The testimony below will be given this evening regarding a proposal authorizing our interim superintendent to rif teachers yet again this spring.
I am speaking on behalf of Parents Across America, the Seattle chapter. We oppose teacher layoff’s and demand that the school board place our students first and instruct the superintendent to find cuts in other areas including central district staff who reside in the Stanford Center per Section IX of the RIF motion that is listed as an option.
The Seattle School District has a history of being top-heavy, with 39% more money spent on central administration than any other district in our state according to the 2008 state auditor’s report.
Our former superintendent scoffed at the idea of furlough days for employees in the Stanford Center when asked the question during an interview on NPR last year but why not furlough days for central staff? We can do without much of the burgeoning bureaucracy that is the central office but our students cannot do without teachers.
Riffing teachers just to bring them back in the fall has become a rite of spring in Seattle over the last few years creating unnecessary upheaval and churn for our schools and students.
Our central staff has a pattern of ignoring early enrollment numbers and not including census data in their projections. The anticipated migration of students from private schools into public schools as the economy began to falter three years ago was also ignored by central staff and instead schools were closed only to be re-opened and teachers laid off just to be re-hired again but not without the consequence of re-shuffling students and teaching staff which impacted our school communities and was a distraction from what schools are suppose to be doing, teaching our children.
According to the Capacity Management Work Session on April 6th, staff was to get back to you about including census numbers in the enrollment projections, requesting information regarding demographics from the mayor’s office and seeking advice from appropriate consultants. Has central staff done that yet? Do you have all of the information that you need to make an informed decision of such magnitude?
I know that Dr. Enfield and school board members are concerned about building trust once again in our community. The way to begin that process is by making decisions that make sense and are about our children. All of the expensive communication directors in the world will not change the hearts and minds of a population but beginning to make sound decisions with all of the facts in front of you that are in the best interest of our children will.
It’s also hard on the students.
Our children develop strong attachments to their teachers. The teachers receive the notices before the end of the school year so word is out that a favorite teacher will be leaving and might not be back.
It’s unfair to the students, the school staff, the principals who have to come up with alternate plans A, B and C and of course the teachers.
It’s a waste of time and energy.
are you sure you’re talkin about seattle?? becuz it sure sounds like rockford, il!! each of the past 2 yrs we’ve rif’d &/or surplus over 500 non-tenured teachers which, of course, doesn’t include the 200+ tenured teachers rif’d this yr. now many are brought back — so why go thru the process?? creates more stress/anxiety that already exists from the job!! we wonder why we are losing teachers after their 1-3 yrs in the profession?!
Bad news: Last night the school board voted 6-1 (Patu abstained) to RIF 70 teachers and staff.
Shame on the board. Why don’t they ever protect our kids from budget cuts?
Public trust: 0
Business as usual: 1
From what I have seen during my 2+ years in the Seattle Public School system, these folks don’t do very much, only the bare minimum. I still can’t believe that someone had to tell people like Tracy Libros that they should look at the demographics and census report before making recommendations on enrollment. That was the first place that many of us looked when we heard about the round of closures in 2009. The sad thing is that board members like Michael DeBell assumed that the folks within SPS had done that but they had not.
It truly has been one debacle after another with these folks. If central district was a company there would be a lot of trimming of the fat.
Central District at SPS has become an unwieldy bureaucracy that not one superintendent has had the will to streamline and make stronger or as I like to say, mean and lean.
I’m always curious about top-heavy school districts. Does anyone know what the central staff positions that cost so much money do in Seattle.
When I taught in Renton, Mary Alice Heuschel had a group of twelve central staff members akin to vice superintendents she referred to (and probably still does) as her “cabinet.” I’m sure their salaries were pretty high, but we always wondered exactly what they did.