Who has the Authority to Make What Decisions?
Seattle Public Schools, as an institution, has a lot of issues around the scope of authority. There's a world of confusion about what a teacher can decide independently and what are the limits of that authority? What can a principal decide and what is the scope of a principal's authority? What falls inside and outside the limits of a BLT's authority? What decisions can an Executive Director of Schools have authority to make? What about District Staff? Do they have any authority? Surely there are some decisions that are up to the Superintendent and some that are up to the Board, but what are they?
The simple answer is that Board Policy and the Superintendent Procedures provide all of the answers to these questions. There is a clear answer in these governing documents that defines the scope of authority for each person. Granted, a lot of the policies and procedures are so poorly written that they are neither actionable nor enforceable.
The real answer, however, is much more fluid. The real answer is: "Whatever you can get away with."
This is the hallmark of a dysfunctional organization. This is a facet of the culture of lawlessness.
The Board writes policy, but if they do not enforce it, then they have failed to set policy. The current Board, like every Board before them, refuses to enforce policy. The Board Directors may not care for that characterization. They may claim that they have no process for enforcing policy, that they can only request the superintendent's compliance but, unless the non-compliance gets so bad that it makes them want to fire him, they have no method for coercing that compliance. That's true, but who's job is it to develop a policy enforcement process? I have no sympathy for people who complain that their dinner is Seattle Schools Community Forum: Who has the Authority to Make What Decisions?: