VIDEO: Parents demand audience with school board over teacher cuts

5:07 PM: We’re at Seattle Public Schools headquarters, where the School Board is meeting as a “committee of the whole.” The parents involved with Kids Not Cuts – formed after word last week that teacher positions would be cut at more than two dozen schools around the city – came to demand a few minutes of the board’s time. We walked in a moment after the meeting started, and what ensued is what you see below:

If you can’t watch the video, the parents asked for 10 minutes to speak to the board before their agenda – with no related items – moved on. Board leadership refused, and eventually adjourned the meeting to a smaller room nearby. All but board member Sue Peters left. Several parents, including two from Schmitz Park, stayed to talk with her, as did most if not all of the media there (including us). When that conversation left and Peters headed to the other room, reporters and photographers were told it was at capacity and they could not go inside. That was being challenged vigorously when the board members decided to come back into the auditorium. Right now the meeting has resumed and at least two dozen parents remain; the agenda item under discussion involves the City of Seattle levy-funded Preschool Program, which is reported to include two “under-enrolled” SPS classrooms right now. One parent found that ironic, to say the least, and got up to again demand time with the board; president Sherry Carr said there will be a break during this meeting, at which time parents can talk with board members. More irony was pointed out by parents as Carr went on to explain procedure and how tonight’s agenda had to be published in advance; she invited parents to address the board next Wednesday, while the parents pointed out that’s too late, as the teacher moves/cuts have to be finalized before then.

5:33 PM: We have to get back to West Seattle; parents remain here, and citywide media too, so we’ll find out later what happens here. And if you missed it, here’s our earlier coverage, including the early-afternoon media briefing about the cuts/changes.

19 Replies to "VIDEO: Parents demand audience with school board over teacher cuts"

  • Melissa Westbrook October 14, 2015 (5:21 pm)

    There is irony in Dir Blanford saying “there is value in stability” for families in City’s pre-k classrooms. Where’s his concern for stability In schools affected by staffing cuts? Rather tone-deaf.

  • Robert October 14, 2015 (5:55 pm)

    I seem to think that something stinks very bad down at the puzzle palace on lander street, time after time we hear, “we will cut some of the classrooms and probably a teacher or two” BUT we never hear “we are cutting some staff at the main office””’they are tripping over each other, all driving new PRIUZ cars, heaven forbid they have to drive a 20 year old used car like most of the parents..WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO CHILDREN FIRST ??????????????OR DID YOU FORGET..

  • Chet October 14, 2015 (6:04 pm)

    I’m frustrated because I saw this coming as early as 2006 and could not get understanding from the community or DPD or SPS. It’s sad that we are always in reactive mode. Thanks to the current parents at my kids’ alma mater and other WS Elementary Schools.
    It’s not too soon to set your sights on Madison Middle School.. With Schmitz, Alki, and Lafayette being at double capacity, will we end up with over crowding at Madison as well?.!

  • Chet October 14, 2015 (6:12 pm)

    I was ignored, insulted, called a NIMBY, you name it.

  • Huindekmi October 14, 2015 (7:06 pm)

    Holy cow! Those are some board members who really aren’t interested in ever being re-elected!

  • SpEd Mom October 14, 2015 (8:12 pm)

    While I am sympathetic to their cause, I do not like to hear parents with general ed kids using our kids as an ends to obtain their means. The situation for our students goes well beyond 26-28 kids/classroom.

  • Ttt October 14, 2015 (8:18 pm)

    Someone is getting voted out as soon as their time is officially up, and Sue Peters will be the only one remaining… An awful display from the school board.

  • Heidi A October 14, 2015 (8:44 pm)

    Brother, can you spare ten minutes for kids?
    Nice job, Kevin Broveleit, speaking for the parents!

  • Kevin October 14, 2015 (9:45 pm)

    SpEd Mom – I was not using special ed kids as a means to an end. I don’t even have an affected kid. I was there, my wife was there, lots of parents were there to say enough. The systemic problems we face are daunting, no question. But this isn’t about raising money to save our teacher, #kidsnotcuts is working for the opportunity to work with the district to evolve this conversation into sustainable solutions for everyone. The district needs to move beyond shrugging their shoulders to unfavorable circumstances and rebalancing their spreadsheets, to leading us to real solutions. Please don’t question my motives, I was there fighting for all kids in SPS.

    And thank you to Sue Peters for the taking time to listen and hopefully start a bigger conversation.

  • Curate October 14, 2015 (9:57 pm)

    I was dismayed and frustrated by the district during the teacher strikes. Now I’m actually afraid. This is becoming Orwellian. Are there no “checks” on this dictatorship-by-board and anonymous white-collar management? The double-speak, the opacity, the inaccessibility — is this LEGAL? Does the public have any way to affect change besides election of the school board and “rallies?” I wish someone with some real civic legal savvy could speak to what options we parents have.

  • Heidi A October 14, 2015 (11:14 pm)

    As a SpEd mom myself, I don’t thin Kevin and the others were “using” SpEd kids. Yes, there are bigger issues, but it is true that super sized classrooms have a negative effect on inclusion. I see Kevin and the others on camera as being inclusive, fighting for all our kids. It’s a very valid and important point and I thank them for raising it.

  • redblack October 15, 2015 (5:47 am)

    chet: i don’t have a kid in this fight, but genesee hill elementary is opening in fall of 2016. that will require more teachers and staff, and classrooms should have a little more elbow room, yes?

  • Bonnie October 15, 2015 (8:49 am)

    Chet, I agree. Madison will most likely be overcrowded. They moved Sanislo out of Denny and moved to Madison because Denny was overcrowded but what are they going to do when Madison is overcrowded? Are they going to move Sanislo back? Frustrating.

  • Huindekmi October 15, 2015 (9:10 am)

    Schmitz Park will move into the new school on Genesee Hill, and will be over capacity the day it opens. It will provide a little more elbow room for kids (compared to fitting 600+ kids into a building designed for 295), but it won’t mean any more teachers or staff. And it won’t increase the total capacity of West Seattle elementary schools. Nor will it help when the surge of elementary kids start heading into middle school.

    The district hasn’t figured out what to do with the existing Schmitz Park building after it is vacated, though there were some rumors that the city’s free pre-school program might move in. There have been no indications of SPS planning to open another elementary school at the Schmitz Park location.

    The land for Schmitz Park Elem was donated to the city with the intent that it either it remains an active school or the land returns to the Schmitz family who gifted it to the city.

  • BJG October 15, 2015 (10:05 am)

    Numbers never define the need. One ADHD student or other behavioral issue means the teacher’s attention will be focused there for too many precious minutes of the day. You can’t assume every twenty student distribution is equal in the classroom. I volunteered in a local kindergarten class where one student spent the day wandering around, totally unfocused, noisy, and disrupting the rest of the class. He rarely sat down, rarely listened and I was told it was “too late to do anything else” with him. The overwhelmed dad “insisted” he be there. So he was…for the entire school year, a free-range kid who would have to repeat the year eventually somewhere else. That classroom went through two teachers and a few subs along the way. He was a sweet boy. Too bad for him. Too bad for the others. It was a nineteen-student class that felt like thirty. I’m sure this happens more in SPS than the burbs..but when it happens it impacts everyone there. Please take some time and volunteer. Opinions on class size may change. I wish administrators could be required to spend regular classroom time helping out and learning something. Breezing through on a photo-op won’t get it. Thanks, dear teachers for all you do! You are so appreciated.

  • alkijogle October 15, 2015 (12:15 pm)

    Although the two parents that ended up on this video were both from Schmitz Park, the Kid Not Cuts group is working for all kids in SPS, including special ed. kids. We understand that there are similar stories at each school throughout the district and we were at the school board meeting to try to get the school board to hear some of these stories and represent us to the district administration. The current board seems to be completely burnt out from the constant turn-over in superintendents and all the squabbling with state legislature over funding. Please elect a new, energized school board and then let them know how you feel about what is and isn’t working in the district. #kidsnotcuts

  • Nw mama October 15, 2015 (1:16 pm)

    I have no faith in the school board system. Simply electing new people to the job isn’t going to fix it. I’ve been hopeful every time around with school board elections, but it is the same story each time around. I don’t have the answer, but I do not think this board system is effective.

  • Ivan October 15, 2015 (2:38 pm)

    Nw mama: Get to know Leslie Harris.

  • Jon Wright October 17, 2015 (2:41 pm)

    I think even Goodspaceguy would be an improvement over the current Board members.

Sorry, comment time is over.