Monday, March 8, 2010

Open thread

Please use this thread not only to discuss APP-related issues on your mind, but also to suggest ideas for new posts you might like to see put up for discussion here on this blog.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Funding issues hitting home

On request, here is a new thread for discussing the funding shortfalls for next year.

To take one example, the PTA at Lowell Elementary just sent out a message saying that the school needs to choose between only one of a half-time counselor, increasing the librarian from half to full-time, and a half-time math coach. Class sizes also will increase, a reading coach will be lost, and there are no funds to pay for playground monitors. Most of this is due to district funding cuts, but part is also due to donations from parents being lower than the PTA expected.

I have heard that Thurgood Marshall faces similar funding issues, though perhaps even more severe due to loss of Title I funds and even lower PTA donations. Does anyone know the details?

Update: On the situation at Thurgood Marshall, in the comments, Meg Diaz writes:
Thurgood Marshall is getting eviscerated. The ALO program will take the worst of it.

The ALO program is somewhere over 85% FRL. The influx of the APP program has reduced the "school" FRL to 44% ... A school needs to be above 55% FRL to receive Title money ... Thurgood Marshall will lose nearly $200K in Title money ... Pull-outs for math and reading? Over. FRL population receiving tutoring from tutoring companies that are paid with title money? Over. Bussing for before-school programs for kids qualified for FRL? Gone. A classroom teacher? Buh-bye.

Last year during the closure process, multiple APP parents posited to the board that moving APP into the Thurgood Marshall building would put the kids already in the building at risk, because it would very likely cause the school to lose massive amounts of funding and resources that those children really, really needed, simply because the FRL % for the building would be changed. The board insisted that this would not be the case, that they would look after these kids and that, in fact, having APP in the building could benefit them. Diversity! Enrichment! Access and equity! Unicorns and rainbows!

Just as predicted, the neediest kids in the building have lost huge amounts of resources because of the influx of a program with very different demographics into the building.
Update: There is now a discussion of the situation at Thurgood Marshall over on Seattle Public Schools Community Blog.

Update: Meg adds:
[This] is entirely due to a decision the board made, which was actively questioned by parents (and the change in FRL and its effects on the ALO program was an issue that was raised). The board and staffers insisted that the kids in the ALO program would not suffer as a result of placing APP in the building. And it's just not the case.
Update: There is now a second discussion on this over at the Seattle Public Schools Community Blog.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The APP split: Six months later

It is now six months into the first year of the APP split.

It is now six months into first year Lowell elementary APP has been split into two smaller programs at Lowell and Thurgood Marshall. It is now six months into the first year Washington middle school APP has been split into two smaller programs at Washington and Hamilton.

How is it going? Are things going as you expected? Are there things that you did not expect? What do you think of our first year of the APP split?

Update: Not a lot of comments on this topic so far. Summarizing what we have, comments are that the APP split is going well, people and kids are happy, and everything is mostly as expected. That differs from comments in earlier threads (e.g. [1] [2] [3]). Is this because different people commented in this thread or because parents who were concerned earlier have, in the last few months, changed their mind?