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Friday, March 29, 2013

No Surprise-Burgess Would Consider Taking Over Seattle Schools as Mayor

From Crosscut, an interview with mayoral candidate, Tim Burgess.  Key item:

Burgess, his wife, Jolene, and their three children are products of Seattle Public Schools, so it's no surprise he considers it another of his priorities. "I graduated in 1967 and the adults then were talking about North End schools vs. South End schools," he said. "And they are talking about it today. That's a tragedy."

It's important, he argued, for the city and the school system to align their resources and efforts for education. One such example: the city's agreement to let its ethics office handle questions for the Seattle school district.  (Note: that did happen with McGinn who didn't need to take over the district to get it done.)

Would he push for a mayoral takeover of the school system? Burgess pointed to a recent Center for American Progress study that showed mixed educational results in cities that control of school systems, but said the report is a good source for best practices if a city does choose that approach.

Here's what I wrote in the comments section:

"Burgess also emphasized the need for changes to the school system, including the possibility of the city taking over Seattle Public Schools."

Well, this is NO surprise to any of us who follow public education in Seattle. Councilman Burgess had a fundraiser recently that was attended by the who's who of ed reform in Seattle including three Seattle School Board members.

From the Center for American Progress study cited in this article;

"Often, though not always, mayors are given the power to appoint members who will replace some or all members of the elected school board."

No, no and no. We then would have the entire of our elected official oversight by one person - the Mayor. That will not work for Seattle (and the results from other cities doing this is mixed to terrible - see Rahm Emanuel in Chicago).

To note, he would have to go the Legislature (many of whom, like Rodney Tom, hate Seattle anyway) and ask for permission to do this.

What would be great - and I asked him about this on Wednesday at a community meeting - would be if the City would do its job of creating safe communities for schools to exist in. Rainier Beach HS comes to mind. It's the district's job to make a safe school building but it is the City's job to make the surrounding community safer. He named a couple of things that should have been done (more commerce around the light rail station) and policing differently. Nothing stopped him from advocating for this as councilman and yet it didn't happen.

Also to note, Councilman Burgess steadfastly refused to state his position on charter schools all through the 1240 campaign. He dodged, he hedged and to remind everyone, Seattle said no to charters. I think the Councilman underestimates the depth of caring and concern in our city for our public schools to think that anyone who is advocating takeover of the public schools will be elected mayor. (I know McGinn stated this when he first ran but in my discussions with him at the time, his position is quite nuanced as opposed to Burgess'.)

But that's what will make for an interesting (and energetic) race.

11 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Ugh! Kill me now!

Let's hope this sinks his ship but fast! He'll take over schools, drive them into the ground, and turn over Seattle to Vulcan.

Kate Martin said...

http://katemartinformayor.com/white-papers/

Melissa Westbrook said...

Exactly, Kate. We have good candidates to choose from (including you) who aren't going to add to the already full plate of what a mayor needs to get done in Seattle.

Watching said...

This is just the tip of the iceburg- I am sure.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

I wonder if this topic came up in the Carr/Martin-Morris/DeBell attended fundraiser?

Disgusted said...

Burgess never took a positon on I 1240. If elected, does anyone doubt Burgess would use office of Mayor to install charter schools? No doubt in my mind- he would. He would havw his friend, and Charter School Commissioner- Steve Sundquist -help him.

Charter advocates kill by a thousand slashes.

Ebenezer said...

mirmac1, please do not slander Vulcans. If you're going to use a Star Trek analogy for privatizers, which is what charter proponents essentially are, then a better comparison is to the Ferengi.

Questioning said...

A member of the public is making this claim about Tim Burgess for Mayor. Does anyone know anything about this?

"Burgess was lobbied by Christian Sinderman, who was working on behalf of arena proponents Hansen and Ballmer. Burgess, also, had private dinners with Hansen. The result of this was Burgess giving wholehearted support to paying Hansen public funds (which Hansen would not have to pay back), and gaining Hansen complete Seattle tax exemption.

Immediately following his private dinners with Hansen, and the Sinderman lobbying, Burgess increased the Seattle public funds that would go to Hansen by 20-25 million dollars; from 115-120 million to 140 million dollars. Burgess also, reduced the Hansen's rent from 2 million dollars a year to one million dollars a year. Burgess, also, has Key Arena revenue going to Hansen, instead of the Seattle general fund"

I suspect this was the reason there was a lot of attention to Sinderman (inadvertently?) being named Burgess's campaign manager.

For some reason, I believe the concerned citizen. There is nothing about Burgess that I trust.

mirmac1 said...

sorry trekkies!

Unknown said...

Sure, because our whole governmental system is based on the idea that power works best when it's all invested in a single individual. Let's remove a group of individuals and replace it with an individual. What could go wrong?

Hmmm said...

http://burgessformayor.com/

Tim Burgess for Mayor remains silent on the issue of I 1240. Mayoral control is a mechanism to advance privitization efforts and silence the voice of citizens.

Yet, the recent article indicatios Burgess will take a stab at mayoral control of our schools. I'm certain Burgess has an agenda that is consistent with Republicans and privitization of public ed.