Thursday, July 24, 2014

Seattle Public Schools - Dr. Nyland Can't Get Here Soon Enough

Between the issue of the Pre-K mission study junket and the appalling action (or lack thereof) on the issue of the Garfield field trip rape case, it's hard not to feel very angry. 

As you may recall, in the e-mails about the Pre-K mission study, there was a lot of back and forth over where the money - about $2700 per person - was going to come from to pay for the trip. 

Well, I found out where the "temporary" money came from.  I say temporary because there were funds used from one pot that will now have to be paid back to that pot by finding another pot of money.

Here's how it breaks down (from SPS Public Disclosure):

Budget codes that were charged
Charles (Wright) - baseline funds (meaning not grant-funded) from the Office of Strategic Planning

Keisha (Scarlett) - South Shore funds (Title I, I believe), “borrowed” due to the time crunch to get good flight prices, meant to be paid back

Laurie (Morrison )– ditto

Cashel (Toner) – Teaching and Learning, “bridge fund” until another source of funding could be found

Flip (Herndon) – Capital Projects (originally, XXXXXA was identified, but it didn’t have enough $ to cover, so they changed to a different one)

Conference costs and flights for each person were billed to the funds specified above. 

We did not receive a refund for Charles’ costs. 

Apparently there was a bit of a time crunch to book tickets before prices went up, so “bridge funds” were used until proper funding could be located. I have not located any records that indicate that funds were paid back, although it sounds like Accounts Payable staff are working on it right now.

So Title One funds were used.  Baseline funding was used.  Not even sure which "Capital" funds were used.  

And we still don't know where the final funds will come from.  Will the district - as Finance head Ken Gotsch suggested - raise the deficit for this junket? 

It's a disgrace.  There is/was NO good reason for this kind of ridiculous use of staff time and district funds.  

They could have sent two people, that would have been reasonable.  But they wanted to send five and only four staff went (but Board member Blanford also went and I'm still checking to figure out who paid for his trip). 

As to the Garfield rape case, besides the story in Aljazeera America, there are now stories at Jezebel and Addicting Info.  The Stranger also has a story, that provides a link to the Aljazeera story. 

Someone, somewhere in this district has to be held accountable for the issues around the rape case and the junket funding. 

I can only say, "Dr. Nyland, a city turns its lonely eyes to you."


Charlie Mas said...

Oh, let's not forget the math mutiny when a number of principals, with the support of Executive Directors, Michael Tolley and Shauna Heath, tried to overturn the School Board's elementary math instructional materials adoption. That was a charming episode as well.

Anonymous said...

to arne.duncan, Randy.Dorn, Jay.Inslee, joby.shimomura, superintendent, bcc: garyg
Mr Duncan and others, I'm the parent of students in the Seattle school district currently assigned to IDEA covered
services, so I'm pleased to hear Mr. Duncan's dedication to meaningful academic outcomes for special needs

I have been advocating for students over the recent school year and it's not easy dealing with such a dysfunctional district like Seattle.

For the past calendar year the Seattle school district has been under level four determination and thus a comprehensive corrective action plan.
As you know special education funds are critical for success of disabled students and without funds many programs would not exist.
Recent internal and external audits have revealed substantial fiduciary issues involving Federal IDEA funds awarded to the Seattle school district.

Please see (link to internal report)


( link to external report)


I have via public disclose requested documentation detailing the use of federal funds for external services and to date the district has been unable to provide
any reports accounting for where and how the district spends the Federal funds they receive.

Considering the distressed state of special education in Seattle public school district, lack of basic accounting practices and recent embezzlement, I appeal
to the Federal Dept of Education to launch a full investigation into this serious issue.

Thank you,

Cooking Books

Angry Taxpayer said...

It is outrageous to acknowledge that we have people working within SPS administrative levels shifting dollars. Can we/ should we trust these individuals with taxpayer dollars?

Isn't it awful that the state is under a court order to fund education and we have individuals using precious and scant public dollars, intended for children's K-12 support, being used for pre-K trips?

Isn't this type of thing called "cooking the books"

At a minimum, Charles Wright needs to be fired.

Angry Taxpayer said...

We're looking at state and federal K-12 dollars being used for pre-K trips. WTH?

Charlie Mas said...

Maybe Charles Wright should reimburse the district for the expense of the trip he didn't take.

Leo said...


A staff member took a trip to Ypslanti to look at a preschool curriculum. Do we know the costs of this trip and which funds were used?

Charlie Mas said...

Oh, wait, I understand. Charles Wright couldn't take the trip because he was busy making a table of all of the other projects that would be delayed or ended if the District staff took on Preschool for All.

Monica said...

On the pre-K trip;

Really, given the lack of leadership shown by the superintendent the last several years, we don't blame staff in Early Education from seeking to learn more about what other cities are doing.

What seems worse are the machinations of the secretary (regardless of whose friend she is) who apparently works for Wright demanding that everyone hurry up and find ways to get around any semblance of fiscal accounting to find "spending exemptions" for her boss to do whatever he pleases.

I saw precious little push back from anyone and Banda just a rubber stamp. He was apparently busy looking for his next job.

Its shameful, lawless and hopefully the Auditor will help nudge Charles and his ilk, to California with Banda.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Disgusted said...

As I understand it, Prop 1 is to fund the parks. Prop 1 will create the ability for the city to raise property tax $0.75 per $1000 property value to fund parks. In doing so, this allows the city to levy funding for pre-K. The mayor and his mayoral appointments are putting their noses under the education tent, and they don't belong there.

Vote NO on Prop 1 and Universal Pre-K.

The city's plan will create additional layers of bureaucracy. Best to fund present programs and expand; not create a new level of bureaucracy.

Still angry that staff spent Title 1, Strategic Plan dollars etc. to fund a preschool trip.

Melissa Westbrook said...

To note, I sent the updated information to the State Auditor's office so that they will have the best picture of what happened/is happening.

I'm sure staff will try to find the best CYA story they can for the Auditor but I can't see how (unless some generous donor pays for ALL of the trip). Don't think that will happen.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

As you see in my post I sent my email to :arne.duncan, Randy.Dorn, Jay.Inslee, joby.shimomura, superintendent

Guess who is the only person to respond ??

Arne Duncan

I can guarantee you the Feds will be on site soon.

Now we need a huge citizen complaint effort to seal the deal.

Cooking Books