Huh?!

“My raise is not going to solve any of the issues we have on the table. I’ve done better than anyone else and I will take the smallest raise in the district as far as I know,” said Nyland.

It’s hard to believe, but Superintendent Nyland has been the head of Seattle Public Schools for a little over a year. One things for sure, it’s certainly been memorable.

Here’s some of the highlights:

Superintendent Nyland, without the consent of the school board, signed a contract with The Gates Foundation.

Another highlight was Nyland’s threat to pull the license of any teacher at Nathan Hale who refused to administer the SBAC. That nasty bit didn’t make it into Nyland’s State of the District Address. He also forgot to mention the 76.1% of SPS 11th graders who opted out of the English Language Arts test (ELA) and 80.5% juniors who refused the math portion of the SBAC. Nyland was enthusiastic about Seattle’s overall SBAC scores, even though the state board had voted over the summer to lower the cut score from 3.0 to a 2.5.

There’s also the district’s botched contract negotiations with SEA, leading to the first teacher strike in 30 years. This was followed one month later by the district miscalculating student enrollment, resulting in staff cuts, or in district parlance “reassignment”, at “25 or something” schools across the district.

Remember Director Carr and Peaslee’s editorial in the Seattle Times about how the district just didn’t have the money to give striking teachers a raise?

We simply do not have the funds to meet current demands by the Seattle Education Association. The district contract offer is $61 million over the three years of the contract. SEA is asking for a combined total of $123 million. We can’t spend all of our reserves. This is what the McCleary ruling looks like on the ground, at the local school level.

Guess who wrote the BAR to give Nyland a raise? Yep, Carr and Peaslee. Never mind that Nyland already makes more money that the Mayor of Seattle or the Governor of Washington State.

Now that I’ve finished my mini performance review, let’s get to the question of what sort of classroom centered issues need to be put on Nyland’s table. Here’s a few ideas to get the conversation started:

Teachers spend an average of $513 a year of their own money for classroom supplies, books, and professional development. Nyland’s raise would cover these out of pocket expenses for 26 teachers in the district.

Seattle Public Schools has 2,982 homeless students. Teachers at Middle College would use their own money to put homeless students in hotels because these kids were often harassed by adults in shelters. Remember Middle College? It was the life saving program at High Point that Nyland closed. Here’s a thought. Let’s use Nyland’s $13,000 a year raise to create a fund that provides safe housing for our homeless students?

The West Seattle Food Bank provides weekend food packs for 100 students from five schools. The Seattle Foundation supplies some funding for this program. Nyland’s $13,000 a year would go a long way toward keeping this essential service going.

What problem would $13,000 a year solve at your kid’s school?

Let us know in the comments.

-Carolyn Leith