The Board left open the possibility of future work with the Alliance for Education on a project-by-project basis.

Share story

The 20-year partnership between Seattle Public Schools and the Alliance for Education, its fundraising arm, will be significantly restructured.

The School Board voted 6 to 1 Wednesday to empower the superintendent to end the district’s formal relationship with the alliance. But board President Sherry Carr said she was open to working with it on a year-to-year basis on specific projects spelled out in a contract.

Alliance board Chairman Brad Hoff said the group also is willing to work on a project-by-project basis.

School Board member Stephan Blanford said he had hoped the board would agree to a cooling-off period before taking action. He cast the lone no vote.

At its height, the alliance raised about $7 million to $8 million a year to support Seattle Public Schools, but that’s slowly dwindled to about $1 million this year — about $200,000 in general donations, and another $800,000 in support of the Seattle Teacher Residency program, which trains about 25 new teachers a year in a more hands-on way than most university-based programs.

The alliance has blamed the district for the decrease, saying that the churn of four superintendents in four years left large donors wary — and weary — of making large investments.

District leaders have said the alliance has been more critical than friend, prescribing solutions rather than working with district officials to find them.

In a letter to the group, Carr, board Vice President Sharon Peaslee and Superintendent Larry Nyland said the Alliance for Education was asking Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to raise funds to pay for Alliance overhead, and staff “who are critical of SPS decisions and leadership; and to support the funding of programs that are either unsustainable, contrary to the wishes of SPS, or a surprise to the Superintendent.”