Parents angered to learn that Seattle Public Schools’ fall reshuffle will cut teachers at local schools

(NEWEST UPDATE: Adding fifth school, West Seattle ES)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Seattle Public Schools says “approximately 25 teachers are being pulled from” schools around the city now that it has actual enrollment counts for the start of this school year, with overall district enrollment up, but not as much as expected.

At least five elementary schools in West Seattle are affected, according to what we have found out so far from information that includes, in two cases, letters sent by principals and forwarded by parents, some of whom are furious.

The district checks enrollment in early October every year and decides whether schools have appropriate staffing levels. Last year at this time, you might recall, Gatewood Elementary was told it would lose a teacher, and raised more than $66,000 in a frantic fundraising campaign to keep the position, one week after getting the initial word.

We asked district spokesperson Stacy Howard for a list of the schools affected this year; she told us that’s not available, but also added that no teachers are being laid off – just being moved.

Since there’s no list, all we know so far is what we have learned from parents – letters sent by the principals of (updated) Schmitz Park, Alki, Roxhill, and West Seattle ES, plus information from the PTA president of Highland Park.

SCHMITZ PARK ELEMENTARY: Losing one teaching position, according to e-mail that principal Gerrit Kischner sent last night to the school’s first-grade parents. More than a dozen parents have forwarded it to us.

He began, “Every year, the Seattle School District reevaluates enrollment on October 1st and makes budget adjustments accordingly. I am writing tonight to share some very unfortunate news: because of significant shifts in enrollment District-wide, Schmitz Park has lost funding for one of our first grade classrooms.” That means, he went on to write, that one class will be “collapsed” with its students reassigned to the remaining four 1st-grade classrooms. He had notified that class’s families directly, but added that “we know that the impact of this staffing reduction will be felt throughout the first grade cohort and across the school. Schmitz Park is not alone. In fact, enrollment is lower than projections by over 600 students districtwide (although we have grown overall in our total enrollment), and approximately 25 elementary schools (nearly half) will be losing one and, in some cases, more than two teachers. This news comes as much as a surprise to us as it is for you, and I am very sorry to have to bring you this news. In fact, I maintain a glimmer of hope that this budget decision can be reversed, but at this point it is extremely important that we plan rapidly to ensure that students can make a smooth transition to their new classroom.”

Kischner’s letter also quoted Schmitz Park’s enrollment at 643, one above projection, but “a drop from the 663 students we had on our rolls at the end of August.” First grade is at 114, up from the 99 at which the cohort ended kindergarten. He also noted the district’s end-of-September headcount as 52,399, 411 students more than last year, but 675 below what was projected, citing “budget pressures at the District level” for leading to the loss of what was the last teacher hired there before the school year began. “Unless new information comes our way very soon, our plan is to introduce students to their new classrooms Friday afternoon, ahead of starting Monday in the new classrooms.”

This information from the letter was attributed to the district:

Annually, at the beginning of the school year, Seattle Public Schools undergoes a staffing adjustment process to monitor enrollment at every school and to adjust staffing levels relative to actual student enrollment. Staffing adjustment decisions are made to match student needs with limited staff resources. In this process, adjustments are made in staff levels at schools to reflect the number of students actually enrolled in a program, grade and school, as opposed to forecasted/ projected enrollments. While our enrollment projections are historically very accurate at the district level, a wide range of factors can influence the final number of students enrolled at a grade, program and school level.

Once receiving student enrollment counts for each school, the district then reevaluates staffing across schools, making adjustments up and down based on each school’s enrollment. Please know that our best efforts are being made to assess all factors for staffing adjustment decisions at all schools. Staffing adjustment recommendations are developed by a team composed of members from Budget, Human Resources, Enrollment Planning, School Operations, Capital Planning, Special Education, Advanced Learning and English Language Learning departments, who use current enrollment numbers in determining staffing adjustments.

Additionally, Enrollment Planning also takes into account other factors in staffing allocations, including projected changes, expected attrition, historical trends in enrollment for each school as well as unique factors affecting each schools’ enrollment. Each school is carefully reviewed for any factors which could impact the classroom.

A petition has been started by parent Rachel Lazarsee it here. She also shared her initial reaction: “What kind of screwed-up educational system gets kids back to school two weeks late after a strike, lets them settle into their classes, then decides to cut a beloved 1st grade teacher because their counts were off and cram her students into the other classrooms, letting them hit nearly 30? Add to that a school who has been forced to expand its boundaries again this year BEFORE our new facility opens, leaving it bursting at the seams. Oh, and do this all in 48-hours time so there is little time to work through it with the kids, and no time to try and address or fight it. This makes absolutely no sense to me and I’m fired up. Our kids deserve better. This phenomenal teacher deserves better. How the hell do we fix this mess our school system is in in Seattle!?!”

ALKI ELEMENTARY: Scheduled for a 1.5-position cut, according to the letter, forwarded to us by multiple parents, sent by principal Shannon Hobbs-Beckley to her school’s community. She began, “Earlier this week, I was informed by Seattle Public Schools that we are one of several schools that will experience a staffing adjustment based upon our current school enrollment. Last year, our adjustment resulted in adding staff to our school. This year, our adjustment results in a reduction of staff to our school. … This is not an easy adjustment to make, by any means. And some questions remain unanswered, so I consider this letter the first communication about the changes we are about to embark upon.” She quoted the same district information that Kischner’s letter did, and said that with Alki Elementary having “lower enrollment than projected,” its budget was cut “by 1.5 full time teaching positions (1.0 from a general education classroom and .5 from the specialists of PE/Multi-Arts/Technology).” She went on to write that the staff was still “determining all of the impacts of this change” and thinking they might be able to cover the half-position specialist reduction, but, “What we are still working through is the 1.0 reduction from a general education classroom.”

Parent Nikki Eisenhut, who has three children at Alki, shared her letter of concern with WSB; it talks about her children’s experience at the school and concludes, “These teachers have worked hard to create a safe, inspiring learning community in the last month. I cannot support a ‘staffing adjustment’ that is going to interrupt these communities. I do not see the benefit of interrupting student learning to create larger classes and less support for the students who need it the most. I want you to know that the ‘1.5 FTE’ that you will take from Alki is removing a human being and impacting countless students. It will create larger class sizes and interrupt learning. I know that at Alki, we will weather the change, our students are resilient, our teachers are inspiring and our leader is our foundation. These staffing changes are unjust and our community is strong and resilient.”

(2nd update, 3:40 pm) ROXHILL AND HIGHLAND PARK: Thanks to the Roxhill Elementary who scanned the hard-copy letter sent home by principal Sahnica Washington; she quotes much of the district explanation excerpted above, before saying her school has “experienced lower enrollment than expected” and therefore has had its budget cut by 3.7 teachers: “As a result of the loss of teachers, we will be consolidating classrooms.”

Earlier, after this story’s initial publication, we heard from Highland Park Elementary PTA president Holly Briscoe, who says that HPE is slated to lose one teacher: “The 4 kindergarten classes will be combined to create 3 classrooms and the kindergarten teacher will then be moved to another grade level and displacing the least senior teacher, and affecting upward of 90 students, or approximately a quarter of our total population.”

(added) WEST SEATTLE ES: Thanks to the parent who sent an image of the letter sent to some families, in which principal Vicki Sacco said a lower enrollment for first grade than expected had led to the loss of one teacher.

THURSDAY NIGHT P.S. Some of the concerned parents at Schmitz Park suggested we cover tonight’s Curriculum Night for the first- and second-grade families, and so we did. The cuts were a hot topic, to say the least. We will be writing a separate story about it for tomorrow morning. No revelations but some insight, and also a spirit of bringing together the wider West Seattle community to fight for the state to fix education funding.

63 Replies to "Parents angered to learn that Seattle Public Schools' fall reshuffle will cut teachers at local schools"

  • gatewoodk October 8, 2015 (1:33 pm)

    This is just disgusting. This cannot continue to happen every year. Do they need to adjust headcount annually? Sure! Is the time to do it while school is in session? No!!! Absurd.

  • Steph October 8, 2015 (1:41 pm)

    This makes me so mad!! 25 teachers!! Crazy. Is this a “punishment” for striking?? I went through this with Gatewood last year and felt like I was being held for ransom. Maybe we were too successful with Gatewood last year and now SPS feels they can do this every year. My heart goes out to all the kiddos and parents who may have to basically start the school year over again next week. UGH.

  • Lauren October 8, 2015 (1:49 pm)

    I wonder if SPS is opening themselves up to lawsuits by ballooning first grade classes to 29-30 kids. Washington passed a citizen’s initiative last year (Initiative 1351) which limits lower grade class sizes to 17 students per class. It was passed over a year ago – where’s the implementation??

  • hannah October 8, 2015 (1:52 pm)

    Thank god there are other options for students than the public schools…they have been srewy for 20 years…we will continue to make the sacrifice for private school even though it means we sacrifice other items, we are a simple middle class family but looking at the insainty of the school board validates our choices

  • John October 8, 2015 (1:58 pm)

    If anyone has a 1st grader at Alki Elementary you are going to be affected, this proposal is slated to remove one of the most energetic and committed teachers from her role, only to combine your kids into larger classes, and reorganize the entire schools schedule.
    I view this as retaliation for the strike, SPS is saying that no one is being laid off and just being moved…so teachers who cannot accommodate a move (example-potentially from West Seattle to Shoreline?!?!) will effectively have to “quit”…seems like SPS might be railroading teachers into quitting, no unemployment benefits, etc.
    I hope the community fights this, putting our youngest/newest to school in overloaded classrooms (teacher removal is not grade based, but seniority) for no reason, trying to edge this change in without a fight or discussion (who new about this prior to the school board meeting yesterday at 4pm?!?), and doing it under the guise of “need” is unacceptable.
    Save your teachers, the school district sure won’t.

  • SomeGuy October 8, 2015 (2:05 pm)

    Reeks of payback for the teachers “winning” the strike. But certainly typical of the incompetence at SPS that we’ve seen for years…

  • A-Red October 8, 2015 (2:06 pm)

    Unfortunately that’s the root of the problem: citizen’s initiatives and our Legislature. Anyone can get signatures for their idea to put it on the ballot, and if it sounds like a good idea, the people will vote for it without regard to how it will be funded. The Legislature is stuck trying to manage an impossible budget that has increasing demand for social services (including schools), without comparable growth in revenue (taxes). The real problem, in my mind, is that everyone wants service without the burden of paying for it. If you have friends who refer to themselves as “fiscally conservative democrats,” ask them WTF that even means.

  • soi October 8, 2015 (2:18 pm)

    I blame it on China. But seriously, this isn’t related to the strike. It’s an annual event. Still leaves me annoyed every time it happens.

    I don’t know if it’s better to over predict or under predict. Under predict and you feel like you received a gift when enrollment is high enough to trigger the FTE addition. Though I’ve been told fall teaching pool may not have the strongest teaching applicants to choose from. Over predict and you lose a teacher which feels like a total rip off and you want to go yell at someone. But if you guess right, all is good.

    Makes me want education to have a cost overrun line like Bertha or Sound Transit. What a great fantasy to have $78millions for schools and let Bertha consultants create a gofundme site alongside bake sales for the rest of its funding source.

  • Lauren October 8, 2015 (2:25 pm)

    It’s all about priorities, though. Inslee gave Boeing an $8.7 billion tax cut, then punted the implementation of this initiative. It’s too easy to hide behind “we can’t afford it” and hard to raise taxes (especially if you want to get re-elected). But therein lies the rub. We elect these people to DO the hard work, not to run for re-election.

  • Sad October 8, 2015 (2:27 pm)

    It is sad what has happened to Schmitz Park (and other local schools) over the last 6 or 7 years. Too many students at one location (double capacity for several school years). Now, too many children per class in a pivotal year, 1st grade. How it got to this point is or should be criminal. Dysfunctional district and city on so many levels. The city (DPD) is responsible as well. Silo thinking. They both get an F grade.

  • AnotherGuy October 8, 2015 (2:44 pm)

    Shouldn’t schools be able to allocate resources where they are needed the most? Should another school suffer so your kid isn’t disrupted? This is life people, resources are scarce everywhere. We need to do a better job as a society to put resources where they will do the most good and keep things equitable, not just complain when actually doing that affects us personally. I have kids, I get being annoyed, but at the same time you have to look at whether or not your child is benefiting at the detriment of someone else’s. That is the system; these are public funds, for the public good. If you don’t like the system then there are tons of private schools where you can pay the market rate to ensure your child gets the level of attention you feel they deserve.

  • Person October 8, 2015 (2:44 pm)

    How do other districts handle this?

    After the debacle with the crooked superintendent/employees a few years ago, I refuse to ever believe again the district can’t afford these basic funding issues. The money is there, just not at the school/teacher level.

  • Craig October 8, 2015 (2:46 pm)

    As someone just enrolling my kids in school for the first time this year, I’m very disappointed with the sloppiness of SPS. The teachers are brilliant and thoughtful and motivated, without exception from my experience, but the governance is a joke. I can’t believe they can screw over our kids so easily. My mind can’t understand how education, at the root of everything, is such a bottom feeder. I’d love to see Amazon, Starbucks or MSFT take over schools as it’s clear the public sector just can’t do it right.

  • John October 8, 2015 (2:46 pm)

    WSB, please ask for a list of the schools affected, there IS a list, and it IS available, they are choosing not to share with you, transparency anyone?

    All teachers will be taken from their current schools, placed at another location or put into a building sub pool called SOC (sub on contract).

    Can you imagine your child’s class being displaced, kids crammed into a overloaded (per contract level agreement) classroom, only to find out that your school now just has a sub-on-contract…no cost savings…how does this make sense from any angle?!?

    • WSB October 8, 2015 (3:04 pm)

      @John, I did ask for that list, and what transpired is what I reported in the story. Specifically, I asked for a list of which schools were affected, and spokesperson Stacy Howard replied, “We do not have individual school information available right now.” And that’s why I put out a public call to hear from anyone with info (thanks again to everyone who replied!) – so far, this is what I have. If you have seen a list, or know where it’s hiding on the district website, please advise. I am a fairly decent digger and I don’t just take no for an answer, I look under every rock I can find, but so far, by looking and by asking, I haven’t found it. – TR

  • M October 8, 2015 (2:53 pm)

    I agree with A-Red, & soi.
    Also, if there is absolutely no requirement for families to “register” their student/s, in advance, & commit that their child/ren will be returning/attending that particular school, how would the District know what to project?
    Maybe there should be an actual re-enrollment process & a deadline for enrollment registration before the end of the previous school year. Yes, things come up, families move out, and families move in, but at least their would be more of an idea of enrollment numbers? The way it is currently ‘structured’ (& I use that word quite loosely), it’s all about assumption… basically a crap shoot.

  • WSMama2 October 8, 2015 (3:06 pm)

    This happens every year. This is not retaliation for the strike, it is the reality that some schools are over staffed in relation to headcount. The policy of doing this in October, however, is ludicrous- and needs to change. Surely the district has a closer idea of what is happening in August? Horrible to make these decisions after weeks of school and so disruptive to kids, parents and school schedules.

  • Chris October 8, 2015 (3:08 pm)

    SPS had over 1,000 students dis-enroll from the district during the first two weeks of September.

  • AmandaKH October 8, 2015 (3:10 pm)

    So one of the things that people missed this week was a meeting at Schmitz Park about proposed changes to school assignments and boundaries. One of the proposed changes is to dissolve the wait list for opting from your neighborhood school to a school of your choice. What that would mean is that they would let you know by the end of the current school year whether you got in to your choice school or not. This would pretty much eliminate this reshuffling you are seeing right now, and last year at Gatewood. The School Board will vote on the change on October 20th. Because they are also proposing to move the boundaries for Roxhill, West Seattle, and Arbor Heights Elementary – as well as a minor change for the middle schools – and I was the only elementary school parent in attendance that evening – we are trying to set up an additional meeting before this date somewhere in the south end of the district.

  • ash October 8, 2015 (3:17 pm)

    I’m confused by the statement that Schmitz Park has one more student enrolled than projected. If they pretty much nailed the projection for SP why is there a need to cut a teacher at that school?

  • mdavis October 8, 2015 (3:52 pm)

    Am frustrated, but cannot completely blame District for this, other than not mentioning this could happen once things settled after strike. Some families (and I do mean adults) who enroll and then dis-enroll do so because their options turned out to not be what they wanted – APP, AYp, spc. Ed – you pick it. We all have needed/desired programs for our child – in that space a family is not concerned about SPS decision making or impacts on others. We as a community could do a better job of reinforcing the importance of “it takes a village” but this stings as an Alki parent for sure.

  • Joek October 8, 2015 (3:57 pm)

    And in late breaking news the state is at 78 million and counting on tunnel cost overruns….yet no money for teachers????

  • BJG October 8, 2015 (4:01 pm)

    It’s been decades since my West Seattle second-grader was moved four times from class to class during her first month of school. By the next year she had been moved in and out of three different schools. It was a very sad time for her and us. The reason the district gave us was that she was a bright, stable, and resilient child who could handle it. UNTIL she couldn’t. That was just the beginning of our Seattle Public School nightmares. I could go on and on. I’m so sorry that other children may eventually think of their public school experience as a joke. SPS never changes. We can’t laugh about it yet. Too soon.

  • SPParent October 8, 2015 (4:06 pm)

    AnotherGuy, I understand that there is a system and all that. But the system is broken. Schmitz Park is extremely overcrowded. Come visit us at the pick up time and witness the crowd of the kids and parents. (Sarcastic thanks to SPS for cutting down bussing so the majority of the families have to drive/walk and be there in person.) Also, the system dictates that the teacher with the least seniority gets to abandon their current position. And it just doesn’t matter that at SP that particular grade happen to have 114 kids. We as a family have been extremely happy with the school and have no desire (or funds) to move to a private school. We only want the district to have a realistic view of the state of affairs. And no, paying for your child’s education doesn’t guarantee that they will receive the attention they need.

  • Amanda Poch October 8, 2015 (4:12 pm)

    I teach at West Seattle Elementary and we were told that two of our teachers will be cut. One has been decided on, and our principal and vice principal are trying to find the money in the budget to be able to pay for the other teacher ourselves. We are a Title I school and over 90% free/reduced lunch.

    • WSB October 8, 2015 (4:19 pm)

      Thanks, Amanda – that is the other school name we’d heard, but you’re the first person to come forward with some information.

  • LCWM October 8, 2015 (4:22 pm)

    What would happen if so many angry parents attended the next SPS Board meeting? Can parents at the schools get together and attend en masse?

  • Lauren October 8, 2015 (4:40 pm)

    Just found out that in addition to the elimination of the first grade class at Schmitz Park Elementary, we are also losing an IA (instructional aide). Schmitz Park is one of a handful of elementary schools in West Seattle with an autism inclusion program (called the “Access” program) and has 11 students in the program this year (up from 6 last year). FIVE of those kids are in the first grade this year. My first grader is an autistic student in that program. These kids are in general ed classes (hence the term “inclusion”) so the first grade teachers are their teachers. The IA’s help these kids with transitions, class work, and pull-out therapies. This program is already stretched beyond capacity to serve these students with autism – I’m shocked that we’re slated to lose an IA at Schmitz Park, and I can tell you there is little chance our children’s IEP’s will be complied with if this happens. I wonder if some of the other autism programs are looking at IA reductions as well (the other WS schools with Access programs at the elementary level are Pathfinder, Arbor Heights and Stem Boren). This seems to have been lost in the shuffle today, unfortunately–I just heard about it an hour ago.

  • Alice October 8, 2015 (4:59 pm)

    What ARE the current classroom size limits, anyway? Because I know this is going to push them.

  • Rita October 8, 2015 (5:04 pm)

    ALL students will be affected by the reduction of teachers. At Alki where they will be losing a first grade teacher – not only will those students who are in that class be moved to other classrooms but there will be a 1/2 split so second graders will also be shuffled. Because of the .5 loss – specialist will be most likely asked to reduce their job which will mean a loss of income. And those who have taught part-time know that you end up working full-time hours anyway. The loss of hours will mean less planning time for teachers and less PE, Multi-Arts and the loss of Technology for ALL students. To make needed adjustments because of the 1.5 staffing loss – students lunch time will most likely again be shortened leaving less time for eating and recess. Alki went through many building changes this summer. Classrooms were divided and moved. While one teacher left Alki another teacher returned from leave so the school has the same number of teachers and classrooms with a shift in what grades teachers are teaching and in the numbers of teachers at each grade level. The district is now asking the school to lose a teacher, reduce specialists and to add students to already overcrowded classrooms. Reducing teachers at the first and second grade level is a conflict with the stated goals for early learning. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE contact the media, other parents along with district and city leaders to prevent SPS from doing this. The turn around is so short and seems somewhat sneaky on the part of the district.

  • schools October 8, 2015 (5:48 pm)

    We lost my daughters 2nd grade teacher at Bryant (wedge wood area) we were told she was being moved to another building. We don’t know where.

  • Kgdlg October 8, 2015 (6:38 pm)

    We have recently left Seattle and while we are so sad and missing our community there, this is a madness that will not be missed. 30 kids in a class is not acceptable, ever.

  • WSTeacher October 8, 2015 (6:52 pm)

    Seattle Public Schools doesn’t give a damn about its teachers. I know this from experience.

  • AnotherGuy October 8, 2015 (7:13 pm)

    Did the story not say that “no teachers are being laid off – just being moved”. Is everyone intentionally overlooking that statement? They are reallocating, hopefully to schools that are currently understaffed. Everyone is complaining about what their children lost, but what about those whose children gained in this? Again, shouldn’t fairness and equity be taken into account across the whole district? No one is losing their job here if this story is correct.

    • WSB October 8, 2015 (7:53 pm)

      Another, fwiw, we have been at the Schmitz Park curriculum night meeting and having heard the principal try to explain it, I have more questions for the district tomorrow. It seems to also have been conveyed by district leadership as a budget cut … and hard to see how that will be the case if they are just being moved.

  • Wsparent October 8, 2015 (7:49 pm)

    this does happen in other districts, but they often choose to keep the teachers and kids where they are since a month and a half of school has usually gone by and changing the classroom configurations causes teachers to have to get to know their new kids and kids to adjust to new routines. It wastes valuable teaching and learning time. October 1st is the “student count date”. The projections have been off in ws for years. That is why there are 20 portables at schmitz park and roxhill losing 3.7 teachers is just showing that the person who does the projections for the district sucks at their job. Seriously, this is ridiculous. All parents should be writing israel vela, the director of this region, marty mcclaren, the school board member for this region and all the other school board members.

  • Wsparent October 8, 2015 (8:00 pm)

    Interesting… The district is not being transparent. just like they said they didn’t have a list of schools that are affected, even though they schools that they had to lose teachers… Ugh. Thank goodness the individual schools and the teachers that work in them are great. i wish the district offices could get their stuff together.

  • Rita October 8, 2015 (8:02 pm)

    There are reportedly FIVE current openings for new teachers. There are 25 schools that are losing staff. Not only teachers but instructional aids for special education. Instructional aids do not have contracts so the likelihood that they will still have employment is questionable. Those teachers that are not placed in a school will become Subs-on-call. So paying a possible 50-thousand dollars for a sub when the district could hire FIVE new teachers is not complaining AnotherGuy – it isn’t cost effective. The schools that are losing teachers and aids also greatly NEED those teachers and aids – so that isn’t equity or fairness. The district needs to stick to its word and PUT CHILDREN FIRST.

  • WSMom October 8, 2015 (8:19 pm)

    @Lauren, My understanding is that the .6 IA cut is to the resource program, based on number of resource students. If the number of Access students hasn’t changed then there should definitely not be an IA reduction.

  • Queen Anne Mom October 8, 2015 (9:08 pm)

    Alice, great question, What ARE the current classroom size limits. I think I found them on SPS website…..

    there in WSS Staffing Allocations, it says:
    – Grades K-3: One teacher for every 26 students.
    – Grades 4-5: One teacher for every 28 students.
    – Grades 6-12: One teacher for every 30 students
    or going to
    click on District, departments
    Click on Budget
    Click on FY 2015-16 Budget Development Instructions

    • WSB October 8, 2015 (9:10 pm)

      That was asked and answered at tonight’s Schmitz Park meeting. But they are not legal limits, principal Gerrit Kischner explained – if a teacher has to teach more than 26 students in a K-3 classroom, for example, she gets “overage pay.” A parent subsequently asked the poignant question – OK, so the parent gets compensation, but what compensation do the *kids* get?

  • Seattle_12 October 8, 2015 (9:19 pm)

    Craig, great idea about amazon taking over public education, some differences:

    – if sales (enrollment) is in the wrong location, they will just fire or lay off every teacher (not displace)

    – Displace teacher will not be the new, excited, ready to positively impact the students, it will be the 20 year old in the system, that leaves at 2:01pm, that is not accountable to any result whatsoever, that blames the kids for not knowing, that suspends the “difficult” kids, that is the union rep, etc, etc etc,…..

    – Teachers will not work 8 months, and leave at 2pm, they will work 12 months and 12 hours……that way students will have 20 minutes to have lunch without having to agree with the union, and wanted to get paid for what private employees are just asked to do

    – Make central accountable for the forecasting, their results. I am sure a lot of heads will be slated

    – There won’t be unions asking for teachers for not being accountable to any result of the students, and use only tenure, after 1 year, the teachers just have to have a pulse and they will always keep their job, well, sometimes they could be displaced to another school, but always have their job…..

    Yeah, that sounds great….Seattle_12

  • Viewlands_Dude October 8, 2015 (9:26 pm)

    My children are in classes of 35 students, we need more teachers!!!!!!, we were told we need to wait for the cut positions so one is assigned to our school….today we were told that it will be a meeting with the principal union to decide what to do….

    I watched the board meeting, and listen the 4 Alki teachers talking about how sad it will be not to have their 21 student classes…….why the Alki kids have a 21 student class, and my kids have 35 kids? is that fair?

  • Concord Mom October 8, 2015 (9:27 pm)

    I learned this evening at curriculum night that a 1st grade teacher has been pulled from Concord International and the classes will go to a K-1 split. It’s completely unacceptable.

  • john October 8, 2015 (9:30 pm)

    Fiscally conservative democratic here.
    School should run like a private company. Spend wisely, cut waste and under preformers and push people to always prove there value through doing more and better every year.

    @Rita, 50k for a temp is better than a full time hire since a full time hire cost you +50% more to cover all the benefits. Its called fully loaded cost of a FTE (full time employee). Its why companies hire temps and outsource work. Fiscally responsible ;-)

  • Laura October 8, 2015 (9:35 pm)

    WSB, ask how it’s a budget cut if the district still owns the contracts of the displaced teachers. Dozens of contracted employees collecting pay and benefits, only a handful of open slots to fill. Are they still having to pay displaced employees… Do they still pay for benefits? If so, Why not be more strategic? That’s my question.

  • Joe Szilagyi October 8, 2015 (9:36 pm)

    @AnotherGuy: “This is life people, resources are scarce everywhere.”
    WRONG. The state is is direct violation of the State Constitution in funding education by more than half the amount they are supposed to. Our public education funding is literally half what it’s legally supposed to be!. The McCleary decision settled this, permanently, and the State Supreme Court is STILL dragging it’s heels in forcing compliance.
    I know conservatives HATE this decision by the Court, but you know what? It’s been in the State Constitution for AGES. The anti-tax ideology is nothing in the face of the State Constitution on this one. It’s settled. All that we need is the Courts to do their job and force the issue to fund education.
    It’s time to put every legislator in Olympia unwilling to raise taxes by any means necessary to comply with the McCleary decision in jail until the education shortfall is resolved. Special session, now. Take them under police escort to Olympia. If they flee like they did in Wisconsin during the big fight over Walker’s cuts there, extradite their asses right back to Washington. Enough is enough. Comply, resign, or rot in jail.
    End this. Fund the schools.

  • Joe Szilagyi October 8, 2015 (9:37 pm)

    @John “School should run like a private company.”
    Nope. The State Constitution and the McClearly court case have settled this. Even if it was ran like a private company, the state’s paramount duty is to sufficiently fund it. Our taxes WILL go up to where they’re supposed to be to fund schools. It’s only we’re waiting for the Courts to actually do their jobs.

  • herongrrrl October 8, 2015 (9:55 pm)

    My oldest is a junior at a Seattle public school, and I have a first grader at Alki. We just got an email telling us about the teacher who is slated to get kicked out, and thanking us for our continued “trust and patience” in the process–seriously??

    What would happen if a group of angry parents showed up at the next school board meeting? Probably nothing. I have seen SPS treat both parents and teachers with breathtaking contempt and disregard, on both an individual and district-wide level. The district seems to love an angry mob, since they are so good at inspiring them! But they will keep doing this until we truly hold them accountable at every level–from the legislature to the school board. I remain deeply impressed with the incredible teachers my children have had in Seattle Schools, especially knowing the district is not supporting them.

    Viewlands Dude, NO child should be in a 35-student classroom! And no child should have their learning disrupted once they’ve gotten used to a stable routine. It isn’t a perfect world, but this is pretty basic stuff and I find it stunning that all those administrators can’t seem to figure it out.

    I was given these contact email addresses by folks at Alki close to the situation and told to write angry letters. I am going to, and I hope you will too. Feel free to pass these around!

    Martha McLaren, School Board Director

    Leslie Harris, School Board Candidate

    Dr. Larry Nyland, Superintendent

    Mr. Charles Wright, Deputy Superintendent

    Mr. Michael Tolley, Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning

    Mr. Flip Herndon, Associate Superintendent of Facilities and Operations

    Mr. Israel Vela, Executive Director of Schools Southwest Region

  • Annie October 8, 2015 (9:58 pm)

    SPS administration is dyfunctional and incompetent. They have had a teacher on PAID administrative leave for all of last year and now going into a second school year because HR can’t finish investigating and deciding what to do about an “incident” the teacher was involved in – we are all paying for this! And yet kids with obvious and pronounced special needs go unserved for months on end, taxing the classroom teacher and costing the other students that attention because the paperwork process for “assessment” is (intentionally) prohibitively complex. There are certainly better ways to deal with the enrollment changes but I have no confidence that SPS will ever effectively address it.

  • Hillary October 8, 2015 (10:32 pm)

    i am the parent of a first grade student at West Seattle Elementary. My child’s first grade class has been dissolved and divided amongst the 3 other first grade classrooms. Thank god for a great team of teachers. This is a title one school and the change will push all the classrooms over their cap. A second teacher was slated to be displaced but WSE admin are looking for funds to preserve the position. I’m happy to upload the class reassignment letter if requested. District leadership should be ashamed of themselves for runing such a knee jerk, shortsighted program.

    • WSB October 8, 2015 (10:36 pm)

      Hillary, if you have a copy to send us, we’d appreciate it, as we’re still trying to get as much documentation as possible for this – we have the letters from Schmitz Park, Alki, and Roxhill, but not WSES or Highland Park. – thank you. – Tracy

  • soi October 8, 2015 (10:36 pm)

    Joe S. I remember reading a Crosscut article which stated the WA Supreme Court can end the 600+ state tax breaks to fund education. Not quite as sexy as chasing down legislators with the state patrol, but may get the money faster.

    I hope people understand about due process and seniority under CBA. Teachers have rights under their contract and have a seniority system. You can’t just bypass that and fire or hire at will.

  • Ivan October 9, 2015 (6:38 am)

    For each teacher who this “plan” says is to be reassigned, instead one of the suits at the Stanford Center should be fired. They seem to have plenty of money for them, don’t they? THIS is where the rot in the system lies, and until SPS’ bloated administrative staff is slashed to the bone, and staffing decisions revert to the building level, these problems will continue to plague us.

  • highline teacher October 9, 2015 (7:03 am)

    The question was asked what other districts do. Highline also analyzes numbers and performs similar classroom changes due to student enrollment. There may or may not be staff involvement but the ultimate decision is by administration. It’s not just a SPS issue. Deadlines to register don’t matter when families are constantly moving (due to housing primarily).

  • john October 9, 2015 (7:45 am)

    AND the school district is adding more district level positions that seem repetitive, un-needed vs. teachers…and haven’t been needed in the past, the latest is a planning position of some some with a salary of $107k…this was just added to their site.

  • A-Red October 9, 2015 (8:29 am)

    Fiscally conservative democrats often say government should be run like a private corporation “to eliminate waste.” Sorry, I work for a big, successful, private corporation, and from my observation, there is plenty of waste here as well. It’s an apples to oranges argument anyway. Schools aren’t profit centers–they require taxes to operate. It then becomes a debate about how the government should spend the tax revenue. Fiscally conservative democrats want services for the poor, roads free of potholes, well maintained local parks, smaller classes at the schools, and so on–just don’t ask them how to pay for it. “Eliminating waste” will probably get us about 5% of the way there.

  • Melissa Westbrook October 9, 2015 (10:14 am)

    Other schools affected are:
    Olympic View
    Green Lake

    I’m compiling a list. It appears that Monday is the cutoff date for decisions and the decisions will be implemented the next Monday the 19th.

    From the district:

    “Relevant staff members have informed me that the October P223 report is not yet available. Staff anticipates having it by the end of next week, and the report will be posted to the District Data and Reports webpage once available. All available past P223 reports can be found on that webpage as well.”

    These are the enrollment reports for every school, across grades.

    • WSB October 9, 2015 (10:30 am)

      @Melissa – Saw that on your site, which of course I checked for any additional info on all this (which of course we would have linked/attributed as usual) – though I haven’t stopped by today; I’m writing our followup right now with what Schmitz Park’s principal told parents at Curriculum Night last night, including that some of the affected principals are meeting with the superintendent today. With the five you mention and the five we have, that still leaves 15 schools out there somewhere.

  • Wsgal October 9, 2015 (10:17 am)

    I was shocked to learn a new principal in a school can bring in well over 6 figures and we are still doing cuts for teachers that directly inure our children’s ability to learn and flourish. Sound like it IS running like a pro oats company.

  • Rita October 9, 2015 (4:33 pm)

    Viewlands_Dude – What you do not know is that Alki has gone through the same thing. When Alki had classes with over thirty students classes were shuffled to make split classes like they did this year with two full fourth and fifth grade classes and a 4/5 split. Another year the school had to wait until after Christmas for a new teacher and had over 30 students in several classes but the district gave the teachers a substitute to “help” with the overloaded classrooms. Right now both of their fourth grade classes are around 30 students. So those teachers were not saying WAAA! Poor me. Alki’s numbers have increased from May when we were allotted the amount of teachers they now have – but somehow with 23 MORE students we should have one less. Both Viewlands and Alki’s situation is unacceptable. Eliminating the first grade position is going against lower class sizes for K-3. Yes the teacher is fighting for her job – but she is fighting for her students. Students that could easily be YOUR CHILD. So no waaa! The district just needs to hire another teacher so your child is an appropriate size class.

  • Elizabeth October 9, 2015 (5:43 pm)

    Wedgwood Elementary is slated to lose 1 General Ed teacher & .5 PE/Music/Art teacher.

  • being frank October 11, 2015 (9:53 am)

    So I am curious and I have to ask this-How many of you commenting have attended a FOCUS Day event down in Olympia? It has been going on for many years.How many of you have asked your PTSAs to be more about advocacy and less about fancy schmoozing at fundraisers?
    I know we all like to get dressed up and and clear our conscience with a little “paddle raising” but if we got the legislators to do their jobs we wouldn’t need to be having fundraisers at all. I’m all for community building but you don’t need to raise money to build community. So don’t try to sell me on the auctions as being community builders. Pot Luck Suppers are community builders. And if you think we have it bad, look at other parts of the state. Some areas can’t even get a levy passed. Oh but that’s a whole other discussion…sort of.

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