Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

From Lowell Elementary PTA:

Though we know you receive a lot of outraged emails about staffing cuts, Lowell is a Title I school with one of the highest populations of homeless students in the city. As of this writing, one-hundred-and-seventy-eight (178) students have come or gone from our community after the start of school. Last year our official student mobility rate was 48%, and it may be higher this year.  

As a result of Mary’s Place returning to downtown Seattle in the 2019/20 school year, we know that we can expect between 30-50 additional students experiencing homelessness  to enroll mid-year. Because Mary’s place will be returning to our boundaries mid-year, these students are not reflected in our projected enrollment numbers.
There is a Facebook page, AC/DC against the proposed cuts to schools.  

There will be a rally at Franklin High for librarians this Friday, March 29th, at intersection of MLK and Rainier (the corner of the athletic field) around 4. 

From Washington's Paramount Duty:
First, the good news. The House budget includes a capital gains tax for the first time, and some of its proceeds would fund public schools. It includes a progressive real estate excise tax, and it closes some corporate tax loopholes. They also include some flexibility for local levies, and some new funds for special education. This is something we should all applaud.

Here's the bad news: none of this is anywhere close to enough for our schools.

On special education, the House budget proposes to add $70 million over the next two years. That's $35 million a year for the entire state. This is wholly inadequate. Recently, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction estimated school districts spent over $235 million beyond what the state funded last year to provide legally and morally required special education. (In Seattle alone, the school district estimates their annual unfunded need for special education is $70 million per year.)
Speaking of Special Education, one mom's journey (from Seattle's Child).
Betsy is at it again, this time testifying about Trump's budget:
House Democrats on Tuesday blasted the latest budget proposed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that would cut nearly $7 billion or 10 percent of spending from the department. 

They focused in part on zeroing out the Special Olympics program and special education grants to states, but also pressed DeVos on her proposed rule changes on campus sexual misconduct and her decision to rescind discipline guidance to schools meant to protect students of color.
There's a teacher in the Seattle area who has a GoFundMe page for a bulletproof vest.  Or so says the Stranger.    

I would find it hard to donate money to a complete stranger who won't give his entire name.

On that note, bump stocks are now illegal across the entire country. 

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where the levy cap issue stands? If the cap were raised, SPS would have significantly more money to work with.


Former WPD said...

We may be heading into a special session. Schools will face additional uncertainty.

Olympia seeks to increase state spending by $8B. The House now proposes a budget of $52B.

Some argue the state must recover from the Great Recession. Here are the numbers:

"While HB 2157 sponsor Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-36) argued that the state’s economy is “not generating the revenue we need,” annual reports by the state Department of Revenue show that revenue has increased from $16.9 billion in fiscal year 2009 – the height before the Great Recession – to $23.9 billion in the most recent fiscal year, a $7 billion increase. For state coffers, the bottom of the recession was fiscal year 2010, when the state received only $15.1 billion in revenue. Revenue later returned to pre-recession levels in the 2013 fiscal year with $17 billion."


Melissa Westbrook said...

WSParent, I'd have to check but the last I heard is that some legislators are willing to raise it but only for a couple of years.

Anonymous said...

Gutting govt. funding for Special Olympics? Impressive.
DeVos has managed to excel once again in cementing her Clueless+Cruella reputation.


Sped Increases said...

"Over the phone, Rep. Sullivan said the money's there for special education, it's just in a bunch of different places. If you add the $100 million for special ed money from McCleary, plus the money from the raise of the special ed levy cap (from 12 percent to 13.5 percent), plus the money from the raise of the cost multiplier for special education students from 0.9609 to 0.9925, then you can get to around $240 million to cover the deficit schools faced last year. He also argues that total spending on special education has increased from $660 million in 2013 to nearly $1.7 billion today, which he calls "extraordinary growth" in funding. "


Anonymous said...

You could triple the SPS SPED budget and nothing would improve for students outcome. Why? SPS do not have a clue what they are doing when it come to educating students SPED or not SPED.

Fed up!

kellie said...

Last week the Washington Post published this article about Washington DC schools. The focus is about how a Nobel-prize winning economist, has created a new algorithm, that is causing transparency inside Washington DC complicated enrollment process so that families, the public schools, and the charter schools are happy.


This article is quite ironic because this great innovation is what Seattle Schools are already doing and has used that same algorithm. By creating a unified and TRANSPARENT enrollment system, Washington DC has effectively caused the wide variety of charter schools to be managed in the same manner that SPS is theoretically supposed to manage SPS's option schools.

With regards to SPS's assignment plan, SPS is ahead of the nation in how to provide some choice while still protecting public education.

The result of this big change in DC. It's better for parents as they now has one stop shopping. It's better for charters because the transparency protects them from criticism about not serving public students and back room enrollment deals. its better for DC public schools because they have access to the entire enrollment picture and know who is going where so they can be more responsive.

Anonymous said...

Mark your calendars for ribbon-cutting ceremonies:

Magnolia Elementary: Thursday, Aug. 29, 10:30 a.m.
Ingraham High School addition: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2 p.m.
Queen Anne Elementary addition: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 10:30 a.m.
Lincoln High School: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2 p.m.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nowa9500 said...

Whoa..why was my comment about the levy lid in the house proposal deleted? It seemed pretty relevant..?

Anonymous said...

Probably because it was unsigned. You should re-post it, the information was correct.

nowa9500 said...

I'm new here...but here goes..

On the levy cap

The house proposal allows districts to choose either 20% of state and federal monies (similar to old system) or 1.50 per 1000 assessed or 3k per student (the lesser of).

Olympia school district testified this would cut their deficit in half, I've also seen this could mean 3.7 billion dollars in local taxes.

SB 5313 (currently in the senate) points to the fact that the senate is also interested in raising levy authority.

It seems more money is indeed coming.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Of course it is but how much and for how long.

Yes, you were deleted for posting anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Another story of charters preying on the same families they purport to help. With the money going into the operators' pockets. Well researched and sickening.


nowa9500 said...

Hmm, All the legislation we've seen so far indicates the levy cap would stay raised...have you seen something I'm missing?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, what I have seen are statements from several Seattle legislators who don't seem to favor a permanent lift of the cap. Maybe the legislation is different but maybe those legislators won't vote for it if it is permanent.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I could afford to move and live in Maui, well with all the new taxes and jump in the cost of living here in Seattle the move now pencils out. It's sad when your home town's COL forces you out, but the huge property value increase covers my new Maui home.

Maui bound

Anonymous said...

Most of Hawaii has had a cheaper cost of living than Seattle for several years. If you buy a house, though, you will buy only the dwelling and not the land, something to keep in mind. You'll likely need to spring for private school, as Hawaii public schools are not exactly outstanding. Even so, probably cheaper than Seattle.


Anonymous said...

I don't think that is true, Mark Zurkerburg is buying up lots of property.

Maui Bound

Former WPD said...

The bill to lift the levy will be heard in the Senate.

Local levy rates would increase. Some districts would receive increased Levy equalization dollars.

OSPI assumes local effort assistance (LEA) expenditures associated with maintenance level impacts to the levy base and Department of Revenue 2018 Assessed Valuation projections. OSPI estimates that equalizing to 14% on a 28% levy rate using these basis would increase LEA $72.7 million in FY 2020 and $140.3 in FY 2021 over current law. Legislative policy decisions for other K12 investments will directly impact the per pupil inflator used for levy base assumptions which will change LEA estimates.

According to testimony, increasing levy capacity would increase local responsibility ($800M) and decrease state responsibility ($17M?)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this the correct place to comment but I have evidence of collision between the school board and an outside curriculum vendor.

There are emails between several boards members referring to having private meetings where at least 4 members were present and these emails were sent through non district email accounts for the purpose of avoiding public disclosure. The emails between Harris and SEA president are very interesting.

Is this type of backdoor dealing legal? or if legal is it ethical?

--Any ideas

Anonymous said...

@Any ideas, collision? Do you mean collusion?

Nothing you mention is illegal or unethical. BTW collusion is not a crime.


Melissa Westbrook said...

ANy ideas, send me those emails and your name and I can help you. You are making some big claims and I'd like to verify what you are saying at my blog. Please send them today.

They can be together as more than two but only at public events with notification and cannot discuss Board business. I have to be honest; those people are honest people and know the rules and would not have been together as more than two without notification.

I'm not sure seeing emails between the head of SEA and the head of the Board are any big deal. I'd be surprised if there weren't.

suep. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
suep. said...

There was disturbing testimony at last night's Board meeting from Washington Middle School students and parents about the ongoing problems with school leadership (or lack thereof). One student testified that Principal Butler Ginolfi has publicly posted in the cafeteria the names of students who have been given detention. The student rightly decried this public shaming of students. This is appalling behavior by this principal. She has wreaked havoc on the school all year. Apparently many teachers are planning to leave the school. It is hard to understand why that principal is still there.

Anonymous said...

"...decades of scientific research has revealed that reading doesn't come naturally. The human brain isn't wired to read. Kids must be explicitly taught how to connect sounds with letters — phonics."
-Emily Hanford, "Hard Words: Why aren't kids being taught to read?"


Whole language vs phonics vs balanced literacy. What is SPS using with their newest K-5 literacy materials?

I am so thankful for the rogue teachers who intentionally taught phonics (and also for a secondhand Leapfrog that served the same purpose), despite the SPS focus on whole language.

almost out

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the updates about WMS. Very disturbing. Ginolfi's approach seems antithetical to supporting a cohesive, thriving learning environment.

Principals have union representation. There is a long process to follow in order to evaluate and remove a principal (which usually avoids outright firing). Keep up the pressure parents, teachers, and students. And document, document, document! Testimony directly from students should be pretty compelling.


Anonymous said...

Just clicked on Northshore to look for curriculum info, and this popped up:


no comment

Wildcat said...

suep, I brought my daughter and her friend to one of your community meetings years ago to complain about their short lunch period. One of them went to North Beach. The meeting was taken over by Blaine parents who were outraged that Julie Cox was being placed at North Beach after appalling behavior at Blaine. Cox went on to ruin North Beach. Good teachers left, awesome Boys and Girls' club was turned into a prison type environment. It was mainly boys who suffered. My son is still impacted even though he's moved on. I don't blame you at all. That's not why I post this. I want to know what we can do so WMS doesn't have to endure this as long as Blaine and North Beach had to endure Cox. The principal issue is a big problem.

On another note, although I didn't always agree with how you voted on the school board, I think you are smart and well-reasoned. You should run for City Council. You'd at least get paid to help fix crazy.

Anonymous said...

Wildcat — My family fled EBG’s draconian, student-punitive approach at WMS in favor of Chris Carter’s more positive, community-building atmosphere at Mercer. Now that Carter is leaving for Federal Way and WMS parents are trying to remove EGB, I am terrified she’s going to move to Mercer. I have no faith in Sarah Pritchett, who leads these hiring processes.

—SE Mom

WEA Swipe said...

There are times when unions should be supported. However, there are also times when unions need to be criticized.

Ed said...

Two words "suep":

Franklin principal

MM said...

SE Mom:

Your lack of faith in Pritchett is well placed.

Denise must be fitting in well though.


Melissa Westbrook said...

WEA Swipe, I concur. I love teachers but I sometimes have issues with their union.

Anonymous said...

We have three kids in SPS, but not at Lowell. Of all the cuts to staff I've seen proposed, those planned for Lowell are the absolute worst and shameful for our city, our district and our state. This school, which has a population that changes frequently but has some of the biggest needs in our city, should not have cuts of any kind. To me, this is a litmus test.

- Outraged

WEA Swipe said...


We agree. Thanks for acknowledging.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Outraged, I spoke before the Board in the last two months about Lowell, Washington, Stevens, Whitman, and Rainier Beach. I'm not sure what else to do.

The school I volunteer at also has homeless children but not in the numbers as Lowell. It saddens me that any cuts are even contemplated.

Again, why isn't more being cut centrally?