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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Families and Education Levy Discussion Tomorrow on KUOW

I will be participating in a discussion about the Families and Education Levy tomorrow (Wednesday the 23rd) on KUOW FM around 12:20 p.m. I will be facing off against the formidable Paul Guppy of the Washington Policy Center. (Actually, I like to think that Paul and I have more in common than you might think so maybe less of a face-off, more of a debate.)

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

This just in!

Check out the front page of the Seattle Times!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

don't think the news will help this levy... oooops

-justmovedawaybecausespecialedissoscrewewdupinseattle

owlhouse said...

You've got to wonder how this will impact support for the Families and Ed Levy...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014303247_audit23m.html

WenD said...

I remember reading about Silas Potter last year, on this blog, and was mystified by how he was allowed by SPS to resign and go right into a contracting relationship with them. And now his whereabouts are unknown? Who knew what and when indeed. $1.8 million missing. And they want more money, in the hands of MGJ and this board???

seattle citizen said...

Off topic, but today the Times has an article on the "$1.8 million [spent] on contract work that was never done or didn't benefit the district, triggering a secret criminal investigation into allegations of financial fraud."

Financial scandal hits Seattle Public Schools

seattle citizen said...

Oops, should have read the comments here before I posted...looks like Owlhouse and Dora are already on it. This news could have a terrible impact on the Families and Ed levy....

sigh.

wsnorth said...

Fire her now!

And...is there any accountability of the money we just approved in the most recent supplemental levy?

Anonymous said...

I think that the district is going to have to clean up its' act before thinking that they can ask for more money and it's gong to take parents leading the effort.

If the supe and her CFO are at all involved or this happened due to a lack of oversight on their part, they will have to go and it will be up to us to pressure the board and/or replace board members to make that happen.

Anonymous said...

Clarification:

"Us" meaning "parents".

It will be up to us as parents and concerned citizens to make that happen.

WenD said...
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WenD said...
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WenD said...

http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2008/11/10/story15.html

Potter and Stephens were quite proud of their efforts, but Stephens (from the Times piece) is now trying to absolve himself from any oversight.

Oversight. Levy? The Board won't fire MGJ. Their oversight, or lack of, allowed Potter to do what he did and get away with it in plain sight.

The Reform crowd can spin this as yet another reason for their brand of reform. Scandal = opportunity. They'll embrace the word 'oversight' like an iron lung.

@ wsnorth: Agreed. The Board needs to fire MGJ, but since oversight is their primary job, it would smack of hypocrisy unless they absolve themselves, apologize for their failure and/or collusion, or quit. I'd ask McGinn to take over, but he can't even take over the tunnel.

At the risk of sounding like a carnival fortune teller, I predcit we'll continue to read it here first, and SPS will continue to bumble along and be the neverending cash cow for fraud. (Do an archive search on SPS and SPICE, go back 10-15 years. Money goes missing from this district all the time.)

seattle citizen said...

WenD is right: the reformistas will spin it as an inherent failure of public schools in general. The public will swallow the spin: "the system is rife with fraud!" Educators will be tainted, generally, and (as we see on the Times comments, no surprise) the unions will be accused of colluding, when, in fact, SEA at least has, on numerous occasions, tried to counter this contracting creep: NWEA, anyone? TFA?

What a shame. As if PRIVATE entities, non-union, are less prone to fraud, as if they have some higher standard of oversight...

Perhaps they do: The profit motive is a strong enticement to oversight - "are we getting the most dollars? Is EVERYONE (stockholders included) getting profit from the "business" (even if the profit is predicated on fraud, such as the mortgage frauds...)

The Board must act to admit culpability and act to guarantee future oversight. Privatizing won't help; our PUBLIC board and district must be held accountable.

WenD said...
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WenD said...
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WenD said...

@citizen: Yes, the Board needs to step up. I'm jaded enough to see Reform as just another enterprise. It's true that oversight goes hand in hand with profits, but privatizing, as seen in both schools and ferry systems, almost never brings the promised changes -OR - savings. The money that would've been spent on fair wages and benefits, maintenance, the best materials, etc. goes straight to the top, and that means CEO and administration.

(We should probably continue the scandal discussion in the new thread Mel just posted up.)

Josh Hayes said...

Well, to try to drag this back around to the stated topic: :-)

I listened to the segment today as I drove around doing errands before the Big Scary Snowstorm hits (a whopping zero inches so far), and I thought Mel did a great job.

I found it interesting that Mel and Paul (Guppy) had some areas of agreement: Paul went on and on about how lousy SPS is with money, and there's really no argument about that any more, is there? But the important thing is, this levy is NOT SPS money, it's City of Seattle money, and we can certainly hope there'll be more transparency and, dare I say, integrity?

joanna said...

Don't forget to ask questions regarding the details of distribution of this levy and about how it was tracked in the past. I listened to Melissa on the radio and agree that the initiatives mentioned are important. However, implementation and distribution even with the City can get political. Are you surprised?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Joanna, I will say that the Office of Education for the City has, under the previous levies, defunded programs that were not working. This did not make the groups running those programs happy (or the district). The City is very clear about outcomes and they will pull a program if they don't see some positive movement forward.

joanna said...
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joanna said...

I notice there is now more information posted on the City's Department of Education page:
http://www.cityofseattle.net/neighborhoods/education/

I really don't want to end up seeming to oppose this by asking questions, since in 1990 I was part of a team that campaigned for the original levy and have supported it many times. Nonetheless, when the support was eliminated for the after school programs for middle school, I don't think that was due to them not working. The exact reasons were never clear.

When one branch of government is asserted to be more trustworthy than another, just because it is different, my cautious side is alerted. If the District were more privatized much of what is coming out now would be buried and not subject to public scrutiny. The trust should be built due to the automatic built-in transparency and ease of obtaining details of expenditures and services received no matter which public entity it is.