Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Levy story in the Times

The Seattle Times ran a brief story today about the upcoming levies. Mel was quoted.

4 comments:

hschinske said...

And the comments largely consist of hating on ESL programs, of all things.

*head* *desk*

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

But you'll note (both on radio and tv) that the Schools First people always get more quotes.

They did leave out the overall bond/levy rate including BEX III which raises that tax level quite a bit.

What would happen to the 5 reopening buildings if the BTA levy fails is that the district would continue doing what it has already started doing (and done in the past) - they'll take the money out of BEX III. And guess what? Ingraham's project is on the ropes anyway - they said so at the last BEX Oversight committee meeting.

As for the costs of another election, there are a couple of things to understand. The district has the choice of when to run the election. They could do it in November and save the money and don't. Also, Mayor McGinn is thinking of running a levy in the spring; if the district loses, they could join forces and each save some money.

I just want to point out (and I'll write my own thread) a couple of things:

1) it is easy to look through an SPS parent lens and say vote yes. I ask you all to step back and think of how it looks to those in Seattle who either don't have kids or whose kids are not in the system any longer. They see schools closing, then opening. They see a $500M backlog and then see a new program costing millions opening. It could be confusing to them. Because there is no accountability of money, it's confusing. For parents, it may be okay that the money goes for some school somewhere. For other taxpayers, that might not be enough.

2) I was accidentally sent an e-mail where someone said my argument made no sense. I honestly understand if someone says "I don't agree with you, Melissa, and I want the money for the schools."

My argument does make sense if you are willing to admit that you know the district has been neglecting and deferring basic maintenance to the point where we have this huge backlog. BUT, you are okay with this even in the face of knowing that repairs will cost more now and you have no real idea where that basic maintenance money that was cut so long ago from the budget has actually gone to all these years.

It's fine, democratic, whatever to disagree with me. But be honest about it. Say, "I'm okay with deferred maintenance, I'm okay for paying more for repairs, I'm okay with fewer repairs made because we have to pay so much extra for repairs. I'm okay with not ever really knowing where the money from the cuts to the basic maintenance budget went over the last 15+ years."

Say that and I know you have the full picture and are being totally honest about your vote. But don't just say, "it's for the kids" and let it go at that. I know these aren't pleasant truths but they are true.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Interesting. The story has disappeared from the Times' webpage. It's there if you put it into the search box but poof! And it wasn't even there one day. Odd.

Central Mom said...

Melissa, it's still there under the Local section, just not on the front page.

As new headlines come in during the day, the old ones eventually get pushed off the homepage. Since the levy story was posted last night, it's now made its way to the "inside" of the paper, er website.