Seattle Hall Pass Podcast

E14 - The Financial Policy & Exit Interview with Chandra Hampson

November 30, 2023 Christie Robertson & Jane Tunks Demel Season 1 Episode 14
E14 - The Financial Policy & Exit Interview with Chandra Hampson
Seattle Hall Pass Podcast
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Seattle Hall Pass Podcast
E14 - The Financial Policy & Exit Interview with Chandra Hampson
Nov 30, 2023 Season 1 Episode 14
Christie Robertson & Jane Tunks Demel

Christie and Jane interview outgoing Seattle School Board Director Chandra Hampson at the end of her four-year term. The focus of our conversation is the Financial Policy, co-authored by Hampson, that the Seattle School Board recently passed.

We also talk about PTA funding, the belief gap, community engagement, special education spending, and a potential financial audit.

See our show notes.

Support the Show.

Music by Sarah, the Illstrumentalist, logo by Carmen Lau-Woo.
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Christie and Jane interview outgoing Seattle School Board Director Chandra Hampson at the end of her four-year term. The focus of our conversation is the Financial Policy, co-authored by Hampson, that the Seattle School Board recently passed.

We also talk about PTA funding, the belief gap, community engagement, special education spending, and a potential financial audit.

See our show notes.

Support the Show.

Music by Sarah, the Illstrumentalist, logo by Carmen Lau-Woo.
Sign up for our newsletter

Episode 14 Show Notes: A Conversation with Chandra Hampson

[00:00:00] Christie Robertson: Welcome to Seattle Hall Pass, a podcast about Seattle Public Schools. I'm Christy Robertson.

[00:00:05] Jane Tunks Demel: And I'm Jane Tunks Demel. Today we're here with Chandra Hampson, Outgoing School Board Director, who has served on the Seattle School Board in Position 3 for four years. 

[00:00:15] Christie Robertson: We've brought Chandra on to learn a little more about her as she transitions on to new things and also hear her thoughts about the Financial Policy just passed by the school board.

I also want to note that we edited this interview for clarity and length.

[00:00:32] Jane Tunks Demel: So welcome, Chandra Hampson. 

[00:00:35] Christie Robertson: Thanks for being here with us Chandra. I want to give listeners some background. The Financial Policy is a set of guardrail policies that was passed by the Seattle School Board on November 15th. Paraphrasing from the Board Action Report, the aim of the policies is to give clear financial planning and administration limitations to the superintendent in order to increase transparency, equity, fiscal responsibility, and student benefit. And we will link to the board meeting discussions of this policy from October 11th and November 15th. And we'll read a few of the clauses throughout the discussion. 

And my first question to you, Chandra, is, if you could tell us the origin story of this Financial Policy, because I think it goes back further than people necessarily realize in communities and in your thinking about it.

[00:01:32] Chandra Hampson: So, I mean, the origin story is really the demand that funding is aligned with values and vision. The push — particularly from community, from PTAs in schools across the district — is about making sure that whatever funding is coming into the district is accounted for, and is being used equitably and based on student need and is able to be leveraged to create better opportunities for all students as opposed to providing benefits and opportunities for just the few students who can access it.

So that's been going on for, I mean, really, for decades. It was a huge topic of discussion when I first came into the district in 2012-13. So it's been more than a decade. And when I was president of Seattle Council PTSA, one of the things we did is pass a resolution that was very much in line with the National PTA values and also in line with the state PTA values, to focus on the fantastic history of PTAs, which is about advocating for students. It is the PTA that was responsible for the school lunch program. It's the PTA that was responsible for child labor laws, many of which are getting eroded in other parts of the country. 

So parents advocating as a group formally was always intended, through at least the PTA model, to be about creating better educational opportunities for all children and better conditions for all children. 

So we did a resolution at Seattle Council PTSA called Take Back the PTA, which was just speaking to the history — the full history. There's also a really important history in PTA aligning with Black parents — who had originally had a separate PTA — and merging into one. And so it was just like trying to raise awareness about the purpose of PTAs and our obligation to do things that were in support of all students.

There's lots of really good examples in Seattle of school communities where they take those values and they use them to influence their school community in really positive ways. Either they really limit the fundraising that they do and they focus on community and on advocacy. Olympic Hills has always been one of those schools where I think they only raise about $10,000 a year.

And then there's other schools, like the school that my kids went to, which was Sand Point, where the focus was always about trying to create equitable opportunities, doing lots of fundraising, but trying to positively influence the entire school community in ways that all students benefited equitably. So even when we chose our after-school provider, we had a choice to pick a school provider that refused to provide scholarships and an after-school care provider that absolutely always provided scholarships. And so we went with the one that provided scholarships. 

That's a big part of what is in this financial policy. But the notion of transparency, like really detailed transparency, including what is actually being spent at every building, and how that is aligned with the goals of the district are things that we've heard from families across Seattle for decades. 

What districts are incentivized to do is compliance What families need is demonstrated alignment. It's a level of complexity in addition to a very detailed extent of compliance that we are then asking the district to do. This financial policy is really saying, "Yes, it's a significantly additional set of work, and we need to develop this muscle and this transparency and demonstrated alignment and use that as the basis for our decision making and our conversations with community." 

[00:06:06] Jane Tunks Demel: In addition to daylighting things like PTA funding or other grants, will there also be opportunity to have more transparency for something like special education funding? From my student’s experience, who, he has an IEP actually, we're not seeing how the funding is aligned to the everyday life of a student with an IEP. So I'm just wondering if there'll also be opportunity for community to see that too.

[00:06:34] Chandra Hampson: So that let me be really clear about what a guardrail policy is. It’s not a specific indication of how to do anything. It is what the expectations are for.

"Give us a budget. But you have to stay within these guidelines." Absolutely a much deeper understanding of how our current special education funding model is and is not working in buildings is something that this district has to get to. 

My hope and recommendation is that if not this next fiscal year, then the following fiscal year, that the district will engage in an external analysis. So within the next 24 months should be completed a full audit. 

Because of the extent of that particular part of our budget and the lack of reimbursement that we get for that, if we are to effectively advocate for more funding from the state, we have to demonstrate why it's not working and why we need this. And we don't have the data to do that at this point. We can show top and bottom line, and the fact that we don't have the outcomes for the kids. But because of the lack of transparency and information, then that just looks like our problem, right? Not the state's problem. 

 And so it really is one of the most important components of that transparency. And by demonstrating, at the building level, "Okay, but tell us what was actually spent and tell us what was and wasn't effective building by building". 

And the CSIPs, the Continuous School Improvement Plans, should actually be describing the narrative of: "Okay, we looked back at what happened last year. This is what we're gonna do this year, and this is how we're gonna structure what we're doing." And there will always be a cost associated with that — 90, 95, 99 percent of the time it's human cost, right? So yes, that absolutely has to be part of the information that comes out of insisting on doing fiscal analysis

[00:08:57] Christie Robertson: That special education audit. Has that already started the external analysis?

[00:09:15] Chandra Hampson: No, no, no. It’s something that I hope that this next board will do. And I believe it is currently on the priorities. Coming out of the pandemic and given some of the discussions around inclusion, it wasn't really settled enough to start that. But I hope that that will become one of the top priorities. But the timing in terms of doing that audit, an RFP [request for proposal] will have to go out. There are a number of things to consider with that. I'm sure the state auditor's office would have something to say about it as well in terms of the value to them. 

We could have asked the state auditor's office to look at it. But I think it really probably needs to be an external firm that has done these kind of things in districts before. And there are some good audits out there. One of the ones that I saw that was specifically around inclusion in I think it was in Indiana. 

I think having that fiscal analysis come out of it is going to be really critical.

[00:10:19] Christie Robertson: I want to jump back into the funding. One of the things that seems like it's not tracked well is the boosters. Jane and I were talking about this before you got on. 

[00:10:28] Jane Tunks Demel: I was just telling Christie that my understanding is, for example, PTA money for FTE [full-time equivalent] does go through SPS, but booster money doesn't because it's outside of school hours. So our question was with clause 11. 

[00:10:41] Christie Robertson: Claus 11. The superintendent shall not cause, or allow Seattle Public Schools to allow a building or other leaders to solicit or accept funding in support of building, departmental, or district budget if that funding is not a) sustainable or b) for one-time needs. And clearly shown to be matched by the district through a balancing mechanism consistent with the board's goals and resulting district strategic plan.  

[00:11:14] Jane Tunks Demel: So our question was with clause 11, we understand about the PTA grants, but there's these other grants, like say, South Shore gets a grant for $1 million a year for the League of Education Voters Foundation. And then also there's a smaller grant Project Lead the Way. They give $30,000 for STEM to several schools such as Orca, Broadview Thomson, and Mercer. And we're just wondering how, in light of this policy, will it impact those grants?

[00:11:45] Chandra Hampson: So first I'll just say it's not prescriptive, right? But what we're looking for is demonstrated transparency and alignment. 

A lot of people have a lot of different ideas about what they think and want to be the solutions for improving student outcomes, Right? 

[00:12:08] Christie Robertson: Right. 

[00:12:08] Jane Tunks Demel: Right.

[00:12:08] Chandra Hampson: The school district is saying, "The board says we've heard from the community: This is the vision, these are the values, we need you to produce outcomes for kids consistent with these. And now communicate with all of your partners, collaborate with all of their partners, give them really clear indication of what alignment their funding needs to have in order for us all to be heading in the same direction."

Instead, Seattle has been having really pretty, I want to say passive to passive-aggressive partnerships with partners. And just as a failure and probably a fear of having a direct conversation saying, "Actually, we really appreciate that you want to do this funding, but here's the kind of alignment we need to see."

Otherwise, if you don't have that alignment, you have funding coming in from all directions with everybody's different ideas. And then people are really confused. So again, building a practice of, "Okay, we're all in this together." 

We don't want to turn away resources. I came into this role as Chair of Audit and Finance [Commitee] thinking, "We're going to stop taking all this money that is just for what people want for their kids and make sure that there's equity." And then it was really obvious, really quickly. The whole notion of everybody pooling their money together, or the only way you can give money to an individual school is through some sort of centralized foundation. So first of all, for anybody who's listening, it doesn't work. Right? All you do is reduce the amount of money coming in.

And people don't feel any sense of ownership or connection to what they're supporting at their individual school. And we don't want to take that away, right? There's a benefit to having — they're called a booster club for a reason. You have families that want to enhance the experience of their children. And that's not a negative thing. It's only a negative thing when it becomes at the expense of the opportunities that other children have. 

And I think that's the part that folks don't necessarily see is they don't understand how allowing large pots of money to come into small little schools, where kids have access to all kinds of stuff. Where suddenly it's really clear that, oh, these people have money to do this over here. Over here, we have nothing. Anybody who's ever worked in a nonprofit organization knows really well that if you just accept money from whoever wants to give it to you for whatever purpose they want to give it to you, you're then accountable for producing results associated with those dollars. Even if they're pretty flexible dollars, you still then have this purpose that may or may not be aligned with what you're doing as an organization, right? 

And you might take it, you're like, "Oh, they'll give us money for not for our main purpose. We'll give this money for over here." And that's called mission creep, right? Which is associated with funding that's available, but where someone is being far too prescriptive. 

And so, the whole thing behind PTAs and foundations and all these other things is: Let's shift our thinking so that we're looking at allowing these resources to come in with alignment. And that's what the policy, is asking for the superintendent. “Please interpret this in the best way possible to make sure that we're leveraging these dollars.”

So one example could be: We receive $4.8 million dollars just from PTAs. But we don't even take a percentage of that. If we just took 10 percent of that, we'd have another $400,000 to provide to other schools for things that they might want to do The folks who are giving all those dollars wouldn't even really notice that 10 percent, so I think that's something that needs to happen. And so, that's just one tiny little thing. 

And rather than us as board directors say, "Hey, you're going to take 10 percent,” we're not going to tell the district how to do it, we're just going to say, “We need to have you demonstrate that you are in fact figuring out how to balance this.”

And then it also means making sure that you have the same access to things like tutoring and theater and sports and all these wonderful things that we know help students stay connected to their school community.

[00:16:47] Jane Tunks Demel: Chandra, my question though is: Will this balancing mechanism also be used for the non-parent-driven grants. I understand that we want these outside grants to be aligned with the goals, but I'm wondering, will there also be a balancing mechanism for those grants? 

Or maybe in themselves, they are a balancing mechanism, in most cases? That’s what I'm wondering. I just want to dig into that and hear what your thoughts are. 

[00:17:14] Chandra Hampson: I mean, so what I would caution people. The thing that we often hear from people in this kind of situation is: "Oh, well, but they're getting all this outside money at these other schools that are from foundations. And look at the per-student spending.”

I mean, you're, it's just, you're comparing apples to oranges. Just from the jump 

[00:17:38] Jane Tunks Demel: Oh yeah, we get that.

[00:17:39] Chandra Hampson: Right? So A lot of times it's because the Title [One] dollars are in there. And then we had equity dollars. Trying to combat the impacts of a community being more poorly resourced, it can be anything from transportation to the extent to which school meals are available for those buildings. And not all that's going to show up on a school budget. But the funding needs to be matched for the need. 

And if you take one student that has missed an average of 100 days of school a year since they were in kindergarten, and then you're trying to get them to grade level by seventh grade. The amount of additional support needed to do that? Massive, right? And that's staff time, providing additional resources. 

And so we've tended to be compliant with the demands of the money that we're being offered as opposed to aligning the funds with student need. We don't have a formula. We don't fund buildings based on student needs. Which is the other really important piece of this. Funding buildings based on student need. 

[00:19:01] Jane Tunks Demel: And that's clause 6, right? School funding models.

[00:19:04] Christie Robertson: Clause 6: The superintendent shall not cause or allow Seattle Public Schools to maintain or agree to school funding models that 1) fail to utilize data-proven formulas centered on meeting student need, 2) are not flexible enough to ensure alignment with established goals related to ensuring student outcomes, and 3) are inconsistent with the board's policies and statement of values, including the board's goals and resulting district strategic plan. 

[00:19:38] Jane Tunks Demel: And that's clause 6, right? School funding models.

[00:19:41] Chandra Hampson: And yeah, we got a ton of pushback on that as well.

[00:19:44] Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah. We'd love to hear more about clause six, your thoughts on it.

[00:19:48] Chandra Hampson: You know, I mean, it's pretty straightforward. you know, whether it's the Principals Association or like you. The reality is you can have adults that feel good about their jobs and are well resourced. They have everything they want and still have students failing. It is pretty much a practical impossibility to have students whose needs are well resourced who are succeeding and have adults who are miserable. Does that make sense? 

[00:20:20] Christie Robertson: Yeah.

[00:20:20] Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah. 

[00:20:21] Chandra Hampson: I mean, if you can imagine whether you're in a classroom, whether you're at home, whether you're in a daycare or preschool or whatever, whether you're a coach, whatever the circumstances and conditions are that support your kids thriving and succeeding, it's hard to imagine a scenario where the adults are somehow not doing well.

[00:20:44] Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah. 

[00:20:45] Christie Robertson: Right.

[00:20:46] Chandra Hampson: Because you're funding the purpose of our existence — not the adults, right? Everybody has to get paid. But like funding based on student need, and then everything else kind of falls into that. 

There are definitely needs that our staff have that are going unmet. I think teachers are under-resourced in so many ways, primarily curricular and relevant training.

And by relevant training, I also mean understanding what is actually going to be a truly positive impact on the kids that they're teaching and how it is that they differentiate. There's so little resources that have been provided to them historically. 

And there's lots of data out there to support how it is that you support teachers. in Seattle Public Schools, we have thrown a lot of stuff at teachers. And then failed to support them. 

So you can't give them 10 different strategies in one year, which again is historically what we've done. You gotta keep it pretty simple. And be like, “Okay, this is what we're working on. What do you need to be successful in this?” 

 And this is what I will tell you is the biggest issue that we have. Is what we call the belief gap. There's massive amounts of data out there to support this not just on behalf of teachers, but administrators, counselors, everybody in the entire school system, and especially the school board. It's really less about the opportunity gap —it’s the belief gap. And getting beyond the belief gap takes a completely different structure of training and support.

You know, one of the earliest arguments I had around this PTA funding with fellow parents in the district was that from their perspective, because of poverty, Black and Brown children won't learn.

[00:22:42] Christie Robertson: Wow.

[00:22:44] Chandra Hampson: Because trauma, Black and Brown children won't learn. And we can't do anything about poverty or trauma, and therefore, we shouldn't be committing ourselves to students learning. 

First of all, any and every child, regardless of what they walk into those doors with, is capable of learning at standard if provided the right support and conditions.

[00:23:09] Christie Robertson: Yep. And that is such a different thing to tackle. I see it most in special education. And of course, a big problem with those segregated classrooms is you have a whole class that everybody has decided, you know, they don't believe that those kids can learn. 

I love the way you put it, that you can pour money into adult needs and it doesn't necessarily help the kids. Because I feel like that's exactly what we've done in special education. From a teacher's perspective, I need more staff, right? Like I can't handle this. I need more staff. 

[00:23:44] Chandra Hampson: Right. 

[00:23:45] Christie Robertson: Well, let's give you a bunch more IAs.

[00:23:47] Chandra Hampson: Right. 

[00:23:47] Christie Robertson: But still nobody thinks this kid can learn. So nobody's teaching the kid, and they're just dealing with a dysregulated kid who's being dealt with by a bunch of adults that don't have the right training, and so you put more staff. And it just explodes, like we're seeing our special education funding explode. 

[00:24:04] Chandra Hampson: Yep. And I mean, you're 100 percent, right? That is because that's not the training that folks are receiving in any of their certifications. Well, I shouldn't say that. I haven't taken one recently, so I don't know. I haven't gone to a teacher training or certification program or administrator training or degree program. So I don't know. I think at some schools they are getting better. I think that they are doing really good work at Stanford. A friend of mine actually just recently graduated from the program there. 

So the thing that you need is the one person in that building that is going to connect with that kid exists and exists for every child. And that means it takes everyone in the building shifting their mindset. So that's one of the reasons why the governance model, the biggest part of it is the mindset shift, shifting to a student-centered, student outcomes focus that is fundamentally based in the belief that students can learn.

And one of the things that we are trying to move to as a school board is being really clear about a serious set of accountability metrics for our superintendent and demonstrating that we believe in his ability to succeed as superintendent. And we have some really major expectations. 

The history of the relationship between the school board and the superintendent has been one of public shaming.

And the expectation is that when there's a mistake made, or a guardrail is violated, that the way that we deal with that is through public shaming. And that we let everybody know he's a bad guy, he made a mistake, we're gonna yell at him from the dais, we're gonna yell at his staff from the dais about, "You did this wrong, I had these expectations, you didn't meet these expectations." What kind of modeling does that provide for our system?

[00:26:12] Christie Robertson: Right. 

[00:26:13] Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah. We've appreciated the collaborative relationship between the board and the superintendent that we see. 

But Chandra, since you bring that up, I am interested because I know that one of the things that the labor partners asked about was community engagement and that it wasn't in this financial policy because it's already in a guardrail. But then also there is acknowledgement that community engagement is still on its way to being all that it can be? 

[00:26:41] Chandra Hampson: Or just existing at all? 

[00:26:42] Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah, yeah. And I agree like there shouldn't be shaming. He shouldn't be fired because of this. But so I'm just wondering, can you just like share so that the community knows what happens next?There's no community engagement, so technically that's a guardrail violation. 

[00:26:58] Chandra Hampson: So that's a conversation we have with the superintendent privately during his evaluation. 

[00:27:04] Jane Tunks Demel: The evaluation is once a year?

[00:27:06] Chandra Hampson: Oh, the official evaluation is once a year, but we have check-ins. And if there's a guardrail violation, really what should happen is the school board president should say, “Okay, we need to have an evaluation session.” And we do, you've probably we've had multiple check-ins to see where things are headed and how the superintendent is succeeding or not in the achievement of the goals and the alignment with the guardrails, right?

So the nice thing about those guardrails is everybody saw, okay there was a mistake. And it doesn't matter whether it was intentional or not.  And my response to that is "It's not clear amongst other senior staff that before they make a decision, they got to check in with goals and guardrails.” To see, "Does this meet the standard,” right? That's why they're there. 

We have not yet gotten to the place of: "This is the vision. These are the values. These need to be in every office and in every building so that everybody is trying to align themselves in the same direction and we're all kind of moving as one." 

Which, by the way, is completely antithetical to the biggest movement that occurred in Seattle Public Schools, which was under John Stanford, which was that there is no centralization and everything is up to every individual building. So this is a major cultural shift and it's a lot of historic culture to undo. 

And so nobody's at fault. This is just about, "Okay, yeah, when we talk about your evaluation, it's going to be really clear." 

[00:28:25] Jane Tunks Demel: Oh yeah. And I absolutely agree those should be private conversations, but I think cause the community just sees, say, a reshuffle happening at dozens of schools, but then doesn't hear anything from anyone about it. And then the unknowing is when that distrust happens. So I don't know if there's a way to let the community know, "Hey, we noticed that. We've got that. We're working on it,” you know? So that's the part that's missing. 

[00:28:53] Chandra Hampson: Yeah. Yeah. And that communication component of it. My focus right now has been that of all the people who feel the least empowered to know what's happening when something goes wrong. It's our students. And we tend to really focus on the adults. 

And if you notice, I caused a huge hullabaloo in a couple of different scenarios where we didn't make any progress on our student rights and responsibilities. 

And that's unacceptable if you're going to bring something before the board, and we have to approve it. 

And you've demonstrated that our students who are your customers, Superintendent Jones, have no idea how to go and find out what their rights and responsibilities are and who to talk to when things go awry, then, you know, we're in serious trouble. 

This election for me was a referendum on whether we are going to move forward with a positive shift in mindset that is about everyone getting focused on outcomes for children in our system and the board engaging itself in governance practices versus that the board director's job is to be the conduit for parents who are advocating for their kids. And that is 100 percent not the responsibility of the board. 

And it is an opinion, but it's an opinion derived from massive amounts of data and best practices. And you can go to anybody who's doing the most successful and the most progressive work in school districts throughout the country and throughout the state and see that where things are working and where the adults are happiest is where there is that collaborative alignment. And you have to build up that trust, right? 

In order to have that accountability, and we have a long ways to go with both our students and our staff, a long way to go. 

And then sort of retraining families to understand that, hey, we actually want to provide you more information and get you more engaged in what's going to work for all children. We need to stop pretending that you get to decide what actions are taken, what the implementation looks like for the whole district, because that's not how that works. And if you engage in that input from all these different sectors. Then you're just heightening the oversized impact of those individuals versus taking a global approach.

But it's nobody's fault. It was an intentional creation of John Stanford's to let things all be decided at the local level. And trying to get people headed in a different direction is really, really tough.

So, for example, with the teachers union — they represent staff . The teachers are customers of the superintendent's. And if you look at NEA, or the American Federation for Teachers, there's a real mismatch in terms of what they're talking about and then what we're seeing in individual districts Because the focus on students and student outcomes is actually consistent with where they're headed. 

And of course, should never be at the expense of the right of people who work in the system. But it only would be if you believe that by focusing on students, that somehow adults are going to be worse off. 

[00:32:23] Jane Tunks Demel: Chandra, speaking of labor partners, in the meeting they were asking about "notification of programmatic changes.” And Christie and I weren't sure what that meant. Would you be able to explain?

[00:32:34] Chandra Hampson: We talked with them about that and we have that. Basically, we already have that as a guardrail. 

[00:32:38] Jane Tunks Demel: But what does it mean? 

[00:32:40] Chandra Hampson: Oh, just that if there's going to be a shift in any educational program, you know, like Center School or Interagency. 

[00:32:50] Jane Tunks Demel: Or Middle College. 

[00:32:51] Chandra Hampson: Or consolidation. 

There was nothing wrong with their suggestion about community engagement. We're trying to get to this place of when the board is talking to people. We’re talking about owners. 

Everybody can be an owner, even a student and a parent, as long as their focus is the health of the overarching system on behalf of all students. That's ownership.

If you're talking about individual needs and wants, then you're a customer. 

And the union doesn't necessarily represent our constituents from the board standpoint. In which case their relationship is exclusively with the superintendent, to whom we have delegated the bargaining process. Which is standard for Washington state.

We put this as a guardrail, and we said, you especially have to engage with those that are going to be most severely impacted. So we were like, “We already have that as a guardrail. There's already some metrics about it.” We've got a long way to go, as you both know, a long, long way to go. 

But this is a Financial Policy, right? We could include it, but then we're like starting to tell you how to implement and starting to mix categories of values, right? 

The value is we want fiscal transparency and alignment. Those are the values, and we know that that is true for our constituents in Seattle. We also know they want to be engaged, but that's a whole separate value set, right? 

[00:34:16] Jane Tunks Demel: Yeah. Okay. Thanks for explaining that. 

[00:34:19] Chandra Hampson: Let me just say, I know folks are worried about, “What does this mean?” I really hope that people will read number 12, 

[00:34:29] Christie Robertson: Clause 12. 

The superintendent shall not cause or allow Seattle Public Schools to fail to delineate in budget the fiscal mechanisms and data the district uses to ensure ASBs, ASB executive committee, boosters, PTAs, PTOs, funders, and building leaders are supported with pathways and processes that ensure equitable access within and among buildings to any and all curricular, extracurricular, athletic, social, equipment, materials, and opportunities generated through the use of Seattle Public Schools, resources with the express goal of equalizing access while retaining relationships with diverse contributors. 

[00:35:20] Chandra Hampson: I really hope that people will read number 12, and that they will think about it within their own school environment and ask themselves how do you make sure that everything that you're doing is equitably accessible? 

Just start with your building. Don't worry about the district. Just start with your building. And you know, my kids are at Roosevelt, so all day, every day, all kinds of money being asked for. And the requirement for a student that can't afford to pay is they have to make a trip to the counselor's office. They have to make a phone call every, single, time. They have to make effort to opt themselves out. If you're somebody who is not of means and you have any embarrassment at all about that? 

Do you want to have to go to the counselor's office every time you need support? Is that fair or equitable that you have to physically and emotionally go through this huge hurdle to go tell somebody, “Hey, I don't have the economic means?" It should be pretty blind, like just check a box 

This is what the Little League does. Little League has a great approach. It allowed me to sign kids up over and over and over again. Just sitting there with their parents, because I could sign them up without having to demonstrate that they needed scholarship. Just check a box that says, I need a scholarship. But then we have groups like I had a big fight with Seattle United because they wouldn't provide scholarships. Personally, I don't think people who can't provide scholarships should be using our school resources. I don't think they should be using any city resources. 

There's also state law around fees, by the way. So anytime you're using school resources, those are resources that are meant for everyone. Which means the access to whatever you're doing should be available to everyone. That's a value that I believe Seattle holds. 

For people who are worried about that, this is a time for you to self-reflect. I don't want the district to take away your opportunity to do great things for your kids at your kid's school. I want you to support the leveraging of that so that there's equitable access for everything we're trying to do for our kids. And also to be aware of what the direction of the district. 

As long as we're funding support for students after school, where it's truly accessible to the highest-need students, and it's something that the district can make available in other places, and it's in alignment with our goals, then we're good.

[00:37:53] Jane Tunks Demel: Chandra, what's next for you?

[00:37:56] Chandra Hampson: Oh, I don't know. I don't know. The tribal consultation stuff is really important to me. It's really complex. So I'm finishing up that during my last week here and then I'm going to stay involved with that with Seattle Public Schools as much as I can and I hope I'll have the opportunity to do some training with some other districts about how to do that work.

My work personally is all in Indian country working in the field of economic and community development and specifically in finance and lending. Community development, financial institutions, that's my passion. So I am going to take some time and get back into that. 

But I'm also a former softball coach, and I'm not necessarily going to start coaching again. But I want to check in with all the kids that I've coached over the years and see how they're doing and what are their needs? How are they feeling? Once you've coached kids, once you've taught kids, you just never stop worrying about them or caring about them. 

And then I also started with a thing called Magnuson Park Collaborative that supports families in our area. And I brought in some folks from Children's Hospital to help us start creating some better resources that are available to institutions and organizations around school avoidance and the mental health issues associated with that. We've been having monthly meetings on that. We now have three different people from Children's Hospital involved. There's no resources out there. But we're going to try to at least amass the resources that we do have and make sure they're available. And I'm hoping I can get Director Rankin and soon-to-be Director Briggs to help me start a parent group where we can support parents in making the environmental changes necessary to support their kids. 

So those are some of the things I'm to support access to. I'm just going to go back to doing all the crazy stuff I did before for no pay. 

[00:39:48] Jane Tunks Demel: And then , do you have any things how you'll be supporting Seattle Public Schools beyond the things you've already talked about?

[00:40:03] Chandra Hampson: You know, I've been toying with the idea of getting together with former directors to support getting toward this new governance model. And I've had some hard conversations, but some good conversations, what it means to really follow best practices, specifically around that belief gap. 

Let's all just take a moment for a year and believe that Superintendent Jones and the staff of Seattle Public Schools can take on and be successful in this massive challenge to create the conditions that are supportive of our teachers and supportive of the conditions necessary for our students to learn. We have that opportunity and there's no better human being for people to support than Brent Jones. He's so committed to kids. 

[00:40:41] Christie Robertson: Yeah. 

[00:40:42] Jane Tunks Demel: All right. Thank you, Chandra.

[00:40:44] Christie Robertson: Thank you, Chandra.

[00:40:46] Jane Tunks Demel: Thanks to Director Hampson for her four years of service to Seattle Schools and for joining us today.

[00:40:51] Christie Robertson: We link to some of the references discussed in the conversation in our show notes, which you can see at You can also donate there to help out with the cost of doing our show.

[00:41:03] Jane Tunks Demel: We've been really enjoying our in depth interviews, and we have more interview episodes in the works. If you have ideas or suggestions for who we should talk to, contact us at

[00:41:14] Christie Robertson: I'm Christie Robertson.

[00:41:16] Jane Tunks Demel: And I'm Jane Tunks Demel. Join us next time on Seattle Hall Pass.

Intro to the Financial Policy
A special education audit
Financial Policy, Clause 11 - limiting external school funding
Financial Policy, Clause 6 - prioritizing student need
The Belief Gap
Superintendent/Board Relationship
Labor partners
Financial Policy, Clause 12 - equitable access
What's next for Chandra