Friday, February 08, 2008

Levy/Bond Election Woes

This article in the Times highlights even more woes with trying to pass school levies and bonds. From the article:

"Nine school districts in King and Snohomish counties are competing with a high-profile presidential primary Feb. 19. While it promises to attract a record number of voters, it has also angered some independents who don't want to choose a party preference or have that party choice made public.

School leaders say they're worried some voters will toss their ballots rather than declare a party, and not realize they can vote for local and school measures without identifying themselves as either Republican or Democrat.

"Washington voters are generally independent and vote on the candidate, not the party," said Lakewood Superintendent Larry Fran├žois. "We want to make sure people understand that they can choose not to vote in the presidential primary, but can still vote in their local school elections and have their vote counted."

In King County, the Federal Way and Tukwila school districts have levy renewals on the ballot."

Plus, some of these districts have their measures printed on the back of the ballot.

It's amazing how many issues - declaring for a party or not, voting whether it means something or not (for the Dems), where your issue gets printed - can hurt schools.

And, of course, in the case in the Denny/Sealth issue, our district making a deliberate choice to print one thing in the voter's guide and another thing in a smaller mailing about the capital bond measure. I asked Director Maier if, as head of Schools First which sent the smaller mailing, if he had written the copy on it and/or helped write what appeared in the voter's guide. I'm still waiting to hear from him.

The district also has the problem of trying to explain (although they have been mum on this subject, I'll say it out loud) the issue of destroying or altering projects already done for Sealth under BEX II and the BTA. (They would be destroying tennis courts and a softball field and it is unknown where and when they would be rebuilt. There is no money in the project to replace them at least as far you can glean from the drawings and presentations. They would alter Sealth's library under this plan when it has already gone through a renovation.) How do you justify flushing that money away (around $1M)?

You can't try to fool voters; it makes them wary and mistrustful of anything you say in the future. As the old saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I don't think voters will be fooled again.


Charlie Mas said...

There is no specific plan and allocated funding to rebuild the tennis courts and softball field? The slide presentation says that Option 1 and Option 2 come with new athletic field/tennis courts.

Tell me again what Sealth is getting out of this other than a new boiler because it really isn't clear. I think they are getting windows.

The slide presentation says that with Option 1 or Option 2 the school will "look very different and improved on the exterior and interior", but the only differences described to the interior and exterior are new paint, carpets, furniture, white boards, and "tackable wall panels".

Melissa Westbrook said...

My apologies - I was told by the architect that they weren't to be rebuilt so hence the confusion. I was also told by a Denny staffer that they would be rebuilt at Denny.

Charlie, Sealth isn't really supposed to get a lot out of the capital work. They likely wouldn't get anything if their boiler wasn't in poor condition. (Redoing the boiler sends into action a city requirement on other work to be done once you start on a major project so they will be doing fire and seismic upgrades.) Of course, that begs the question - would they be co-joining the buildings at all if Sealth didn't have some work to be done?

Sealth is up for a major renovation a la West Seattle some 20-25 years in the future. However, the district is trying to appease Sealth by throwing another $10M at their building. Problem is, that it isn't so much what the district isn't doing to their building as what they are doing to their program. It is still unclear why Denny and Sealth, a block from each other and already collaborating together, have to be be right next to each other.

And, that $10M extra (which the architect charmingly called "School Board largess" will have to come from somewhere. Hale or Hamilton or New School's project, perhaps? The district, which we are to understand is not flush with money, is going to find an extra $10M where?

Anonymous said...

The district, which we are to understand is not flush with money, is going to find an extra $10M where?

Maybe from Stuart Sloan or the New School Foundation?