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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Public Education Election Updates

There are still one million ballots to count in Washington State so I-1240 is still in flux at about 51-49%.

According to KUOW, the Yes group was very confident last night until the first numbers came in.  (I do find it funny that they kept their "guests" from the media at their event.  I don't get that.)  Apparently a LEV spokesperson said their campaign kept things  "factual".   Factual?  That's a stretch.

It's wrong to not tell the truth.  But after not telling truth, telling half-truths is next in line and that's precisely what the Yes side did.

In Georgia, voters passed a constitutional amendment embed a charter commission into their Constitution.   It mirrored the race in Washington State in terms of the big money put into it.  The vote turned out to be 58% to 42%.   The issue was that event though 9 out of 10 charters that applied to school boards did get passed, it wasn't enough.  So they have create a state charter commission to be able to allow even more charters to be enacted (without local oversight).  Sounds familiar.

In Indiana a major blow to ed reform as Glenda Ritz, a Democratic challenger and a public school teacher, turned out Republican and ed reformer Tony Bennett as the Indiana superintendent of public instruction.  Bennett had a nearly 5-1 campaign war chest against Ritz.  This election was a great example of grassroots and social media.

Those teachers sent out about 100,000 post cards with hand-written messages to family and friends across the state, pleading with them to support Ritz. A group of teachers in heavily Republican Boone County launched a “Republicans for Ritz” site on Facebook, calling on party faithful to split their ticket and vote for the Democrat Ritz.

Ritz kept up the fight all the way through Election Day when she held a series of press availabilities around Central Indiana, while Bennett declined all media interview requests Tuesday.


Ritz’s campaign was decidedly anti-Bennett, portraying him as a heavy-handed advocate of top-down decisions that forced federal and state decisions on local schools.

What was Bennett pushing?

Yet nationally, the contest has been the radar screen of supporters and opponents alike of the massive education overhaul that Bennett championed with the backing of Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels and the GOP-controlled legislature. Those sweeping changes included the rapid expansion of charter schools, creation of the nation’s largest school voucher program, a merit pay system that ties teacher pay and tenure to student performance, more high-stakes testing for grade promotion and graduation and a controversial to A-to-F evaluation system of the state’s schools.

Bennett’s campaign for his second term focused on those changes as cutting-edge reforms that make Indiana the model for the nation, and he promised more to come.

65 comments:

Eric B said...

The Times this morning had a quote from one of the I-1240 people saying that they didn't bash public schools during the campaign. I got a good laugh about that.

Anonymous said...

Today Publicola calls Stand for Childrena "Loser".

While their ballot measure cause, charter schools, is ahead (though it’s winning by the smallest margins of all last night’s big statewide measures), Stand for Children, the ed reform group which spent big in the governor’s race and state legislative races with independent expenditures, comes out of the season with zero wins: Democratic state senate education chair Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, who the group tried to take out, won big; state house hopeful Sylvester Cann, who they backed, lost big, and union teacher Steve Bergquist, who they opposed, won big.

EdVoter

mirmac1 said...

I'd say all-around it was a good night for believers in our state's public education. Now we simply tell the courts how bad this charter law is.

Yeah, do you think those "high-road" charter folks are going to quit bashing teachers, Banda, and anything else that stands between them and their tidy profits.

Anonymous said...

1240 sure did wage a massive propaganda campaign. Yes, propaganda.

Disingenuous? You betcha!

Tell the truth? No thanks!

"Hi, I'm Chris Eide. I'm a public school teacher and I support Initiative 1240!."

The Seattle Times would call this "half true" because, yes, Chris Eide does support I-1240. However, he is NOT a public school teacher!

Oompah

mirmac1 said...

Kinda of like "half-pregnant"

Anonymous said...

Well kids. How've those "lawsuits" working out for you so far?

-parent

Anonymous said...

parent, random mutterings this morning?

I see Randy Dorn has has vowed to challenge I-1240 in court. You should check with him.

kid

Unknown said...

Gee Parent, the election isn't even decided. I guess you are just being funny.

Anonymous said...

Korsmo was just quoted on NPR saying how proud she was that she had kept the campaign positive. Apparently this was Campion from Stand's line, too.

Having watched from afar, I had to laugh, as publicly positive but backroom backstabbing (which is what I heard was going on from those more actively involved than I) is mean girl tactics at their finest.

But more to the point, is that the campaign's biggest selling point? That it was positive? That's so Downtown Corporate. Nothing to do with the issue at hand. Sometimes I wish I lived in Chicago or Philly or someplace where they just cut it out with the icy niceness. Unfortunately, their public school systems are a million times worse than here, so here I am stuck.

SavvyVoter

Anonymous said...

No Melissa, I'm just commenting on the effectiveness in the litigious community. We "simply tell the courts how bad this charter law is" is a threat of litigation. In actuality, you don't "tell" the courts anything. Litigation every time you don't like a decision has so far been ineffective towards any ends, and it costs the district a lot of money. All for nothing. Yes, it's a democracy. That means everybody can not be pleased, and no amount of litigation will make people see it your way.

-parent

mirmac1 said...

"Yes, it's a democracy. That means everybody can not be pleased..."

Shouldn't that be amended to say:

but for billionaires...they will be pleased.

The non-billionaires have to use whatever's available to them, including the constitution and laws, in the "pursuit of happiness"

Anonymous said...

parent, but part of living in this system is having the option of the the judicial system look over things and see if they are legit. i like some checks and balances. yes, it takes some money. so will charter schools. democracy is messy. and expensive. it would be way cheaper if i was the boss.
-bossy

Unknown said...

"simply tell the courts how bad this charter law is"

When did I say this? I don't think that's me.

Parent, you sound angry and I'm not sure why. I'm not the only one who is saying this is deeply flawed - a UW LAW professor said it and now Randy Dorn, who should know how it will affect schools and education, has said it.

And the district has nothing to do with it. The district won't be paying a dime. It would be litigation with the state.

Once it is a law, it's the state's responsibility. That it is a poorly written initiative isn't my fault or the state's but here we are.

ArchStanton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mirmac1 said...

I said that.

So, scuuuuze me! : )

parent, you know the system doesn't work well for some, like sped, so good thing we have other avenues....

Eric B said...

The lead argument from Yes on 1240 at every candidate forum I saw was "Our schools are failing our children. X thousand students have dropped out of school since the last time charters were on the ballot." I'm not sure how that counts as positive.

Anonymous said...

Okay, somebody help me!
Where are we able to get the latest numbers? I'm just not ready to say it is over! I'm hoping these final ballots will be big, fat "nays". Is there a site that folks can go to for accurate, up-to-the-minute results?
AS

Anonymous said...

Ok mirmac, when did you ever use the litigation framework to work and actually accomplish your end goal? I bet, never. Lots of paperwork heaped on our public sector, lots of defense work created for them - but no results, only cost. I think your "other avenue" is really just an expensive dead end.

Melissa, read Mirmacs post. You will see the thing I quoted. It wasn't yours. Calling other people angry is a bit of an easy dodge wouldn't you say?


-parent

Josh Hayes said...

Gosh, parent, if the shoe fits....

So what is it you are suggesting? A badly-written initiative nonetheless seems likely (though not certain) to become law -- oh well, I guess we're just stuck with it! Best not to wake the courts for this; they need their sleep. Or something. Is that about right?

I just don't see why you regard challenging this in court as somehow A Bad Thing. Perhaps you could elaborate? Rather than just muttering about money spent on lawsuits?

Anonymous said...

King County Election site:

Election Results

voter

Anonymous said...

IT IS NOW LOSING.

ROCK ON.

Charter Disliker

Anonymous said...

Charter disliker-

You got me all excited but you linked to King County results from yesterday. This is a state-wide initiative, and it is losing there: http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/Measures-All.html

King County results are supposed to be updated anytime. It's not looking good, though. KC should be ahead more than we are to have much of a chance of defeating this.

-another charter disliker

Anonymous said...

Previous post is funny. I guess I am not the only one hitting "refresh" on the King County results over and over.

Since KC will be the one to decide the race, this is a positive development in my book. A swing of 6 points...@3 points up for the Nos and 3 down for the yesses.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

state results on 1240

http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/Initiative-Measure-No-1240-Concerns-creation-of-a-public-charter-school-system.html

Oompah

Someone said...

There were several news reports tonight about delays in King County counts due to scanner issues. Guess there was a huge voter turnout - so numbers are probably behind what they might be - plus there are lots of mail in ballots yet to be delivered. Going to be a nail biter!

Anonymous said...

I'm looking at both the King county & state election web sites, and I don't think King has counted new ballots today yet. The count got delayed to 6:30 and I'm still not seeing the numbers (though it's hard to tell, 'cause, the info is not altogether clear on what they've actually counted)

http://your2.kingcounty.gov/elections/2012nov-general/results/default.aspx

For example, Inslee has 373,173 votes in King. I think that's yesterday's number, so until it changes, it means ballots haven't been counted today.

(and, I'm taking this kind of personally, 'cause my ballot hasn't been counted yet).

zb

mirmac1 said...

parent, ask ex-husband #3 where I gained. KIDDING! : )

Gotta give those SPS lawyers something else to do than beat up SpEd families.

I suppose you're solution is roll over and play dead. I'd say a multi-pronged strategy has actually paid off quite well. We did not end up with the MGJ clone for a Supt. The board has seen they can't just snooze through Bd meetings. There are no TFA SpEd teachers. yadda yadda.

I have an anger management problem I guess. I really dislike anyone futzin' with my kid's education or trying to steamroll families.

mirmac1 said...

Outstanding essay in the Washington Post!

A call for President Obama to change course on education - The Answer Sheet

Jan said...

-parent: actually, when you litigate, you DO "tell the court how bad something is." You write a brief, explaining, in detail, what you believe the law says, based on the facts. Now, of course, the "other side" will also arrive, and do the same thing -- "telling" the court what THEY think the law says (and whether they agree with your version of the facts -- if those are indeed at issue).

People file lawsuits all the time. Many, as you know, are frivolous, but some are not. If I had had the time and money, I believe that a suit should have been filed challenging the constitutionality of permitting the District to "sell" buildings at less than fair market value (because there is a constitutional prohibition against gifts of public property). The language requiring educational use (blah, blah, blah) might have saved it in any case, but I think it might have been a challenge worth making, because I think it skated very close to, if not over, the line.

I hope this initiative fails, and we don't have to face this issue. But if it succeeds, I think there are number of issues, involving forced (and/or less than fair market value) disposition (by the state) of District property, state versus local control of education, and supervision over public schools that need to be sorted out. And the fact that other states have these is irrelevant, if they don't have the same constitutional language (or judges who will interpret it the same way).

I started out "liking" charter schools. Then, I saw how they had been taken over by big, for-profit ed corporations and switched sides. Now that data is finally starting to come in on how ineffective they are at improving education:
1. They don't "improve" competition -- because just like Seattle's choice system, it frequently ends up being the kids who compete for the schools, not the schools who compete for the kids.
2. They DO improve "choice" in the sense that they give you more schools that are available (even if it is only illusory, due to a lottery) than just your neighborhood assignment school, AND assuming of course, that you can get yourself there (so too bad for poor folks without cars and time).
3. They remove parental and/or community control, substituting instead a board (which I think is appointed by the charter proponents, not elected by the parents), who contract (secretly, and with no oversight) with principals and other private companies supplying management, curriculum, etc. This is a huge difference from public schools. We pay lots of money to hospitals, but we don't get to read the CEO's contract, or know what his severance terms are -- much less approve them (or not) if they are excessive. This is a monumental problem.
4. They cost more money. For starters, there are funding costs spelled out in the legislation. But even if there were not -- it is a no brainer. It always costs to run 2 or 3 or 4 smaller things, instead of one large one, with one bureaucracy. This may be a good point to note how horrible the one bureaucratic blob is -- but it is NOT a point to claim that there is "no cost" of setting up 40 little autonomous districts (each answerable to a school district or the state charter commission (which also has to be funded, staffed, equipped, etc.) instead of the one. And -- that is BEFORE any financial mismanagement (which is inevitable).

cont'd

Jan said...

But here is what I DO think.

If people really wanted "choice" and "competition" and "freedom from bureaucratic constraints," we now have more than a decade of data on what has worked in other states (really worked, not "faux" worked) and what has been an unmitigated failure.

Let's take the creative schools concept that we have already started with, AND the experience of other states, AND the Washington constitution -- and sit down and try to figure out how we could actually, within our budget, set up, maintain, and govern a series of independently run schools that give us the best of charters, keep the money with the kids, teachers, and staff (rather than Big Ed), and work to create choice for families. TAF does this. To an extent, so does Middle College High School, the Center School, Pinehurst, NOVA, and Cleveland STEM.

Could we cut away more of the entanglements? You bet! I roll my eyes at the silliness of having to qualify Cleveland as an alt to match their hours of delivery, and then unqualify it to get funding. This is so silly. Look at the good private schools! They do what they decide is best (within limits). It is then up to the parents to decide if 8 classes of 40 minutes a day is the same as 6 classes of 55 minutes, or whatever. Who cares if the credit hours are exactly the same. These kids all leave, take SATS and go to college. If they are as well prepared, or better, than kids at RHS with regular hours, why do we care about the minutes each butt spent in a health class seat, or an English class seat?

If we want education innovation, THIS -- and not the drecky, thinly-disguised corporate heist that is 1240 is what we should be after.

And shame! unmitigated shame! on the alliance, Lisa and the Dfers, and all the other corporate ed reform entities for not being able to come up with this on their own. They are all smarter than I am -- and this is their job! It is what they are (or should be) being paid to do -- not plunking down some ALEC form legislation and passing it off to busy, harried Washington voters as true ed reform.

Jan said...

Also -- sorry for the consecutive posts, Melissa -- by independently run schools, I mean schools that are ultimately responsible to some locally elected body with governance oversight, and audits (i.e., the school board -- or some entity just like it). I don't mean entities that can give a principal a lush contract with a $500,000 payout (for running ONE SCHOOL mind, not a whole district), that no one (on behalf of the taxpayers, whose money it is) knows the terms of, or has the ability to oversee or approve).

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm going to have to link the Seattle Channel interview with Trish Dziko of TAF. I think it will open some eyes about what can be done without charter law.

Anonymous said...

I *think* that if you look here:

http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/Turnout.html

there probably aren't enough ballots left in King to overcome the Yes votes. (There are 100K ballots to be processed still in Pierce.)

--disappointed

Anonymous said...

Oh I understand. I thought the King County site aggregated the total. I see that is not the case. You are probably right that there are not enough votes to overcome the difference. That is too bad, especially because King County does not support the measure. I hope the charter backers understand that King County is voting thumbs down. Maybe they will be more sensitive in their approach than I have perceived them to be.

EdVoter

Someone said...

Hmm... I don't know - there are a number of counties with outstanding votes that are in the "no" column right now - I still think it's going to be a lot closer than anyone expected - on either side of the aisle. Certainly not a stunning "mandate" from either side.

I like what Jan says about the alternatives that work without siphoning off money (and presumably talented folk) from the existing system.

The thing that gets me is the staggering amount of money spent on this election year - people are literally starving in parts of this country and we spend billions on political campaigns. Appalling.

suep. said...

So that works out to about $10.43 per vote, that the pro-privatizing "Yes on 1420" side paid to get their shallow "win."

--Versus about 44 cents per vote that the pro-public school "No on 1240" side paid to get almost the same total.

There's an analogy to be made here about who spends money more efficiently: public schools generally (are forced to) make do with less, while charters tend to get every advantage, public funding, plus extra, private funding and still do no better than genuinely public schools 83 percent of the time.

http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/Initiative-Measure-No-1240-Concerns-creation-of-a-public-charter-school-system.html

Someone said...

This one is interesting - the "By County" votes

Vote by County

Anonymous said...

Hey, if 1240 ends up approved, how about the 40 charter schools go in the counties that approve 1240!

Oompah

Anonymous said...

I'm looking at you, Pierce county.

--disappointed

dan dempsey said...

Check out Jay Greene's blog on Charters and the comment by Liv Finne ...

HERE=>
http://jaypgreene.com/2012/11/07/romney-state-obama-state-charter-states/

You just might wish to comment.... on ...

According to the Washington Policy Center’s Liv Finne, “Initiative 1240 would give Washington the best charter school law in the country.”

dan dempsey said...

I'm looking at you, Pierce county.

--disappointed
=============

Look at Tacoma Schools with Carla Santorno
(algebra for all 8th graders ready or not)

and Bethel SD and
Clover Park SD ....
to get an idea why I-1240 had more support in Pierce County.

Anonymous said...

I think that is BRILLIANT--to put the charters, if it passes, in the counties that had a majority of 'yes' votes. Brilliant.
AS

Someone said...

Yeah - I thought Oompah's idea was grand - it's funny, some counties I'd have thought would be outright "yes" are actually "no".

Looks like there's still a good chunk of King County uncounted yet - I know my household's 2 "no" votes aren't counted yet - but whether the outstanding ballots are enough...hard to say. Do initiatives come under the automatic recount rule if they are close or does someone have to ask for that - just curious.

Anonymous said...

My ballot is "awaiting signature verification" though I did all the paperwork to deal with that well before the last election. Neither my ballot nor my husband's has been counted. That means at least two more NO Charter votes for King County.

SolvayGirl

Anonymous said...

The ST must be so thrilled to inform us that the next school 1.25 B school levies is going to cost average homeowner of a $400K house an increase of $135-160 per year in prop. taxes (on top of the approx $1000 they pay in school taxes already-- is that really true?).

We'll get South Shore Charter, Cleveland Charter, a magnet G & T charter, an alternate school charter and a SLU charter school after all. All the remaining Seattle schools with nearly 50,000 kids will continue to deal with overcrowding, poor buildings, large class sizes, and underwhelming standardized curricula/tests.

But hey, Milton Friedman free-enterprise charters will fix the ills of public schools just like trickle down economics. I mean that worked so well for the middle class. The good people like Liv Finne, C. Korsmo, C. Eide, L. Macfarlane. L. Varner, T. Burgess, are here to insure that will happen. (They really should get a plaque honoring them for their civil rights work.) They are NOT going to leave 1 MILLION kids in the lurch just so a couple of thousand kids in this state can be in charters. NO WAY!

I really do get it now. It wan't about money and profit. Stupid me didn't know the unions were holding us in shackles! THIS really is about about THE civil rights issue of our time. We really better make room for more statues on the National Mall next to MLK for the heroes of this new civil rights movement. I'm sure the Gates, Bezos, Walton, and Allen will fit right in wearing toga and laurels befitting the Olympian gods that they are. Just think of the slings and arrows they had to endure. Their blood and sweat from shelling out nearly $11 millons from their billions to get this thing passed. That was HUGE. Frank Greer better get rolling on Congress for some turf right and more public $$ before we middle class head off the fiscal cliff.

got a raft?

Anonymous said...

I am so mad right now. Democracy is this: I vote, you vote, we all vote, then we tally and that is that. Fair enough. I lost. Yup, it is that personal to me. But I am mad. Really mad. I now get yet another turn to vote. February. And I will vote NO to BOTH LEVIES.

Wait, you say, that will hurt the children! That is like blaming the victim! It is not SSD's fault! Please, give us your money anyway!!!

But I will vote no. You see, I know the District can run a failed levy again, a second time within a year. I won't give any money to charters, and because the money-grab by charters may happen after-the-fact for conversions, there's no way they will get one thin dime from me. Once they convert, provide they can't be part of a levy, I will consider it. So, for those Seattle public school parents who voted yes to 1240, but yet had every intention of keeping their public school kids in a real public (e.g. non-charter) school, good for you! Providing options! Now, you work those options without my money. This District has had some stunning incompetence over the last 6 years. Simply stunning. And you can't blame a particular Super or Board because it has been spread out over time, continuous stupidity ( school closures, high school buses), bad text books (cmp, EDM) and fiscal uselessness ( the giant deficit that nobody saw coming, potter gate), not to mention the world of hurt SpEd has been stuck in. So, they really need to get it together. And if I keep voting yes on levies like a faithful dumb lapdog, you bet they are going to miss the urgency to really fix things. I know, I know, it's for the children. But what other tool do I have? I have tried, I really have tried. But it's not like they typically answer their email. So, charter schools, in all likelihood, are here, SSD will likely get hit with 1, or more, and I want SSD to sit up and take notice of this upitty voter, because I truly know of no other way to get their attention.

I'll probably fall into line one the second go-around, but they really need to get the message they can no longer screw around or screw-up, charters are here, and now everything is going to be worse for everybody.

--signed scarred and scared

Louise said...

Scarred & scared, I'm with ya and will be voting no as well. However I was under the impression that charters will receive levy $$. Can someone clarify please? I would appreciate it.

Unknown said...

WA State manual recount rules"

Machine: 2,000 votes and 0.5% (.005) of total votes cast for both candidates

Manual:
statewide office 1,000 votes and 0.25% (.0025) of total votes cast for both candidates

Rules for levies under 1240:
All charters are eligible for operations and capital levy money.

New charters - only get levy money for levies AFTER they are created

Conversion charters - get levy money when they are converted from any levy previously passed.

Now 1240 is strangely silent on how this happens. Do they take the number of schools - SPS and charter - divide into the levy dollars and cut the charter a check? How soon can a conversion charter ask for their money? It appears the district might have some leeway under an RCW for when/how much a charter can get.

In the end, ALL charters can receive levy dollars.

Scarred and Scared, I hear you and I have felt the same way. It is truly difficult to have watched years of this unfolding and not want to shake the district and the SEA and say, "Look what is happening now because you couldn't get it together."

mirmac1 said...

Right melissa. The district and SEA still sit contemplating their navels, high-fivin' and back-slapping (harder than it sounds, like rubbing your tummy while patting your head). Meanwhile the LEV and OSC hounds are circling. Disgusts me.

Actually I voted no on seawall and fingerprint system (looks like I was the only one) because the city and county can just use the money they gave Chris Hansen for that stuff. I may continue voting no until there is tax reform in this state.

Eric B said...

So if we as a city vote down the levies, what changes have to happen within a year so that you can vote yes? Does the legislature have to amend 1240 (with a 2/3 vote) so that conversions don't get levy money? Something else? When the levy comes up again, are you still willing to vote no if no other changes are made?

To me, this is playing chicken with a train. The operating levy is 25% of SSD's budget. If we don't have the levy, we either have an average of 40+ kids in high school classrooms or we have 5 periods per day. 5 periods a day means that your kids don't go to a 4-year university unless you're paying for additional classes at a community college.

On the operating side, if BEX fails, we're looking at 40 kids to a classroom in the north end and West Seattle, since there will be no money to build more schools. We'll be lucky if we can put in more portable farms like the ones people hate now.

Believe me, I understand where you're coming from. The thought of giving a charter a thin dime of levy money sickens me, too. But that's better to me than the consequences of failing the levy.

Anonymous said...

Disgree Eric B. It's not playing chicken with a train. It is sending a message that voters are not pleased with the ongoing lack of planning and accountability and frankly, given the vote breakdown in KC, of charters.

The levy will eventually pass. If it fails the first time, which I want it to do, you bet the second go round will be tighter and not focused solely on what a couple loud voices in the district say are priorities.

Charter Disliker

Someone said...

I understand your concerns Eric - but I don't think those are necessarily the only choices on the table, should levy fail. Think about some of the high salaries at SPS - and the top heavy organizational structure.
There are surely some economies of scale to be found there.

If nothing else, this close vote says to me that no District can afford to continue with "business as usual" - something different MUST happen or there will be another Charter bill, and another and another until either concrete change happens or it passes (which sadly, I think it will).

But how ELSE does one make a statement when every other cry in the wilderness seems to fall on deaf ears - money talks in Seattle - that much is abundantly clear.

Eric B said...

@Charter Disliker:
"...not focused solely on what a couple of loud voices in the district say are priorities." What is being prioritized in the levies that you don't like? What would you do differently?

@Someone:
Re-prioritizing to the classroom doesn't fix the hole in the budget that the levy fills. The John Stanford Center is maybe 15%-20% of the District budget (a little higher than the ~12% "official" number for administration). The levy is 27%. That leaves 7-12% in additional cuts, even if you could get rid of all administration, which you can't. What I consider to be the major fat at JSCEE (70 coaches, lots of Executive Directors, etc.) account for maybe $10-15 million. That pales in comparison to the $500 million levy.

I know it's frustrating to try and change the District. Even common-sense ideas get brushed aside. I've tried on a lot of issues and don't have a great track record of success. Where I have seen people change the District is when they get a whole lot of people together united behind a single message. The response to the Floe firing is a good example. The problem with a levy "no" vote is that the District doesn't really need you. There are tens of thousands of people who might be on the edge. If you tell them that you're voting no unless you get X, it's a lot easier for them to take their message to that mass of people to replace your vote than to try to get you on board. I've seen it a lot at Board meetings, where speakers start with something very negative, and the entire Board turns off. You can almost see them thinking "Well, I'll never convince this guy. There's no point in trying."

I don't mean that we roll over on everything. I'm just saying that pledging a no vote on the levy may not be very productive in getting positive change from the District.

Unknown said...

You can always split your vote - always yes on Operations and no on BEX.

I am NOT saying to do this but that's an option.

The issue is if you believe Banda and the Board are the leaders you want to trust.

Sadly, we have yet another Board election in Fall 2013 for 3 positions.

And kids, if you thought you saw big spending for 1240, wait for it. I predict the highest spending Board elections ever. The ed reformers are gunning for Kay and Betty (and will undoubtedly try to find their own candidate to replace DeBell).

I nominate Eric B. Don't say no too fast, Eric.

mirmac1 said...

But there were stories ALL over the country of school board candidate winners (and in one case an SPI) who were outspent $10-
$1.

Of course, you still need to have the $1. And the WEA's track record lately has been shameful.

Jamie said...

Can we have a thread on the latest BEX email from the district please?

suep. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric B said...

@Melissa:
I think I'm off this one scot free, since I don't live in DeBell's region, and the chances of me moving to Magnolia are slim to none (and Slim left town). Plus, my wife keeps telling me that she loves me too much to let me run for School Board. :)

Jan said...

I keep hoping that maybe somehow the votes will turn up to defeat this bill. If not, I have a whole host of questions that will help determine what I do, and how I vote.

For starters, I fully expect (and would be appalled not to see) a legal challenge, given the huge transfers of oversight, authority, and tax dollars from public to private hands. I don't know how long that will take, and I don't know whether the implementation of the Charter bill will be "stayed" during the proceedings (it would be awfully hard to entice big money to invest in charters, though, with a huge legal cloud hanging over every dollar-sucking contract they sign).

It seems easy to me to divide operations levy money between charters and public schools, because you can (and presumably should) just apportion it on a "per kid" basis. Capital money is a much harder deal -- since there are school buildings, an administration building, and kids, and the buildings are of different ages and conditions. It seems to me that the state will have to write some regulations that govern this -- but that is only a guess, and if it is true, I don't know how long it would take.

I also think they will have to write regulations concerning the entire conversion charter process, regulations involving how lotteries work, how transportation will work, how SPED kids will be served and monitored, etc. Presumably the 41 other states have already done this stuff. I just don't know what they did, how they did it, how long it took, and whether there are any "good" regs (which of course will not be what the charter folks will want adopted here) or not.

So -- lots of questions on timing of implementation -- and those questions will affect how I vote on this levy (but maybe not future ones).

cont'd

Jan said...

With respect to levies, Melissa has said, I think, that this BEX levy may be the last one that does NOT go to charters. If so, I will vote for it. If not -- if it turns out that these scarce dollars will be diluted by giving X percent of them to 2 or 3 charters -- even though they may be housed in newer buildings, like South Shore, or GHS, I will probably vote no.

I haven't decided about the operations levy.

On the one hand, I ALWAYS vote yes on ops levies -- for the reasons Eric mentions, so I would probably vote yes, at least one more time, and then wait to see how bad the charter carnage is.

On the other hand -- if you want to send a message to Olympia and the charter folk that they can't miss, it may be that the best way to do that is to vote no on the first ops levy, so people can really contemplate what it will be like to try to finance public education when they have infuriated the public so badly that it simply shuts its wallet and goes away.

And in that case, I will need to figure out how else to get those dollars to public schools. Maybe it means going to GHS and getting a list of all of the school-based organizations (friends of Garfield Orchestra, Friends of Garfield Jazz Band, tutoring programs, the swim team) and walking into classrooms and asking teachers what books and supplies they need and then setting up a "Friends of Garfield English Department" nonprofit. Maybe it means actually learning to tutor, and volunteering. But I won't be able to sleep at night voting no on operating levies in this town (knowing how critical they are) unless I figure out another route for my money -- and hopefully I will not be alone.

Charters as they currently exist are just one more "big business" effort to privatize gain and make all risk of loss a public obligation. Eric, sometimes the ONLY thing you can do in that case is fight fire with fire -- because the charters won't have enough to operate without levies either. So maybe at that point, they will go away (as in be overturned by the legislature after two years) and we can go back to the job of educating kids with locally regulated school districts that are designed to educate kids, rather than enrich for-profit ed companies.

Unknown said...

"I don't know whether the implementation of the Charter bill will be "stayed" during the proceedings (it would be awfully hard to entice big money to invest in charters, though, with a huge legal cloud hanging over every dollar-sucking contract they sign)."

Yes, Jan, this is very much what I have heard from people in the know. That especially the better-known charter groups would be reluctant to come if this legislation is not solidly nailed down.

No,Jan. If BEX passes and in the next 5 years a charter group converts an SPS school, they can demand their share of those funds. It's in the initiative. That is part of what I call the "poison pill" of the conversion charter.

A conversion charter gets their share of any levy passed previous to them converting.

Loss of the operations levy would bring the district to its knees and if forced to take it to a second election and losing, the district would likely appeal for funds from the Legislature. There is no way funding raising could fill the gap of 25% of the operations budget.

Someone said...

Newest vote figures out at state level -
Yes 1,103,096 - 50.98

No 1, 060,730 - 49.2$

as of 4:35 pm

getting closer! yippee!!

Anonymous said...

Melissa
If failing the ops levy brings the District to its knees and it gets out of the Glass Palace long enough to go visiting down to Olympia to beg, plead, cajole, prostrate themselves for money just to keep the lights on, and the legislator, thinking of Mcleary, and seeing blood on the floor, cuts them a check.... How's that bad???

I would argue that is what they should be doing/ should have been doing all along. Seen in this light, maybe we "education-loving" "pansy-self-taxing-liberals" who also adore our parks and libraries...well, maybe we are or have become a bunch of ENABLERS (unwittingly, of course).

Being a yes-to-education-levy-even-when-they-pay-for-MAP-tests-and-teacher-evaluation-tools-instead-of-actual-teachers maybe isn't working so much, no?

Point is, I am willing to try it the other way. I am mad. It never should have gotten this far. Again, I appreciate that there will be those, the calm rational types, who say, "yes, we feel your pain, but please don't take your anger out on the kids", and they may be in the right. But, I think the lapdog thing just hasn't been working so well. I gotta get their attention some how. I want transparency, and that is not what we are getting. And that is just the beginning of my list of wants.

--signed, scarred and scared

mirmac1 said...

Right s s&s,

Hey, I don't want the waterfront to fall into Elliot Bay during the next earthquake. And, yeah, an automated fingerprint ID system is better than peachy. But if our GD elected officials would rather gift our money to $M or $B-aires for sports palaces, then the only thing I can do is say Hell No.

All the billionaires who wrote big checks for Romney are now pissed. I feel for you, NOT! Some of us were lucky to get through the last "R" President's f-up's with a job and a home, many did not.

Now the DFER's have to learn that they do not have my unconditional love and vote.

Jan said...

Hmm, mirmac1. Why is it I am thinking maybe the DFERs already suspected they might not have your unconditional love. . .:>)