Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Seattle Schools' Meetings Update

Tonight is the regularly scheduled Seattle School Board meeting starting at 4:15 pm at JSCEE.

A few updates.

One, there are only five people signed up to give testimony.  If you have anything you might want to convey to the Board, this would be a good time.

Two, at the end of the Board meeting, there will be a closed Executive Session for "potential litigation."  

This closed session will begin at the conclusion of the regular Board meeting and last approximately 30 minutes.  The legislative session will not reconvene after the executive session, and mo action will be taken as a result of the executive session.

Is this about the Sped Director?

Three, the Operations Committee meeting on Thursday will only be an hour, from 4:30-5:30 pm.  The agenda is still not available for this meeting.

Four, the Executive Committee meeting of the Whole, on Thursday the 18th starting at 5:30 pm, is indeed about the Superintendent Search.


mirmac1 said...

The board meeting was sparsely attended. There were parents with Deaf/Hard of Hearing students who urged the district to improve its programs for these students. Absolutely. This is an issue fellow parent Mary Griffin has pushed for before the board.

The intro item regarding the DOE/Mathmatica grant is concerning. Who are all these third parties who will have access to de-identified (yet with unique proxy numbers) student data. How will this grant and study benefit SPS? Why can't parents have a say in whether they want their child to be a guinea pig? I don't wish for these outside organization to have my child's data. Interesting that FRL data will not be disclosed, but special education status will. Why is one protected and not the other? If this grant and opportunity is so great, then: teachers should have a chance to opt in for this extra work; and, it should be no issue to inform and offer opt out to parents....

mirmac1 said...

The A&F Qtrly meeting was a marathon. LOTS of audit response actions to go through. As Charlie has pointed out, many were long delayed, seemongly without consequences. Others were supposedly complete but were in the "test" phase.

As expected, for those items that missed their deadlines it was ascribed to retirements and turnover. Will we ever be free of this excuse?

At the board meeting tonight, Peaslee commented on the circumstances behind her cancellation of her last community meeting and said she was working on a means to hold a meeting that ensures everyone present feels assured of an environment free of intimidation.

Dr. Nyland was gracious enough to talk to members of the public. How refreshing. He seems more comfortable in this role than Banda.

Mia said...

Why does Sherry Carr want a resolution to support the city's preschool initiative?

Nyland has already publicly supported the preschool initiative and the district will sign a partnership agreement.

The city and union are in a tough campaign. Any effort of the board to sign a resolution supporting the preschool initiative is campaigning. Campaigning off limits.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if the process for legislative agenda has gone sideways with the district. They haven't set their legislative agenda this year yet, but the one in place from last year has absolutely nothing in it about supporting preschool policies. In fact, it is primarily focused on funding basic ed (K-12) and funding school buildings, which we need. The one thing on education policies it states is around "making student growth a substantial factor in
the summative evaluation of teachers and principals."

It is here: http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/13-14%20agendas/110613agenda/20131106_LegAgenda.pdf?sessionid=88d4cd8bc3b93514e41e01bddb839c63

I don't know that it is out of turn for the board to formally endorse an initiative or piece of legislation. I think they can do that, but typically such an action, I would think, would be in line with their stated legislative agenda.

Since preschool isn't part of their stated legislative agenda, it does seem a little odd to pass a resolution to support an initiative which Carr herself said that the first time the board was discussing it at all was at the work session last week.

And, when there are two preschool initiatives on the ballot and there is controversy on which one should be enacted, and the core mission of the district is K-12 which is already underfunded and overcrowded, there is a big statement made if a resolution is brought forth to endorse one or the other, and it doesn't pass.


Melissa Westbrook said...

C&C, you said:
"...funding school buildings, which we need."

Well, apparently not because the Board voted a resolution at the School Board meeting that says:

"WHEREAS, Capital Projects funds are sufficient to meet the demands for new construction and improvements, and"

Is that true? Of course not but I suspect the Legislature (and voters) may wonder why the heck they would pass such a thing if it weren't true.

They did because staff went behind their backs and included money in the budget that had to be voted on by the Board. Whoops. Staff said they would ask the Board for those dollars before the Budget vote next time. Director Carr said well, they might have to revisit the issue entirely (which I noted caused some discomfort to staff but hey, they got their way this way.)

Sorry, I cannot take the district/Board seriously on facilities/capital issues when they do things like this.

And what kind of weak/vague resolution could they pass on preschool? The district already supports preschool in our schools and yes, if they appear to favor one prop over the other, that would be a big problem.

Anonymous said...

Campaign contributions for Prop 1b include Michael Debell, Peter Maier, Stuart Sloan, Jeanie Nordstrom and Matt Griffin:


And 1A is funded by AFT, and SEIU



Anonymous said...

Yes, Melisa. I watched the board meeting yesterday and appreciated that Director Peters made a statement about how the district is working on capacity. But it isn't true from what I'm looking at. I think she wants it to be true, but wishes and dreams and all...

And when they pass a statement like that stating that essentially they've got it handled when they already know that BexIV is not enough and we are short a full high school building in the north, it doesn't add up.

HOW do they have it handled? SHOW US THE PLAN, PLEASE!

What I just don't understand, though, it why they keep on like this. It is literal insanity. Why do they keep acting like they've got it handled when they've got 850 K-12 kids "temporarily" in a high school building and the buildings these kids are meant to move to are presently stalled and already not big enough. And high school buildings are overflowing already. And portables spread like peanut butter all over serving 6000 kids. And elementary schools adding multiple classes in the lower grades that is a tsunami coming, and there IS no plan.

And Joe Wolf comes on and says that they know they need to do something but there isn't enough money but they don't prioritize capacity?!

SPS is living in an alternate universe.


Melissa Westbrook said...

C&C, sometimes people do curious things by design.

I mean if you know that things are really getting worse/going to explode and you need that bomb to go off so that you can take over, well then, you let the steam build up.

I don't know if that is true but this lack of action/clarity over the impending high school issues certainly gives me pause.

Reader47 said...

SPS is living in an alternate universe more often than note ;o)

One day the capacity "roosters" will come home and they'll cry wolf (not to mix metaphors ;) - and probably endanger levy dollars without really understanding why... sigh....

Anonymous said...

Reader47--sorry, can you re-word your point? I'm confused by the mixed metaphors. Who are the roosters and who is the little boy crying wolf?


Anonymous said...

FYI, This is a growing movement for neutrality on 1a/1b with democratic leaders.

"Both 1A and 1B are good for Seattle’s children. Both 1A and 1B are in line with Democratic values. For these reasons, Legislative Districts should take no position on 1A and 1B, but encourage Democrats to vote YES on the first question."

This letter is signed by 7 of Seattle's state legislators:



Ragweed said...

Also on the agenda was the introduction of Resolution 2014/15-10, Amending Policy No. 2336, which would establish Indigenous People's day as an official holiday and endorse the Washington State Tribal Sovereignty curriculum (though it is unclear exactly what or if any commitments are being made to the latter).

This is an important symbolic step that is welcome and long overdue.

Melissa Westbrook said...

PD, I've seen that and it's an odd thing to me that Dems will say okay to either one. What? They are nearly completely different.

It's okay to vote no on the first question and then stop. I'm sad our elected officials seem hell-bent on this happening right now.

Charlie Mas said...

Pardon me if I'm suspicious of claims that "work is being done" behind the scenes. Too often, especially at Seattle Public Schools, that story has proven false.

Here's my suggestion: do the work in public where everyone can see it. Why not? You're not ashamed of it, are you?

Joe Wolf said...

curiouserandcuriouser - My recollection of my statements here is very different from your ... well to be polite I'll call it "interpretation".

To be a little more blunt I engage here because IMHO it's the right thing to do. It isn't any part of my official responsibilities. I would really appreciate my words not being twisted and taken out of context.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

"Why does Sherry Carr want a resolution to support the city's preschool initiative?". I am sure it has nothing to do with Matt Griffin (her largest campaign donor) also being a campaign donor for prob 1b.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we really do have sufficient capacity... That is, if they've already made the decision behind closed doors to move to split shifts or alternate schedules. Joe has been kind enough to tell us he's been sharing information on such options internally, and if nobody is raising capacity alarms at JSCEE or on the Board, perhaps they're already resigned to this?


Mia said...

The district's legislative agenda is with the state.

Frankly, does the district's legislative agenda matter? For years, the district has been asking for the legislature to fund McCleary. How is that going?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Joe, I didn't mean to offend as I do appreciate your contribution here especially since the district as a whole doesn't day light any of the back room conversations that take place.

What I was referring to was when you said that the district does realize that there is a high school capacity problem looming in the North, and that the solution being discussed was to turn Blaine into a High school and Magnolia school into a K-8, but that there is no funding for it. I'm sorry if that is a misinterpretation, but I think that is basically saying what I said above, isn't it? There's a problem, and no money to fix it, and then district (board) didn't prioritize capacity.

I wasn't knocking you, or what you said, and in fact was just highlighting that you are actually the only one that might not be from Wonderland. You might be our Alice, so to speak.

How did Cascade get a building and the Northwest Center Preschool get kicked out, but some 50+ preschool classes run by private contractors get free rent??!?! And a promise from the district to keep all those classrooms for the City to run thier Preschool programs in because they will sign some "agreement" and viola. The district has given the City space when they have none to give.

Backroom conversations is how these things happen. Capacity and facility planning decisions are made willy-nilly by a few people in back room conversation, and the fox is already in the hen house. Any he swears he isn't eating any of those hens, while the feathers are hanging out of his mouth.

What ever happened to FACMAC?!!! Why aren't they meeting? Why aren't you all working on how to solve the high school issue?

Why is Carr spending time writing a resolution to endorse the City's preschool measure when her real job is making sure that our K-12 kids have somewhere to go to school that isn't falling apart or in portable classroom with no lunchroom or bathrooms!!!

Instead, they are focusing on rallying behind having even more public $$'s spent on the City's pet projects which will magically solve the opportunity gap. Right-o. We can't pay for K-12, or even plan ahead enough to have enough buildings for them and preschool will save the day.

I've got a bridge to sell in New York if anyone is interested.

Please don't take my post above as a shot against you. I'm just so over the top flabbergasted that the district is STILL NOT ACKNOWLEDGING THAT WE HAVE A VERY REAL capacity problem.

I'm hearing rumors that another program is getting placed in Lincoln now, on top of the 850 kids that are there already. Is this true? Can you confirm?


Anonymous said...

Yes, ANOTHER school is being pushed into Lincoln now: Indian Title VII.

Depending on who you talk with, it either has 100, 80 or 20 kids in it.

It's going in the north 'wing' which is essentially a gym/track plus some small coaches offices and a staff room and 2 toilets. Not good for anybody's kids. Surely there is an above ground classroom somewhere that could be more comfortable -- how about in JSCEE? That would be great. Clean, warm, and spacious.

Keep in mind the hypocracy: Facilities told Lincoln that Lincoln couldn't use that north gym because it was not ADA compliant (nevermind that there is an EASY workaround for this-- all groups with ADA persons are 100% in the regular gym along with all assemblies, etc).

If this new school is high school kids, how does Director Carr or Mr. Nyland think it's safe or appropriate to mix it with elementary kids????

And, for all of that EXCELLENCE in capacity/facility planning, why is this happening with no notice or discussion in late September/October??? Wouldn't last April have been more appropriate? As this is a school placement, did it go through the regular process and procedure?

Why can't the Van Asselt building or the Columbia or Meany buildings be used? Why not the John Marshall buildings? Why not the new Queen Anne building? These are the other "temporary" sites. If this school was at Wilson Pacific, then, why not stay with their co-located community? Who picked Lincoln? That's nuts. The stress on kids having to be in that facility is mounting. But who cares, right, because those are those 'awful' APP kids, and their awful parents... I know, this will be labeled as whining, but you are missing the point... The point is...

Facilities ?Planning?

Melissa Westbrook said...

HIMS, at the Operations Ctm meeting, there was definite concern of capacity issue in NW/NE,Central and high school. The Board and the district have now acknowledged this. There seems to be a bit of a tussle about how to prioritize.

Van Asselt is being used for preschool, remember. John Marshall is an interim right now for Licton Springs. Meany is being rebuilt.

The Operations Ctm has requested a Work Session on the downtown school but really, it sounds like a discussion of capacity management.

That work session and any BTA IV meetings is where the rubber will meet the road.

mirmac1 said...

Old Van Asselt is being (under)utilized for SpEd preschool. Remember the City bailed when it heard OVA would only be available for 2 years. It wasn't good enough for them, but our district seemed to think it was good enough for SpEd youngsters and critical services. And yes 18-21 Transition classes.

I urge parents to let Carr know that she is NOT placing K-12 first, no matter "Slick" Burgess's assurances that SPS is not committed itself to anything.

TFA is an obvious situation where outsiders will whine and moan that SPS "committed" to such and such so just rubber-stamp already!

Lynn said...

Title VII is the Native Education program - not a school. It's a few staff who run after-school programs (at South Shore I think.)

Anonymous said...


"John Marshall is an interim right now for Licton Springs."

Nope. John Marshall is the interim home for Hazel Wolf K-8.

Though, in the back to school letter from the Superintendent, he did state what you wrote, that Licton Springs K-8 is at John Marshall (with Hazel Wolf), when Licton Springs K-8 is actually at Lincoln.

- North-end Mom

Shocked said...

Minute 24. Carr asks staff to create a resolution in support of the city's "ballot" initiative. Carr is campaigning and she needs to stop.


Shocked said...


"Why does Sherry Carr want a resolution to support the city's preschool initiative?". I am sure it has nothing to do with Matt Griffin (her largest campaign donor) also being a campaign donor for prob 1b.

I'm always disappointed when Carr works behind the scenes with corporate shills.

Carr isn't writing the resolution. Carr directed staff to write the resolution I can imagine that the dept. of Early Learning is writing the resolution. Are we looking at a conflict of interest

Melissa Westbrook said...

Shocked, I'll have to watch that. She really uses the word "city's" ballot measure?

Ragweed said...

Yes, ANOTHER school is being pushed into Lincoln now: Indian Title VII.

Depending on who you talk with, it either has 100, 80 or 20 kids in it.

It's going in the north 'wing' which is essentially a gym/track plus some small coaches offices and a staff room and 2 toilets. Not good for anybody's kids.

Before posting another rant about facilities planning, please try to get your information straight. Title VII is not a school, but an after-school program and supplemental support services for Native American students. To my knowledge there will be no daytime classes in that facility. It will also be used by the Clear Sky Native Youth Council for their Native Hoops Basketball program and after-school program that are currently operating out of the Wilson Pacific building.

Title VII is actually a federal educational program like Title I. It provides funding and requires support and services for qualified Native students. In SPS that program is administered through the Office of Native America Education. The Huchoosedah after school programs have locations in South Shore K-8, Broadview Thompson, and support services that formerly operated out of Wilson Pacific. Jeanette Tillotson, Native American Intervention Specialist in the North End, has her office at Licton Springs K-8 and will be coordinating the support services operating out of the space.

Since this program will eventually be located at Wilson Paficic, it makes sense that the interim location for it would be with the other programs going into the Wilson Pacific site - APP Elementary, Licton Springs K-8 - and near the APP Middle-school at Hamilton. It is a reasonable location for the North-end Native Students and insures that there are supports for both the north and south communities.

Finally, this placement was not a last-minute decision - it was part of the growth boundaries discussion in the fall of 2013, it was just overshadowed by other discussions during that time.

mirmac1 said...

I remember that Ragweed.

Lynn said...


Do you know where at Wilson Pacific the program will be located? (Within the Licton Springs space?)

I don't remember that decision being announced.

Joe Wolf said...

Licton Springs K-8 will be located in the middle school building on the Wilson-Pacific campus. First floor and part of the second floor in the southernmost classroom wing.

Lynn said...

Thanks Joe,

I was asking about the Title VII program. (Ragweed said it would be located at Wilson-Pacific.) Do you know if that's the plan? I believe they're need office space, gym access and an area for community events. It just sounds like W-P will be over-crowded as it is.

mirmac1 said...

Well I'll tell you who won't be there: the special education K-1 who were plunked there when the powers that be decided that a) they don't get to go to their neighborhood or nearby school, now or their entire K-5 life. Riser, grandfathering or sibling schmibling...not happening. They'll be cast out to the next available building/portable around. So consider yourselves lucky.

Charlie Mas said...

Let's remember that all of the duties and responsibilities for running the district are the Board's. They have delegated a number of these duties to the superintendent, but they reserve the right to take them back. And they often do. Directors DeBell and Martin-Morris, for example, took back the authority to determine the program placement for APP, and they were among the top opponents to exactly that kind of Board intervention.

So maybe the solution would be for the Board to take back some authority that they have delegated to the superintendent - such as the authority to fire a staff person for policy violations.

Maybe the Board needs to write the superintendent's contract in such a way that it is clear that policy violations are grounds for dismissal. They definitely need to make policy compliance and enforcement part of the superintendent's evaluation - it isn't now and never has been.

Maybe they need to write something into the contract that allows them to withhold pay - some kind of bonus pay - for non-compliance.