Capitol Hill Community Post | Seattle Public Schools 2017-18 Potential Budget Deficit

unnamed-1From Seattle Public Schools

Dear Seattle Public School Families:

I am writing to inform you of a significant budget shortfall we may face in the coming year unless the Legislature takes action to address school funding.

As the largest district in the state of Washington, we support close to 100 schools and over 53,000 students. Our students collectively speak 143 languages/dialects and represent 147 countries of origin. We are a thriving and diverse community of schools supported by incredible educators, support staff, committed school leaders and many more.

The Washington State Legislature’s failure to adequately address public education funding may result in a significant budget shortfall next school year. In 2017-18, the district’s ability to serve students in the way they deserve will be challenged. Unless the Legislature takes appropriate action to address school funding, the district has a projected deficit of approximately $74 million for the 2017-18 school year. This is the largest budget deficit we have faced since the late 1970s and has the potential to erode many of the programs, supports and services students are currently receiving.

This potential deficit is the result of two key failures by the Legislature.  First, the Legislature has restricted how much we can collect from our already approved local education levies.  Second, the Legislature has not fully funded education as they are constitutionally required to do.

The Legislature’s paramount duty in the state constitution is to fully fund public education. To date they have failed to carry out this duty. Districts, like Seattle, are forced to make up the financial difference by passing local levies and by asking our community and families to cover the cost of education services. The state only pays 70 cents for every dollar it costs to provide our students with the bare minimum of services.  Each school year, our Seattle community provides an additional $100 million to ensure our students have the resources and supplies they need, educators are compensated and that the district can provide basic supports including nurses, counselors, assistant principals, arts and music, and physical education. One example is that the state funding formula only pays for nine nurses in support of our 53,000+ students. Funding from other sources, including our local levies, supports the cost of 53 additional positions.

In 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that state government had failed its constitutional duty (McCleary v. State) and they ordered the state to come up with a plan and to fully fund education by next school year, 2017-18. The State Legislature has not fulfilled their constitutional duty and their inaction has created an unnecessary budget crisis. In addition, they have placed restrictions on our ability to use Seattle voter-approved levy dollars, increasing our deficit by $30 million. Because of the Legislature’s failure to fully respond to the Supreme Court’s mandate and also implementing restrictions on our use of local levy dollars, the district, in partnership with our stakeholders, must now figure out how to close the $74 million budget gap.

If the Legislature takes action, this deficit can be avoided or greatly reduced.  Because Legislative action is uncertain, we must plan for a worst-case scenario for our 2017-18 budget. Unless the Legislature takes immediate action to restore our ability to use all of our voter approved levy funds and funds adequate compensation for teachers, principals and support staff, we will need to make significant cuts and/or leave critical positions unfilled. This will impact the entire district including central office supports (maintenance, programs, and services), support for teaching and learning, educators, school leaders and support staff. Most significantly, it will impact our students – the children that we have all committed to serving.

Eliminating opportunity gaps and accelerating learning for each and every student is one of the primary lenses through which the central office and School Board will be evaluating budgetary decisions. Initial reduction recommendations have been made that lessen cuts to school services. These reductions, if approved, could bring the gap down to an estimated $44 million. The budget reductions beyond this point will be challenging for all of us. 85% of our budget is salaries and much of the remaining budget includes fixed costs like utilities and insurance. This $44 million represents over 440 positions within the district.

In December, the Seattle School Board will be reviewing additional areas of the budget to reduce, including non-staff and staff costs. The worst-case scenario budget will be complete on January 11. Budgets will be provided to schools in February to begin the school-based budgeting process.

Seattle Public Schools values our staff, our students and our families. We are committed to educational excellence for every student. Closing the $74 million gap will be the most difficult challenge we’ve faced in decades.

Right now there are many unknowns. These unknowns will cause challenges and disruptions to the good work that our schools, educators and central office staff are doing, and for that I am truly sorry. We will do our best to get through this together, and will be working closely with our labor leaders, the Seattle Council PTSA, the City of Seattle, and community partners to ensure our full community is kept up to date and have opportunities for input. My commitment to you is to communicate regularly on progress and provide information as it becomes available.

Next Steps: Between December 5, 2016 and January 4, 2017 we will continue to solicit feedback on budget priorities from staff, families and community partners. I would like to thank the Seattle Council PTSA for hosting three regional meetings for families to provide feedback on budget priorities.

Community Budget Gap Meetings:

  • Tuesday, December 13, Ballard High School, 6:30 -8 p.m.

1418 NW 65th St Seattle, WA 98117

  • Thursday, December 15, South Shore PreK-8 School, 6:30-8 p.m.

3013 S Mt Baker Blvd Seattle, WA 98144

  • Tuesday, January 3, Franklin High School, 6:30-8 p.m.

4800 S Henderson St Seattle, WA 98118

Interpretation will be available. To request interpretation please contact publicaffairs@seattleshools.org with your requested needs.

Additional details regarding the budget deficit, budget development timeline, and actions you can take will be posted to the 2017-18 budget webpage by tomorrow, December 2.

If you have specific questions or concerns about the budget shortfall please email the Budget Office at budget@seattleschools.org

Thank you for the opportunity to support you, your family and student. It is a privilege to serve you.

Sincerely,

Larry

 

Dr. Larry Nyland

Superintendent

Capitol Hill Community Post | The Northwest School Girls’ XC Team Named Best in Nation

2016-grils-xc-teamFrom The Northwest School

The Northwest School Girls’ Cross Country Team has been selected as the best Division II high school team in the nation by the National High School Coaches Association. The award follows the team’s winning performance at the Washington State Cross Country Championships on November 5, 2016.

“The Northwest girls’ team performance averaging 19:44 for the difficult Sun Willows 5000-meter course ranks as one of the great small school team efforts of all time,” says Aron Taylor, founder of XCNation.com, which serves as the historical archives for the sport of cross country and issues the annual awards on behalf of the coach’s association. “Northwest’s stellar performance is worthy of National Championship recognition.”

Also honored individually by the national coach’s association are 11th grader Isa Meyers and 10th grader Macenna Hansen, who are ranked No. 5 and No. 6 respectively.

Division II is comprised of high schools with a total enrollment less than 600 students. These schools represent over 80% of all high schools in America. According to Taylor, this means “Division II programs set the bar for the sport of cross country across the nation.”

The Northwest School has a reputation as a perennial powerhouse in the sport of cross country for both girls and boys. The girls’ cross country team has captured the 1A girls’ team title at the Washington State Cross Country Championships two years in a row (and have qualified for states for the last six years). On the boy’s side, Northwest senior Tibebu Proctor this year successfully defended his title as reigning boy’s state cross country champion. The boy’s team has qualified for states the last four years in a row, and Northwest School Coach Joe Bisignano was named State XC Coach of the Year in 2012.

Capitol Hill Community Post | Holiday in the Park to Bring Festive Cheer to Volunteer Park

VPT_HolidayInThePark2016_CHCC_Main_500x500Holiday time is here and Volunteer Park Trust is once again presenting its fun, festive and free event Holiday in the Park on Thursday, December 8th from 6:00PM to 8:00PM.

Over 600 candlelit luminarias will line the pathways of Volunteer Park transforming the promenade into a magical wonderland of lights. The live choral performance this year include the inspiring voices of The Total Experience Gospel Choir, the hilarious and Figgy Pudding award-winning Beaconettes, the all-inclusive Columbia City Community Chorus, and Sing Noel.

Volunteer Park Trust will be giving out free cocoa and cookies thanks to donations from Tulley’s Coffee and Whole Foods. And the children’s activity booth returns offering kids and toddlers the chance to float a Make-A-Wish boat.

If you need to take the chill off of the December evening, the Volunteer Park Conservatory will be open late, offering its tropical warmth to everyone.

For those interested in the Volunteer Park Amphitheater Project, consultants ORA Architects will be on hand to get your feedback on their Schematic Design proposals. Look for them on the promenade by the Amphitheater Project sign.

More information on Holiday in the Park can be found on the Volunteer Park Trust website: http://volunteerparktrust.org/events/
And you can check out the event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1782332942040820/Volunteer-Park-22Holiday-in-the-Park-hi-res-make-a-wish

What’s open on Capitol Hill Thanksgiving 2016

Shadow

We freely admit that Thanksgiving, like any good holiday, is warped. And worrying about what will be open is also warped. But we also know that in between all these twists and turns of history, it’s a day for many of walks in the park and family and friends and feasts. Below, we have collected which local businesses and workers are taking some time from their days to help you have a happy Thanksgiving. Let us know if we missed anybody. Thanks. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Reminder: 2016 Seattle Public Safety Survey – 9 more days!

FlyerSeattle University is administering the citywide 2016 Seattle Public Safety Survey, and it is open for only 9 more days. The purpose of the survey is to solicit feedback on public safety and security concerns from those who live and/or work in Seattle. A report on the survey results will be provided to the Seattle Police Department to assist them with making your neighborhood safer and more secure.

The survey is accessible at publicsafetysurvey.org from October 15th through November 30th and is available in Amharic, Chinese, English, Korean, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese. Please circulate this information to your friends, family, co-workers and community members and feel free to post the information on your social media. Public safety and security are community concerns. Please make sure your voice is heard by completing the public safety survey today.

Capitol Hill Community Post | Special Alert: Upcoming Protests in Capitol Hill

From the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce has learned of two planned protests this weekend.  While we hope that these protests will remain peaceful, organizers of the Saturday night protest have indicated a more aggressive tone and we want you to be prepared.  Here is what we know:

Saturday November 19th, “No Trump, No Cops, No KKK” at 10 p.m at Cal Anderson Park.  We do not know how many to expect, but given the title of the gathering, there is a possibility that participants will march around, possibly to downtown. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Denny Way Closure from Stewart St to Fairview Ave Nov 18-21 for Seattle City Light Denny Substation Project

giphyFrom SDOT

SDOT advises travelers that Denny Way will be fully closed between Stewart St and Fairview Ave this weekend November 18 – 21 as part of the Seattle City Light (SCL) Denny Substation Project. During this closure, travelers should expect significant delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.

From 11 p.m. on Friday, November 18, to 5 a.m. on Monday, November 21, travelers can expect the following:

  • Crews will close both directions of Denny Way between Stewart St and Fairview Ave to restore the roadway to its normal configuration.
  • When Denny Way reopens on Monday morning, November 21, it will reopen with two lanes in each direction.
  • Crews working for SCL will be reconfiguring and restriping Denny Way adjacent to the substation site.

King County Metro Bus 8 will be directly impacted by the closure, as the westbound and eastbound Denny Way and Stewart Street bus stops will be temporarily closed. Visit Metro’s Service Advisories page to find out about any known revisions to your routes.

For more information on the Seattle City Light Denny Substation Project, please visit:
http://www.seattle.gov/light/dennysub/.

– See more at: http://onthemove.seattle.gov/2016/11/15/denny-way-closure-from-stewart-st-to-fairview-ave-nov-18-21-for-seattle-city-light-denny-substation-project/#sthash.5jJnbyhF.dpuf

Capitol Hill Community Post | David Sedaris Selects Seattle for Week-long Final Manuscript Workshop at Broadway Performance Hall

(Image: Prudence Upton)

(Image: Prudence Upton)

From Northwest Associated Arts

On the heels of yesterday’s sold-out Benaroya Hall appearance, David Sedaris surprised Seattle audiences by announcing his return to the Emerald City for eight workshop readings at the Broadway Performance Hall from January 14-20, 2017. Before the publication of each new book, Sedaris selects one or two cities to host these special week-long “workshops” to put the finishing touches on his manuscript before publication. His newest book, titled “Theft by Finding,” will be released in June 2017.

Sedaristas are expected to pounce on this unique opportunity to hear Sedaris read from his soon-to-be-published work in the intimate 295-seat setting of the Broadway Performance Hall. Each night is a unique and different experience. All workshops begin at 7pm with an additional 2pm matinee on January 15, and each will include a short Q & A.

David Sedaris is the author of the books Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Holidays on Ice, Naked, and Barrel Fever. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and Ira Glass’ This American Life. He lives in England with his partner Hugh.

Northwest Associated Arts (NWAA), KNKX 88.5fm and The Stranger present David Sedaris. General Admission seats are $50. Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2705407

Capitol Hill Communiyt Post | Interviewing home owners for UW research project

I’m a graduate student at the University of Washington. I’m conducting a study of Seattle homeowners’ attitudes about their homes and yards. Would you consider participating? Any information you share will be anonymized and incorporated as a critical part of my thesis. If selected for an interview, I would meet you at your location.

It’s important that this research includes a diversity of viewpoints within our city. I would love to include your unique perspective!

If you’d like to be considered for an interview, please complete the form at http://bit.ly/2fFQSxs. Please feel free to contact me with any questions at nicknev@uw.edu.

Thanks for your time!

Nick Neverisky

Capitol Hill Community Post | Teaching In The Time Of Trump

I am an immigrant from the former Soviet Union. I am a refugee. And, I have dedicated my work to the field of education. Being a Russian-Jewish immigrant who has worked with young people and teachers across this country affords me a unique perspective, one that I hope will help me better grasp what this country is experiencing.

The presidential election is over. Mr. Donald Trump will succeed President Barack Obama as the leader of the United States. Yet the turmoil, uncertainty and division that have surfaced over the final months leading to November 8th has not subsided, in fact it is seemingly increasing. Journalists, pundits, and anyone with a Facebook account are all sharing their analysis of what happened last week and prognosis of what will happen next. While history supports the pattern of the incumbent party consistently losing ground relative to the challenger party, and that voters tend to align themselves with the candidate who represents change in a given election, nothing about the 2016 election was typical. Some of us are unpacking data from exit polls, hoping to find answers to questions like why so many white women voted for Trump?

Many Americans are now exercising their constitutionally protected right to disagree with president-elect Trump by protesting. The demonstrators are showing their solidarity with women, people of color, the LGBTQ community and immigrants. These protestors are sending a message that Mr. Trump does not have a national mandate and that his rhetoric and policies will not be normalized.

Others are calling for unity and acceptance. President Obama addressed the American people shortly after Mr. Trump’s victory, saying, “we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team…We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first, we are Americans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country.” CNN commentator Van Jones updated his mini-series on the differences between Trump and Clinton voters, encouraging Americans to listen to each other.

My position is as short as it is predictable; we must invest more resources in civic education.

In 1991, when I was a six-year-old Muscovite and did not know a single word in English, the Soviet Union communist superpower underwent radical transformation. Through a mostly peaceful revolution many Soviet republics gained independence and a free and democratic Russia was born. With the recent silencing of the opposition, state take-over of media, and the annexation of Crimea, the once hopeful democracy has regressed to an oligarchy. A few weeks ago a friend and current high school teacher shared an Economist article on Russia, Inside the bear. The most alarming part of the article was the fact that the majority of young people in Russia do not actually know how the country in which they reside came to be. The article notes a survey, conducted by the Levada Centre, the country’s leading independent pollster, which shows that “half the overall population and as many as 90% of young Russians know nothing about the drama that began in the small hours of August 19th 1991.” These data made me wonder if ignorance is a contributing factor to the support Mr. Putin enjoys from the Russian people. If one does not know the danger of totalitarian leadership, is not aware that 25 years ago Russia lacked freedom of press and was a failing communist empire whose people were suffering and dissidents imprisoned, then an ex-KGB strongman is nothing to fear. However, ignoring our history or being oblivious to it seems like a rather short-sighted solution.

The good news is I do not live in Russia, here is the bad news. A survey conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found that Americans show great uncertainty when it comes to answering basic questions about how their government works. The survey revealed that “little more than a third of respondents (36 percent) could name all three branches of the U.S. government, just as many (35 percent) could not name a single one. Just over a quarter of Americans (27 percent) know it takes a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto. One in five Americans (21 percent) incorrectly thinks that a 5-4 Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress for reconsideration.” A report published by the Stanford Center on Adolescence and the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington-Seattle confirms this issue. “The report, Youth Civic Development and Education, describes the languishing state of civic education in the United States…”.

If we as a people do not know how our government works then how can we keep our elected officials accountable? Perhaps if more Americans knew that the president does not have the ability to make the military ignore the Geneva Conventions or direct soldiers to “take the families of terrorists”, Mr. Trump would have been held accountable for his apparent misunderstanding of how the government works.

Whether Mr. Trump meant everything he said during his campaign, simply played to his audience or as it seems, bit of both, he won this election. Educators across this country have a duty to teach young Americans not just how our government works but also how to be critical historians. We must teach our students to make informed decisions and empower them to be critical of those who dismiss facts or employ fear mongering as a rhetorical technique. Instead of referring to Hitler in the comments sections of social media we must teach our students how and why Hitler came to power. Instead of, or perhaps in addition to highlighting concerns about Russian hackers, Russian internet trolls, and Mr. Trump’s friendship with Mr. Putin, we must give our students the tools to understand the dangers of censorship and the importance of democracy.

Being oblivious to persecution or racism is a conscious choice, most often made by the privileged. It is intentional. As such, passively accepting the status quo is problematic. Oppression is often perpetuated by average, mostly innocuous individuals. Folks who think of themselves as good people and lack the skills to critically assess their positions. Best elucidated by Arendt, racism is not just evil men with little mustaches or white hoods. One need not be a fanatic or sociopath to be oppressive. The banality of evil is what makes this wicked problem so complex. Racism, misogyny, homophobia and anti-Semitism is enacted out of fear, and by folks who lack empathy, in large part because they are unaware of the history.

From the elite coastal bubbles to the south and rural Midwest, we must teach our students the responsibility and privilege of equitable civic engagement, and share with them the perils of disengagement. With the current spike in minority students reporting harassment after Mr. Trump’s win educators must urgently empower students to combat ignorance with knowledge.

Resources for teachers:

https://www.facinghistory.org
https://www.gilderlehrman.org
http://www.historyisaweapon.com/zinnapeopleshistory.html
http://alimichael.org/blog/what-should-we-tell-the-children/
https://www.edutopia.org/blog/US-election-teaching-resources-matt-davis
http://www.tolerance.org/blog/day-after

Capitol Hill Community Post | East Boston Street Closure at 10th Avenue East

From SDOT

SEATTLE – The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that crews will be paving E Boston St between 10th Ave E and 11th Ave E this weekend, November 19-20. This work is weather dependent.

From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20, travelers can expect the following:

  • Crews will pave E Boston St between 10th Ave E and 11th Ave E
  • Parking will be restricted on E Boston St, E Newton St, 11th Ave NE and 12th Ave NE
  • Crosswalks on E Boston St at 10th Ave NE will be closed
  • Uniformed police officers will assist with traffic control
  • Westbound traffic on E Boston St will detour to 12th Ave E to E Newton St to 10th Ave E and back to E Boston St
  • Eastbound traffic on E Boston will detour down 10th Ave E to E Aloha St to 15th Ave E and back to E Boston St
  • Street closures will be in effect during the day and reopened at night on Saturday and Sunday

This project is part of SDOT’s 2016 Arterial Major Maintenance (AMM) program. The AMM program maintains our busiest streets by making strategic small scale investments at key locations on city streets. SDOT would like to thank the public for its patience while this work is completed.

Capitol Hill Community Post | Report from the Post Election Community Response Forum

From Daniel Goodman via Facebook

Today at the Post Election Community Response Forum, Brad Medlin and I joined a thousand Seattleites along with our newly elected representative for the 43rd, Nicole Macri, our city council woman Kshama Sawant, and Gender Justice League executive director Danni Askini in an incredibly inspiring event to organize our community to stay safe during the Trump presidency and start to strategize to take back control of our government.

Our small group of 15 Capitol Hill residents (including Nicole Macri!) came up with the following list of our fears under this administration:

-an increase in hate crimes and bullying and the emboldening of white supremacists
-complacency among progressives and acceptance of the “new normal”
-forced conversion therapy in concentration camps
-the destruction of our planet caused by defunding the EPA
-restricted federal funding if our state and city remain a ‘sanctuary’ and don’t comply with conservative federal mandates
-loss of freedom of speech through censorship of the media
-deportation of immigrants
-loss of insurance through the repeal of Obamacare, which is literally a matter of life and death for millions of people
-loss of income for the disabled

This is our plan of action: Continue reading