Tuesday Open Thread

Today may be a make or break day for the district in their contract negotiations with the Seattle Education Association.  Tomorrow is the preliminary deadline to agree to a new one.

The Seattle Times asks an intriguing question: How should the King County Council spend $318M for education?
Job centers on high school campuses. More money to hire teachers of color. Mentors for students.
Over the past two months, the Metropolitan King County Council has heard countless ideas from the public on how it should spend $318 million on education — a one-time windfall provided through a fee on Sound Transit construction contracts.

And the possibilities are nearly endless, because the only string attached is the requirement that council members use that money to improve academic outcomes in early learning, K-12 schools and higher education.

Rather than spreading the money across many different projects and programs, council members seem to prefer funneling the $318 million to a few specific proposals that might generate a bigger impact. And on Aug. 28, the council could vote to whittle down the list of ideas to two main priorities: building new facilities for early learning and home-based child-care programs, and supporting K-12 students to and through college and other programs after high school.

The plan would direct the county to target specific populations, including students with disabilities, children of color, those living in poverty and youth who are homeless or in foster care.

But a group of 16 community-based organizations, calling itself the Racial Equity Coalition, has made a last-minute appeal for the council to provide up to $63.6 million for groups led by people of color.

The group highlighted a report from the United Way of King County that found its funded programs operated by communities of color-based organizations had higher outcomes with youth of color compared to mainstream organizations.
Washington State community colleges have been ranked best in the nation.  Story from KOMO:
The new report, by personal finance website WalletHub, ranked hundreds of U.S. schools in the American Association of Community Colleges based on 19 different criteria, including costs, efficiency, retention rates, graduation rates and career outcomes.
I saw this mention at a Facebook page about Kent School District:
There are some big changes coming with WSPTA and the rollout of Member Planet so I think the group will be a great place to discuss all of it.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Why was the comment about Garfield's enrollment removed?

District drafted Garfield's budget using a predicted enrollment number (1386) that was absurdly low, and then ignored community protests that the number was unrealistic. The predicted enrollment number caused drastic teacher RIFs in the spring with the school losing long-time teachers as a result. The post-enrollment figure (1712) released in April proved the predicted number wrong and current enrollment as of last week (1764) is essentially unchanged from previous year. All of that churn and trauma (with lasting consequences) for naught, and it's hard not to view a 30% error as malpractice. Why is that not comment-worthy?

(The situation may be similar for other schools as well, e.g. Ballard and Roosevelt, also predicted to lose many students.)


Anonymous said…
And why isn't the Seattle Times or Crosscut or KUOW or KNKX reporting on this? These predictions and RIFs have HUGE implications for our city's schools, both short and long term. Real reporting for Seattle please. We need local media to daylight what's happening in our district and not just rely on Melissa to do so.

Concerned Parent
Anonymous said…
That is a great idea. Tip them off! I am so tired o SPS ruling without consequences.

Dahlia Bazzaz, Times: dbazzaz@seattletimes.com

Ann Dornfeld, KUOW: adornfeld@kuow.org

Liz Brazile, Crosscut: liz.brazile@crosscut.com

And so on.

FNH, I was cleaning out spam comments and somehow deleted some published ones. My apologies and anyone can reprint their comment.

Also, could you send me a link to where you saw this - sss.westbrook@gmail.com - or post here. The Board needs to know this.
Anonymous said…
@ FNH Where is the current school enrollment "from last week" posted? There is enrollment from June monthly data report and enrollment "projections" from April were in a report to the board. Where is this recent report?

Anonymous said…
The number is directly from Garfield admin, I asked as a parent volunteer printing back-to-school materials. I was told 1764 enrolled as of Aug 12 and to print 1800 for good measure.

This came up at a volunteer meeting last night and other parents inform me this is par for the course for SPS and are sadly resigned to it. Look, school districts everywhere contend with numbers varying within a few percent - that is normal and I don't brook the excuse about SPS being a "big district" because nationally it is not - and I even defended a variance of 1-2% in the past. But 25-30% error is absurd, particularly for secondary school, may as well throw darts if that's as close as you can get.

I attended the early spring meeting where JoLynne Berge defended the projected enrollment numbers and budget, and there was parent pushback - hard. It was very weirdly trumpian, these numbers are simply going to be the "truth" despite all evidence to the contrary.

Anonymous said…
Yet again, clear need for transparency in budget and enrollment projections. And accountability for being so off the mark and needlessly throwing schools into turmoil, which ultimately hurts teachers and kids.

Why isn't JoLynne Berge being asked to explain this situation? Where is the data? Where is the push to change process and forecasting and the like to avoid this situation in the future? This seems dystopian.

Concerned Parent
Anonymous said…
Someone just called Seattle Schools about enrolling a 9th grader at Ingraham High School, but they said that there's a waitlist for 9th, 10th and 11th grades and they aren't enrolling any new students, even within the school boundaries. How can that be with a new 500-seat building?

Anonymous said…
This should be a major scandal - if SPS is this far off its projections, especially when many people (including board members) expressed concerns about the inaccuracy of projections a few months ago, someone needs to lose their job. I get that Leslie Harris doesn't believe in accountability for senior staff, but the public does, and it's time for heads to roll.

Anonymous said…
Does anyone know the current enrollment of the two other schools affected by opening of LHS, RHS & BHS? The April enrollment report had those schools also still over enrolled, and same situation as GHS. Does this mean the district is hiring back all the staff that were let go? When do they post the next enrollment numbers, Sept?

Uncomfortable focus said…
Our elementary school has 5 African American males. Having every adult focused on these 5 young boys feels creepy. Parents are curious to see the kids the district is focused on. We're all wondering how their achievement will be. How will their behavior be in the lunchroom and at recess. This focus seems constructive for schools where there are a lot of students being focused on, but it was already uncomfortable not being white at our school. This seems worse for those 5 kids.
Anonymous said…
Momof2, if the someone lives within the boundary for Ingraham they can not be denied enrollment per the rules. An exception would be if they applied for a different school during Open Enrollment and accepted placement at a different school.

Anonymous said…
Have any wait lists moved?


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