Seattle’s Families and Education Levy May Minutes

Following up on the op-ed by Robert Crunkshank and me, here the the Families& Education Levy minutes/Mid-Year report from May 15, 2015.

There are several statements made that tie with what Robert and I are seeing.

It's a little funny because there are more staff there than actual committee members.  Superintendent Nyland is on the committee as is Marty McLaren ( I didn't know McLaren was on the committee.)  SPS staff include Pegi McEvoy and Charles Wright along with Jonathan Knapp of SEA.

On Elementary Innovation RFI Process Questions 

I. Munoz‐ Colon replied that once awarded, schools receive funding through the life of the levy unless they don’t reach certain performance goals or other targets. (Ms. Munoz-Colon is DEEL staff.)

H. Miller added that approximately two years ago (almost from the beginning) we recognized that we had some really good applicants that we pre‐awarded for the next year in the queue so they would not have to re‐apply and go through the process again, e.g. Emerson and Sand Point.

Carmela Dellino added that there were nineteen schools that were eligible this year, seven of the schools had brand new principals and five had principals that were only in their second year. Principal landscape had a significant impact this year. K. Washington stated that part of what we wanted to do with the levy was to target funds and resources for schools that needed them most and to some degree we expected churn at the leadership level. He asked Carmela if she could tell him about the amount of churn she has seen in schools that have been awarded levy funding. Carmela replied that there has been a significant number of new principals in awarded schools and overall it has been successful and they are now adopting the work of the levy.

This comment is interesting given that both Sand Point and Emerson had their grants first pulled, then partially put back but none of the statements made indicate money would be pulled due to leadership issues.

On data

Elise Chayet asked how you get answers to considerations on the first criteria for course corrections and inquired how the information is gathered for something that might not be seen in the data. I. Munoz‐Colon replied that her team has a close partnership with SPS leadership and data teams who often provide the information.

On the City's Pre-School Program

L. Gaskill‐Gaddis asked for clarification regarding the funding that will be used to bring up the preschools. S. Sidorowicz replied that it would be Step Ahead funding from the Families and Education Levy.

I perceive that the actual Pre-K levy money may not be enough for the work that needs to be done, both for setting up the program and for keeping it running.  I wonder if DEEL will dip further into F&E levy dollars.  It is DEEL (the City's) right to use the levy dollars as they see fit but it will take dollars from somewhere.  And, despite DEEL never answering the question, it is highly likely they will give dollars to charter schools whose applications are approved.  I would just hope that DEEL would wait at least two years for each charter to show its steadiness before giving over levy dollars.


Duncan Style said…
"We want to make sure that the school community as a whole really believes in the plan." What plan? Fill us in.

"There were some that still struggled with how they would make this work the second time around." What did the city want?

The city will continue to insert themselves into our educational system. What does this mean?

"After 2‐3 years of not seeing
significant change we would step in and do a deeper dive. Presently there are at least two schools we would bring forward for course correction."

The city wants to "braid" (state/city funding) various funding streams to provide prek services. Nyland and Toner are working with the city on this issue. None of these issues have been discussed in committee meetings. Head Start program is doing wonderful work without city demands.

"H. Miller replied that it effectively will and as we convert our programs into
SPP, a lot of them come with some baseline funding from those sources, such as ECEAP. We are in the process of testing out the financial model with Dr. Nyland and Cashel Toner.

Marty McLaren sits on the Family and Ed. Committee. She recently commented about sitting on this committee and was impressed with negotiations. Unbelievable. Get this woman out of office.

I have to say that I do not get Marty.

I also think that from some of the statements/posturing that maybe a couple of the exiting Board members may be positioning themselves for some kind of work with the City post-Board.
mirmac1 said…
Interesting. Would the LOC have pulled Roxhill's funding when they poached Carmella Dellino?
mirmac1 said…
I've gone through the linked report. How is it the LOC has actual informative graphs while the School Board gets crap? It must be the FEL consultant, who I'm assuming is BERK. Oh, and the work of SPS data and REA staff. Maybe the latter should work harder at providing the School Board with this kind of performance management information. Isn't that what we've invested $MMs in over the last six years?
Watching said…
" How is it the LOC has actual informative graphs while the School Board gets crap?"

I've had the same thoughts. The city has multiple consulting firms working on their prek initiative. There is a consulting firm working - specifically- on program evaluation. Melissa questioned "will" and "may" in her testimony, and I found it interesting knew that the language was taken from the city's implementation or action plan. The city's implementation and action is a couple of hundred pages - btw. So, lots of consultants and we have a former elementary school principal and Wright putting together district documents? It doesn't sound right.

Toner/Wright claim the district can exit the prek mou in 2 years. I don't recall seeing that language in the MOU and SPS links aren't working. Maybe it is like the Gates contract. Toner/Wright claimed that handing Bailey Gatzerts prek program to the city was optional. Language in the Gates grant was clear- Bailey Gatzert's prek program would be transferred to the city in year 2 Funny how that happens.

Watching, after reading the agreement, I see no exit. It can be renegotiated every year but that doesn't mean the City would have to agree to end the program with SPS.

Yes, it's like Gates Foundation agreed to be the placeholder until the City got into SPS.
Watching said…
"after reading the agreement, I see no exit."

I agree. The contract is from 2015-2019. The board has an opportunity to make amendments, but amendments must be approved by BOTH City Council and SPS board. Good luck with that.

mirmac1 said…
Look, if lightweight Cashel Toner can somehow shame directors that a private grant" funded "P-5 alignment working group " that produced ONE report somehow committed SPS to making preschool a priority over a myriad of other more critical work -then there is no way in hell THIS board will have the temerity to demand "amendments. "
mirmac1 said…
And remember when Lindsay Hill would stand there and browbeat the board that they HAD to approve TFA conditional certs.

The board has once ago made itself irrelevant.

The contract lacks language for termination for convenience (let alone exigent circumstances ). No discussion of data sharing - long overdue given the state we're in with COS getting better school data than our own directors! No dispute resolution mechanism. It's a crap agreement drafted by clueless COS patsies on the district payroll.
Promises Promises said…
"No dispute resolution mechanism. It's a crap agreement ..."

Mirimac makes a good point about the prek MOU. Toner is a former elementary school principal. She has no business leading this effort. Where is her contract experience? Does she have experience as a contract lawyer? Someone stop the madness.
mirmac1 said…
I would extend that to Wright as well. I haven't figured WHAT it is he's good at. As the TFA MOU showed us, once the spineless district signs one, they get led by the nose until the MOU dies a well-deserved death.

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