Seattle Schools Audit&Finance Committee Lalapalooza Agenda

Quite an interesting and packed agenda for the Audit and Finance Committee meeting on Thursday.  (It's also interesting that the Executive Ctm meeting, normally in the morning, is at the exact same time so it won't be possible to attend both.)

Items of interest:

  • Washington State Auditor’s Office Entrance Conference (Technow) 
Always interesting to hear from the Auditor.

Items Requiring Board Action on January 21 and February 4, 2015
  • John Stanford International Schools Annual Fund Grant (Fauntleroy/Corrigan) 
  • McDonald International Schools Annual Fund Grant (Golosman/Corrigan) 
What the heck?  McDonald PTA aims to raise an astonishing $500K+ for their Language IAs and interns.  And the district is okay with this?  But of course.  Let the district take the glory for this "system" of language immersion/world schools without doing much of the continuance work of the programs.  This is utter nonsense.

Of course, I'm not decrying the parents' efforts, far from it.  But this is NO way to run a program.  

And may I ask a question?  When is the district going to do an honest review of these programs - outcomes, access, costs, etc.?  Because it would seem time to do such a review.  

There is no attached report for JSIS so I don't know how much they are attempting to raise.
  • MOA with Africatown regarding the Columbia Annex (Ruiz) 
This I have to see.  I'll have a separate thread on this issue as the Superintendent, in an e-mail response to me (actually via an e-mail from Charlie), had some interesting things to say.  
  • Minimum Fund Balance to Cover Potential Funding Loss of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Funds (Jessee/Gotsch) 
Anybody?  What "potential funding loss?"  
  • Employee Benefits Contract with Sprague Israel Giles, Inc. (Byrd-Pina) 
Board Policies and Procedures Special Attention Items
1. JSCEE Bonds/Building update (Technow) 

Another "now this should be good" moments.  Again, the district will be on the hook for paying these bonds off come 2017 right from the General Fund.  I'll have to see the report but I'm guessing it's at least $1M a year for another 5 years.  Where will those cuts come from?

Routine Items
  • Title IX update (Nahouraii) (routine until further notice) 
I can practically see Charlie's head exploding here.  The Title IX update is routine?  Generally a school district doesn't have a major breach of policies around Title IX, start a taskforce and then call the updates "routine."  Gives you a lot of faith in how seriously this issue is being taken.  I'd love for the Board to actually ask this question but I'd lay money that it won't be.  
  • HeadStart financial report (Toner/Garcia) 
  • Grants update (Corrigan) 
Financial status update for November 2014 (Technow)

Budget update (Sebring) 


Anonymous said…

Minimum Fund Balance to Cover Potential Funding Loss of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Funds (Jessee/Gotsch)

Anybody? What "potential funding loss?"

SPS is losing federal funds for not completing its SPED RC-CAP.

The last 4 years of IDEA part b funding was provisional funding I.E become fully IDEA compliant by June 30th 2015 or pay back 36 million in part b funding.

Will DOE have the will to enforce the law?

Unknown said…
Based on what I know, I have to agree with what Michael says about potential loss of funding. I have heard and seen enough to believe that there is a good chance that the district is not capable of becoming compliant.
Anonymous said…
Recently Nyland boasted about how SPS was making significant progress on the RC-CAP and based on that OSPI moved SPS from LEVEL 4 (worst)to LEVEL 3. This change is significant because OSPI is not required to withhold funds until a district hits level 4.

OSPI upgraded the SPS determination level because SPS completed all of the corrective action in the 5 Citizens Complaints it received in 2013-2014 school year.

Recent information shows that SPS did not adhere to the agreed corrective action for one or more Citizen Complaint decisions and therefore was erroneous in it's deceleration of compliance.

OSPI recently ruled that Roosevelt High school was not providing SDI for a large percentage of students and was keeping many special education students in special education class rooms for a significant more amount of time that was documented on the students IEP.

The latter of the two infractions is a violation of the students civil rights.

OSPI is also aware that similar SDI infractions are currently happening at most of the districts middle and high schools.

Both the DOE and DOJ are sending lawyers to Seattle to meet with affected parents later this month.

You tell me how SPS is going to explain this and how in less than five months they are going to fix the ever growing list of violations added to the RC-CAP.


Anonymous said…
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For TheRecord said…
Nyland just received a salary of $276K, $24k benefit package, vacation pay and a travel allowance of $700/month.

Director Peters was the only one that had the brains to ask, essentially, "Are performance goals incorporated into Nyland's contract?". The answer was NO. Carr felt it ok to follow Banda's contract. How did that work out?

Let's watch sp. ed and see if Nyland is the leader we've been told he is.
Gates Gate said…
Do we know whether or not Corrigan has seen all the Gate's grants?
Anonymous said…
Jan 6 Seattle Weekly:

Seattleland: School Follies Continue With ‘Unnecessary’ Special-Ed Investigation

Anonymous said…
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katie said…
I am glad to see the IB issue on this list as there really needs to be some daylight on this problem.

The reason IB is such an amazing opportunity is that IB must comply with a specific set of internationally recognized standards. As such, there is a a direct cost for participation in the recognition of these standards. In other words, IB is NOT free.

There are direct, know and consistent year to year costs for participation in IB that are just NOT funded in the WSS so the school with IB programs have an unfair burden in their budgets.

Typically, known and recurring expenses should be put in a budget. The fact that there are multiple programs with known and recurring expenses that are not in the budget is a major operations problem that never seems to get any daylight.

It is one thing when a school fundraises for a unique part of that school, even when it is something basic like an art teacher or math tutoring. The difference is that everyone knows that those items come from parent funding and as such can go away at any time.

However, the option of just not being IB next year is really not on the table for Sealth, Ingraham and now Rainer Beach. All of those schools have significant FRL numbers and it NOT paying for the direct costs of IB means that those schools have an unfair burden in their budgets.

IMHO, there are some serious flaws in the high school WSS, and those flaws seem to more exaggerated at the schools that are expected to operate more than one major program.
Anonymous said…
What Katie said above. Hell yes.

Jay Pierce said…
Interesting piece in the Weekly about the SpecEd fiasco. A sweetheart deal for an educator who steered the bid to her friend.
Anonymous said…
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Lynn said…
While IB is a wonderful program, it would be irresponsible and inequitable for the district to provide extra funding to attendance area high schools to support the program. If at some point there's enough money available to provide every high school equivalent discretionary funds, it would be a different story.
Every high school student should have access to Advanced Placement classes at their assigned school. That allows them to take college level classes without requiring their parents to contribute to the cost.
IB programs (whether district or parent supported) should be offered at option high schools so that every student has equal access to the program and to any extra district funding.
Eric B said…
Lynn, I respectfully disagree that IB shouldn't receive extra money at attendance area schools. If SPS decides that any expensive program is an important part of the school, then they should fund it. That goes for IB, language immersion, whatever. There are not enough option school seats in HS to support IB only at option schools. In the North End, I think Center is the only option school, and I don't think that they have the capacity to support 150+ north end IB students in addition to their current enrollment.

I absolutely agree that every school should have AP classes available to every student.
Anonymous said…
SPS put IB at Ingraham as a tool to manage capacity. SPS put IB at Sealth as Rainier as a tool to increase access to rigorous academics.

SPS Central better be providing the extra operational dollars to run these programs. To do otherwise is to set these school students, families and staff up for failure, which is a decade-long downtown MO that must stop.

Anonymous said…
The IB program at Ingraham has not created opportunities for all Ingraham students, its successfully made a class system. Just as any of the students.

Peter Stine
Anonymous said…
IB program = class system? Do explain!

Half Full
Lynn said…
I want to clarify that I wasn't suggesting our current option schools should take on IB. If we need to offer IB, we should convert some of our neighborhood schools to option schools and offer it there.

If the district is going to fund the costs of a special program for a limited number of students, those students should be randomly chosen. When we are short of money, it would be inequitable to allocate additional money from the general fund to benefit only children from particular neighborhoods.

In reality, Ingraham, Sealth and Rainier Beach could just stop offering IB classes. AP classes would offer acceleration without the IB fees.

With the current assignment plan, it is not necessary to spend any money to make a school more attractive. As the schools are full, students won't be able to opt out of their neighborhood school. (Unless they choose a charter school.)
Maureen said…
District Watcher is right, SPS sometimes places attractive programs in less popular schools as a capacity management tool. When they do that, they should be prepared to pay the additional cost involved. That is what it seems like they are doing at Cleveland (unless there is external grant support there?). They seem to be counting on parents to carry the extra burden at the language immersion schools and the IB schools. That is not right. They are reaping a benefit from these programs, they need to acknowledge that and pay the cost.

Peter Stine, can you clarify what you are you saying? I have a junior at IHS who is currently in the IB program. I know that any student can enroll in any IB class or take on the full diploma, there is no entry requirement for a motivated student. (I understand that some students may need more support and expect that could be done better at IHS, as at all SPS schools.)
Anonymous said…
@ Lynn. Nice theory. Not going to happen. IB and APP are not at the same. AP classes taken one or two at a time and heavy in rote memorization don't hold a candle to a comprehensive IB track. You cannot substitute AP for IB and thank god for that. So convert all the high schools to offering IB? Go talk to JSCEE and make it happen. Have them fund every high school to offer it. Until then trying to take away quality in the name of equity isn't going anywhere.

Plus there is not enough room for the coming high school cohorts so turning a comprehensive high school into an option school is tilting at windmills.

My kid won't get the benefit of Roosevelt's music program. It's unfair. We will work around it. The system isn't perfect. It isn't even adequate. But it does not move forward by yanking away internationally accepted quality programs. As to a different conversation on this blog, that also goes for our language immersion programs. We need more, not less. Middle school is particularly direly in need.

IB Alumnus
Lynn said…
Nobody is suggesting that the district give Roosevelt extra money to support it's music program.

Turning an attendance-area high school into an option school doesn't make seats disappear - it reallocates them.

Certainly it would be great to have more IB and immersion programs. We have to prioritize district spending based on needs (rather than wants) and those programs wouldn't make it on the list of needs. New middle and high school math curriculum, new science curriculum, school nurses, counselors and librarians should all come before the district spends money on IB programs.

As the education offered by the IB program is so wonderful and so much superior to AP classes, surely you can see that every student should have an equal opportunity to enroll.
Anonymous said…
Lynn you are describing the SPS enrollment scheme from more than a decade ago. Every school an option school. Buses to anywhere.

Transportation costs soared. The least educated and involved families inevitably ended up with the worst schools for their kids. Special education was relegated to the least popular schools. The board and community put us on to a different neighborhood-based enrollment pattern a few years ago and the dust is still settling there.

Although you have some good philosophical points, I imagine you will get almost no traction with district staff, district Board and parents alike on the IB schools-are-lottery-schools argument.

Veteran Reader
Lynn said…
My arguments are purely philosophical. I believe the district provides inequitable access to the IB schools and that bothers me. I don't have the energy to try to do anything about it. I just feel (unfortunately) compelled to point out the inequity.

Transportation to option high schools consists of handing the kid an ORCA card. How expensive could it be to reclassify two high schools as option schools? I imagine parents would be outraged.
Charlie Mas said…
All of the talk about equitable access to programs and services is just lip service. By placing programs in attendance area schools the District is creating inequitable access.

There is no equitable access to language immersion.
There is no equitable access to IB.
There is no equitable access to Montessori.
There is no equitable access to any option program (except Center School and NOVA).
There is no equitable access to Spectrum.
There is a lot of evidence that access to special education services and highly capable are inequitable as well.
The Board has been asking the staff to address this issue for five years and the staff has resolutely refused to do so. The Board, for their part, has pretended not to notice.

Two quick information points:
1) When it was created, the additional costs of Cleveland STEM were supposed to be supported by an aggressive fundraising effort led by the superintendent. The whole program's existence was supposed to be contingent on that fundraising, but the fundraising never happened.
2) Despite a policy that requires it, there has never been any effort to assess the quality or efficacy of any of the district's academic programs.
Anonymous said…
"There is a lot of evidence that access to special education services and highly capable are inequitable as well."

Rereading your posts indicates that you have been defending the eligibility requirements of Spectrum and APP for years. In fact, I have been the recipient of many barbs from you when I dared to suggest that the program is inequitable.

What gives?

--enough already
"If the district is going to fund the costs of a special program for a limited number of students, those students should be randomly chosen."

Well, it is somewhat random as students choose whether to be in IB classes. Students can be in one IB class or the whole thing. As well, the dual language programs are now option schools so there is choice involved there.

Maureen is right. SPS expects WAY too much from parents and parents give it.

Ditto on what Charlie said.

But hey, good news. I attended the A&F meeting and, as usual, lots of interesting (and upsetting) stuff. But apparently, they are going to review programs and may end some. (this was about the budget and stated in a vague way on a handout).
Anonymous said…
AP classes also incur costs. Specific AP textbooks. Annually consumable AP workbooks. Teacher training in AP exam prep. Class time for AP exams. Classroom sets of graphing calculators. Scholarships for AP exams. Counselor hours to register students for AP exams & gathering AP exam data for teacher pass rates. Offering AP classes is not free.

I do not know what the cost difference is with IB.

-HS Parent
Anonymous said…
Seems to me those are all costs of offering quality HS programs that meet the needs of students. SPS needs to get a grip and fund things appropriately.
mirmac1 said…
From the IB Internation site:

Annual school fees
Diploma Programme 10,820
IB Career-related Program 1,370

Per student fees
Candidate registration fee 160
Candidate subject fee 110
Extended essay 85
Theory of knowledge 43
Creativity Action and Service 10

Not chump change (except for Gates of course. IB is one of his pet ideas. I think IB sounds great and should be available to those who want to pursue it.)
Eric B said…
Adding on to Mirmac's costs, you have:

IB-specific professional development
IB-specific texts
IB coordinator (pretty much a full-time job at Ingraham)
Stipends for extended essay faculty advisers
I'm sure there's a bunch more that I've forgotten. Definitely not chump change, but you get what you pay for.
mirmac1 said…
Thanks Eric B. I knew I left some things out.
Anonymous said…
Mirmac also leaves out that IB programs also require an IB program administrator per building, no matter how tiny the enrollment.


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