Sunday, January 19, 2014

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, January 20th
No School in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Wednesday, January 22nd
School Board Meeting, starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda.  
Note: there is to be an Executive Session after the Board meeting for 30 minutes. 

Action Items

- removal (basically) of open choice seats in high school from the New Student Assignment Plan Transition Plan for 2013-2014.  I think this would be the beginning of the end of open choice seats for high school.
- approval of Transportation Service Standards for 2014-2015.  New to this item is a requested piece of information by the Board for moving every school's arrival time 10 minutes later.  Staff is requesting comments about arrival times/start times be sent to arrivaltimes@seattleschools.org 
- approval of Capacity Management with about $4.2M from BEX IV to buy portables.  I'll note that voters did not vote to use this money for this purpose.   But again, once you vote in a levy/bond, the money can be used for purposes other than what was advertised (as long as it's within the limitations of the use of the money).

Intro items
- to be on your radar - Amending School Board Policy #4260, Use of School Facilities. 
It has come to my attention that the district wants to create a change in usage of facilities.  The district says it is "working with SCPTSA" over using facilities and there is a rent waiver process for groups wishing to use facilities for "youth enrichment that meet requirements."  This is a change from type of organization to type of use.

The issue is that the district now wants the group - not the district - to pay for aides or support for any special needs child.

With respect to all non-District uses of school facilities, the organization conducting the activity shall be responsible for assuring that youth are able to participate consistent with these requirements. This includes providing appropriate services and accommodations and, if necessary, paying the costs of providing services or accommodations for youth who require such assistance to participate. School staff will convene Section 504 meetings as appropriate, of those knowledgeable about the activity and the youth’s needs in order to be able to participate in the activity, to determine what services oraccommodations are needed to allow the youth to participate, and will include a representative of the organization conducting the activity to assure their understanding of the requirements.

Obviously, this would be a huge issue for any group - PTA or not - to have to find the dollars to give to support for a child with a disability.  This is NOT to say that students with disabilities should not be able to access any or all programs on-site at their school, during the school day or not.

But the costs would likely be prohibitive to any group wanting to sponsor an activity.  Also, it appears that many students in this category would be attending under a 504 which would seem to be squarely in the district's responsibility.

I would urge you to write to the Board in opposition to this move.  PTAs or other groups could continue on without offering services to students with disabilities but naturally, would run the risk of a lawsuit or denial of space by the district.  Write to schoolboard@seattleschools.org and include "Use of School Facilities" in the subject line.

I know this is a matter of deep concern to the SCPTSA and I'm sure you will be hearing about this from your own school PTA.  It might mean the end of many after-school activities.

- Amending the School Board policy on use of Memorial Stadium.  This is an interesting one as the women's professional soccer team, the Reign, is requesting to use the stadium for two seasons.  The current policy would not allow them to make some changes to the locker rooms nor could they bring in their own food vendors.  The district agrees with these changes. 

-RTTT Project 4: Digital STEM tools.  This is acceptance of a grant of RTTT money for "Top Road Map Consortium."  I have doubts about this program and again, major concerns over the tracking of the students in the program. 

Charter Applicant Forum for Summit Olympus and Green Dot starting at 5 p.m. in Tacoma at their Main library, 1102 Tacoma Avenue South

College Goal Washington Financial Aid Night from 5-8 pm at Rainier Beach HS, 6:30-8:30 p.m.  at Roosevelt HS.

Thursday, January 23rd
College Goal Washington Financial Aid Night from 6-7:30 pm at West Seattle HS.

Friday, January 24th
Last date to comment any charter application to the Charter Commission.  The first transcripts are up at the Charter Commission website (bottom of the page - thanks to reader Lynn for pointing this out). 

Washington State Charter School Commission
PO Box 40996
Olympia, WA  98504-0996.
Written comments are limited to one-page, 12-pt font.

Saturday, January 25th
Community Meeting with President Peaslee from 10-11:30 am at Panera Bread at 401 NE Northgate Way

Community Meeting with Director Patu from 10 am to noon at Cafe Vita.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please verify that a voter approved bond can be used for purposes other than what is stated in the language on the bond as written in the ballot. I believe your statement about 4 year (or less) operating levies and 6 year (or less) capital levies is correct.

Anonymous said...

Am I reading the proposed start time chart correctly? Is the plan to still drop off 15 minutes before the start time? A 9:35 drop off would mean a 9:50 start- with a 3:50 end, with a 4:00 departure? Wowza, that seems a little late to me.
QA Mom

Christina said...

I wrote to the school board, Transportation Department, Arrival Times group, Dr. Banda and Ms. McEvoy about the impact this transportation draft will have on my family, as my child is a middle schooler at an option school, facing an earlier start time and a possible/probable shift to public transit, plus a change to a school location 1.5 miles farther from home.

We at least know what our options are, even if my question "Will the ORCA cards suggested for middle school students attending option schools be prepaid?" was unanswered.

I'm seriously considering a move to Shoreline, or sending my child to Jane Addams Middle School. I visited SchoolStartTime.org for supporting evidence in favor of delaying start times for pubescent students. There's a sample advocacy letter there, to aid parents/caregivers/guardians in writing letters to the School Board and District superintendent before the Board vote on January 22.