Thursday, January 04, 2007

School Levy and Bond News

Campaign Kick-Off Rally – Sunday, January 7, 1:00 pm
1051 1st Ave. S., kitty corner from Safeco Field on the NW corner of 1st & Royal Brougham.

Hosted by Cuauhtemoc Escobedo - Golden Apple Award Winner and Director of the Eckstein Middle School Band

With featured speakers: Mayor Greg Nickels, Superintendent Raj Manhas, School Board President Cheryl Chow and Schools First President Peter Maier

Th election day is one month away. If you are interested in getting involved, contact the campaign office - (206) 652-1433 or campaign@schools-first.com.

8 comments:

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ironic that this post comes as I am writing up a document about why I am against the capital bond measure.

Watching the School Board meeting last night, Wendy Kimball of the SEA spoke passionately about the operating levy needing to be passed and briefly touched on the capital bond measure. She ended by announcing this kick-off rally which caught a couple of Board members off balance and they had to ask her what time and where it was. Good thing Cheryl asked as she is, as I see from the post, a featured speaker.

Charlie Mas said...

Another featured speaker is Mayor Greg Nickels. It was Mayor Nickels who wrote the Voter's Guide Statement against Initiative 88. In that statement, hizzoner wrote:

"Education Funding is the State’s Job

We all care about education, but it is the state’s job to fund it, according to the State Constitution. This initiative asks Seattle homeowners to pay more, instead of asking the state to fulfill its duty. Governor Gregoire’s state task force, Washington Learns, is about to make recommendations on education funding across the state. Voting for this initiative will send a message to the state that we don’t need more money and will hurt our chances of getting more."

I am looking forward to hearing the Mayor explain how the Levy is any different from I-88. If it is wrong for Seattle citizens to tax themselves to pay for local schools in September, how is it right in February? Particularly when the Governor's state task force, Washington Learns, DID NOT fulfill the promise to make recommendations on education funding across the state.

In fact, I would like to hear the Mayor explain how PTA fundraising isn't wrong because it sends the wrong message to Olympia and destroys educational equity and social justice.

Beth Bakeman said...

Melissa, what would you say to Ken Alhadeff who was quoted recently in a Ballard Tribune article:

"Alhadeff maintains that it's never been a more crucial time for voters to show their support of public education by passing the upcoming measures.

"If it's not passed we'll never be able to attract a quality superintendent," Alhadeff said. "What man or woman will want to come to Seattle when the people don't support the school system?"

Melissa Westbrook said...

That's why I urged the district/Board to present the best possible list to the public. With all of the mounting concerns over the district it would have made sense. But no, they decided to not have any alignment with closures and consolidations (which would have provided buy-in to closing and receiving communities), to not renovate the worst buildings and to do a 180 on one project from BEX II and roll it over into an even bigger (and unnecesary) project for BEX III.

So I found myself between a rock and hard place. Do I put aside these concerns because of my worry that people might misunderstand and vote no to the levy and the bond and the disaster that might happen if the operating levy doesn't pass? Do I put aside these concerns because I'm worried what superintendent candidates might think if the levy/bond doesn't pass? (Although on this point I think most people who have been superintendents know that levies do sometimes fail and are probably sophisticated enough to know there are many reasons why it could have failed.) Could raising these concerns publicly really have any impact on the election? I'm just one person and there are many other reasons why people might not vote for the levy/bond measures.

In the end, I have decided I can only do what my conscience says which is to let people know about these concerns and it's up to them to decide how to vote.

Anonymous said...

I understand your reasoning Melissa for campaigning against the BEX III part of the levy, but it does make me nervous that if you get publicity, so many uninformed voters may get the 2 measures mixed up and vote no for both or the wrong one. It seems like that kind of thing happens all the time in elections.

A difficult situation...

Brita said...

The board members asked Wendy to clarify the time and place of the kickoff for the benefit of the viewing public, not the board. We had been informed about the change in date and time already and have had to adjust our schedules accordingly.

The only thing that caught us off guard was realizing that Wendy forgot to include some important information in her announcement.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The one thing I would emphasize is that the operating levy is a levy, the school construction bond is a bonc. They are not both levies. Maybe that difference in wording will help.

But the district misled the taxpayers in what they were doing in BEX II and it is reflected in minutes that they knew it, worried it would open them up to charges of mismanagement and ultimately decided the wording had been vague enough that they could get away with it.

That's why I'm going forward. There are consequences to any public entity not being accountable for what they say they will do and what they actually do.

Charlie Mas said...

I am always amused by those who are concerned that any little wrinkle or nuance will completely befuddle voters. This reflects a low opinion of voters and therefore a low opinion of democracy. How can we trust these people with a vote if we cannot trust them to know the difference between BEX III and the E and O Levy?