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As families, teachers, and staff of John Hay Elementary, and as part of the greater Seattle Public Schools community, we are all heavily invested in decisions being made that will impact our lives and especially those of our students. This page will be used to educate, advocate, and assemble, so we can be sure our voice are heard. Please check the yellow box to the right to find information on upcoming community meetings or action items.

CURRENT ISSUES

Bell Times (NEW INFO)

Boundaries (NEW INFO)

Budget NEW INFO)


BELL TIMES

The Seattle School Board will be adjusting Bell Times for the 2017/18 school year. The current schedule must be modified to accommodate additional instruction and planning time negotiated in the SEA (Seattle Education Association) contract that was ratified last year. The current plan, in the Three Tier System, is to begin the school day 10 minutes earlier (9:25 AM) and to add an additional 10 minutes to our already late dismissal time (3:55 PM). In addition, there will be a one hour early dismissal every Wednesday. Another option is moving the district to a two tier system. This would mean an approximate start time of 8:00 AM for John Hay, but would cost the district a (likely) one time payout of 3.8 million dollars. The SSB is still discussing if this is the best path forward.


Background

-The bell times were adjusted so that middle/high school students in our district would have a schedule that was more in line with the biological rhythms of adolescence, per the recommendation of the AAP (American Association of Pediatricians.) To accommodate later start times for these students, the district chose a three tier system of start times to be sure the bus schedules were not overwhelmed. Most K-5 schools are in the first tier, starting at 7:55 AM and releasing at 2:05 PM, but a handful of schools, like Hay, were forced into the third tier, despite the age of their students, and thereby start at 9:35 AM and release at 3:45 PM. There is an option for a two tier system, which would give us an 8:00 AM start time, but it would come at a significant cost to the district, so they are debating this now.


There are several arguments as to why the current and proposed bell times are not in the interest of John Hay students: 

-The schedule is difficult for K-5 students, whose own biological rhythms are out of whack from the extremely long day. A local pediatrician testified at the Catherine Blaine bell times hearing that she is seeing many overwhelmed and exhausted young patients and this is directly attributable to the long day in tier 3.


-Students are not getting out of school until nearly 4 PM. At this time of year, it is almost dark out. This presents a safety issue for many of the children who walk home from school. It also impacts the ability of our students to participate in after school activities, many of which begin at 3 PM. Since the other two elementary schools on Queen Anne Hill are in Tier 1, and get out at 2 PM, there is little incentive to make these activities later just to accommodate our kids. It is also difficult for students to get to doctor appointments and therapy, leaving many students pulled out of school early week in and week out. 


We believe John Hay would be best served in a two tier system or to be moved to the first tier of the current system. If you agree, please see the Make Your Voices Heard! box above for contact information. 


UPDATE: The Mayor is considering contributing the one-time cost of $2.3M from the city’s coffers in support of Bell Time reform. If the money is committed by May 1, SPS will be able to implement a two-tier bell schedule for THIS FALL. In the 2 Tier system, John Hay's bell time would be 8:00 AM to 2:40 PM. Please write to the mayor and your city council members to encourage them to contribute this money to benefit students and families in every SPS community! 


Further reading

https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?pageId=16309       


BOUNDARIES


Background

As you may know, due to overcrowding in our schools, the district is re-opening Magnolia Elementary School in the fall of 2018. Currently they are looking to redraw boundaries in Magnolia and Queen Anne in order to address the growing population. We didn't think this would impact John Hay, but following new proposals introduced at this week's community meeting, John Hay and Queen Anne Elementary have been brought into play. 


What does this mean? It's possible Queen Anne Elementary will change from an option school to a neighborhood school. If this happens, a large section of the houses currently zoned for Hay will be brought into the Queen Anne Elementary zone. There is no proposal as of yet as to who would be "grandfathered" in to their current school. 


UPDATE

No final decisions have been made, but they will be made in the next few months. For more information, you can view the PowerPoint from the community meeting here. You will find several proposals for boundary changes, but they have not created any proposals that impact us to date. Those will be coming and we will let you know when they do. 


We have invited the Director of Enrollment Planning, Ashley Davies, and the Enrollment Planning Project Specialist, E.R. Alvarez to come and share information on possible changes, timelines and procedures involved in this process and how it will affect John Hay Elementary. They are interested in hearing families and using this information as they work with communities to create boundary drafts to present to the board for approval. Thursday, April 6th @ 5:30 PM in the JH library .The district has also asked that you submit your feedback to growthboundaries@seattleschools.org. Please consider sending them an email to let them know your thoughts.     


Reading materials: 

Letter from Tami Beach to the John Hay Community (3-17-17)

BUDGET

Seattle Public Schools, along with schools across Washington State, is facing funding deficits due to Washington lawmakers failure to fully fund public education as part of the McCleary school funding lawsuit.

Background 
 - Lawmakers have failed to address the unconstitutional reliance on local property tax levies to pay for teacher and other school employee salaries o Previously lawmakers had temporarily increased the amount school districts could use from local levies to pay for teacher and other school employee salaries, but now the levy is again capped at 24%, which leaves a 4% funding gap the legislature has not stepped up to pay.
 - If legislators do not increase the levy cap or increase funding our school, and schools across state, are set to lose several key staff positions  


ALERT: Across the state, already-underfunded school districts are being told to prepare for a new round of budget cuts. Some have received letters or emails warning about the possibility of teacher layoffs or program closures.

Please see the Make Your Voices Heard! box above for upcoming meetings and contact information.

Unfortunately, plans for the cuts are going forward and schools are being asked to find a way to manage with significantly less. Attached here is the planning schedule put together by the administration of John Hay. At this point, they are making plans for the worst. This means we anticipate losing our Assistant Principal, School Counselor, and 1-2 teachers. It also means class sizes will increase. There is a possibility some education funding could come through at a later date, but we will not know until June or July. If some funding is restored, administration, with the input of staff and  the parents board, will decide the order by which we restore positions, etc. 

What can you do to help? Please contact your legislators and demand they fully fund our schools. Contact info is available in the side bar. 

UPDATE: The school superintendent sent our families a letter updating us about the budget situation. Some of the money has been restored, but it doesn't change our situation in terms of cuts. You can read the letter below. 
Learn more about the budget issues on the SPS webpage.  

(NEW)


Further Reading/Viewing


- Letter from Larry Nyland following the special board session (1/12/17) 


- Additional budget documents and resources can be found at: https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=16682292

 - Letter from Larry Nyland, Superintendent of Schools


- Budget document for families. 

 - Levy Clif Article detailing the challenges facing our schools: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article54019170.html 

 - Seattle Public Schools Board Budget Work Session presented by Linda Sebring, Budget Director detailing proposed cuts based on budget shortage of $71 million, presented on October 26, Pgs 7-23: https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Department s/Budget/2018%20Budget%20Development/Otober26-2016_Board_Work_Session.pdf 

 - An analysis from Seattle Schools Community Forum: 

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John Hay Partners