The Times is endorsing both levies but with a caveat (and it's not exactly what you might think). They are worried about "leadership." And here I thought it might be complete accountability for that $1B especially for capital funds. I find it troubling that both the Times and Schools First don't make that accountability -given the strife since the last BEX/Operations levies - a promise not to be forgotten.
(In the past, Schools First members have repeatedly told me, off the record, that they, too, are worried about the transparency and have pledged to me to follow-up. I have never seen that effort come after the election.)
The Times misses no opportunity to complain about the Board and the Superintendent in ways that have little to do with the levies.
The School Board continues to struggle to work as a coherent body. New
Superintendent José Banda appears unable to defuse a teacher boycott of
a standardized test that he and other district leaders view as a
valuable part of their assessment strategy.
Defuse? He told them the teachers would be suspended without pay. He cannot challenge their democratic right to speak out. He cannot fire them outright because they have spoken in and done nothing that violates their contract.
But then they get right to it:
At the root of the district’s problems is a too-quickly-revolving
door of department heads and managers, exacerbated by the whims of an
often fickle School Board that changes with the political winds at every
The district’s governance structure needs attention, which might take
a change in state law. Many school districts, including New York
City, operate more effectively and efficiently under the auspices of
Here's part of what I had to say in the Comments:
Oh you mean that Steve Sundquist and Peter Maier got voted out
because they didn't pay attention to district finances. That "whims"
vote was the vote of Seattle voters who had had enough of this lack of
oversight. That's OUR job as voters and I'm sorry the Times thinks it's
And a City Hall takeover of Seattle Schools? Uh, no thanks (but
look for that if Tim Burgess gets elected). Is LA a great district?
NYC? No. It will not change any thing but the elected control that
As well, the comments are troubling, both because of the number of people who say they are voting against them as well as why.
One commenter says:
Did the Court also say that funding public education must also mean
funding public operation of the schools? If they did, too bad, I am
still voting against the levies.
I'm not sure if this person understands that state funding of public schools IS funding their operations.
Another person points out the obvious:
Why will the state ever step up and address its shortcomings in funding
schools when they know the local district/voter will pick up the slack
because no one ever holds schools/teachers/administrators/school boards
I'm not sure I believe no one is "ever" accountable but yes, the state has gotten away with underfunding schools (especially SPS) because they know Seattle will step up.
One good comment:
So when the *voters* do their job and throw out the board members
responsible for letting the foxes into the henhouse, and when the board
does *its" job and fires the corrupt superintendent and hires a new one,
and the new superintendent does *his* job and lets go of bad managers,
you have a problem with it?
What exactly did you want, Seattle Times? Magic fairies to wave their wands and put everything back in place lickety split?
The truth is, there was a much needed course correction that
happened just before, then during the last election. Change is
happening, plans are being made, and I for one like the fact that out
district is tackling difficult problems that were ignored for too long.
It will not happen overnight, and it will take a renewal of the levies
to fix these long standing problems.
I find it concerning that the Times is more interested in forwarding an agenda than really helping voters shape their opinion and then, their vote.