Seattle School Board Meeting Tonight

Update 2: Sue Peters is the new School Board president.  VP is Leslie Harris and Member-at-Large is Scott Pinkham.

End of update

Update: Guess who is getting a raise?  Superintendent Nyland.

He has generously offered to only take a COLA of 1.8% of his base salary of $289,878.75.  The BAR states that no public engagement was needed and that research had been done around other superintendents' salaries.  There is no such data attached to the BAR.

This information was put up this afternoon, less than 24 hours before this BAR has intro/action.  That is completely wrong to put this up in this timeframe. Like this is an emergency or something.

I cannot believe anyone can believe – with a straight face and that kind of salary –that you will have any support from the public or parents when you come and say that big cuts must be made to schools and personnel.

To say I am aghast and disillusioned is putting it mildly.

End of update

 A couple of things to look for:

- The quick no to any contract change/raise for Superintendent Nyland.  I'm fairly sure of this outcome because there is no link to anything about this on the agenda despite it being there.
    Approval of Contract Discussions with the Superintendent - Approval of this item would approve the results of the contract discussions with the Superintendent. (to be posted prior to action) (this item is for introduction and action at the same meeting)
    That there is no link 24 hours before this item would indicate to me that no action can be taken.  They cannot just put it up there without any ability from the public to review it.  (As well, how would it look to give him a raise?)

    - As I mentioned in the Blanford post, if you watch the meeting on tv, look at his body language.  He tends to keep his back to his colleagues even as they speak.  Given what he wrote in the South Seattle Emerald with no notice to his colleagues, there may even be discussion about what he wrote.

    - The speaker list is full but with just one person on the waitlist.  The majority of input is to be about the Student Assignment Plan.  I am the first speaker after the student speaker from Garfield.  As well, former director Sharon Peaslee is on the list and may speak about Licton Springs K-8 which she fought mightily to save.


    Anonymous said…
    I will be noting which board members approve a raise for Nyland and will be paying a visit to each of their next community meetings.

    Happy face
    Anonymous said…
    Before we form the lynch mob, is it reasonable to ask if a COLA was called for in his contract?

    -- Ivan Weiss
    The contract states that the Board will revisit his contract and his pay. I will review it again but the BAR does not indicate he has to get a COLA.
    Anonymous said…
    Remind me again why we have this school board? What was the vote to approve Nyland's raise?

    Anonymous said…
    $295K plus change, someone please kick their dog for me.

    Once again the school board is about to give its seal of approval to a barely visible leader who has not moved the needle on genuine community engagement, and continued to preside over central admin with no accountability, is mired in its bureaucracy & has completely failed to deal in any real way with the incredible racial, scholastic and economic inequity in our schools.

    As unhappy I will be with the school board if they approve the raise, I'm more appalled at what a lack of leadership this continues to show from Dr. Nyland. If he really cared about and understood how frustrated the families are in this district, he'd realize that stepping forward and choosing to waive adding another $5200+ to his nearly $290K salary could go aways toward engendering some good will towards him and the central admin from the community. It's pretty dismaying.
    Anonymous said…
    One year into the new deal school board term and in my view the board has failed the smell test.

    It's time for a big changes in how we allow our schools to be administrated.

    Viva revolution
    Anonymous said…
    They are recommending that all Eckstein elementary HCC kids except those living in the Wedgwood AA be assigned to Decatur. Wedgwood HCC would go to Cascadia.

    -North-end Mom
    Anonymous said…
    Isn't Decatur in Wedgwood? It would make more sense to send Sand Point or Laurelhurst or Greenlake.... but, okay.

    Bandaid "fix"
    Anonymous said…
    Technically, Decatur is in the View Ridge AA, but a chunk of the Wedgwood AA is within the Thornton Creek (and presumably the Decatur) walk zone. Seems strange to bus kids living in the Decatur walk zone to Cascadia.

    -North-end Mom
    Anonymous said…
    @Northend mom--I also think it seems strange. It smells of a "butts in seats" plan that isn't well thought out.

    Bandaid Fix
    Anonymous said…
    School Board, shame on you for giving Nyland a cost of living adjustment. Does a man earning that kind of base salary really need a COLA especially given teacher jobs are being cut? It is so disgraceful I just don't have the words. I can't even get my head around it. Look at the MTSS and Eliminating Opportunity Gaps debacles. Nyland has shown poor, poor leadership. Call me clairvoyant but just wait and in 6 months senior leadership will come back to the board and say we need more money and more funding and can't deliver without it. We are sinking big $$$ into gap closing and have not made any closure in the past year. MTTS is on its ninth year of "implementation" with no coherent plan or definition. School Board - please do not sink more funding into these sinking ships that are destined to fail due to weak leadership! Other districts can deliver initiatives and make progress without huge buckets of money and constant excuses. Seattle gets lots of grants and levies and they have frankly mismanaged them.

    Anonymous said…
    What other cities do we compare ourselves to when evaluating our education programs and student performance? Boston? Where else? I'm looking at our equity analysis HCC comparing Seattle to national norms, for example in Seattle about 12% of our white students participate in HCC, and it's 7% nationally. I am not as interested in comparing our city to national norms as I am on comparing to similar cities with a workforce, income and education level that closely compares to Seattle. Have those charts been looked at?

    The representation of minority students appears to be shrinking. I would think the over representation of white students would be noted and compared to other similar cities, but they need to quickly focus on bringing new participants in to the program. Maybe smaller sites closer to where these populations live, and easier access to testing. Or offer pullout services so these students don't have to move?!!

    Pumpkin Pie
    Anonymous said…
    Please tell me SPS is not paying for Nyland to trip to China? What is there in china for SPS?

    Dianne S.
    Anonymous said…
    All the bigwigs at the glass place took a trip to China last year. Not sure if it was one week or two. If anyone has done a public records request for the total cost, please do share. Disgusted that this frivolity continues to happen when the schools can't even scrape by. Case in point, as one example, Northgate Elementary can't even afford COPY PAPER. Shameful!!!

    Another Name said…
    Per the Seattle Times:

    "In its evaluation, the board praised Nyland for adjusting school-bell times this fall to better align with teens’ sleep cycles. They also credited him with improving special-education services to the point where the district regained $2.5 million in federal funding that had been withheld. And they noted that Nyland oversaw a shift toward earlier hiring, which the board says will help the district attract more qualified job candidates."

    “To fully realize this goal, stronger visible leadership from the Superintendent is imperative,” board members wrote.

    "Board members said they have had more discussions this past year about the district’s work to eliminate opportunity gaps. But they wrote they aren’t certain about whether the strategies about closing the gaps have been successful, because they haven’t seen data about any progress.

    Though progress may be difficult to quantify, the board emphasized that Nyland will be expected to track results of the district’s initiatives “more consistently and comprehensively in the future.” Board members also would like to see the district apply some of the strategies it’s now using to help black male students to other groups of students who have been historically underserved, such as Native American students."
    Anonymous said…
    If Dr Nyland had the district running in a fine manner such that this raise was merited, then would not the public have been informed with a introduction weeks ago prior to this action?

    Wow this type of intro/action does not inspire confidence in the populace. We have seen this evasion of the dictates of policy so often that one really wonders if all the policies are just optional?

    -- Dan Dempsey
    Also according to the Seattle Times, "At Wednesday’s School Board meeting, members praised Nyland’s leadership. Vice President Leslie Harris called Nyland a “class act” and said she appreciated his service and candor."

    Clearly, the school board seems to have a relationship with and view of Larry Nyland of which none - or very few of us in the Seattle Public Schools community has seen an inkling.

    I have to say, my daughter is currently at a private all girls middle school in Seattle. This is a decision my husband and I made and planned for long before we ever had any experience with Seattle Public Schools. Our intention has always been that she would return to a Seattle public high school after eighth grade. However, the incompetence, ridiculous bureaucracy mismanagement, tone-deafness, and complete lack of self reflection and real accountability in this district-and with the board-seems to be systemic and completely unbreakable, and the option of moving to another district, like Shoreline, although I would prefer to live in Seattle, is looking better and more necessary for my sanity all the time.

    It's either that, or I become one of those parents who is solely focused on my own kids' welfare, use any privilege and resources I have to to make certain she goes to the best high school possible, and remove myself from caring or activating toward any change for the better in this district as a whole. Because watching history repeat itself over and over again with Seattle Public Schools is completely demoralizing.
    Anonymous said…
    While I disagree with Viva revolution that we need a change in the way our schools are administered (look at other cities with appointed boards and these problems are far worse there) I do agree that the new school board is failing pretty badly at its top priority, which is fixing a broken bureaucracy. I had high hopes for the four who won in 2015 but they've all proven themselves completely unwilling to challenge Nyland or force changes at JSCEE.

    Changes Coming
    Staying Put! said…
    Shame you decided to leave the district. There are wonderful high schools in Seattle. There are always pros and cons to any school and I'm not convinced private is better.

    Our family has decided to stay put and work for the greater good.
    Anonymous said…
    Richelle, which high school is your home high school? Are you looking at any option high schools? There are people here from all the high schools so we would be able to fill you in on the pluses and minuses of each.

    "... improving special-education services to the point where the district regained $2.5 million in federal funding that had been withheld."

    The money was withheld because SPS did not follow federal policy. The district had to earn those dollars back; they didn't "regain" them.

    Staying Put, you are entitled to your opinion. People often don't like to tell me they have one kid in SPS and one in private school. I NEVER offer a judgment because everyone has to do what is right for THEIR child. You only get one chance. Richelle is part of Soup for Teachers and has worked very hard for other people's children.
    Anonymous said…
    "In its evaluation, the board praised Nyland for adjusting school-bell times this fall to better align with teens’ sleep cycles. They also credited him with improving special-education services to the point where the district regained $2.5 million in federal funding that had been withheld."

    The most absent, disengaged, disinterested, ill-informed, Supt around Special Education in recent memory credited with "improvements" in SPED? What improvements? Name one. Maybe there is an error in this report?

    From JSCEE
    Charlie Mas said…
    I have seen a lot of superintendent contract renewals. There's one every year. This one was very different than any I have ever seen before.

    Unlike a number of folks who have already commented, I don't see the COLA as a raise. It's just what everyone else got. It's the default choice. To grant the COLA to everyone else, but to deny it to the superintendent would shame him, which the board can't do since the man is under contract for another two years. Isn't it enough that they didn't give him a raise? Is it really necessary that they strip him of his COLA for people to get the blood they seek?

    it's okay. He will be taking home more money this year anyway - and I don't mean the COLA. Last year Dr. Nyland got a raise and he promised to donate the amount of the raise to the school district, which I understand he did. I didn't hear a repeat of that promise this year, so this year I guess that this year he will keep the raise he was awarded last year, resulting in higher net pay.

    Also, unlike every other superintendent contract adjustment I have ever, ever seen, his contract was not extended. There's a rule that precludes the board from granting a superintendent a contract longer than three years. So every year the board extends the superintendent's contract by a year so they always have a three-year contract. But there was no contract extension this year. That's never happened before and I can only see the decision not to extend his contract as a strong rebuke.
    Anonymous said…
    Thanks Charlie.

    -- Ivan Weiss
    Anonymous said…
    Doesn't splitting Cascadia to yet another program site risk the future of the self contained model more than attempting to stay at the new site TOGETHER? The district is definitely looking at the program, including entry requirements. Growth in this program has GOT to be stabilized somehow and there is a movement now to do it. If the district can make that happen, new Cascadia will have empty seats if a NE cohort is split out. With the current climate of anti-HCC, are those just going to stay unfilled?

    Conversely, the numbers in the NE have gotten so large and could just keep getting larger with a NE site. Adding another site and potentially growing the NE numbers only makes HCC more unsustainable.

    If you look beyond two years this split looks like a bad idea. Much better to get some standard advanced options going in the ALO schools and keep one strong HCC school in the north.

    Okay, so Charlie, yes he got a raise previously and gave it back but I suspect you are right -he'll keep it now. I don't think not giving him a COLA is shaming him. I don't want blood but when he and the staff decide what to slash at schools, I think it is shameful for someone so well-paid to take a COLA and a raise.

    As well, his contract WAS extended last year AND the BAR last night also allows another six months to that so the Board can find someone to replace him. So you are wrong on that.

    Did I also mention this COLA is retroactive to September 1? It is.
    Anonymous said…
    I watched the board meeting last night. Sue Peters was very articulate when pressing Wyeth on the issues even after 6 hours. That's a huge positive for SPS.

    I loved the part where Wyeth used the inherited card, he's used car salesman slick.
    I could tell Sue wasn't buying it, good for her.

    I appreciate the board slowing down the SAP process and trying to do what's best for everyone.

    On my reevaluation of the logic for Nyland's raise, $5200 seems like a drop in the bucket to keep him in place while the board grabs more and more of the reins.

    I wish a few of the board members would stop with the rhetorical speak and weird facial expressions, maybe they could watch the replay on Seattle channel and adjust their style.

    Staying Put, I didn't say we left the district, but we are considering it.

    As to my daughter currently being in a private school, as I mentioned, this was a decision we made long before we had any experience with SPS - and is not necessarily reflective of my frustrations with the district. I have long believed in the benefits of an all-girl environment, particular for middle school girls. If SPS offered that option, we would have worked to place her there. And, although my daughter is currently not part of SPS, I still continue to work and be active with the SPS community - because I would like to return. I just can't imagine much will really change in the few years before that would happen.

    Shame you decided to leave the district. There are wonderful high schools in Seattle. There are always pros and cons to any school and I'm not convinced private is better.

    Our family has decided to stay put and work for the greater good.
    Anonymous said…
    MJ, can you please say what time, during the tape of the board meeting, Sue Peters was interacting with Wyeth Jessee?

    Anonymous said…
    It was after 9 PM that's the best I can do. I watched it live, yikes!

    Watching said…
    My thinking is in-line with Charlie and Ivan.

    Look around the state and country. Nylans's COLA is minuscule compared to other districts and states.

    Superintendents are in high demand. They leave one district and get paid higher amounts for doing so. State superintendents get paid more than the governor.(!!) Would Nyland have left if he didn't receive a COLA? We don't know. If so, what are the costs of hiring another superintendent? I'm sure another would have cost the district much more.

    I'm not thrilled with any type of administrative raise- at all.

    I continue to believe that this board will push for more accountability from administrators and I won't throw them under the bus for several thousand dollars.
    Watching said…
    The district is spending millions of dollars to close the gap. I read a district document and I was pleased to see the board critical of district's work related to closing the gap. They are pushing for data, reports etc.
    Anonymous said…
    here's the facts folks:

    DURHAM, N.C. -- A new, comprehensive analysis of a century’s worth of research shows that grouping students by ability and providing opportunities for students to progress at a more rapid pace can increase overall student academic achievement.
    The study was conducted by researchers at the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) and Northwestern University.
    This latest study examined the equivalent of nearly 300 original research studies and found that both educational techniques work.
    “After looking carefully at 100 years of research, it became clear that acceleration and most forms of ability grouping can be powerfully effective interventions,” said study co-author Matt Makel, research director at Duke TIP. “They help increase academic achievement for both lower- and higher-achieving students.
    “Moreover, these practices can yield significant academic benefits without being expensive and can even save schools money.” (thanks to benjamin leis at the discussapp blog)

    so detracking is wrong for the district. glad sue is going to fight for hcc and the district.

    Anonymous said…
    So ... no discussion of SPED at the Board Meeting in relation to the "Student Assignment Plan"

    HP, thanks for the offer. I'm actually pretty aware of what the high schools in the area have to offer, and believe there are options that could work for my daughter. If we leave the district, it will be because I do not trust the district administration itself, and, even though we're not currently sending our child to a public school, I can't seem to turn away and ignore the continued failings and pleas for help from the school communities of this one. I don't want to continue to feel I am fighting a losing battle for the next 6 years.
    Anonymous said…
    Nope there's nothing to talk about with SPED. SPS has figured out how to write compliant documents full of non existing services. OSPI bought it hook line and sinker then released the funds so everyone at SPS administration can move on. Now it's time for Wyeth to FIX AL.

    Anonymous said…
    @Beyonder-what are you afraid of? Spectrum is gone and it's not coming back. Families are clamoring for any sort of appropriate education for their child. Do you think it's a good experience for students and teachers to stay together in a mega school because you're afraid to share space with students who are not HC-qualified? I think this is a false fear, paranoia, and greedy. It is these fears that in the end compromises the quality of the program in 2-3 years.

    Think again
    Anonymous said…
    Think Again, The POINT is that splitting the programs allows too many potentially hostile Principals to control HCC. It has nothing to do with kids - why don't you keep your fomenting remarks under control? Having been at the mercy of one of these hostile Principals, keeping the HCC program less disperse is more likely to keep it alive.

    Anonymous said…
    MJ - Yes, slick is right when speaking about Mr. Jessee. We're talking used car salesman-esque. He certainly comes across as being highly impressed with himself. He's also building his own mighty fortress within the glace palace. A regular modest office wasn't good enough - he's expanding his empire and needs a huge brand new super deluxe compound. (How much is all of that costing the district? Does he even care what message that sends given the budget deficit?) #Clueless.

    Anonymous said…
    With all due respect to those slinging arrows at the school board, I think you're off base. Charlie is the only one who called it right. Can anyone recall an instance when a Superintendent did NOT receive the trifecta every year -- a COLA adjustment plus a raise plus an (rubber stamp) extension? Pay attention. The Board made a bold statement last night by offering only an incremental COLA adjustment. Not exactly a windfall and for sure NOT a glowing endorsement. I applaud the board for doing the right thing and holding the Superintendent accountable and breaking with tradition. Bravo!
    Anonymous said…
    The Board has to work with the superintendent -- every day of every week. They have to get shit done -- because in an atmosphere of spitefulness and mutual antagonism, shit will not get done, and our kids will suffer.

    Nyland did NOT get an extension. That is the big news here. He got his COLA because everybody else got one. While many of you are already mustering your torches and pitchforks, the other side also is doing so. The other side has its Gates-produced, tsk-tsking, head-shaking, finger-wagging "dysfunctional school board" editorials all written and ready to go (see Blanford, Stephan). "Let's put the 'adults' in charge," and that sort.

    This Board has made Nyland a lame duck, and is determined to choose his successor, without having that successor be chosen by senior staff of the business community. Let's concentrate on the Peters, Patu, and Blanford seats, which will be on the ballot for 2017.

    -- Ivan Weiss
    Charlie Mas said…
    The introduction of the annual approval of schools was missing from the December 7 agenda. When it was brought to the C&I Committee in November, it was scheduled for introduction on 12/7. What happened? Why wasn't it ready to go?

    I see that it is scheduled for further discussion at C&I on December 12 and for introduction on January 4.

    I like to give them until the motion's introduction before pointing out missing bits from various CSIPs.
    Anonymous said…
    Let's concentrate on the Peters, Patu, and Blanford seats, which will be on the ballot for 2017.

    I heard they will all be open seats. yes/no? Maybe Murray would like to run, I think he will need something to do soon.

    New Mayor
    New Mayor, yes, I would like a new mayor as well. I do think Murray certainly has alienated a lot of people across the spectrum. Trouble is, who can challenge him and his machine?

    I have no idea who will be running for the Board next fall. I suspect that Patu won't because she has put in 8 long years but she also seems to thrive on the work. Peters probably will because she seems to be doing well and probably wants to do more. Blanford strikes me as someone who is lining up to do something else but if he has no good competitor (as he didn't last time), he may well stay.
    Anonymous said…
    When is Geary up to be voted out by all of her misguided HCC constituents who voted for her thinking she gave a damn about their kids?

    Whata Joke
    z said…

    Yes, it's very sad and unfortunate. Geary gave signs of this kind of thinking along the way, but the 2 choices in her district were:

    someone who understands SpEd, not particularly AL-friendly, but not an ed-reformer

    vs. someone who understands AL, but appeared to be in the ed-reform camp.

    I'll say that as a previous (election-time) Geary supporter, I'm much less supportive now.
    Anonymous said…
    @z-when I hear ed reformer, I think pro-testing, pro-charter, pro-choice school. I personally think some testing is okay to check in on progress to make sure students are receiving the services they need. I also think families should be able to choose between accelerated learning, Montessori, language immersion, expeditionary, STEM, and well-rounded neighborhood schools. I do not support charter schools. Am I an ed reformer in your view?

    Fix AL
    z said…
    That's an interesting question. I think the term "corporate ed-reform" is a better term for what most of us around here seem to dislike. You don't sound like you're in that boat to me.

    I completely agree that families should be able to choose between different types of programs for different learning styles, and that includes good quality local "standard" education. The problem, of course, is that it's impossible to provide all the different kinds of alternatives in all parts of the city, let alone provide transportation. I don't think that's a solvable problem.

    Some amount of testing is not just okay, but necessary. Too much is clearly a Bad Thing. But when we bring in third party for-profit corporations to manage our testing, there are a wide range of problems with that, including: money, reliability, student privacy, logistics, etc. Many districts, and states, are being very wrong-minded about this, ramming certain providers down our throats.

    I think you and I probably agree on much more than we'd disagree, especially given your moniker. Fixing AL is a huge problem, and most staff don't get it At All. And remember, that there are a good number of people for whom "fix" translates to "eliminate".

    Anonymous said…
    @z-fix should never mean eliminate. Everyone should have the opportunity to select a school culture and learning approach that works for them. I don't care that people decide to go to an option school that provides zero acceleration and generally runs soft on academics, and I have NO idea why anyone would give a hoot that our family likes to provide our child with academic challenges and language school on the weekend. That's our preference, it fits the needs of our child. If our neighborhood school served that need we would stay, but they don't, so like everyone else we left for HCC. Surprise, surprise, surprise! The program is over enrolled.

    Why does Tolley still have a job and how was he selected?

    Fix AL
    seattle citizen said…
    "Everyone should have the opportunity to select a school culture and learning approach that works for them."
    Really? Even someone living in, say, Ocean Shores? Or Index?
    Public schools are tasked with educating the public. Every student isn't entitled to a program that perfectly matches their desires or abilities (or the desires of their parent or guardians.)
    Yes, we are blessed to be a city that has almost a hundred schools, and can thus play around a bit with a variety of offerings, but many people aren't so lucky.

    I'm not saying that choice is bad, far from it, but your statement presumes that the public education system "should" provide this variety of school culture, etc, when in fact this is a luxury.

    This is the benefit and cost of public education: we all contribute to it so all can be educated, but in that process we have to make concessions to costs, etc. So no public school system is perfect for every student, but districts do what they can.
    Anonymous said…
    @ seattle citizen, I doubt Fix AL meant "everyone" like that. I assume the comment was made in the context of Seattle, which has a large population with a lot of schools with a variety of approaches. In contrast to the apparent effort to move things more in a "one size fits all" direction, SPS should embrace and improve the various approaches and help students get into the best fit for their needs. The fact that people in less populated areas aren't "so lucky" to have the same variety of options isn't really relevant.

    Nobody is suggesting that every student is "entitled" to a program that perfectly matches their desires and abilities. C'mon, really? Of course public education involves concessions, and I believe every parent realizes that no public school system is perfect for every student. I'd venture to say no private school is perfect for every student, either. I disagree, however, with your conclusion that "districts do what they can." In the case of SPS, I think the district could--and should--do much more, on many fronts. To think that this is the best we can do is pretty depressing. There's a lot of room for improvement.

    Anonymous said…
    From another thread. NEParent said about HCC, "My kid did OK at Bryant. Not ideal but ...[]" That's exactly the point. You are not entitled to "ideal" at everyone else's expense. And if you insist on having "ideal" at everyone else's expense, you will wind up paying other costs like being shifted to different schools ever other year. Everyone gets "OK". Public schools is about providing OK to everyone, not ponies. When some people think that they are entitled to the segregation which gives their kid a leg up, better programs, more enrichment, and basic entitlement, because OTHER PEOPLE are left in mostly disabled and impoverished classrooms. That's exactly where your entitlement ends. If school is OK for your kid, then that's what the system should allow you to receive, if you aren't paying for it. And that is the fix to the system that we need. Equity for everyone, not ideal vs impoverished. If you want to go private and complain there, (and save us all the cost of educating your kid) that's great too.

    FixAL is similarly ridiculous. Her claim is: some people just don't want a rich academic experience. How absurd. Everyone values academics. Otherwise, they simply wouldn't be in school. They'd be homeschooled.


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