5M but with the backlog the district carries, that's only going so far.  (I note that new Director Flip Herndon told district leadership at the Board retreat on Saturday that the backlog is #1 on his list.  Yay!)

I also see on page 14 the Major Contracts and there is the one with Seattle Parks - a joint use agreement - that is listed at $0. I would love to see this agreement and see if SPS is getting a good shake on this agreement.

Page 21 is a Benchmarking page and I'm not even sure how to read this chart.  If anyone does look at this, could you explain it to me?  Whatever it all means, SPS is a lot higher than the IFMA average is.

For whatever reason, unlike Finance, Facilities did NOT benchmark against other districts which I think would be better for the Directors to see and to use for consistency across these reports. 

Thursday, December 12th
Audit&Finance Committee meeting from 4-6 p.m.  Agenda not yet available.

Friday, December 13
BEX Oversight Committee Meeting, 8:30-10:30 am.  No agenda and the webpage is hopelessly out of date. 


Charlie Mas said...

I notice that the Advanced Learning Policy has dropped from the C & I Committee parking lot.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I have a bit of news coming on that front as well.

And, as you and I both pointed out, Charlie, at the last Board meeting, there was no "program" to the program and assessment review. Not a single Director said anything.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, the "assistant superintendent" - I'm not sure who this is - has a budget that goes from $301,117 to $484,269. That's up over 30"

I wonder if that is just the increased salary for having an increased number of assistant superintendents. Each of them makes well over $150,000 a year.


Melissa Westbrook said...

We have several assistant superintendents and a deputy superintendent.

I do want to write a thread about the widening disparities in salaries between the top tier and the bottom tier of workers in our district. The district seems to think they have cut a lot administratively and yet JSCEE seems to grow bigger.

Disgusted said...

I'm confident the legislature will pass MORE unfunded mandates and add laws to increase administrative costs.

Charlie Mas said...

The Executive Committee will discuss the calendar for management oversight meetings.

I think most folks would be surprised to learn that the department with the least frequently scheduled management oversight is teaching and learning. Weird, huh? It's the District's primary mission but they review it half as often as procurement.

Those who remember the one and only management oversight meeting for teaching and learning will recall how un-managed the department is. There was no data - none at all - on the quality or effectiveness of any of the District instructional programs. Makes you wonder how they assessed the performance of the program managers without any assessment of the performance of their programs, doesn't it?

As we recently saw with the annual report on program evaluation, there are still no program evaluations.

The Board's deferral of this management oversight meeting constitutes complicity in the failure to manage this department.