The official list has not yet been released, but about two dozen Seattle teachers are scheduled to be reassigned based on “lower-than-projected enrollment.” In response to this announcement, students, teachers, and parents staged what was being called a “half-baked sale”outside Seattle Public Schools headquarters this week to ask the district to stop plans to move anyone and to raise money to keep these teachers in their classrooms, writes Paige Cornwell for The Seattle Times. Parents are also frustrated that the state does not have the funding to keep their schools intact.
The Seattle teachers organized a strike before and a few days into this new school year much to the disapproval of many.
“Parents were already unhappy (from the strike),” Alki Elementary parent Amy King said. “This pushed us over the edge. This made us angry.”
Earlier on the same day, a newly formed group called Teacher Retention Advocate Parents (TRAP) sponsored a “half-baked” sale at the same place to protest the reassignments. At this event, parents sold items such as “packed-class pralines” on a table bearing a sign that read “How many cookies do we have to sell to raise $90,000?”
The sale was organized to “highlight the absurdity of funding basic education with car washes and bake sales,” said Carolyn Leith, whose two children attend Olympic View Elementary School and Jane Addams Middle School, both of which are slated to lose staff.
Outside the district’s headquarters, parents and other supporters discussed the divide that occurs when one school raises more money than other schools. Some schools that are actually trying to raise $90,000, which would be the amount needed to keep a teacher, but none of the schools really expect to raise that much money. Only Alki Elementary has reached the goal, and that is because a parent in the school’s community donated $70,000.
On Monday, 11 legislators from Seattle and the surrounding area wrote to the board asking if it would delay the transfers. They explained that they were in Olympia meeting obligations under the McCleary decision, but are invested in ensuring that all students in their district get “a high-quality education this year.”
According to School Board President Sherry Carr and Vice President Sharon Peaslee:
“This is one of many impacts of inadequate state funding at the local level. It creates problems for students, teachers and schools.”
Paige Cornwell added a postscript to her report for The Seattle Times by sharing that Brian Jones is a parent who is angry about the money problems Seattle public schools are experiencing. Jones is so angry that he donated the $70,000 to help keep one teacher in place – and the school where this teacher works is not his own child’s school.
“When I saw what they were doing in West Seattle, I got really upset,” Jones said Monday morning. “I don’t even know anyone over there, but I made the donation to basically say, ‘Shame on you’ to the Legislature, and the school district, and the mayor. It takes the parents to solve the problem that they can’t.”
Jones’ donation, along with donations to Crowdrise.com, a crowdfunding website, allowed the Alki parent group to reach the goal of $90,000. But a district spokesperson reminded the Alki community that they would have to go through a formal process before the funds could be accepted to keep a teacher in place much in the way a grant would be approved.
Q13 Fox TV’s Hana Kim quoted parent Erin Murphy:
“You are also talking about going from class sizes of 20 and 22 to now being 28 which is obscene,” Murphy said.
Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-46th Legislative District) showed up for the parents’ bake sale to show his support. He told the parents that the legislature had failed them. He noted that the lawmakers are not doing what they said they would do for the public.