Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Open Thread

It looks to be a busy day in Seattle Public Schools.  Banda is now officially going to Sacramento (and boy, that lack of enthusiasm from the Sacramento Bee) and we await the discussion/announcement today of an interim who is likely to be in place for the next 6-9 months. 

I have found out some interesting things about one of the potential interim candidates that I will post in a separate thread.  I can only say that anyone chosen needs to devote their entire attention to this district and not other outside work.  That's the least an interim can do. 

There are no Board community meetings tomorrow.

I'll put in a plug for a great (and free) outing for the family, namely, the Olympic Sculpture Park.  They have summer events on Thursday evenings and Saturdays.  We went last night and it was fun to look at the huge sculptures, lots of room for kids to run and play, live music, food trucks and art projects for the kids.  (Only the food trucks cost money but you could also bring a picnic.)  Stellar views as well.

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said...

The West Seattle Hi-Yu parade and White Center Jubilee Days parade are happening this weekend! No rain please!

Joe Wolf said...

A big second to Melissa's recommendation for Olympic Sculpture Park. Even prettier around sunset if your schedule allows a visit at that time.

Photo album from a recent visit:


dan dempsey said...

Lakefair festival in Olympia this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Why we need to teach stuff, not just test stuff:


Federal security officers at Orlando International Airport were getting a geography lesson this week after one failed to recognize the nation’s capital as part of the United States. (more)


mirmac1 said...

Dan! My child's marching in that one too! Busy weekend - Hi-yu, International District and Lakefair.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just out the door to go to the interim superintendent meeting/press conference but got a look at a recent batch of public disclosure documents.

Stunning. You think there aren't little hidden pots of money that staff has no hesitation in using for less-than-SPS uses? You'd be wrong.

There are people working in this district who are on a mission but who's calling the shots? That's up for debate.

Maybe we need to have that debate BEFORE any new permanent superintendent comes on.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I note that the superintendent in Centralia has resigned over inproper reporting of state health funding (in addition to five other administrators leaving). The investigation was done by the Attorney General's office.

Here's hoping we don't see Principal Greg Domingos or Superintendent Steve Bodnar or T/L Scott Nieman applying in Seattle Schools.

mirmac1 said...

Yes, I found them interesting as well. Didn't someone say that the Chamber paid for recent junkets? Then why is SPS cutting them checks...?

Anonymous said...

Folks, recent batch of emails public disclosure requests (PDR not FOIA) uploaded to SCRIBD? Don't see them. Not nice to tease us......

How many students does Marysville have? Waiting for press conference - TV stream indicates it will be broadcast?


Unknown said...

According to their website, Marysville has over 11,000 students.

-west seattle parent

jl said...

Any thoughts on this article from the times re; math dialogue?

mirmac1 said...

Leslie, all in good time... : )

Just Saying said...

"Yes, I found them interesting as well. Didn't someone say that the Chamber paid for recent junkets? Then why is SPS cutting them checks...?"

The district holds back funding from our classrooms.

I very much look forward to seeing these e-mails and subsequent discussion.

Is there a mechanism to access Scribd?

mirmac1 said...

OMG! Of course!

Julian says click here:

www.scribd.com/SPSLeaks. I suggest you save it as a favority.

The Pre-junket emails are here

Just Saying said...

Oh my, Julian. The district paid $13K for staff to fly to New Jersey, Boston and Washington DC to check-out preschools. Very interesting that the district used funding from the Strategic Plan. The district receives federal and state dollars to fund existing early learning.

Why does the district feel it ok to use funding to support the city's initiative? We don't receive dollars from the city to support early learning.

It is beyond a stretch for the district to fund the city's preschool program and consider the city's program as part of the "Strategic Plan".

Lynn said...

Isn't the district required to spend it's funds on K-12 education? How far afield can they go without crossing the line? Can they spend state funding on anything they think might improve children's academic prospects?

#TransparencyPlease said...

Charter schools have gotten into the business of preschools. Isn't it weird that LEV is very involved with the city's preschool program and is advocating for Schmitz Park and Decateur to become preschools? Is it the intention for Decateur and Schmitz Park to fully house preschools? Or, is there an intention to turn these buildings into charter schools?

Isn't it weird that the district spent $13K sending the principal from Graham Hill, S. Shore and others on the east coast trip to visit preschools? Isn't it weird that the city didn't pay for this trip? Isn't it weird that Codd recommended funds from the Strategic Plan?

Isn't it weird that the district considers the city's plan as part of the Strategic Plan, when we only receive funding from the feds and state?

Isn't it weird that Charles Wright is the go-to guy and the board hasn't been briefed on preschool for all? Any chance Wright is Gate's gatekeeper?

Isn't it weird that Wright didn't mention preschool for all on his "to do" list at the Board Retreat?

Isn't it weird that district officials are meeting with the Gates foundation?

Isn't it weird that LEV advocates for the district leading the preschool professional development effors- even in the community?

Isn't it weird that the city rejects the district's preschool funding model because it is too high and recommends that rental fees will cover costs?

Isn't it weird that Gates and LEV knows more about the city's preschool program than the board?

#TransparencyPlease said...


The district receives federal and state dollars for early learning. We should not be contributing K-12 dollars, from the Strategic Plan for the city's preschool for all program--especially when it means flying, feeding and housing multiple people to Boston, New Jersey and Washington DC.

Burgess took folks to DC to meet the Pooh= Bahs. The delegation met with someone below Arne Duncan and representatives. They all must have felt very important on the taxpayers dime.

#Transparencyplease said...

A district official also took a trip to Ypsilanti to check-out preschool curriculums. Who paid for that trip?

Charles Wright is the Gatekeeper, here.

#TransparencyPlease said...

Is it REALLY necessary to fly staff to Ypsilanti to check-out preschool curriculums?

Good golly!

Did Wright approve expenditure to Ypsilanti?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will have a complete report today.

It is pretty stunning.

I have already let the State Auditor know about this issue.

There are some truly dangerous people with agendas at JSCEE.

Anonymous said...

I am assuming that Mr. Wright will leave with Mr. Banda.

In the right

mirmac1 said...

I hope so. He can help mold the Sacramento SD in Mr. Rhee's image.

#ThanksMelissa/Mirimac said...


Thank you so much for reporting these expenditures to the State Auditor. The district is trying to fund preschool as part of the Strategic Plan. Over the past 6 years, the district had to close a budget gap of $125M and the state is under a court order to fund K-12.

I hope there are FOIA requests between Burgess, Wright, League of Education Voters and contacts from the Gates Foundation.

The district created a funding model which was rejected by the city.

It is absolutely outrageous that preschool hasn't been heard in Audit and Finance, operations and C&I. It is absolutely outrageous that the board has not been briefed on this issue.

#TransparencyPlease said...

I also believe Burgess will expect the district spending K-12 dollars on the city's preschool. Otherwise, why didn't the city pay for district staff to go on a trip to the east coast?

Melissa Westbrook said...

And how come Gates Foundation was so eager for SPS to go on this trip and yet they paid for nothing?

But a couple of e-mails stated that the City wanted to see buy-in from the district via money (just like TFA).

For a non-core mission of the district? I don't think so.