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Monday, February 11, 2013

The Vote for the Levies

That deadline for that vote is now a little more than 36 hours away.  Frankly, I doubt there are that many undecided votes out there.  (I think no matter the outcome, the voting patterns will be interesting to watch as they may be an early warning for the Board elections in November.)

No matter the vote, we do need to pull together as a district.  The unity of purpose of parents is just as important as it is for the Board or district staff.   Parents and communities ARE the best voice for our district.

I think the discussion around the interim plan for next year has been interesting to view because it shows the need to find regional solutions.  To that end I would hope that PTA presidents in each of the five regions (or however many people feel is important) would join together to work for solutions.  (I know that most of the PTA presidents in the NE did indeed meet but unfortunately, it did not include all of them and decisions were made after some had left.  Clearly, there would need to be structure in such a regional group so that no one school or area could dominate.)

But having regional groups would certainly help to provide information that could then be disseminated out to the schools in the group.  It would help inform Board decisions and influence what staff might suggest/direct.  It would make parents a stronger voice in our district.

This, of course, is NOT to create a situation of pitting region against region but to help the district see an overall picture while keeping regional issues in mind.

I honestly believe both levies will pass.  That certainly is the historical trend.  

If not, I hope those who are voting no have a solution beyond a mere vote.  It would be helpful if those who are unhappy have some sort of answer for what they perceive should happen if one or both levies fail.

If Operations goes down, I would believe the Board/district would go straight to the Legislature for help.   Or they could sit back, starting planning the next levy election and allow parents and community to see exactly what losing 25% of the budget looks and feels like.

If BEX goes down, all capital planning stops.  Any architectural planning, permitting, etc. stops.  Otherwise, we will cut into the remaining money in BEX III and BTA III and those dollars are already committed.  There will be fewer mitigation dollars for schools who need help next year.   The district would probably scale back BEX with fewer projects since the organized efforts against BEX have been about BEX projects (not other issues).

But anyone thinking that this will create chaos and overhaul the leadership would be wrong.  Levies (of other types and school levies in other districts) fail all the time and you don't see massive leadership changes happen.  We have a good Superintendent and lead staff and they, consulting with the Board, will make the appropriate decisions.  Anyone who views this as some kind of opportunity for a takeover/shift of leadership by outside entities would be wrong.

16 comments:

Po3 said...

The only opposition views I have heard about have been here on this blog. I haven't received any of the emails; I don't read the Seattle Times. So while it may seem like there is a big vote no movement out there - I think it is a small voice that isn't getting heard by the masses.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well Po3, as I have pointed out, no one has created a full-scale campaign so you are right. Overall, it is a small voice and, as we know, many voters are busy and may have not been paying attention at all.

Po3 said...

Melissa, did my comment rub you the wrong way for some reason because your response stuck me as condensending.

Melissa Westbrook said...

What? I said you were right and that it would seem most people were not paying that much attention to white noise.

Curious said...

Which board members/positions are on the ballot this year? I'm having a hard time tracking this down.

ArchStanton said...

I get the anti-district sentiment and harbor my own lingering resentment towards district (mis)management. I considered voting NO on BEX in some vague attempt to send a message. But, the negative effects are just too great, I know too many people who will be negatively impacted, and I'm not convinced that the message will get where it needs to go or be heard anyway.

Voting YES. But, I still want to smack someone upside the head.

(posted this earlier, but it seems to have fallen into the void)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious, that's DeBell, Patu and Smith-Blum. DeBell has said publicly he isn't running again (and he truly has had probably the hardest 8 years of any director save Ellen Roe). But who knows? I know for certain Betty is running but I do not know for certain if Smith-Blum is. I assume because she took the Presidential role that yes, she is running.

B said...

I'll admit, I had a moment when I considered voting no on Prop. 2 for a whole host of reasons that have been covered across this blog. But in the end my decision came down to two words.

Arbor Heights.

Voting no means I think it's okay for kids to go to school under these conditions. Not just the kids who are there - any kid in the district. No matter what missteps the district has made in the past, kids aren't part of it. They don't vote, they don't make planning decisions and they don't allocate funds. They're seven, eight, nine years old and trying to go to school in a building that's falling down around them.

So yeah, I'm voting to give the kids a new building. We'll deal with how things got that bad by dealing with adults, not punishing kids.

mirmac1 said...

B

I know what you mean. I struggle over my vote (weeks ago) because of that %^#$! dichotomy...

It's tough being a hard ass. Ask my student.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who is going to bother to vote at all, will bother to vote yes. This is a piece of cake.

reader

Unknown said...

@ B
Thanks for thinking of the students at Arbor Heights. Folks please vote YES for both levies.

-I voted yes

Levy Supporter said...

The NO campaign is highly visible in W. Seattle.

The YES campaign was out sign waving. I couldn't help but to notice a particular individual waving. That same person that was responsible for failing to oversee district operations, was responsible for for a large severance package, sold MLK for $7M below market value etc. I felt sick. This individual is no longer responsible for district decisions, so, I voted YES.

Anonymous said...

I like Melissa's idea about regional PTA meetings/advocacy, unfortunately, many of southend Seattle schools do not have active PTAs, so this would put them at a disadvantage. It's a real conundrum.

Solvay Girl

Jan said...

I feel your pain, Levy Supporter. I voted yes on both levies too -- and was aware that I would have felt much MORE sick had I been voting no on either of them -- but there is a sense of vertigo, or cosmic tilt, or something, when you realize the extent to which current students (and taxpayers) are paying for the mistakes and mismanagement of past superintendents, senior staff, and mostly (but not all) departed board members.

Benjamin Leis said...

First returns:

{SLVOTECOUNT-ELECT-NWS{BT

*** Results *** KING COUNTY 2/12/2013 8:04:41 PM


February 12, 2013 Page 1 of 1

Seattle School District No. 1 Proposition No. 1 Operations Levy
(Precincts ( 947/ 947 ) 100.00
Yes 80112 74.11%
No 27990 25.89%
Seattle School District No. 1 Proposition No. 2 Capital Levy
(Precincts ( 947/ 947 ) 100.00
Yes 77222 71.58%

No 30659 28.42%
{30

Eric B said...

The initial results are pretty consistent with the 2010 levies, all passing in the low to mid 70% range.