Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

Today is the only day that you may submit questions to possibly be included for the final D7 forum to be held tomorrow night at 6 pm at Rainier Beach High School. 

Questions will be accepted through an online form from September 10 at 8 a.m. through September 11 at 8 a.m. Questions will also be accepted in person from 6 to 6:10 p.m. on September 11 at the forum.
They do ask this in the submission form:
Is your primary home address located in School Board District 7? View a map of Seattle Public Schools' District 7. *
Naturally, anyone could hit the button as living in D7 but that's how staff have decided to weight the questions. So get those questions in.

I received an automated email from state senator Jamie Pedersen previewing this year's legislative session.  He says this:
The 2019-21 capital budget includes investments that will help our whole community continue to thrive. I was proud to work with the other members of the Seattle delegation to secure funding for projects such as: 
  • $21 million for Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to meet urgent capacity and safety upgrade needs at Leschi Elementary School, Madison Middle School, and North Beach Elementary School.
 Statewide highlights:
$1.1 billion to build public schools, including $43 million for rural and distressed schools.
Going to Century Link Field for an event but have someone with you who has sensory issues?  Good news via The News Tribune:
Traci Schneider does far more at Seahawks games than watch her husband’s team play.

That’s why the wife of the Seahawks’ general manager has created a sensory room inside CenturyLink Field for use by fans with autism, sensory challenges, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and similar conditions during games and all stadium events.

The A-OK Sensory Room will open Sunday for the Seahawks’ season opener against Cincinnati. It is located at the guest-services desk at the southwest entrance to the stadium. It is intended to provide a safe and calming environment to help fans and guests who may be feeling overwhelmed or over-stimulated during all stadium events.
Really interesting idea for calming and focusing kids - Bal-A-Vis-X. 

Want to know who is big in public education philanthropy? Dolly Parton.  From Forbes:
Parton the philanthropist has been busy ever since Parton the singer hit the big time. Much of her giving is done anonymously, but some of her projects include scholarships for high school students and a birthing unit for the local hospital. And while you may think of the Dollywood Amusement Park as a piece of country kitsch, it is also a reliable employer and economic engine in a high-poverty region.
But her crowning achievement may well be the Imagination Library.

In 1995, she set out to send a free book every month to every child in Sevier County ages birth through five. In 2000, the program moved to expand across the country, and was quickly picked up by 27 affiliates in 11 states. In February of 2018, the Imagination Library presented its 100 millionth book to the Library of Congress. 
What's on your mind?
Read more here: https://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks/article234791182.html?fbclid=IwAR1Aw5kD-3dtWPEqvsgn-XK-EfiSbixD3YPSAeWYBKfdhFsZAk29-8BgRvQ#storylin

Read more here: https://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks/article234791182.html?fbclid=IwAR1Aw5kD-3dtWPEqvsgn-XK-EfiSbixD3YPSAeWYBKfdhFsZAk29-8BgRvQtoryl


Greg said...

Schedules are badly messed up for many high schoolers at Garfield this year, with kids not in classes they need to graduate and put into classes they didn't request where they are missing prerequisites because all other classes are full to the point of overflowing. Anyone know if this is isolated to Garfield? And anyone have more information about why Garfield is having such severe problems this year?

Anonymous said...

It's every high school in the district. The district, in order to be "conservative," decided to act as though double to triple the number of students who typically don't show up the first day of school after being enrolled in February were going to stay away. RHS has almost 300 more students than they were staffed for, similar to GHS(with similar consequences).


NSP said...

Garfield caught the worst of it, though. They're short something like 12-15 teachers.

Anonymous said...

Any word from those at the newly opened Lincoln?


Leaving Alabama said...

We're constantly looking for more teachers of color, and I was just noticing that we have a lot of out GLBTQ people working for our school district, especially compared to some areas of the country. Could we advertise SPS teaching positions specifically to GLBTQ groups at schools with teacher training programs with a lot of students who are POC? A GLBTQ friendlier city might really appeal to some job candidates.

Anonymous said...

NSP, I don't think that is quite true. I don't know as much about Ballard, but I think both RHS and Ballard were "more" overprojected than Garfield. We are talking about such enormous numbers, though. Total annihilation vs total devastation. Misery poker is not a great idea. All the big high schools need immediate restoration and an assurance this will NOT happen next year because of the upheaval and loss of learning even reinstatement will cause at this late date. (Not that the smaller high schools got off easy either. All of high school needs to be fixed right now)


Anonymous said...

Enrollment is still in flux, but I did hear Ballard has between 1800-1900 students. All the portables still in place. I believe they were short staffed as well, but don't know numbers. Roosevelt is similar, each of those schools losing very few students overall this year despite Lincoln opening. But my 10th grader got all their classes o.k. However has heard of a couple 11th graders deciding on running start last minute. I am not certain if this means because of schedule difficulties or what. Melissa posted last week on the high school thread Ingraham was 250 students over budgeted allocation. I think this is the case at a number of high schools. Likely all lost alot of staff due to errors in district projections. Have no idea if budgets will be reinstated due to enrollment figures being off? Or is this a way for the district to shift budget to other priorities?

BHS Parent

Anonymous said...

Schedules are badly messed up for many high schoolers at Garfield this year, with kids not in classes they need to graduate and put into classes they didn't request where they are missing prerequisites because all other classes are full to the point of overflowing.

If kids are put into classes for which they don't have the prerequisites, isn't that setting some students up for failure?

If classes with prerequisites are more likely to be advanced classes (since intro classes usually don't have prerequisites), isn't this likely to disproportionately hurt students who are already "furthest from educational justice"?

If kids are not put in classes they need to graduate, isn't this going to hurt graduation rates?

If kids are not getting the classes they need to graduate, isn't it likely that more educated parents or parents with the resources to support other options for making up credits will find a way for their students to get the classes they need to graduate, with students "furthest from educational justice" being disproportionately harmed by this failure to perform what should be THE primary job function of our schools--providing kids the classes they need to graduate?

Where was the equity analysis prior to this decision to short-staff schools? It's like none of the adults in this administration or on the board have any ability to see more than one step ahead at a time.

And while we're on the topic of graduation requirements, has anybody seen results of where we stand re: on-track-to-graduate figures after the conclusion of last school year? Current 11th graders--the first cohort to be subject to the new 24-credit graduation requirements--weren't faring so well after 9th grade, with a decent percentage already not on track to have the 24 credits needed. I assume that the percentage has only increased after 10th grade, but it would be good to know what it is now--and how much worse it is after two years of high school and supposedly 12 credits were behind them. I wonder how much it will increase after the current year, if so many are having trouble getting full schedules that will not only satisfy the credit requirement, but also the distribution requirements...


Anonymous said...

I think it's unfortunate that anyone can click the "yes" button in the survey without any means fo verification. I can't imagine anyone will click "no."

I submitted a question and did click "yes" as I do indeed live in the area vacated by Betty Patu.


Anonymous said...

The high school enrollment projection mess, and budget allocation process clearly needs to be fixed. It's not o.k for kids to not have funding or the correct schedule to graduate or continue taking a full schedule at their high school! Pushing kids indirectly into running start by not giving them the right classes or enough classes means they are not providing the basic education of school. Sounds like a lawsuit? Anyone an attorney? Last week's high school issues thread Kellie posted initial enrollment figures for all the high schools. They underestimated enrollment and budget for all the high schools.

HS Parent

BHS Parent said...

We're not having a problem at Ballard. I'm starting to think there may be issues with Garfield's administration.

BHS Parent said...

High schools needed to implement CORE 24 and the new science scope and sequence. This was a lot of work....more work than any high school should have endured.

Anonymous said...

While the district may see RS as a convenient "out" for them to be able to fail in their duty to provide for all students, accessing RS is not a viable alternative or for many students. High school students who need to provide childcare for younger siblings during SPS breaks, for example, can't attend RS classes if the schedules don't align. Students with IEPs or 504 plans at SPS would probably need to go through the whole accommodations process at the college too, which means a lot of additional work. Students with transportation issues or who are not comfortable being in classes with college-age students are also not a good fit for RS. There are many others as well.

While RS might be an OK option for average or highly capable students who can easily adjust their schedules and take public transportation or drive their own cars, RS is lees likely to work for students who have physical/emotional/learning disabilities, who have conflicting family/work duties, who are transit-challenged, etc. In other words, those who are often "furthest from educational justice."


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

Just to be clear the person using the same BHS Parent acronym as me on this thread (12:05, 12:12) is not the same person.

Also @ the other BHS parent (12:05, 12:12) I think its not an issue with Garfield administration, as much as the same issues are happening at all the schools as all were affected by district under projection. However the district it seems was the most off with Garfield's projections (more than 300) and budget allocation. See the High School Thread from last week and Kellie's last post with data.

BHS Parent 1

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened with the planned schedule changes, i.e 7 or 8 period days? Is that no longer being considered?


kellie said...

This doesn't paste terribly well into a blog post ... here are the high school enrollment numbers as presented at the Operations Meeting last week.

School - 2018 enrollment - official budget enrollment - 2019 first day count - official shortage.

Ballard 1,971 1726 1866 (140)
Chief Sealth 994 1007 1165 (158)
Cleveland 848 847 895 (48)
Franklin 1,178 1144 1297 (153)
Garfield. 1,658 1488 1812 (324)
Ingraham 1,346 1386 1524 (138)
Nathan Hale 1,137 1099 1228 (129)
Rainier Beach 740 685. 806 (121)
Roosevelt 1,877 1635 1847 (212)
Center 233 242 263. (21)
West Seattle 960 991 1,157 (166)

Totals 12,942 12,250 13,860 (1,610)

Naturally, these numbers will shift a bit over the next few weeks but the budget number is the official number, from the official budget, voted upon by the board every July.

kellie said...

So the short version of high school enrollment looks like this.

Every. Single. High School is short staffed.

However, how badly short staffed and how much this has impacted student schedule varies very widely depending on how much "Principal Magic" was applied to the "unofficial budget."

The "official budget" is really straightforward. Take a look at the enrollment number (Garfield 1488) and then run that number through the Weighted Staffing Formula. Viola. You have your official FTE count for the building.

The "unofficial budget" is vastly more complicated and impossible to calculate from public information. The "unofficial budget" is what happens when the principal is able to convert part of their budget into extra staff, or takes a big risk and hires staff over and above the "official budget."

Because the numbers were just so unrealistic, the budget department offered many principals the option to hire outside the official budget, with the caveat that those positions could easily be RIF'ed.

The reason the official vs unofficial matters so much is the hiring cycle. It is really different to hire in the Spring, vs hiring in the Fall.

NESeattleMom said...

My kid's AP Calc BC had a student assigned that wanted regular Calc. Last spring Garfield said they had to RIF teachers. I think the student counts/budgets that Garfield received were inaccurate. The music and art department lost so many teachers because they couldn't live on 60% time.

suep. said...

Kellie, thanks for the info. Based on those Ops numbers, it looks like every SPS high school not only didn't see the huge decline in enrollment that staff predicted, but every high school, except BHS and RHS, saw their enrollment numbers go up. Is that an accurate takeaway?

Do we know who calculated these numbers and what they were based on?

I agree with your earlier observation; I also can't recall such a huge miss in predictions in all my years following SPS.

When I was on the Board, the Board and then-CFO Ken Gotsch created a mitigation fund for start-of-school staffing adjustments. We referred to it as the "Student Stability Fund." It was $2 million. But that would not be enough to mitigate this. And I don't know if that fund still exists.

- Sue Peters

kellie said...

@ Sue Peters,

Yes, that is an accurate take away.

I did not include Lincoln as Lincoln was brand new so there was no historical reference. Lincoln was budgeted for 562 and the first day count was 599.

So when you add in those additional 599 students, you get this for the total change in from last year's Oct 1 enrollment and this year's First Day count.

Ballard (105)
Chief Sealth 171
Cleveland 47
Franklin 119
Garfield 154
Ingraham 178
Lincoln 599
Nathan Hale 91
Rainier Beach 66
Roosevelt (30)
Center School 30
West Seattle 197

Total high school enrollment for those schools increased by almost 12% or 1,517 students. The budget predicted a decline in enrollment of 692 students.

Anonymous said...

Because Lincoln's boundaries were drawn to take away more students from the Ballard reference area, than from Roosevelt some assumed Ballard's enrollment would plummet further down than Roosevelt. However, Ballard was also more over enrolled than Roosevelt at that time.

I cannot believe that Ballard only lost approx 95 students, considering the large boundary re-draw and Roosevelt 30 students. Also, Lincoln also received more kids so it does not appear anyone was avoiding Lincoln and remaining at their previous school. I also am stunned Garfield has over 1800 students. They received more students with zero loss of students despite opening of Lincoln.

Lincoln's opening did not really draw any students from Ingraham's reference area. Ingraham increased dramatically as well. Lincoln a school with only two grades already has 600. Imagine what enrollment would have looked like this year if Lincoln did not open, and those kids were at the three (GHS, BHS,RHS) still overcrowded schools that had boundary/program redraw.

My student knows kids who started at our high school who came from out of area. The area is still booming and that translates into more students. It would be interesting to see enrollment numbers for K-8? I believe the district prevented an enrollment trend that saw a multi year decline for younger grades.


Anonymous said...

I live in District 7. I've just submitted a question for the candidates focusing on the disastrous budgeting process and the impact it's having on high school students farthest from educational justice. Perhaps others who live in District 7 should do the same?


Anonymous said...

I believe the district "presented" an enrollment trend that saw a multi year decline for younger grades.


Anonymous said...

I think the geniuses who thought a student could just skip a year of AP Calculus and slide right into AP Calc BC, and the geniuses behind the ridiculous projections and budgets that got us to that point, should all be forced to take and pass that AP Calc BC class. Maybe then they'd learn that their little numbers games have real world consequences.

Sign'em up!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good comment, Ruthie. I'm hoping that not all the questions are about one part of the Strategic Plan, rather than all that is in it.

Anonymous said...

Are the D7 questions being screened and potentially filtered out by JSCEE staff? I had hoped these would go the board or a board rep. They acknowledge it's not likely that all questions will get answered, but I'm wondering if "time constraints" will be only part of the reason...


Anonymous said...

My son, who rarely seems to care much about school stuff, was very upset last spring, when he heard that his favorite teacher at Hale had lost her job and wouldn't be back this year. At the time, I was surprised that there were RIFs, since JAMS, the main feeder school for Hale, is bursting at its seams, and the opening of Lincoln wouldn't directly affect Hale. Hale has almost 100 more students than it did last year...yet teachers were RIFed???

Also, I have heard from NNE Seattle parents of HCC kids that getting their kids to Lincoln is problematic. Orca cards aren't much help if the routes are horrible. I wonder if some of these families opted to stay at their neighborhood school, and perhaps that is why there was higher than expected enrollment at Hale and Ingraham?

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

SPS central staff is 100% to blame for the staffing problems at SPS high schools. With their "conservative" projections, they're clearly guilty of malpractice, with real-world consequences for many SPS students/staff. The situation is completely unconscionable, but completely predictable.

Garfield has nearly 400 additional students beyond the budgeted number, and that's AFTER subtracting the Running Start population. That's back to last year's population, plus some. On what legitimate basis did district staff (NOT Garfield staff) calculate the drastic reduction of student population???

Here's part of the email we received today from the Garfield PSTS:

The Garfield PTSA welcomes you and your students back to another school year. Unfortunately, the year has begun with frustrations and high emotions over Garfield's enrollment and teacher shortage. We hear and appreciate the many parents, students and families who have reached out with concerns. As one of many parent communities at GHS, the PTSA supports the needs of all students, families, teachers and administration.

Students are starting the school year faced with barriers to their educational needs being met - overcrowded classrooms, limited access to courses required for graduation, and limited course offerings compared to past years.

It's important to mention that Garfield's issues stem from the Seattle Public Schools District underestimating Garfield’s Fall 2019 enrollment by ~400 students. Due to added uncertainty with Lincoln High School opening, enrollment projections were intentionally conservative for several high schools. Mr Howard and the campus administration play no role in projecting enrollment or in setting the budget; rather, GHS operates and staffs from the budget provided by SPS in the spring.

The PTSA has learned that today is the last day of the final enrollment count, and Garfield will receive four additional Full Time Employees (FTEs). The District sees this as a way to address overcrowding and improve course offerings.

So, Garfield is short 10+ teachers, and the central office has decided to give us 4 additional teachers. Not nearly enough, can't be hired soon enough, and all the fantastic teachers who were improperly riffed last spring are long gone.

Can't wait to be done with this district.

-Seattle Parent

D7 parent said...

HF- you may be giving the district too much credit. Given that they can be submitted until 8am tomorrow, and the forum is tomorrow night, and they have to be printed and put into a bowl or something for Rick Burke to randomly pick from, I doubt there will be much time for vetting them.
3 hours is a long time, but likely not long enough to answer every question submitted. The website says they will try not to have a bunch of essentially duplicate questions, so hopefully there will be ones that probe the depth and breadth of the candidate's experience and knowledge, especially of the district.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I did explain this elsewhere.

The questions for the D7 Forum will NOT be sorted. Staff does have to take all of them from the online submissions and put them on cards. There will be a few from the short 10(?) minutes for submission at the forum. Some D7 community members had been agitating for their D7 questions to be put on different colored cards so that those would be chosen before any others. I don't know if that will happen.

Director Burke will merely be looking at them to make sure the candidates are not asked duplicate questions.

Anonymous said...

So Staff is cherry picking the questions? YOU BET THEY ARE.

Seems to me to be a FOIA request. Anyone? Anyone? I don't know FOIA from the FOIL I use to make the tin hats with to sit through all of this.

But the staff that told you they could handle no pathways to high school has shat not just themselves... But. ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE. Kids may not graduate or get into college because Whyatt Jesse and Kari Hanson said ... We got this! We are going to nail 4 pathway schools. Because that will show you how we can then handle every school being a HC school. You all remember that right? Well here is Wyatt and Kari's work as described by Kellie R. and Sue P. They flipping missed it by 12%. You can't run a master schedule with that much variance and we have never had this much across the board issues. HCC has saved SPS for 20 years. Killing HCC kills SPS. YOu have no ballast.

But wait there is more. The next step is to kill HCC and give it to the buildings. Can you imaging HCC at Licton Springs where the WMS administrator got promoted to, despite race baiting for 181 days at WMS? Yeah she couldn't offer services to the building that housed the program for 20 years. Sure she can do it from scratch with no curriculum and intellectual/emotional support, sure?!?!?!?

And her partner can write inspirational things like how Emily's poop is bigger than those critics concerned about the loss of ALL world languages at Washington Middle School. Happened,I have screenshots. Love it or leave it said the transplants to Seattle. Oh and Denise smiled on 300k in the bank.

GHS has nearly 40 kids in class rooms. Thanks Kari and Wyeth. Denise I hope you are paying attention.

I asked the candidates where would you like to see yourself in 6 months as this forum seems to be getting go getters like DeWolf and Geary. What a shame if that is what becomes of Patu's legacy. She may have let a shark in the door. Pinkham, Burke, Mack and Harris need to think about their legacy too. Seattle needs leadership. Not leavership like DeWolf and Geary.

Flipping Mad

Anonymous said...

Honestly "conservative projections" in a budget should mean the exact opposite. It should mean let's be conservative to ensure students have the classes they need, schools are stable, and our staff are not riffed. However SPS interprets conservative budget projections differently. This does not align with a mission of "excellence for all." This instead impacts excellence for all and jepordizes graduation rates.

Fed up

kellie said...

I just realized something. The high school numbers were higher than my personal expectations. But then again, I don't have any access to any meaningful data. I only have access to public data.

So that means, I'm supposed to be surprised. But downtown has access to all the data and they are not supposed to be surprised. So did a quick check to compare the PUBLIC post open enrollment data with the PUBLIC first day counts, to see if downtown should have had a clue and made changes a lot sooner.

The numbers below are the Oct 2018 enrollment, then Post-open enrollment and the first day count to calculate the changes that downtown should have already known about before the first day of school.

High School enrollment GREW by 269 students AFTER open enrollment. Downtown had access to information that disproved their theory of the rapid drop at high school. With huge changes at Garfield, Franklin and Rainier Beach that should have been more than enough to spot a pattern in SE Seattle.

Ballard 1,971 1,874 1866 (8)
Chief Sealth 994 1,154 1165 11
Cleveland 848 905 895 (10)
Franklin 1,178 1,238 1297 59
Garfield 1,658 1,712 1812 100
Ingraham 1,346 1,525 1524 (1)
Lincoln 566 599 33
Nathan Hale 1,137 1,220 1228 8
Rainier Beach 740 766 806 40
Roosevelt 1,877 1,823 1847 24
Center School 233 270 263 (7)
West Seattle 960 1,137 1,157 20
Total 12,942 14,190 14,459 269

Melissa Westbrook said...

Flippin' Mad, I hear your anger but please dial it back. You make one good point that may have been missed in the D7 race.

The Board has the one opportunity to shape the board. It behooves them to consider the "fit" of a new member, not just qualifications. Will this person fit in and bring gifts/skills that someone else doesn't have that would, overall, make a stronger board?

Voters probably look at experience/qualifications but the Board may be thinking about it differently.

And again, I asked what happens if there is a vote of 3-3 and still no answer.

Anonymous said...

@kellie, Thanks for that info.

You said "High School enrollment GREW by 269 students AFTER open enrollment. Downtown had access to information that disproved their theory of the rapid drop at high school."

Doesn't this actually mean they had access to ADDITIONAL information that disproved their rapid drop theory, since they ALREADY had plenty of evidence of in increase since Oct 2018 enrollment showed 12,942 high school students but post-open enrollment for the current year showed 14,190 students, meaning an enrollment growth of 1517 high school students?

And while that the post-open enrollment growth (the additional 269 high school students) probably should have been another red flag, I assume that a similar pattern happens every year, wouldn't it? That new students enroll over the summer, as families move to the area in between school years and enroll over summer?

Is part of the problem that we've seen a higher percentage departing (by choice or not) for Running Start over recent years, so maybe they assumed that trend would continue and thus subtracted out an even larger percentage (essentially driving them out, in a self-fulfilling prophecy)? I'd love to know what RS rates they are using, and how this has changed over time. It feels like we need an RS audit, or for OSPI to require detailed reporting...


Anonymous said...

@kellie, do you know if projections were similarly under-projected for ES, MS and K-8s as well? I ask because I've seen in the past that they often try to brush off their projections errors with something like "look, we were only 3% off on total enrollment!" when they look in aggregate, without bothering to consider how off they were in specific areas--like high school--even though they had plenty of data to point them in the right direction.

While I suppose a best case scenario is that they did NOT screw up the projections for younger grades and it's only high schools that are being hit hard by this stunning level of incompetence, it will be unfortunate if they are then able to use better projections in other areas to dilute the overall error.

I still don't get it though. They have numbers, by grade, well in advance. How can they be so off? Or were they essentially just trying to save money by increasing class sizes significantly for several months of they year while school have to work on rehiring the needed staff?


NSP said...

HF, Reports from people on FB were that some middle schools at least were 50-100 students over predictions. There wasn't much complaining about elementary school, but that might or might not mean anything.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain how the new high school 'equity' staffing formula does or does not overlay with the enrollment mis-forecasts? I keep thinking it's part of the issue here with perceived staffing shortages, but I don't have enough background to explain how.

My understanding is that schools with populations 'farthest from educational equity' were getting more staff this year. Is this why populations were so under-projected in the first place? A central office workaround to make the cuts that schools like Roosevelt for example were already going to be getting under the new funding formula? Or, is the staffing formula only coming into play now, in that a school like Roosevelt should be getting 'x' teachers back, given the number of kids who have actually shown up, but instead they'll be getting a smaller 'y' number.

In short I am trying to understand whether the student enrollment forecasting process was used to downsize staff at schools because of the new funding formula. I really hope that downtown kept the 2 processes separate, for transparency purposes, but for the life of me I can't see whether or how they did/are doing so.


Anonymous said...

I actually wonder if the high school cuts in staff were used to fund the opening of Lincoln? Perhaps they did not have enough funding? I am also wondering what happens to the money from all those staff cuts they are not reinstating? Will this end up being a method to shift money internally away from the high schools to something else at the expense of all the high school students and cut staff?


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

I'll try to answer what I can. I have really only focused on high school for the last few years. All the enrollment data can be requested from the board office.

Here is middle school with the Oct 2018 Count, Budget and the 2019 First Day Count and the difference between budget and the first day count.

Aki 664 637 696 +59
Denny 866 852 906 +54
Eckstein 1037 1050 1097 +47
Hamilton 1030 995 1068 +73
JAMS 936 990 967 -23
Madison 951 948 981 +33
McClure 537 483 542 +59
Meany 498 530 523 -7
Mercer 1146 1068 1081 +13
REMS 838 876 814 -62
Washington 669 612 586 -26
Whitman 574 590 645 +55

Total 9746 9631 9906 +275

kellie said...

In total there are 275 Additional middle school students than were in the budget, but the variation is quite wide and comprised of the usual suspects.

Washington is down (Who could have guessed that!) Hamilton is shockingly over their projections for the 10th year in a row. Is there a merit badge for that?

Aki, Denny, and Hamilton were projected to decline but actually had enrollment increases. McClure was projected to decline but stayed the same. Those 4 schools may have also been in the situation of RIF'ing teachers in the Spring, only to re-hire in the Fall.

Class Size said...

Low income schools receive funding for low K-3 class sizes. Other than that, can't add information.

Anonymous said...

In the name of justice the wealthier schools who's parent contribute the most to district funding, those schools and their children deserve larger class sizes because it has been shown that the more money your parents have the more distractions their children can tolerate and because of their parents money they are the closest to educational justice.

--Ms. Virtues

kellie said...

@ HF,

You are asking great questions, for which there really aren't any great answers.

The 2018 October count was 52,931. The 2019 Budget number was 52,231. A total decline of 700 students.

In theory, a total decline of 700 student is not completely crazy as the AGGREGATE NUMBER. Particularly, when you consider that last year was a particularly turbulent year in terms of the optics that disrupt families (Washington, new high school, Amplify, etc). It is also not a crazy number to project in FEBRUARY, long before open-enrollment.

However, post-open enrollment is different. Post-open enrollment (4/15/19) the number was 54,177. This means that during open-enrollment, there were 1,246 assigned to schools, over and above the budget projection and 546 more than the 2018 school year. This should have been a warning bell to budget that something was happening. That's a lot of new families.

The first day count (9/4/19) was 54,630. That was an additional 453 students over and above the open enrollment number. For a whopping 1,000 student increase over the 2018 schools year. Again, this should have been a warning bell to dig deeper and look at what is actually happening.

The projections were for a 700 student decrease over 2018 and the first day count was a 1000 student increase over 2018. At some point, the data should contradict your THEORY. There was a theory of decline and evidence of growth but the theory won.

The bottom line is that here has to be a better way.

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

@ Edvoter,

That's a great question and I don't know if anyone can accurately answer it. That said, we can look at the public data and reach some conclusions.

The theory of the 4 Tier process what that teacher RIFs would be run through and equity lens and Tier 1 schools would be protect and Tier 4 schools would take the brunt of the disruption.

So what actually happened.

Ballard and Roosevelt were the only Tier 4 high schools. Those two school really did take a lot of disruption. Things worked out Ok at Ballard but Roosevelt took some serious hits.

Rainier Beach was the only Tier 1 high school. In theory, Rainier Beach was supposed to be protected in this process. They were not protected. Beach's enrollment last year was 740. They were only budgeted for 685 and this most likely triggered some RIFs. Their first day count was 806.

So once again ... theory meet reality. IMHO, NO, this process did not actually protect any school. Despite assertions to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

I was just looking at the slide deck (https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/18-19%20agendas/June%2026/I13_20190626_Budget%20Adoption%20BAR.pdf)
that was presented during the budget approval process.

Seeing the steep drop in the budgeted number on slide 4 (page 11) of the overall document) it's hard to believe this was approved without further evidence that it was likely to be accurate.

On slide 5, it shows that we usually budget for MORE than the number of students we end up with in Oct. It also shows that the "actual" number of students was pretty stable across the prior three years, so that big drop in what was budgeted again makes no sense.

Apparently they thought we were going to undo 4 years of enrollment gains and go back to pre- SY 2015/16 numbers?


CascadiaMom said...

What does the Teacher's Union think about how these teacher RIFs were done. If there was no data that enrollment was declining, but teachers were RIFed, then it was basically an illegal reduction in staff and those teachers were not RIFed but fired. Can the union make a grievance?

My suspicion is that this is a way to save budget by getting rid of higher paid experienced teachers, then hiring back in the fall cheaper, newer, less experienced teachers.

While a union grievance might not bring back the lost teachers, it might make downtown think twice about doing this in the future - by making it painful.

Also they were able to eliminate programs (French, Marine Bio) that couldn't have been eliminated using usual processes.

I am very cynical about this.

CascadiaMom said...

Also, as I have posted before, the 2007 birth year (current 7th graders) was the largest birth year in US history. Based on that fact alone, plus the increasing population of our city, we would expect middle school and high school enrollment to continue to increase.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for first thoughts on my question, Kellie. Here is what I would expect, then, and can you or anyone tell me if this is how it (supposedly) works with the Tiered system? I know enough that I know Oct 1 counts also matter at the state level, but that is not what I am tracking here:......

I don't know what the formula for a Tier 1 high school is, but let's pretend it is one teacher every 50 students. So if Rainier Beach's forecasting was off by 121 students (806-685) then ASAP they would receive 2 new teachers plus about another .5 teacher, right? Whereas a Tier 4 school like Roosevelt, would (theoretically) have a much lower ratio, say one teacher for every 100 students. So if it had the same miscalculated forecast of 121 students, Central Administration might right now be granting it back only 1.25ish new teachers. Is that the gist?

And if it is the gist, then there are there not a whole lot of therefores? Such as: Tier 4 schools won't be getting as many new positions to fix budget misforecasts as they may be expecting. And also such as: misforecasts at Tier 1 and 2 schools hit the budget harder than at Tier 4 schools, because forecasting mistakes mean greater $$$ spent on salaries there than Tier 4 schools to remedy the situation? So if there are misforecasts at Tier 4 schools, then they matter 'less' in terms of the budget, and thus forecasting errors are not as big of a deal to downtown?

The individual pain this debacle is causing at individual schools is unmistakable. But I am trying to understand what the full system implications are, e.g. at what point is there system accountability downtown? Because, if the marching orders downtown were to make a budget last spring that could be passed by the school board, and that did indeed get done, does anything else really matter from the job stability and goal check off list of the administration downtown? Are parents just tilting at windmills in protesting how this is playing out?


Anonymous said...

Where was marine biology cut? Not Garfield I hope. It and the jazz program have been the gems of the school for hundreds of students. With Clarence retiring, jazz is a question mark. Is marine bio gone too? Say it ain't so.

Go Bulldogs

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ms. Virtues, that's quite the unkind comment. Find a way to part of the discussion.

suep. said...

To their credit, two Board Directors refused to vote for the budget that contained this false information. Directors Mack and Pinkham abstained. I don't recall a budget being opposed by Board Directors, in recent memory. A No vote would have been an even more powerful statement.

I share CascadiaMom's concerns that this may not have been unintentional, but a highly questionable budget- or staff-cutting maneuver. It did indeed inflict damage on some established and other well-liked teachers and classes.

The teachers' union should have something to say about all of this. (Have they weighed in?) How do unnecessary RIF's reconcile with newly bargained teachers' contracts containing significant raises two years in a row? Are they related? On the one hand, SPS is sending a message that it wants to attract more and better teachers to the district with a competitive salary they can actually live on. But on the other hand, SPS is sending the message that teachers can be seemingly randomly RIFed based on false projections with no explanation. Where's the job stability in that?

Whether it was by incompetence or design, there should be some accountability for this.

The Board should ask their employee, the superintendent, to investigate and get to the bottom of it. At some point, perhaps the state auditor has a role to play as well.

- Sue Peters

suep. said...

Yes, Marine Science at GHS is gone.

Anonymous said...

What a kick in the head. Marine science at Garfield is dead. It not only hurts my head it hurts my heart. That program was inspiration behind a generation, maybe two, of students launching into science careers.

At rival Ballard, the district recently lost perhaps its finest high school science teacher Eric Muhs when he got fed up with downtown dysfunction. We're talking a teacher so brilliant that one of his class projects made it up into space via NASA.

What a pity SPS. What a pity. When our society and our city employers are begging for more science majors you manage to hit bottom. Hit bottom. Which reminds me, how is that grade school-middle school science realignment going now that the new year is here? Let me guess: It's a mess. And what of that plan to split high school chemistry and physics into two years. Is that on the table? Or tabled?

I must say again that losing the marine science program at Garfield is a Seattle public school tragedy. Was it funding? Not meeting some pedagogical alignment from JSIS?

Go Bulldogs

Anonymous said...

The Marine Science teacher remains at Garfield teaching another science class but Marine Science isn't offered this year because of budgeting and the fact that only 14 students signed up in the spring. The current freshmen/sophomores were required to follow the science pathway implemented last year and thus were not allowed to choose Marine Science as in years past. Parents are hoping that it can be offered every other year at least, giving students an opportunity to take it either junior or senior year.


Question said...

What happened to Garfield's Maritime Science program?

Anonymous said...

@Cascadiamom and @Kellie

RIFs and the Union. Greivances are only able to be filed from issues within the contract. As long as the district has a budget that says they need to cut, which was opposed by SEA as inaccurate, then the district can run a RIF. Groups could sue over injustice but there has to be contractual errors. District forecasting isn't something we can grieve. There is in theory a "start of school committee" at the district to make sure everything is correct or at least there used to be one as recently as last year. Things aren't right or in some cases even meeting contract. But as far as the union goes we could have gone on strike over it. I don't think there was an appetite for that.

Theo Moriarty

Due Diligence said...

"The current freshmen/sophomores were required to follow the science pathway implemented last year and thus were not allowed to choose Marine Science as in years past. Parents are hoping that it can be offered every other year at least, giving students an opportunity to take it either junior or senior year."

This is just the beginning of the science alignment mess.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Speaking of science curriculum, look for a story from me about a parent in another state being sued BY the company that makes curriculum for badmouthing that curriculum during an adoption process. I talked to the reporter on the story and she's interested in our own Amplify saga.

Anonymous said...

Hey for science and for budgeting satisfaction check out Shoreline. Anecdotally significant numbers of Seattle students have headed north to get out of Seattle's mess. Daughter reports seeing many former classmates at Shorecrest. I'm not going to do the research but if someone else cares I have to think there must be some way to find out how many Seattle families left for greener or at least more sane pastures this year at Shorecrest and Shorewood. No administrative shenanigans being imposed like at Garfield.

Sorry NotSorry

Anonymous said...

@Go Bulldogs "
"At rival Ballard, the district recently lost perhaps its finest high school science teacher Eric Muhs when he got fed up with downtown dysfunction. We're talking a teacher so brilliant that one of his class projects made it up into space via NASA."

Not just Muhs, also Dr Moody another brilliant science teacher around the same time, same reason. Such loses for BHS.

BHS Parent

Anonymous said...

Regarding the GHS Marine Science class, it may be difficult even for many juniors to take it. The science realignment requires them to take the second half of the chemistry/physics class in 11th grade, and it looks like the only exceptions are if they take an advanced full year course in one or the other instead. Unless they have been on an accelerated science pathway (HCC), they won’t really have time for a science “elective” until 12th grade.

For HCC students—while they still exist—they should be able to finish ChemB/PhysB
in 10th grade, so they’ll have access to science electives earlier. However, it’s hard to imagine GHS allowing a science class that is for the most part only accessible to former HCC students, so I would think in that case they’d restrict it to seniors only—which might make full enrollment a continued challenge. If they let students double up on science that might be one way to make it feasible, but since they already have trouble providing a full 6 classes, that doesn’t seem likely. And as more and more students opt into or are pushed into Running Start, there will be fewer seniors around. It’s hard to see how this will work out as hoped given the science straightjacket.


Anonymous said...

Jazz is not a "question mark" at Garfield. There's a terrific new director of bands, jazz and drumline, Jared Sessink, who left Washington to lead Garfield's programs. Sessink is directing concert and symphonic bands, drum line, and jazz bands I and II. Mike Sundt, now director of bands at Washington, is directing jazz band III, which meets before school.

Bands and jazz at Garfield are an exclamation point! Not a question mark by any means.

Can't help it, I'm a band booster.


Anonymous said...

National Merit Semifinalists for 2019? Wondering why Seattle Times hasn't yet released info.


Anonymous said...

Clarence Acox was on Morning Edition this morning. And yes, there's still much enthusiasm around Garfield's Band & Jazz programs especially with the beloved Mr Sessink's arrival.

HF, you are right in that most students would not be able to choose ANY science elective until senior year with the new alignment, but rumor is that students may be allowed to substitute a different science class for Phys/Chem B junior year.


Anonymous said...

What if they had a highly publicized Director appointment forum, and no one showed up? No more than 20 people seated and it is 6pm.

More noise please

Anonymous said...

I don't think that I can take the mansplaining of candidate h. Please could he dial it back.


Anonymous said...

Re Charter Schools, candidate Smith doth protest much.

More noise please

Anonymous said...

Traffic. Filling up now. Good questions and good answers. Does anger work these days in job interviews? Smith seems mad to me. Other two have shown their ability. Smith has said she has the ability... Not convinced here. And she said she doesn't support charters but she was on a charters Board. Too much talk.

District 9

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately an excellent question about the accountability gap for special ed in buildings went nowhere, the candidates didn't get it. EDs pass the buck to the Special Ed Dept and the Special Ed Dept has no idea. The candidates allvtslked about money. We just need more money. None came close to the real issue, the lack of leadership holding people accountable.


Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

For the class of 2021, are there alternatives to the science testing graduation requirement, such as a qualifying score on a science AP test, etc.? My son is doing full-time RS, and I'm wondering how to avoid school-day testing for this requirement.


-A Seattle Parent

Anonymous said...

@FNH, yes, the district's science page also indicates students may be allowed to substitute a different science class for PhysB/Chem B junior year. However, keep in mind that many universities are going to want to see that they've taken at least a full year each of chemistry, biology, and physics. If you end up with half a year of intro chem and half a year of intro physics and then a random science elective, it might not look like such good preparation--especially if you're interested in pursuing a science major. (Then again, I'm not sure that B-series Chem/Bio class will look that good either.)


Anonymous said...

@District 9,
If you cannot see the difference between passion and anger, the mad one is you my friend.

Fed Up

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the 2019 National Merit Semifinalists. It's unclear why Seattle Times has not yet published their names for recognition, despite yesterday being the official release day.


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

It is sad that Seattle Times hasn't reported on National Merit yes this year. You can find lists of kids from other states in online news articles, but not here. Does Seattle Public Schools honor/acknowledge those students in any way?


Anonymous said...

@RF, maybe it'll be in the Times tomorrow. Has anyone asked them?

As for whether of not SPS honors/acknowledges them, I don't think so. It probably wouldn't be seen as equitable, since kids who didn't qualify as NMSFs would be unfairly not honored/acknowledged as NMSFs. My kiddo was an NMSF, but the ST announcement was it. Well, that, and some other parents implying that NMSF status is just about privilege, elitism, etc., and that if you place any value on that achievement you're a bad person.

(Ok, I'm exaggerating, but people do seem to poo poo it and you almost feel like you have to apologize to other parents in the district if they see your kiddo's name on the list and happen to mention it to you. "My kiddo must have just gotten lucky on test day." My advice: If yours is named, celebrate at home and maybe send the list to the grandparents, but don't share the news locally or post it on your Facebook page for others with children to see. Treat it like a dirty little secret. )

Down low

kellie said...

@ Theo,

RIFs and the Union. Greivances are only able to be filed from issues within the contract. As long as the district has a budget that says they need to cut, which was opposed by SEA as inaccurate, then the district can run a RIF. Groups could sue over injustice but there has to be contractual errors. District forecasting isn't something we can grieve.

Thanks for that information.

I am glad to know that SEA also opposed the budget as inaccurate. Based on the start of school numbers it was wildly inaccurate. If SPS is going to adopt a stance of "no changes" to the Feb budget, then the Feb budget needs to protect level staff first and foremost.

It is one thing to run a "conservative" Feb budget that you update regularly with fresh data. It is another to short staff schools and then take moral high ground, because you kept your promise of a stable budget with no changes.

The budget process is ultimately pretty simple. You either have a process that tries to be accurate with constant little changes as you get better information. Or you have a very generous budget that you can use to create that stability with no changes.

The high school budget is tricky on a good day. You need to actually staff a building with people (go figure). But high school is only funded in these teeny-tiny .17 increments. That means you get one slot on the master schedule for every 5-6 students. And teachers can only be hired in .2 increments (.2 for each class they teach, 5 classes is full time). And because of the change in funding for part time staff, you are really looking at only 1.0 increments.

That level of precision is almost impossible under the best of circumstances, And that level of precision is absolutely impossible when you have a process dedicated to "rif-ing and re-hiring."

Melissa Westbrook said...

Down low, what you say makes me very sad but I think it's true. Academic achievement is never really celebrated in SPS. Sports, music, sure but not academics. The district SHOULD talk about it and encourage/support students who might not know about NM.

NESeattleMom said...

The online news The Seattle Patch will run an article on the NMSQT semifinalists on Saturday (Tomorrow). They ran an article two years ago.

Anonymous said...

Down low, thank you for posting because that's been our experience as well.

Congratulations to all the national merit semifinalists. Well done!

As usual, the numbers from Seattle are lower than the main east side schools, except for Lakeside (which may be misleading because Lakeside also admits a lot of kids from the east side).

Ballard 2
Garfield 9
Ingraham 6
Roosevelt 3
Lakeside 36

Shorecrest 3

Bellevue 12
Interlake 31
Newport 20

Issaquah 11

Mercer Island 13

Redmond 17
Nikola Tesla 13

Eastlake 11
Skyline 21