I recieved my flyer on the School Levy in the mail. It is eight pages of factual information provided about the levies by Seattle Public Schools.
People should read and question these flyers carefully. When the question of whether or not people were told about the Denny/Sealth co-location, the flyer was cited as the information that was distributed.
I reviewed the flyer with a critical eye, which isn't really very fair. I admit that. I wasn't looking for good with the same diligence that I was looking for error. With that disclaimer, here's what I noticed:
The flyer begins with these words: "At Seattle Public Schools, we are committed to providing an excellent education for every student and to ensuring the every school is an excellent school." I would find that statement a lot more credible if I had a definition of "an excellent education" and "an excellent school". In the absence of any such definitions, I find the statements disingenuous - if not outright cynical and false. I hate this talk about excellence in the absence of any definition, metrics, assessments or benchmarks. It's all hot air and lip service.
The first page says that the Operations Levy "Supports basic education progrmas not fully funded by the state. Um... I think there's a court case happening right now to determine if the state fully funds basic education or not. The state claims that they do fully fund it. None of the items mentioned in the following paragraph - full-day kindergarten, sixth period for high schools, athletics, drama, music, bilingual and special education services, textbooks, classroom supplies, transportation and security - are included in the state's definition of basic education.
I couldn't help noticing that the BTA levy will pay for a roof replacement and work on the field or track at Memorial Stadium. Isn't Memorial Stadium getting torn down?
A lot of money is getting spent at Meany. The school is listed in the sections for roof replacement/seismic diaphragm, seismic/unreinforced masonry, waterline replacement, and a $5 million line item for itself. Wouldn't it have been cheaper to fix up the Mann building?
There's some BTA money going to schools that just got BEX money. A roof replacement at Hawthorne, which is a pretty new building; early learning classrooms at Dearborn Park, Kimball and John Muir; an HVAC system at Dearborn Park, which was only recently renovated; exterior renovations at Ballard high school; new boilers at Leschi and John Muir; and, of course, all of the spending at Cleveland, which is only two years out of a total renovation. The $100,000 for a communications and security system at Roosevelt is part of this.
There's the $48.1 million being spent to re-open five buildings, including at least three that were only recently closed (Old Hay, Viewlands, and Rainier View). Given the expense and disruption caused by closing them, and now the expense and disruption caused by re-opening them, surely we would have been better off to just leave them open. Yet no one has even admitted that, let alone accepted responsibility for it.
I'm puzzled by the $2.9 million allocation for Program Placement. How do they know the budget in advance of the decisions?
Speaking of decisions to come, which schools are likely to be up for total renovation on the BEX IV levy? I would say those that were dropped late from the list for BEX III: John Rogers and McGilvra to name two. I suspect that BEX IV would also include those schools with the worst ratings: Lowell, for example. On the good side, I don't see John Rogers mentioned anywhere specifically in this flyer. McGilvra is in line for fire sprinklers or ADA safety equipment, for HVAC, and for waterline replacement. Lowell is listed for a lot of BTA work as well including sprinklers, ADA equipment, and an electrical system upgrade.
I'm sure that others have more informed opinions about the BTA III levy. What do you all have to say?