It has been brought to my attention that four of our schools in Seattle have been chronically underfunded and therefore understaffed. The schools are Nova High School, the Center School, South Lake and the World School.

There has been no explanation given as to why these schools have never been allocated sufficient staff except that they were termed “non-traditional” at some point. If we want to look at “non traditional schools” as opposed to “traditional schools”, we could look at schools that are now considered “option schools”. Nova and the Center School would be in that category along with other schools who receive equitable staffing based on the Weighted Staffing Standard (WSS) including Salmon Bay, STEM and TOPS.

It’s enough that our schools are underfunded as it is. To squeeze even more out of these schools for no reason that anyone can explain is criminal.

The Weighted Staffing Standards (WSS) is a formula that is intended to ensure that Seattle schools get the essential administrative and support staff funding they need to operate effectively and serve the needs of their students in an equitable manner. The WSS is simply intended to make sure that every school receives the minimal administrative and support staff that is necessary to operate.

There are WSS funding categories based on the number of students who attend a school. Nova would be in the category of a school with less than 800 students however Nova is not included in this category. Instead, Nova High School has been placed in a funding category labeled “Non Traditional Schools”. This means that Nova receives far less funding and there has been no explanation given for this.

One could say that Nova is “non-traditional” because of it’s successful student oriented, project based curriculum that STEM emulated when determining the curriculum for that program and yet STEM is staffed based on the WSS standards but Nova is not.

At this time Nova has a principal, an administrative secretary, a fiscal specialist and a .20 Nurse position that covers their services for one day each week. If staffing at Nova was based on the WSS funding formula, Nova would receive 7.6 additional staff. Nova could then have a librarian, a family support worker and a career guidance counselor to replace the one that was lost three years ago during the unnecessary riffing of teachers and counselors that occurred during the reign of our former superintendent Dr. Goodloe-Johnson.

Nova students, parents and staff are asking the Seattle School Board to include Nova as a high school under 800 and ensure that the school receives the staff funding that is necessary to function properly as a high school.

The students, staff and parents of Nova High School are asking for fair and equitable treatment not only for their school but for all “non-traditional” schools.

There will be a work session this evening held by the Seattle School Board to look at the issue of WSS.


Dora Taylor