Seattle's Franklin and West Seattle high schools are among seven statewide that will lose a $13.2 million grant for math and science education from the National Math & Science Initiative. At issue: How NMSI wanted to pay teachers was at odds with state collective-bargaining laws.
Two Seattle high schools are among seven statewide that will lose a chance to add and strengthen Advanced Placement courses in math and science because a $13.2 million grant that Washington state won last year has been scrapped.
The National Math & Science Initiative (NMSI), based in Dallas, announced that it will end Washington’s grant because NMSI was unable to reach agreement with Washington’s schools on the terms of the contract.
NMSI declined to give any specifics, but state Rep. Bill Fromhold, who resigned his legislative post as of next year so he could help administer Washington’s grant, said it had to do with how teachers would be paid for the time they spent in training, and how they would receive incentives for how well students scored on AP exams.
NMSI wanted to pay teachers directly, he said, while Washington’s collective bargaining laws require that teacher pay be negotiated between teachers unions and school districts.
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“We worked hard to try to find middle ground,” Fromhold said. But at the end of the day “we got caught in the middle of the grant requirements and the collective bargaining laws in the state of Washington that have to be followed.”
He didn’t want to lay blame on either side, he added.
Washington was one of seven states to receive the six-year grants.
In Washington, NMSI said the grant would have provided teacher training and coaching, tutoring for students, materials and equipment, and incentives for teachers and students.
NMSI said that about 22 percent of the $13.2 million would have been spent on merit pay for teachers based on their participation and performance in the program.
Franklin High was one of the two Seattle schools signed up to be part of the grant. West Seattle could have been the other, although it recently voted against accepting it, in part because of concerns about teachers receiving merit pay for student test scores, said district spokesman David Tucker. Another Seattle school would have likely been added, however, if the grant had gone forward.
The other five high schools included two in the Evergreen School District in Vancouver, and three in the Spokane area.
Each school would have received roughly $114,000 this year. More schools would have been added in subsequent years.
In a prepared statement, Tom Luce, NMSI’s CEO, said that NMSI understands some states and school districts “may have policies that do not accommodate this grant model and we respect those local preferences — this is a voluntary program.”
NMSI is a nonprofit organization, created in 2007 to expand successful math and science programs.
Linda Shaw: 206-464-2359 or firstname.lastname@example.org