Wednesday, January 09, 2019

This and That

The district welcomes a new COO, Fred Podesta.  He most recently worked on homeless issues under Mayor Jenny Durkan.  While Mr. Podesta does have a plethora of experience, he was also the guy who had three different jobs in city government in a 25-month period.  Hmm.

I had an opportunity to speak with the Superintendent at last night's Levies meeting at John Rogers Elementary.  (They are getting an overhaul and not a decade too soon - one long-time BEX watcher and parent, Kim McCormick, told the crowd that she had been advocating for a new building when her child was there in kindergarten - he's now a freshman in college.)

I did ask Juneau about possibly televising Work Sessions for the next couple of months, due to the permanent closure and teardown of the Viaduct.  She said she wasn't sure about that.  She also noted, as can anyone who works in the downtown corridor, that it was going to be trying for JSCEE staff.  They may try to stagger some work schedules.

 (If you haven't been down to district headquarters in a long time, not only will they be affected by the Viaduct closure but the area in front of the building, including the parking lot, is now a construction site as SDOT builds an elevated pedestrian walkway because of the slowdown in both pedestrian and car traffic when trains go by.  That's going to take several years. )

I also asked Director Mack about the possibility of videotaping the Work Sessions but she thought that may be too expensive.  I suggested that perhaps the minutes for Work Sessions as well as Board committee meetings be released within a week (in draft form) so that at least the public will know what was discussed without waiting weeks and weeks for official minutes.

I asked about this because while I had been planning to pull back on some coverage, the Viaduct closing will make it very difficult for the public to be able to access these meetings.

The Board will be electing new officers at tonight's Board meeting.  Might be kind of interesting.   Update on Board meeting: There are still several spaces on the speakers list for what looks to be a short meeting. I also note that President Harris has sadly broken some bones and will be having surgery to make some repairs.  All the best to her.

I'm going to the Board meeting tonight and I'm taking Highway 99.  It  looks like it will be a cloudy trip through downtown, not the dazzling sunlite one that makes it all worthwhile, but it will be my last one on it so it's something of a sentimental journey.


Robert Cruickshank said...

I worked closely with Fred Podesta - he does a great job, is honest, direct, and competent. He knows how to make government be effective and get things done. Seems like a good hire to me. I wouldn't read too much into the different job titles. There was a lot of upheaval at the mayor's office during that time and what happened is people knew Podesta is good so they brought him in to help put out fires and solve problems.

I specifically worked with him and FAS on improvements to customer service at the City. The "Find It, Fix It" app was one of his major priorities and it works great. (Sometimes the actual response from departments to service requests is slow but that's out of his hands). So he has specific expertise on improving the way a large government agency responds to the public, which is something SPS desperately needs.

Anonymous said...

Taping sessions should not be a major cost. Why not get Seattle Channel to cover them? Ask board and supt to work with Seattle Channel. Think outside the box school district.

Concerned Parent

Anonymous said...

Maybe he can institute a SPS version of "Find It, Fix It."


Anonymous said...

Shall we all flood the Find it Fix It app with requests to have the Seattle Channel air SPS board meetings?


Anonymous said...

glad to hear that Robert!

no caps

Anonymous said...

Actually, using the find it fix it app to report leaky school roofs, etc isn't a bad idea. Yes, their initial response would be "not in our jurisdiction." But if we flood them, eventually it would be too embarrassing to ignore.


Mildew Elementary said...

Well, the city does run the Seattle Preschool Program, right? And they're running them inside Arbor Heights, Bailey-Gatzert (SPP Plus), B. F. Day Opens (SPP Plus), Broadview-Thomson (SPP Head Start), Cedar Park, Dearborn Park, Highland Park, Louisa Boren (SPP Plus), Olympic Hills, Roxhill at E.C. Hughes (SPP Head Start), Sand Point, South Shore, Thornton Creek (SPP Plus), Van Asselt, and West Seattle (SPP Head Start). So, actually at those sites, if there's a leak or a gaping hole in the wall or truck-sized potholes in the parking lot or no wheelchair access, maybe that is reportable to the city...

Melissa Westbrook said...

All the Board meetings are televised. I'm pushing for Work Sessions to be as well for the next couple of months as I don't know how many people - including me - will be able to make it down to JSCEE.

Also to note, I did speak out last night at the Board meeting about the roof issues at Whitman. It is very much on the radar of directors. Unfortunately, Richard Best said they will try some kind of "fix" that might last 5-10 years and yet he said the roof was at the end of its life. What I don't get is that there is still money in BTA III and BTA IV and I can't believe it's all spoken for.

Anonymous said...

Then this gem of an email:

Learn useful information from department staff, relevant district representatives, and community groups!

Join us on Tuesday, January 22nd for our Special Education Resource Fair!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 6:30 - 8:00pm
South Lake High School Commons
8601 Rainier Ave S. Seattle, WA 98118

This school year, the Special Education Department is holding resource fairs instead of regional meetings.

Learn face-to-face from the people who help coordinate services to support your student. Special Education directors and other staff will be present during this open-house style event, so bring your questions! Childcare will be provided.

For more details, or if you require translation or interpretation services for this event, contact SpEdCommunications@seattleschools.org

So instead of regional meetings they schedule one meeting in the South End during the highway 99 closure. Swell.

NW Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I'll be. That's seems very wrong. Hmm.

Just sayin said...

This is the second in a series of four special education resource fairs, located across the district.