A budget mitigation request

I spent a while this afternoon working on a budget mitigation request for STEM K-8 next year, asking SPS to provide a 1.0 AP and some additional program planning funds. Excerpts from the application is included below to help see what we are preparing for.


The Mitigation Fund is an auxiliary source of operating funds. These funds will be allocated to address extreme school and program needs that are not adequately funded by WSS allocations, baseline carry-forwards, grants, self-help or other sources of funds.


The criteria used to evaluate requests include program, and equity considerations, unique school characteristics student achievement and other funding availability.


[Describe the reason for the mitigation request. The reasons should be tied directly to the mitigation criteria described above. Requests that are not specifically related to these criteria are unlikely to receive mitigation funding.]

Louisa Boren STEM K-8 is a new option school adding a middle school and special education programs. For the 2016-17 school year STEM will be adding two 7th grade classes, an Access program, morning and afternoon Special Education preschool classes, and a Seattle preschool. There will be construction and change throughout the Boren building as Arbor Heights leaves and STEM reorganizes to inhabit the entire school. Additionally, only in it’s 4th year of existence, STEM continues to pursue the work of solidifying its option school program. Implementing a clear school vision has required extensive professional development in Project-Based Learning, Next Generation Science and Engineering Standards, and Singapore Math. We are currently trying to develop alignment in Balanced Literacy practices. STEM’s number of ELL students doubled last year, and STEM experienced a substantial increase in Special Education students (before the assignment of two new programs). Not counting the Seattle Preschool teacher, STEM K-8 was assigned 26.6 certificated teachers (27 qualifies for a 1.0 AP).

The extraordinary level of ongoing change and development happening at Louisa Boren STEM K-8 requires investing in leadership and planning. It takes substantial leadership to develop new programs. A full-time AP and funds to support individual, team, and staff planning for new programming is essential for STEM K-8 to meet the expanding student needs Seattle Public Schools has assigned.


Result of not Mitigating

[Describe the negative results of not mitigating the resources as requested. How will this violate the guiding principles and mission of the Seattle Public Schools?]
[If multiple items are requested indicate the priority of needs.]

Seattle Public School is committed to equity.  The level of change and growth at STEM demands at least minimal allocation of additional resources.  With new 7th grade, Sped, and preschool programs (and 26.6 certificated teachers-many of them new to the school and profession), not investing in leadership and planning is tantamount to adopting a “sink or swim” development strategy.  Seattle Public Schools’ mission states SPS is committed to ensuring equitable access, closing the opportunity gaps and excellence in education for every student.  This is particularly vital for Special Education students, our most vulnerable learners.  Not investing in leadership and planning will lead to lower achievement, a lack of compliance and poor implementation of IEP’s and new Special Education programs, insufficient development of middle school programming, and frustrated staff, students, and community members.