One day after Chief Sealth International High School staff, students, and parents filled the Seattle School Board chambers to make impassioned pleas, they have followed up with a letter and petition. This, you might recall, all started with new enrollment projections leading to a last-minute order that Sealth cut three more full-time teaching positions in the final days of the school year. A point made repeatedly in testimony to the board last night was that the school had made it through a difficult budgeting process before this, with cuts already made, only to be told now they had to make more. The letter:
To: Seattle School Board Members: Stephan Blanford, Rick Burke, Jill Geary, Scott Pinkham, Betty Patu, Leslie Harris, and Sue Peters
Associate Superintendent Michael Tolley
Associate Superintendent of Facilities and Enrollment Flip Herndon
Deputy Superintendent Steven Nielsen
Last night, you heard from the staff, students, and stakeholders at Chief Sealth International High School about the impact of losing an additional 3.0 FTE from our budget for the 2016/17 school year after a long and difficult spring budget process that included deep losses and cuts of staff.
These additional displacements deeply affect our school’s ability to offer the stable teaching core necessary to run a school which serves so many specialized populations. Our school cannot absorb or buy back staff. We do not have deep-pocketed PTSA dollars or grant dollars or other funding streams that other schools might use to offset such cuts. These shifts in FTE will cut deeply into the arts and CTE and have a significant impact on core academic programs for students. These programs allow us to close the opportunity gap for our students by providing IB for all and by creating programming that is working to affect real change for all of our students, including our disproportionately high specialized populations. These changes in enrollment will jeopardize these successful programs.
We as a staff would like to propose these solutions for the 2016/17 budget cycle. Here are our recommendations:
· Grant our mitigation requests for an IB coordinator and our immersion classes from the first round of difficult budget requests.
· Hold Chief Sealth harmless from these FTE changes for one year until the permanent West Seattle boundary decisions are finalized at the district level this fall.
· Re-evaluate our budget AFTER the District counts, which will include the nonresident and transfer students to Sealth, international students, and waitlisted students whose placements have not yet been finalized.
· Fund advanced learning in the WSS at Sealth, Ingraham, and Rainier Beach beginning in the fall of 2016/17.
Staff from Chief Sealth International High School
They are gathering signatures of support via this online petition including the letter.