Archive for the ‘Board Watch’ Category

Innovative Schools Already Exist Right Here in Kent!

January 21, 2012

Cindy Prescott, KEA Vice President, and Shirley Hickey, past KEA President and current KELA (Kent Educators for Legislative Accountability) Committee Chair, have teamed up to talk about innovative schools that already exist within the Kent School District:

Here in the Kent School District we have innovation all around us. Even as employees who knew about options available to students and parents, there are things we learned while researching the choices we offer in our school district.

The Kent Technology Academy (KTA) exists within Mill Creek Middle School. On their website, we read, “ . . . the heart of KTA is a group of creative, hard working teachers with a knowledgeable leader who have developed integrated lessons that allow more student choice, and encourage students to look more deeply and systematically at the topics in the curriculum. It works not only because of the teachers, but because the students also are expected to work harder than other students. Students are willing to do this because the learning is fun, the technology is fun and allows differentiation. . .”

Down the road, at the Kent Phoenix Academy (KPA), as members of the learning community, students are expected to “uphold the values of moral courage, honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, and support the learning community.” KPA believes in a learning environment where “each student is known well, connections are made between learning and student goals. . .”  This school offers five high school programs to students, each having a different focus and approach from the traditional high school. Project based learning, service learning, and work with colleges and employers are all part of the five programs offered.

Further along the journey you’ll come to the Kent Mountain View Academy (KMVA). The KMVA is a “community partnership including students, families and the Kent School District to provide educational options and flexibility. . .” Third through sixth graders are purposefully grouped together, as well as seventh through twelfth graders so that students can maintain contact with their siblings.

In fact, at each of our schools in Kent we could find innovation and action research. We teach our students to achieve to standards. Because our students are so diverse we design instruction and strategies for reaching them that may look and sound different in various schools. This is our practice. There are those, including Bill Gates through his Gates Foundation, who are hiring data specialists to work on what is “needed” to change our practices.

Charter schools? Who needs them! We have innovation all around us.

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Charters Now?

January 21, 2012

Connie Compton, KEA President, has some thoughts on Charter schools:

Our legislators and their constituents need to focus their energy and address the real problem in education in our state. Putting an issue on the table that Washington voters have already rejected three times distracts needed energy from solving the real problem.

Washington State has been cutting the education budget year after year. Education Week recently ranked Washington 42nd in per pupil spending ($9,329/pupil in WA versus the national average of $11,665/student) and 44th in state expenditures as a percent of state taxable resources.

We have less and less to meet the needs of our students. When I started in education over 30 years ago we had supply rooms with pencils, crayons and construction paper. We had textbooks and a wide variety of materials. As a special ed. teacher, I had a budget to purchase the unique materials my students might need to grow and learn. With the drastic budget cuts in our state, supply rooms are empty, textbooks are often out of date and special ed. teachers no longer have funds for basic materials and that’s just a start. Teachers spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets to make up the difference to supply their students with paper and pencils, and sometimes even coats and shoes.

And please don’t blame teacher salaries – Washington has consistently dropped down the list ranking states for teacher salaries. Our teachers are lower paid than all other states on the West Coast in spite of a high cost of living, particularly in the Puget Sound region. Last year the state legislature further cut teacher salaries by 1.9%. A handful of districts, including Kent, are paying the 1.9% out of other funds – however, before that Kent was the lowest paid district out of 22 in the Puget Sound region.

Charter Schools will take time and money to implement. They take funds away from true public schools that meet the needs of each and every student who walks through the door. Coming up with the staff to process applications, oversee charters, and the other related needs will cost our districts and state money. We need to work together to figure out how to fund what we have and not start anything new that we don’t have the money for.

If and when we solve our budget issues at both the state and local level and truly meet our state constitution’s requirement to amply fund public education, then we can begin to look at the valid research and statistics and learn from the experiences of other states. We can consider the many instances in which charters have been mismanaged and done more harm than good. We can look at the data regarding innovative schools that already exist in our state. Then we can then decide if this is really the best direction to go to meet the needs of the students of our state.

KEA Recommends School Board Candidates

October 20, 2011

KEA Recommends Candidates for Kent School Director Positions:

Larry Sims, Pos. 1 YES Open minded.  Willing to keep communication open.  Understands the need for priority in budget in the right place—class size.  Wants to know where the money is allocated.  Is aware about how much weight is applied to standardized testing.
Karen DeBruler, Pos. 2 YES Understands issues of classroom.  Understands workload.  Voted against the cuts budget.  Teacher of highly capable in Issaquah.
Leslie Hamada, Pos. 3 YES Not afraid to stand up and speak up.  Understands classroom realities.  PTA activist and single mom with successful grown children (one a teacher).  Passionate about support for all children.  Has worked on levy committees.  “Walks her talk” still.  Tutors at high risk schools during and after school.

KEA KELA (Kent Educators for Legislative Accountability) Team members interviewed each of the five candidates who filed for the three open
Kent school director positions. Being involved in the interview process is our way of recommending informed, reasonable pro-education
candidates. Vote!

The Day the Music Died

October 9, 2011

This comes to us from Laura Kexel, an Orchestra teacher in Kent and was published originally in the League of Education Voters Blog, edCored, as “The day the music died.”  (http://www.educationvoters.org/2011/10/06/edcored-the-day-the-music-died/)  Laura has given her permission to reprint her thoughts here.

I am an itinerant orchestra teacher. I am currently assigned to eight elementary schools teaching sixth grade beginning orchestra. When I was hired in 2007, I was assigned to five elementary schools teaching fifth and sixth grade orchestra. Every year that I have taught in the Kent School District, not only have elementary band and orchestra been on the chopping block, but the district has threatened to cut all elementary music to save money. Last year, fifth graders lost the chance to start in band and orchestra. The district is desperate for money, and our children are suffering.

I have a Masters Degree in Teaching, yet I spend only three hours a day in contact with students. I make enough money on mileage checks to pay three car payments in a school year.

Besides having to fight every year just to keep music alive in elementary schools, we have suffered some pretty devastating cuts. The district owns hundreds of band and orchestra instruments but has cut the repair and maintenance budget to ZERO. Would you buy a house and then never mow the lawn, vacuum, paint, etc.? They have a set maintenance fee for students to rent those instruments – $80 – but if a student has free or reduced lunch, the fee is reduced down, often to a mere $20. This $20 buys two strings (almost) or 1/2 of a new bow or 1/3 of a new case or almost none of a repair when needed for normal wear and tear issues.

Itinerant band and orchestra teachers used to get an allotment to spend on new music. Unlike math or science, we don’t have a set of textbooks that the district purchases and adopts every five to 10 years. Our books are purchased by the students themselves, and music is our textbook. We have to share that music, and now that we only teach beginning orchestra and band, we can’t use a great deal of what we have because it is beyond the skill level of the students. Our allotment was reduced to ZERO last year and has stayed the same.  No new music, despite the changing needs of our students. Are we supposed to write the music ourselves?

Every school principal has warned against making too many copies. Again, I don’t have a textbook curriculum. Everything I do is from a photocopy. I don’t always have time at every school to make copies for just that school, so sometimes I have to make all the copies I need for the week in one place. I try to spread that around evenly, but I’m not always successful. My schedule doesn’t allow me to be. I sincerely hope that I make it to the end of the year without getting cut off.

There are many more ways that budget cuts affect us and our students, but I have to stop here before I let all this wash over me. I need to keep positive despite the tough road ahead, and I can’t do that when I dwell on all the bad news. The bottom line is that I teach whoever shows up in my class, whatever their needs. I spend my weekends calling parents to make sure every student has an instrument. I make extra trips on my own time to the district warehouse and music stores to get supplies. I do all of this because someone has to do it, and it is important. I want what is best for my students, and I will do what is necessary to make that happen.

TENTATIVE AGREEMENT!!!

August 24, 2011

TENTATIVE AGREEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED!  COME TO THE SCHOOL BOARD MEETING TONIGHT (8/24) TO HEAR THE ANNOUNCEMENT AND BE READY TO COME TO THE GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING ON AUG. 30 (5:00 PM AT KW) FOR RATIFICATION VOTE, DETAILS  AND DISCUSSION !

Getting ready for RIFs

May 8, 2011

With RIF (Reduction In Force) notices set to go out this week, it is critical that you know what to do, even if you do not feel you are in danger of being let go.  If you do receive one, note that there will be a meeting at the KEA office on May 17, at 4:00 to give you information on what this means and what your rights are.  This is a checklist from WEA and KEA:

Getting ready for RIFs: Six steps to take now

 With significant cuts coming in the state education budget, KEA and WEA want you to be prepared in case you receive a Reduction in Force (RIF) notice. Here are some important steps to take NOW, even if you have not received a RIFnotice:

  • Keep all notices and paperwork you receive from your employer, especially your RIF notification should you receive one. These explain your appeal rights and may be necessary for any potential challenge to a RIF.
  • Make an appointment to check your personnel file at the district office. Make sure the information in it is accurate and complete. For example, make sure that your contracted FTE, endorsements and other information are recorded properly. If you find mistakes, correct them as soon as possible. 
  • Make sure the district has current contact information for you, and keep it updated (mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, etc.). If you do not have a personal, non-district e-mail address, sign up for a free one and provide it to the district. Accurate contact information is important in case of a recall.
  • Get a complete copy of your personnel file. You may have to pay for the copy charges, but the investment will be worthwhile down the road.
  • Obtain letters of recommendation from your principal or other key people and have these recommendations ready in the event you need to look for employment elsewhere.
  • Make sure you know who your local association president and UniServ representatives are and how to get hold of them.                                                                                               (President: Lisa Brackin Johnson- lisa.brackin-johnson@washingtonea.org), UniServ Rep: Sandra Goveia- sgoveia@washingtonea.org)

Report from the KSD Budget Hearing

April 12, 2011

At the KSD Budget Hearing on March 29th, Superintendent Vargas and Business Officer Richard Stedrey reviewed the budget and proposed reductions using a worst case scenario forecast.

Audience members expressed a high level of concern regarding the budget survey process and proposed cuts, including the long-term impact of many of the cuts.  The speakers included parents, students, educators and community members. Participants raised a wide range of questions and suggested alternatives. Concerns regarding PE and Music and maintaining K-4 class size were frequently addressed. Many speakers noted the connection between Music and PE and increased academic performance. One elementary student raised $15 at a garage sale to save the PE program and a middle school student said, “Music is my life.”

Kent Education Association Vice-President Connie Compton addressed the School Board and recognized the challenges of the school district budget. She continued, “As the education professionals who work with your students every day in the classrooms across the district, we feel it is absolutely imperative that we be an integral part of the conversation. We respectfully ask the board to invite us to the table to honestly and openly discuss possible alternatives to navigate these troubled economic waters while continuing to provide a high quality and well-rounded education to each and every one of our students. Together we can find a way to reduce the budget while minimizing the impact on our students.”

Audience questions included:

  • What is the end-goal driving budget decisions?
  • What are the priorities and values of our community?
  • Have decisions already been made?
  • Why are Elementary PE and Music being considered?
  • Why do administrators earn top pay for our region, but teachers are at the bottom?
  • Why are neighboring districts able to balance their budgets without impacting classrooms?
  • Why do the Auburn and Tahoma districts have better trust with their communities?
  • Will cutting the middle In-School Suspension program limit discipline options and have unintended consequences?
  • Is PE mandated by the state?
  • Is eliminating PE a contractual issue?

Suggestions for alternative budget reductions or raising revenue:

  • Make cuts that do not impact students.
  • Reduce salary at the top.
  • Run a supplemental levy to raise $3.7 million dollars.
  • 10 summer furlough days for administrators.
  • Cut administrative travel.
  • Freeze administrative pay.
  • Eliminate outside consultants.
  • Delay new curriculum purchases.
  • Use alternative transportation for high school students.
  • Freeze standardized testing.
  • Continue tuition-based full-day kindergarten programs.

The district has responded to some of these issues on the district website. KEA looks forward to responses to the remaining questions and concerns.  As well, we hope that we will be invited to discuss options with the school board.

Budget Survey?

March 26, 2011

This was forwarded to me by Connie Compton, KEA Vice President, who wanted members to be able to see what she did when she tried to fill out the KSD Budget Survey.  This was sent to the school board and Dr. Vargas.  I apologize that the chart didn’t transfer over as well as intended.  It came as an excel doc and was difficult to format.

I just attempted to complete the Budget Survey. I am disappointed and frustrated. I am unable to make the choices that I think best serve the needs of our students because the limited choices offered force me to cut certificated staff. This survey does not allow us to keep cuts away from our students and the classroom. Because the survey gives such limited options and does not present the full list of options developed by the school district or allow me to make my own suggestions and yet requires a specific point total, I am unable to use the online tool to give my input. Therefore, I am sending my input directly to you.

The students attending school in the Kent District School District today or entering kindergarten next fall only get once chance for their education. We need to provide a well-rounded education that meets the needs of all students. Cutting the Elementary PE and Music programs does not reach this end. As a 30-year veteran special education teacher, I know that school can be challenging and even frustrating for many students. PE and Music can be the positive in their school day. Other students find their passions starting in the elementary PE and Music programs, which leads to their connection to high school, their social group, and even their college path or their careers. Research clearly ties physical health and music to academic achievement. Likewise, research supports smaller class size at the elementary level. Teachers across our district will tell you that they are already stretched to their limits. Increasing class size and cutting elementary planning time will seriously impact the learning of our students.

Ideally, I believe that a supplemental levy should be put to the voters. This would increase funding by approximately $3.7 million, which would cut the need to reduce the budget by more than half. However, it is possible to reduce the budget without directly impacting classrooms or running a supplemental levy. Please refer to the attached spreadsheet (printed below) with my recommendations to reduce expenditures.

Thank you,
Connie Compton
Elementary Special Education Teacher,
KEA Vice-President,
Community Member & Voter, and Parent of 2 KSD Graduates

2011/2012 Budget Reductions for Consideration  
Central Office Budget Reductions as planned 2,762,032.00  
     
Energy Savings 592,568.00  
Mid-Day Kindergarten Transportation 127,400.00  
     
Reduce One Assistant Principal per High School               Rationale: Three Assistant Principals (or 2 and a Dean of Students) aligns with most high schools of similar size in our area. 542,388.00  
Middle School In-School Suspension 173,527.00  
Principal’s Travel Fund Carryover 248,951.00  
10 Furlough Days for Superintendent and Chiefs               Rationale: As KSD Certificated Staff are paid less than those in 22 surrounding districts, it is reasonable to reduce pay for administrators to a similar level. Furlough days can be taken in the summer without impact to the student school year. 76,020.00  
10 Furlough Days for District Management                        Rationale:  See above 323,560.00  
Return 11 TOSAs/Coaches/Facilitators to the classroom. Rationale: The professionals working in the trenches will agree that teachers in the classroom keeping class size low and programs intact will prove to be of the most value in student achievement. These staff can fill open positions in the schools. (Estimated savings based on the average cost per certificated staff of $80,963, although potential savings could be higher as most staff in these positions are typically higher paid staff). 890,593.00  
Cut “Travel” from the Budget                                                Rationale:  Priorities. Elementary PE and Music should be valued over administrator travel. 330,000.00  
Total Reduction 6,067,039.00  

Education Roundtable

December 15, 2010

On November 30, the PTAs from Auburn and Kent held an Education Roundtable discussion with all of our local state Representatives and Senator.  The meeting was held at the KSD Boardroom and in attendance were Pat Sullivan, incumbent 47th District Representative, Mark Hargrove, new 47th District Representative, Cathy Dahlquist, new 31st District (Enumclaw/Auburn) Representative, and Joe Fain, new 47th District Senator.  Interested groups in attendance were:  Kent Area Council of PTAs, Auburn Council of PTAs, Auburn School Board, League of Education Voters, Stand For Children, WSPTA Region 9, Kent School Board, Auburn Education Association, Kent Education Association, Enumclaw School District and Board, Communities in Schools of Auburn and the Auburn Association of School Principals.  Each group developed one question that was asked of each politician and answers were given in a predetermined rotational order.  The meeting was an opportunity to hear all four of our local politicians speak on education issues.  I took a lot of notes and my intention was to post those here, but in the interim, I was given a copy of a set of notes taken by another teacher, this one from Auburn and in my humble opinion, a better note taker than me.  I compared both of our notes and his were a bit more complete and understandable so I asked for and received permission to reprint them here.  Understand, please, that these are notes taken at a relatively fast moving meeting and are, by design, a bit sketchy, as notes will be.  They are understandable, though, and I present them to you with very little editing to preserve the original form and intent.  They do provide a very complete picture of the  meeting that night and you should be able to figure out what was going on.  One note:  The complete text of each question is only replicated for Pat Sullivan as his responses are listed first.  In the interests of space, the rest only have a shortened version.  Please read on…

Pat Sullivan

1.  (from Kent Area Council of PTAs)  Approximately 30% of Washington’s students drop out before completing high school.  The socioeconomic and ethnic minority achievement gap remains persistent.  Our big businesses like Microsoft hire most of their employees from other states and countries, because our kids just don’t measure up.   What is your number one goal for educational reform for which we can hold you accountable?

  • Premise of question regarding Microsoft hiring is not true. 
  • We do need more science and math majors. 
  • Achievement gap is growing

 2.    (Auburn Council of PTAs) We fund Enumclaw classrooms $6k less than our Washington State average.  Kent classrooms are $14k less and Auburn classrooms are $17k less than State average.  And yet we’re raising our wealthier districts’ Levy Lids and cutting our poor districts’ LEA funding.  Do our South County kids deserve less State funding than our more prosperous neighbors’ kids?  What can we do about it?

  • A new salary workgroup is forming/meeting to address equalizing the state salary schedule

 3.  (Auburn School District Board of Directors)  With the Erlich decision that Basic Education Funding is not adequate or ample, and is a paramount duty of the state to do so, how will you approach your constitutional duty in the context of the fiscal crisis?

  • We need to stop calling things “not basic education”
  • I-728 was cut two years ago because it’s funding was not protected
  • I will work to protect education funding

 4.  (League of Education Voters) Washington State ranked 32 out of the 36 RTTT applications.  Should we work harder, smarter to improve education, or give up because there is no more money?  How do we keep Education reform moving forward?

  • I was “disgusted” with how the RTTT applications were evaluated
  • WA lost points because we didn’t have “charter schools” even though we have many innovative things going on in the state

 5.  (Stand for Children) With continued budget deficits, future teacher layoffs are a looming reality.  Currently in Washington State, decisions about which teachers to layoff are based only on seniority.  This means great teachers are let go, more teachers are let go and class sizes grow.  Will you support legislation that ensures reduction in force focus on performance, not solely on seniority?

  • We need more teachers – and we need to address the lack of minority teachers

 6.  (WSPTA Region 9) With our demographic and financial challenges, how can our South County children compete more successfully with their peers across Washington State, the U.S., and Internationally?

  • We have a growing area with many languages spoken
  • Changing standards and tests hurts progress

 7.   (Kent School District Board of Directors) Would you support a requirement that all legislation mandating K-12 programs or services provide full funding for all costs, including incidental, administrative, non-employee, and other related program or services costs?  Additionally, if adequate funding is not provided to school districts to comply with currently mandated programs or services, would you support eliminating those mandates until such funding becomes available?

  • Yes, but tough.

 8.  (Auburn Education Association) According to our state constitution, it is the paramount duty to provide full and ample funding for the public education of all children.  What are your plans to introduce legislation that provides a reliable, on-going, dedicated source of revenue to fully fund education in the state of Washington?

  • Cuts will be outside of basic education
  • Initiatives are a possible way to raise revenue
  • Push has to come from the business community
  • We need a coalition

 9.  (Kent Education Association)  The budget forecast is dismal, what will you do to ensure that the constitutional duty to fully fund schools is upheld so that further cuts do not impact student learning?

  • I will fight for full funding of education
  • Need to get more funding dedicated to basic education

 10.  (Enumclaw School District Superintendent and Board)  As a district, what advice would you give us in terms of process and strategy that would help truly impact state legislative decisions regarding educational issues (i.e. adequate funding, unfunded mandates)?

  • Getting to know your legislators is critical

 11.  (Communities in Schools  of Auburn)  The drop-out rate in our state has been consistent for a long time at between 25-30% by the end of high school, resulting in a tremendous negative impact on our state’s economy.  Shouldn’t reducing the dropout rate be a top priority for the state’s legislature?  Do you think we should use proven organizations like CIS to improve graduation rates?  Should it be part of basic education funding?

  • Yes, mentors are very important
  • Touts drop-out early-warning program

 12.  (Association of Auburn School Principals)  Last week, Governor Gregoire called for a retroactive $81 million cut to public schools for K-4 class size reduction, as well as retroactive cuts of $18 million in levy equalization dollars going to property-poor school districts.  She also proposed delaying a K-12 apportionment payment until July.  What will you specifically do to help resolve the state’s budget crisis while ensuring that Washington’s children receive the financial support they need?  (Editor’s note:  Mr. Sullivan’s comments for this question were missed.  We apologize.)

Joe Fain

1.  What is your number one goal for educational reform, for which we can hold you accountable?

  • Bipartisanship in the Senate is going to be important

 2.  Do our South County kids deserve less State funding than our more prosperous neighbors’ kids?  What can we do about it?

  • A serious problem that some districts get more money than others.

 3.  With the Erlich decision that Basic Education Funding is not adequate or ample, and is a paramount duty of the state to do so, how will you approach your constitutional duty in the context of the fiscal crisis?

  • Constituents need to be loud in communicating priorities

 4.   How do we keep Education reform moving forward?

  • Performance pay [acknowledges this is controversial]
  • Anti-seniority
  • “Some teachers are in the wrong line of work”
  • There are problems with the hiring and layoff policies
  • We didn’t do enough to win award of RTTT

 5.  Will you support legislation that ensures reduction in force focus on performance, not solely on seniority?

  • “Time in the chair” should not guarantee a job

 6.  With our demographic and financial challenges, how can our South County children compete more successfully with their peers across Washington State, the U.S., and Internationally?

  • Current tools are not sufficient to deal with current situation
  • Streamline education records of student progress for kids who move from district to district

 7.   Would you support a requirement that all legislation mandating K-12 programs of services provide full funding for all costs, including incidental, administrative, non-employee, and other related program or services costs?  Additionally, if adequate funding is not provided to school districts to comply with currently mandated programs or services, would you support eliminating those mandates until such funding becomes available?

  • Yes, Streamline federal and state reporting forms
  • Suspend some requirements

 8.  What are your plans to introduce legislation that provides a reliable, on-going, dedicated source of revenue to fully fund education in the state of Washington?

  • ”Take me to school” to teach me how to do this.

 9.   (KEA)  The budget forecast is dismal, what will you do to ensure that the constitutional duty to fully fund schools is upheld so that further cuts do not impact student learning?

  • I have my vote.
  • I will not vote for a budget that makes draconian cuts to education

 10.  (Enumclaw SD Superintendent and Board)  As a district, what advice would you give us in terms of process and strategy that would help truly impact state legislative decisions regarding educational issues?

  • Persistence
  • Networking

 11.  (Communities in Schools  of Auburn)  Do you think we should use proven organizations like CIS to improve graduation rates?  Should it be part of basic education funding?

  • Yes, and yes.
  • We need more public/private links

 12.  (Association of Auburn School Principals)  What will you specifically do to help resolve the state’s budget crisis while ensuring that Washington’s children receive the financial support they need?

  • “I don’t know”

 

Cathy Dahlquist

1.  What is your number one goal for educational reform, for which we can hold you accountable?

  • Agrees with Sullivan that premise of question is untrue with reference to Microsoft hiring
  • Unfunded mandates are a concern

 2.  Do our South County kids deserve less State funding than our more prosperous neighbors’ kids?  What can we do about it?

  • Levy lid lift was unfair

 3.  With the Erlich decision that Basic Education Funding is not adequate or ample, and is a paramount duty of the state to do so, how will you approach your constitutional duty in the context of the fiscal crisis?

  • Expand definition of “basic ed”

 4.  How do we keep Education reform moving forward?

  • Evaluations need to mean something
  • We need to develop better evaluations
  • Parent choice [aka:  school choice]
  • “Choice” schools need to meet same requirements as public schools

 5.  Will you support legislation that ensures reduction in force focus on performance, not solely on seniority?

  • Supports performance-based evaluations – details are important
  • Enumclaw contract was tougher to negotiate because of Kent settlement – districts are competing for teachers
  • In questions from the audience, she was asked how the Kent settlement made Enumclaw’s negotiations tougher.  Her response was that KEA had negotiated a “really big raise” and that Enumclaw has to compete for teachers with competitive salary.

 6.   With our demographic and financial challenges, how can our South County children compete more successfully with their peers across Washington State, the U.S., and Internationally?

  • [mix up on questions – answered another, unrelated question]

 7.  Would you support a requirement that all legislation mandating K-12 programs of services provide full funding for all costs, including incidental, administrative, non-employee, and other related program or services costs?  Additionally, if adequate funding is not provided to school districts to comply with currently mandated programs or services, would you support eliminating those mandates until such funding becomes available?

  • Yes, and yes.

 8.  What are your plans to introduce legislation that provides a reliable, on-going, dedicated source of revenue to fully fund education in the state of Washington?

  • We already have revenue
  • Fund education first, then cut from everything else to balance the budget

 9.   (KEA)  the budget forecast is dismal, what will you do to ensure that the constitutional duty to fully fund schools is upheld so that further cuts do not impact student learning?

  • “Ditto, ditto” to Sullivan’s comments
  • Business puts people into office
  • We need to get business community to put more efforts into education

 10.  (Enumclaw SD Superintendent and Board)  As a district, what advice would you give us in terms of process and strategy that would help truly impact state legislative decisions regarding educational issues?

  • Email, call
  • I won’t look at 500 emails that all the same
  • Write individual comments/emails

 11.  (Communities in Schools  of Auburn)  Do you think we should use proven organizations like CIS to improve graduation rates?  Should it be part of basic education funding?

  • Not familiar with CIS, so I looked it up online
  • Has no experience with organization

 12.  (Association of Auburn School Principals)  What will you specifically do to help resolve the state’s budget crisis while ensuring that Washington’s children receive the financial support they need?

  • “Heels are dug in” for education funding

 

Mark Hargrove

1.   (Kent Are Council of PTAs)  What is your number one goal for educational reform, for which we can hold you accountable?

  • The word “accountability” is intimidating
  • Pro-“Innovation schools” [not to be confused with charter schools]
  • Speaks against seniority
  • Pro performance-pay [new term for “merit pay”?]
  • Schools/teachers need to be given “latitude” with regards to curriculum

 2.  (Auburn Council of PTAs)  Do our South County kids deserve less State funding than our more prosperous neighbors’ kids?  What can we do about it?

  • Need to reevaluate funding to be sure money is appropriated well
  • Makes an “Almost Live” reference to how they used to talk about Kent as a hick, redneck town, but now it’s a very culturally diverse city

 3.  (Auburn School Board of Directors)  With the Erlich decision that Basic Education Funding is not adequate or ample, and is a paramount duty of the state to do so, how will you approach your constitutional duty in the context of the fiscal crisis?

  • Need to be more efficient with how money is spent
  • “I’ve got some ideas”

 4.   (League of Education Voters)  How do we keep Education reform moving forward?

  • Teachers need more freedom
  • More accountability
  • Merit pay
  • Principals at buildings can best decide who the best teachers are

 5.  (Stand for Children)  Will you support legislation that ensures reduction in force focus on performance, not solely on seniority?

  • Founding member of the Instructional Pilots Union at Boeing
  • Supports RIF based on performance

 6.  (WSPTA Region 9)  With our demographic and financial challenges, how can our South County children compete more successfully with their peers across Washington State, the U.S., and Internationally?

  • We need more motivating principals so teachers aren’t dragging into work each day unhappy or unmotivated

 7.   Would you support a requirement that all legislation mandating K-12 programs of services provide full funding for all costs, including incidental, administrative, non-employee, and other related program or services costs?  Additionally, if adequate funding is not provided to school districts to comply with currently mandated programs or services, would you support eliminating those mandates until such funding becomes available?

  • There is a division between funding and mandates
  • Yes

 8.  What are your plans to introduce legislation that provides a reliable, on-going, dedicated source of revenue to fully fund education in the state of Washington?

  • We need stable sources of funding
  • Helping small business will help keep funding stability

 9.   (KEA)  The budget forecast is dismal, what will you do to ensure that the constitutional duty to fully fund schools is upheld so that further cuts do not impact student learning?

  • The key phrase is “impact student learning”
  • Things can be cut that don’t impact student learning
  • “I’ve got some ideas”

 10.  (Enumclaw SD Superintendent and Board)  As a district, what advice would you give us in terms of process and strategy that would help truly impact state legislative decisions regarding educational issues?

  • Inform him with facts as to how suggestions will improve education
  • Wants facts and data
  • Wants ideas that have no cost

 11.  (Communities in Schools  of Auburn)  Do you think we should use proven organizations like CIS to improve graduation rates?  Should it be part of basic education funding?

  • Show me facts/data that it works

 12.  (Association of Auburn School Principals)  What will you specifically do to help resolve the state’s budget crisis while ensuring that Washington’s children receive the financial support they need?

  • Problem in WA state is spending
  • Small business pays more in taxes to the state
  • I am a strict constitutionalist
  • One way to save money is to combine printing orders and privatize printing
  • Refers to the “student product”

KEA President Message To School Board Re: Budget Cuts

April 25, 2010

Last year, we heard the district wail that there was no money, but you did have it, and in fact you made over $4 million more.  

This year you say you want a budget that reflects the priorities of the district. A preliminary action plan was developed supposedly to help focus district reserves and put time, effort and money on improving student learning.

Out of the preliminary action plan came the Getting to Graduation plan. A focus on students starting in kindergarten, ensuring that there is a smooth transition for new students to Kent schools and from grade level to grade level. A plan to ensure that the graduation rates increased and students were ready for life beyond high school. 

Add on the other programs and initiates like:

1) district’s move to implement tiered intervention

2) the outside experts brought in for training

3) the training that KEA members spent time at

4) the SIOP books (strategies for teaching English Language Learners) for every teacher and

5) the time and training that goes with SIOP

It all looks impressive and seems to focus on the students, but we can’t judge it by the impressions it gives on paper.

One third of the Getting To Graduation plan requires implementation and work from counselors – but they are now on the chopping block.

Those who were sent to training for tiered intervention – are now on the chopping block.

Those who are to provide training, strategies for teaching and best practices for student learning – are now on the chopping block.

The people who provide additional literacy and math support, another part of the Preliminary Action Plan – are now on the chopping block.

It is inconceivable that the resources used to develop this plan, pay for outside experts for training, train staff for implementation and monitoring was wasted.

The very people that the district counts on to do the training and implementation are now on the chopping block.

It is difficult to improve learning conditions for students when teachers, counselors, and support staff will not be available for students. If the district really wants to focus on student learning and success, then they need to find a way to ensure that no cuts affect student learning.

Lisa Brackin-Johnson

KEA President