Native Americans say school district is controlling their committee
A group of Native American parents say the Seattle School District is wrong to put two of its employees on the Indian Education Program’s parent advisory committee.
Members of Seattle’s Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Education Alliance urged the school district to form a Native American parent committee last fall, as required by federal law.
The district didn’t have such a committee, so it formed one. Then two committee members, Stacey Ives and Francina Rodriguez, took part-time jobs with the district, said district spokesperson Teresa Wippel.
That’s a conflict of interest, said Sarah Sense-Wilson of the Education Alliance. The district recently submitted a Title VII grant application for its 2011-2012 school year. Of the three parents who signed it, two work for the school district, she pointed out.
“The parent advisory committee is suppose to serve as the oversight,” Sense-Wilson said. “How can [two district employees] address issues when their boss is sitting right there?”
Speaking for the school district, Wippel said federal regulations only prevent the district from directly paying Rodriguez, the committee’s teacher representative. Her wages come out of a city grant, Wippel said.
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