Also tonight: Seattle School Board vote on firing the superintendent

Not in West Seattle, but affecting every Seattle Public Schools family (and taxpayer) – tonight’s Seattle School Board meeting will include a vote on whether to fire Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson. The items added to the board agenda (screengrab above) tell the story, as do our partners at the Seattle Times, who have been extensively covering the newest revelations about district financial mismanagement. The Times says a closed-door board session last night was followed by a statement from board president Steve Sundquist of West Seattle, promising “swift and decisive action.” You can read his statement on the district website (PDF); the Times coverage includes links to other documents of note. For even more details and background, the district-watchdog website has been covering the situation closely. (Here’s what their writers and commenters hope the next superintendent will do, and be.) Though money-mismanagement reports seem to be the proverbial last straw, discontent has been simmering a while – you might recall the no-confidence votes by teachers at schools (including at least two in West Seattle) toward the end of last year. It’s been almost four years since Goodloe-Johnson was hired. Tonight’s board meeting, by the way, is open to the public, 6 pm at district HQ in SODO. (Or you can watch live on cable channel 26.)

21 Replies to "Also tonight: Seattle School Board vote on firing the superintendent"

  • BS March 2, 2011 (7:50 am)

    What channel and what time tonight?

  • WSB March 2, 2011 (8:01 am)

    Hi – maybe I added that line concurrent with your comment, but it’s in the story now (I was looking it up after hitting “publish” the first time), channel 26, 6 pm. – TR

  • BS March 2, 2011 (8:05 am)


    • WSB March 2, 2011 (9:21 am)

      Headline there’s a little odd, declaring “they ARE GOING TO.” It’s likely, but it’s not a done deal until the vote’s taken. Unless they polled all school-board members, and that two-graf blurb attributed to KING doesn’t have any such suggestion. We’ll know within oh, 12 hours or so! – TR

  • Dr. Richard Curtis March 2, 2011 (9:24 am)

    As long as voters tollerate fools who think corporate models are effective everywhere, including schools, then we will have these problems. Schools are not businesses and it is pure delusion to think they should be run that way. That is the Superintendent’s greatest failing, and there is no reason to think the School Board understands that.

    It should be obvious to everyone with an IQ above room temperature that our schools are radically underfunded, and there is simply no hope until we the people or our idiot politicians decide to tax the wealthy in a reasonable manner (i.e. tax policy like the 1950’s). I see no reason to expect that anyone with any power in the situation will actually do anything rational. It is all very sad.

    Richard Curtis, PhD

  • Mike March 2, 2011 (9:34 am)

    Another sad day for Seattle schools. Public education is one of the foundations of our republic – an informed, educated electorate is critical. It’s also essential to our economy. Unfortunately, this will not help our schools get the public support they desperately need.

  • Jeff March 2, 2011 (9:45 am)

    If the dead weight at the bottom of the ability spectrum wasn’t using up all the teachers’ time and resources, and got sent to reform school like they would have in the past, I think we would find that suddenly public schools were performing great.

  • Skeeter March 2, 2011 (9:48 am)

    Richard, what makes you say that public schools are “radically underfunded?” Do you have any figures to back that up? Comparisons to other school districts?

  • Skeeter March 2, 2011 (9:58 am)

    Seattle Public Schools serve 45,944 students. The most recent approved budget (2009/10) was $558M. That is a budget of $12,145 per student per year.

    My local private school (Catholic K-8) charges less than $6,000 per year without parish subsidy and about $4,500 with parish subsidy.

    I know – apples and oranges. The local private school doesn’t teach in 15 languages or have to deal with problems.
    Before we say that public schools are “radically underfunded” we need to establish some criteria for comparison.

  • Karma March 2, 2011 (11:14 am)

    Skeeter, that $12,145 per student per year? If only that money actually made its way to the schools…

  • ann March 2, 2011 (12:44 pm)

    I think this just proves that our schools are not necessarily underfunded, but that the district administration is most definitely over-funded.

    I’m a huge fan of public schools. I will reconsider next time I’m asked to vote yes to a school levy.

  • marty March 2, 2011 (1:23 pm)

    I am so tired of hearing that dollars will solve our school problems! Our school results will not improve until parents take an active part in the process. Have you ever wondered why Asian students are outperforming everyone else? It’s because their parents are active participants in the process. All of the responsibility should not be passed on to the schools, the parents need to accept primary responsibility for success or failure.

  • mitch March 2, 2011 (1:34 pm)

    First of all, how cowardly and shameful it is for MGJ to be in hiding – I know, the dog ate her homework. It tells volumes about her character, but the Board already knew there where questions about that when they hired her.

    I don’t think people fully understand the dreadful and intimidating culture that exists within many big city public agencies. I’ve spent 30+ years providing high level professional services and products to both private and public organizations, often spending months working with clients of all shapes, sizes, colors and management styles – from the biggest of the techs to municipal waste water plants.

    What I’ve observed is that while there are many similarities between all organizations, most people want to do good work for example, I must regretfully say that as a lifelong liberal and believer in all things just, the well intentioned idea of affirmative action has had some terrible unintended consequences.

    The products and services we provide (I’m the owner) cost in the $50,000-100,000 range, but we work out butts off for it – it’s not unusual for me to spend 75 or 80 hours a week, for weeks on end, on a clients’ project. Our projects also require us to be on site for long periods of time and it’s critical that we have someone on the inside who has the experience, initiative and smarts to make our very complex job run smoothly. A detail person. And again, I hate to say, but the most problems we have, cost overruns and chaos, were caused by an inexperienced people who should have who don’t have the chops for the job their in.

    And yeah, many of them probably were affirmative action hires. That’s not a question you ask. Because if your’re like me, a hard working white guy (or white woman – usually the best managers) just trying to feed his family and do a good job, and you even suggest some like Potter, or Stephens, or MGJ isn’t doing their job, you’ll be accused of racism. And that label is the Mark of Cain for guys like me in too many public agencies.

    So I stopped working for public agencies several years ago – Expedia is a much better client for example. But I also quit sending my kid to Seattle Public Schools about that time.

    One more thing: Silas Potter, ef you Pal. You’re a real role model.

  • george March 2, 2011 (3:12 pm)

    Should be a firey meeting tonight!

  • Public School Advocate March 2, 2011 (3:50 pm)

    This interview with Dr. Goodloe-Johnson in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine a few months back speaks volumes to her character and type (or lack) of leadership.

    I think we need to be very cautious about who we replace her with. Dr. Susan Enfield, the current Chief Academic Officer, whose name has been circulating as an interim superintendent was hand picked by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson a few years ago (just like Don Kennedy the Chief Finance & Operations Officer who will most likely be gone with Goodloe-Johnson). I personally feel that someone from the outside with a different philosophy is what is needed to get this district back on track. SPS has a history giving the interim superintendent the hire.

  • stb March 2, 2011 (4:06 pm)

    She is not “in hiding.” She is with her gravely ill mother. Which as far as I’m concerned does indeed “speak volumes about her character.”

  • BAU March 2, 2011 (4:19 pm)

    Another good reason to move to Bellevue.

  • Cclarue March 2, 2011 (5:10 pm)

    Mitch , you sound awfully racist in your co
    ment. The color of ones skin has not one fricken thing to do with their character. Shame on you mr perfect white guy. Your comment is discusting to me and I am white.

  • knm March 2, 2011 (5:14 pm)

    Is the meeting broadcast on tv?

    • WSB March 2, 2011 (5:45 pm)

      KNM – that’s the last line of the story – live at 6, channel 26 (assuming you have Seattle cable system). Not over the air, though. And not live online that I know of – though they usually turn the clip around by the next day. I am here at School District HQ to cover this with live updates (text, photos, sitting next to the public=comment podium and front-row facing the school board, plus tweets) so if you can’t get it on TV, you can check back here for in-progress highlights … TR

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