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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Schools First Release Press Release on 2013 Levies

From Schools First (the group that works to support SPS levies):

Seattle (December 17) Schools First, the grassroots, volunteer-led campaign organization that convenes every three years to build support among Seattle voters for renewing the Seattle Schools operating and capital levies, announced today that it has begun its work to pass the 2013 levies, which will be on the ballot on February 12.

The Operations Levy provides more than a quarter of the funds needed to operate the Seattle Public Schools, including funding for day-to-day teaching and instructional programs such as a sixth period for high school. The Capital Levy (BEX IV) will provide essential funding to maintain and improve Seattle’s aging existing schools, provide earthquake safety upgrades at 37 schools, and build and renovate schools in growing communities across the city.
These levies replace the expiring operating and capital levies.
“It is important to note that both of these critically important levies are renewals of existing levies,” said Greg Wong, an attorney at Pacifica Law Group and the current president of Schools First. “The operating levy is essential to keep our schools functioning, and with over one-third of Seattle’s school buildings more than 50 years old, the capital levy renews our commitment to providing safe, quality schools for our kids.”
Honorary campaign co-chairs include King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, while Schools First’s Finance Committee is chaired by Steve Mullin, president of the Washington Roundtable.
“You can’t have a great city without vibrant and successful schools,” Mullin said. “Now, as academic performance and graduation rates in our schools have begun to show improvement, we need to step up to make sure the progress continues by providing the necessary resources to educate the growing number of children entering Seattle’s public schools.”
Enrollment in Seattle Public Schools has begun to grow rapidly, and demographic projections show that growth continuing. This year alone, 1,400 additional students enrolled in the Seattle schools, and that trend is expected to continue.
“Increasingly parents with young children here in Seattle are choosing to enroll their children in public schools.  We all have a lot of work to do to live up to that responsibility. To serve all of our families we need to ensure that there is a safe, secure, and modern learning environment for every child who comes to our doors,” adds Seattle Education Association president Jonathan Knapp.

I deeply appreciate and support the work of Schools First.  But this press release does NOT convey the urgency of either levy or the dire situation of capital funds and facilities.

The State has not fully-funded our schools and is under court order to do so but you wouldn't know that from this press release.

Our schools are bursting at the seams in some areas but you wouldn't understand that from this press release.

Is this how they plan to sell two levies for over $1B?  I'm not sure I get this strategy.

4 comments:

mirmac1 said...

The Schools First literature I saw highlighted that the O&M levy would pay for Special Education, ELL etc. What it SHOULD say is the lion's share goes toward General Education.

Did Michael DeBell write that handout? Because he's been the biggest whiner about SpEd students having their hand out; getting O&M money when they have "their OWN money" and besides the Feds should pay for their civil right, like black children and girl athletes, right?

Schools First needs to get their facts straight. They've already lost my vote.

Voter said...

How about something like "Seattle schools desperately need this money, and renewing the levy will cost you maybe $15 a month." Now was that so hard?

Anonymous said...

They don't need to sell it. Seattle always coughs up the dough, mindlessly. It's for the kids you know.

-parent

suep. said...

Schools First lost my trust when they handed over the private contact information of 10,700 Seattle Public School kids and 1,400 teachers to political marketing firm Strategies 360/DMA Marketing (in violation of FERPA) in order to conduct a push-poll that led to the fabrication of the "Our Schools Coalition" whose purpose was to pressure the teacher's union to capitulate to corporate ed reforms in their Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations in 2010.

Yep it's a mouthful, and an unpleasant one at that.

(See: Should the School District Be Allowed to Give Our Kids’ Phone numbers, Addresses and Photos to Every Tom, Dick and Pollster? Also see: Seattle School District hires staffer from Strategies 360 – the political marketing firm that misused private student contact info to push ed reform agenda)

Oh and the Alliance for Education was partner in these shenanigans too, likely paid Strategies 360/DMA for these questionable services, and admits that it created the "Our Schools Coalition."

Look for more such shenanigans as we head into the next round of teachers' contract negotiations next year. The Alliance has influencing the teachers' contract on its priority list.

Thanks to the shady efforts and push by this corp ed reform clique to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores, and the capitulation of union leadership, our kids have been burdened with increasingly more testing, misuse of the MAP test, and teachers are being pressured to focus on raising test scores instead of offering breadth and depth that true education requires.

I'll make up my own mind about the levies, and not rely on the judgment of Schools First.