Tell Seattle School Board to Say No to Latest City Preschool Agreement

I will add onto this thread soon about what the discussion was at the last Board meeting about the newest agreement with the City about their Seattle Preschool Program.  But a reader sent me a letter she had written to the Board that sums it up nicely but here it is in a nutshell:

The District CANNOT be left on the hook for any kind of 
operating dollars or administrative dollars for the SPP.  Period.  

The Board  - via several members like Peters, Peaslee and Carr - have made that abundantly clear every single step of the way.  And yet District staff and the City now have it set up for the District to take on more costly work.

I remind everyone that even the City  - in an e-mail about this issue - said that the District's "mandate" is K-12.  No one, for any reason, should take their eye off that mandate. 

The reader's letter which I urge you to send to the Board as well (

Dear Board Directors,

It is not in the interest of taxpayers that our K-12 funding at the state and local level should be put in jeopardy to meet some requirement of the City of Seattle. The Seattle Preschool initiative was very generously funded outside of the K-12 funding stream and it would be ludicrous for the Seattle School Board to agree to partnership plans that could very well result in an increased financial burden on our school district.

Seattle Schools has already overextended staff resource time, and appears poised to also devote scarce classroom space in order to appease the City of Seattle. City staffers have shown that they do not care about the District's bottom line, especially with the recent finagling of Families & Education Levy dollars (yet another well endowed public fund) when principals were moved about and they tried to pull funding.

Seattle Schools is supposed to be the local educational leader. Stop letting the City of Seattle staffers lead you around by the nose.


Anonymous said…
I see that the mayor (and Burgess) is to announce the Pre-K sites mid-morning. He was making the announcement from the Central District, so B-G?

Wish I had known - I would have asked tough questions. I am on the City's peek mailing list.
So the Mayor's press release says this:

Seattle Public Schools continues to experience an opportunity gap for lower-income kids and children of color. Nearly 90 percent of Caucasian 3rd graders are meeting math and reading standards in this city, compared to approximately half of African-American students. About one-quarter of African American and Latino students do not graduate on time, compared to 8 percent of Caucasian students."

And this is all because those students of color didn't go to preschool? You can causally make that case? And the Mayor knows that ALL those students of color did not attend preschool of any kind? How does he know that?

It is really easy to make broad, sweeping statements that certainly sound bad (and those are not good stats) but what other reasons might there be for this?
Anonymous said…
Not too much info given. Just saw this.

Then found this

Which led to this list:

Causey’s Early Learning Center, with classrooms in the Central District and Beacon Hill. Community Day School Association in Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Delridge and Leschi. Sound Childcare Solutions with classrooms Downtown and in Mt. Baker. Creative Kids in Greenwood.

Note no SPS buildings so far.

Anonymous said…
That should have read "Note no NAMED SPS buildings so far". I noticed he avoided that aspect.

Highland Park will have one classroom, Viewlands will have one, and a couple of others

Anonymous said…
Ed Murray an amazing guy...

"About one-quarter of African American and Latino students do not graduate on time, compared to 8 percent of Caucasian students."

The solution is hardly pre-school at this moment... (like Melissa points out)

What is Ed thinking????

Is he just writing off those in grades k - 12 at this time.

Hey Ed speak up on absurd graduation requirements that are focused on all kids to be prepared for college. (Not college material - then do not graduate)

What about instructional programs in K-12 that are not working?

I forgot you were a supporter of Common Core and SBAC when you were in the Legislature.

Ed, when funding for k-12 education was inadequate (and still is) you were part of the problem.

Ed Murray, like many others, data picks to support a predetermined plan.
It would be great if Ed looked at the data (all of it) and then attempted to put forth a real solution.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
8th grade MSP pass rates

Here is some relevant data from Seattle, Tacoma, Highline, Federal Way, and Auburn for 8th grade students during 2013-14, many of whom will not be graduating from high school unless the legislature deals with reality.

Seattle data

.....................White. AmIndian.As/PacIsl..Asian..PacIsl..Black..Hispanic
2013-14 Reading MSP 87.00% 75.70% 82.40% 84.00% 33.29% 50.89% 65.20%
2013-14 Math MSP 80.79% 48.39% 84.00% 84.79% 61.89% 40.39% 57.89%

Tacoma data

.....................White. AmIndian.As/PacIsl..Asian..PacIsl..Black..Hispanic
2013-14 Reading MSP 72.70% 70.90% 69.00% 73.90% 50.89% 53.79% 54.20%
2013-14 Math MSP 54.00% 32.20% 55.79% 60.79% 37.50% 28.69% 28.80%

Highline data

.....................White. AmIndian.As/PacIsl..Asian..PacIsl..Black..Hispanic
2012-13 Reading MSP 74.50% 35.20% 58.89% 68.09% 28.50% 50.29% 48.39%
2012-13 Math MSP 57.60% 17.60% 58.60% 64.79% 38.50% 35.39% 35.79%

Federal Way data

.....................White. AmIndian.As/PacIsl..Asian..PacIsl..Black..Hispanic
2013-14 Reading MSP 79.90% 60.00% 72.50% 83.20% 50.00% 52.60% 61.50%
2013-14 Math MSP 60.10% 20.00% 58.79% 72.79% 28.00% 26.10% 38.29%

Auburn data

.....................White. AmIndian.As/PacIsl..Asian..PacIsl..Black..Hispanic
2013-14 Reading MSP 74.70% 42.79% 69.29% 76.00% 46.39% 57.39% 54.60%
2013-14 Math MSP 49.00% 14.19% 53.20% 60.39% 28.50% 19.30% 28.30%

WA State data

.....................White. AmIndian.As/PacIsl..Asian..PacIsl..Black..Hispanic
2013-14 Reading MSP 76.40% 49.29% 80.29% 83.59% 55.70% 54.50% 59.00%
2013-14 Math MSP 60.79% 26.39% 74.20% 78.59% 41.29% 33.79% 40.10%

Please notice that statewide 8th grade Math MSP pass rates are below 50% for American Indians, Pacific Islanders, Black students, and Hispanics.

Then look at the OSPI developed Bridge to College Math course for seniors who do not pass the SBAC math portion in grade 11. The Bridge to College Math Course is inappropriate completely unproven work for kids developed by OSPI.

Where is Ed Murray when needed?

-- Dan Dempsey
mirmac1 said…
Seattle Preschool Providers/Classrooms for 2015-16
Provider Agency**# Classes Children  SPP Elem Attendance Area(s) of Classrooms
Sound Child Care Solutions - Little Eagles 2 36 Lowell
Sound Child Care Solutions - Hoa Mai 2 32 Kimball
CDSA - Beacon Hill 1 20 Beacon Hill
CDSA - Hawthorne 1 20 Hawthorne
CDSA - Highland Park 1 20 Highland Park
CDSA - Leschi 1 20 Leschi
CDSA - Maple Park 1 20 Maple
Causey's - 23rd 1 20 Bailey Gatzert
Causey's - Orca 1 20 Dearborn Park
Creative Kids 1 20 Viewlands
TOTAL 12 228

That displaces seats for 264 K-3 students.
Lynn said…
Are those going to be in SPS classrooms though? To me it appears they'll serve children living in those school's' attendance areas in other facilities.
mirmac1 said…
You may be right Lynn. I've only just know watched the board meeting and see that staff(City) is suggesting BG and the Van Asselt schools, and the Old Van Asselt support facility. Ya' know, for not being a school, that support facility sure is getting a lot of students. BTW my civil rights complaint is still active.
PreK said…
The City of Seattle plans on leading the effort to find prek space within Seattle Public Schools and the space is free.
Prek said…

"That displaces seats for 264 K-3 students."

Interesting. Didn't the city or LEV ask the district to change boundary lines to accommodate prek?
Anonymous said…
Creative Kids at least is at Viewlands I think. So it doesn't technically displace any K-3 students, but I suspect will just be filled with the kids who are already going to preschool there. Some may get subsidized now, but for anyone not in the very subsidized tuition brackets, Creative Kids (according to their website) is much cheaper right now than is than full city tuition. Wonder how that is going to work. Hmm...tuition was $600 a month, but now is more. I also wonder how the parents of the kids at the onsite developmental preschool feel about it and how much fun the city would have handling the 20 kids and 2 teachers if several of them decided to try to transfer over...

NE Parent
mirmac1 said…
Good point NE Parent. Where's the equity when preschoolers with disabilities get 2.5 hours of preschool, while the others get 6?
Lynn said…
There should not be a preschool classroom at Viewlands - whether it's paid for by parents parents or the city. The building capacity is 275 and 375 students are expected there next year. If there are four classrooms in portables and room for another, the school still would not have enough cafeteria, gym and bathroom space for the 375 K-5 students.
Anonymous said…
Interesting part about Seattle Schools' participation in PreK in the Seattle Times today.

Murray expects the School Board to "play ball" with the city and provide space.

What space?

PreK said…
Today, Seattle Times reports on the City of Seattle's prek program. Only FIVE preschools applied to the city.(!) Here is what Holly Miller has to say:

"Only five providers applied, said Holly Miller, interim director of the city’s Department of Education and Early Learning. Asked if there had been too much red tape, Miller attributed the number of applicants to the program’s high standards."

I'm personally aware of one prek did not want to apply.
Anonymous said…
Of the 10 locations announced, 7 of them are IN Seattle Public school buildings.

And they don't currently pay any rent for the space, I believe. These are "Community Alignment Initiative" partners that fall under this:

What is interesting is that there is a requirement for signed agreements etc: "An updated Alignment Partnership Plan is completed every year and submitted for review and approval in every April for the following school year. Any changes in planned activities or use of common spaces or resources should be carefully considered and documented at this time."

Has anyone heard of or seen the plan? That doc references the 2011-12 school year...

CDSA's Hawthorn classroom is located IN SPS Hawthorn school:

CDSA's Maple classroom is located IN SPS Maple elementary school:

CDSA's Beacon Hill classroom is located IN SPS Beacon Hill International school:

CDSA's Highland Park classroom is located IN SPS Highland Park elementary school

CDSA's Lechi classroom is located IN SPS Leschi Elementary

Causey's "Orcas" classroom is located IN SPS Dearborn Park Elementary

Creative Kids at Viewlands is located AT SPS Viewland Elementary!programs/c21kz

Are these providers paying rent? If viewlands and other schools are are maxed out, how can the District give SPS builidng space away for free when these programs are now fully funded through the Seattle Preschool Program Levy?

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Here is a comment made without an author.

I like it so I'll be the author.

Also, I saw the plans for the New Loyal Heights Elementary School building. The neighborhood and the school community are up in arms about the design because it makes the playground tiny and increases the school size to accommodate 800 students instead of the 650 or so we were told when we voted to fund the construction. The vote to fund the construction was done before Mayor Murray was elected, but the design for Loyal Heights Elementary School includes space for a preschool. It's upsetting that money that is supposed to be for our K-12 schools which are all underfunded is being sucked away to pay for the Mayors preschool classrooms. Not only that, in this school, it could help provide more playground space for the school if less class space was needed. Using our SPS funding for the Preschool program should be against the law. Let the city use the funding we are providing for the program and keep it separated from SPS funding.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…

Many, many SPS schools have private preschools onsite already. All of the ones I'm familiar with are coupled with before/after care and run a ~4-5.5 hour preschool day during the middle when the elementary kids are in school. There's one I know of that might actually have before/after for the preschoolers too. The rest don't. And all of the schools are out of space, especially when you consider what class sizes should be. It's unclear to me as to whether they can also use other space within the building. I'm guessing they can't use teacher classrooms, so it's probably quite limited and reasonable that many parents want and need before/after care with few other options so it's not entirely unreasonable, but it's still a hard pill to swallow given how crowded schools are.

Ultimately, I don't think the lack of provider applications has as much to do with the "high standards" as much as odd in many ways and very restrictive standards and the lack of space. SPS simply cannot practically be a primary provider at this time given their other constraints.

I'd have much preferred Mr Mayor to focus on expanding and enhancing the current CITY PRESCHOOL PROGRAM. Yeah, we have one. Parks and Rec across the city ALREADY has a preschool program (who knew? - apparently not the city). The parks and rec program is 1) cheap!, 2) shorter days, 3) less days, 4) lower ratio (huh, imagine that - not 20 kids and 2 teachers, the max allowed, despite them talking about low ratios) and varied in curriculum. Why not shore that up first and then expand? Parks and rec are already all across the city too and a city department. I suspect the whole preschool thing is about taking over SPS and not really preschool at all. Unfortunately the mayor doesn't seem to realize what things actually look like on the ground right now.

NE Parent

mirmac1 said…
NE Parent

Last year SPS gave away yet two MORE classrooms to FEL non-K-12 programs. These were at Concord and Elementary. To make space four SPS developmental preschools were kicked to the curb and relocated to an empty building.

We pay the salaries of the JSCEE folks who squander the resources and the future of the district's charge: K-12 and developmental preschool.

My sights are on Flip Herndon. He has demonstrated to me that he works for whomever will apply the Peter Principle. Dude really could care less about families and students in our district.
PreK said…
As I recall, last year the district received RTT funding for preschool. Were more classrooms prepared with these dollars? SPS's computers are down and I can't access the information.

Wasn't the Gates grant being used to open two more preschools, too.

Murray et. al took members from CDSA on their preschool junket.

CDSA's teachers have already met one of the city's requirements- being certified in High Scope:

CDSA went on the prek junket, to Boston, with Burgess and their teachers are now certified. The board signed the Partnership agreement and we learned space, given to the city is free, and teachers have met city requirements. The city/district knew the plan- all along.

I'm confident the city is partnering with others in SPS and the board will find out - next year.

The city receives FREE space from the district and should be supporting SPS's administrative support.

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