Tuesday Open Thread

SPS has apparently hired 15 more buses/drivers but, according to KUOW, there are still kids getting to school two hours late.
But according to the district website, there were still 26 buses running between 15 minutes and two hours late in the morning, and 16 more running behind in the afternoon.
I attended yesterday's Work Session on the Strategic Plan and will have a separate thread about it.  I can say that I do like the consulting group they hired - District Management Group.  Very professional and they asked questions and then sat back and listened (with directors input going up on the screen in real-time). 

Looks like the speakers list for tonight's Board meeting is mostly about BEX V as well as who goes to Maple Elementary after any boundary changes.

Have you read MAD magazine lately?  I hadn't since my sons graduated high school but I did seek out this month's copy.  There is a section that is stunning.  From the NY Times:
A four-page comic strip appearing in the Halloween issue depicting 26 children, one for each letter of the alphabet, who were or would soon become victims of a school shooting.

The strip, “The Ghastlygun Tinies,” is a homage to “The Gashlycrumb Tinies,” the 1963 work by the American illustrator Edward Gorey, which depicted the grisly and strangely comic deaths of children in alphabetical order. “Sadly, times have changed and there’s basically one way most kids seem to die now,” an introduction to Mad’s strip said.

What's on your mind?


McCleary2 said…

The Seattle School Board ignored the law and voted to put a total levy the ballot that is NOT consistent with state law. The intention is to create legal and legislative chaos.

The board is working in a manner that will create inequities across the state and lead to McCleary 2.

Not a SINGLE director made a comment regarding this issue. Legal did not come to the podium to defend their action.

The board asked for K-3 class funding flexibility. This means class size reductions won't be happening.
McCleary 2 said…
It is possible that the board just acted in a manner that will raise Seattle's property taxes in a manner that will help them send Seattle funding throughout the state.
Anonymous said…
No. This is the local levy you’re talking about. 100% of the proceeds go to SPS.

Fairmount Parent
Levy Swipe said…
The state swiped Seattle's levy dollars to fund McCleary. What makes you certain the state can't take more levy funding?

Seattle Public Schools is asking for significant increase. The operation levy is $815 million which is a $57M. The capital levy will increase from $475M to $1.4 billion.
McCleary 2 said…
Nothing is certain, Fairmount Parent. We're looking at a legislative issue.
monkeypuzzled said…
I agree with all your reasons to vote "no," Melissa. But last night, filling out my ballot, I just. Could. Not. Do it.
Eric B said…
Levy Swipe, You're wrong. The BTA levy was $475M. That's different than the BEX levy that will be on the ballot. Both are 6-year levies, and they alternate every three years. BEX V ($1.4B) replaces BEX IV ($700M). Incidentally, if they had kept the dollars per $100K valuation the same as BEX IV, BEX V would have been $1B because of the increase in the tax base. Thanks, Vulcan!

Also, BEX IV was trying to solve a $1.5B or so problem of lack of capacity with $700M.
LevySwipe, I'll have a separate thread because the Times had an editorial about this which accused the district of being "dishonest." The bottom line, though, is that the Legislature did not do a good job (and completely ignored Special Education funding).

MonkeyPuzzled, I get that and I appreciated that you listened. Also to note, voting yes means that the "pre-K pilot" is over because you just voted for seven more years of funding.

At one debate - it was me and Stephan Blanford and he virtually called me a racist - he told the crowd to not worry about the details. Red flag.

What was funny to me is the sponsoring group had other initiative debates. After the carbon tax debate, the guy who was against it - probably a paid lobbyist - came up to me and said, "Man, you have it hard."

Indeed. Sometimes it is hard to be the cheese who stands alone. This time, though, I feel like the vote will be much closer than in other years.
Levy Swipe said…
I'm uncertain of the nuances related to the state legislature regarding BTA and BEX. I do know that the state sets the levy cap. Is there a cap on capital budgets- or just operational budgets?

The cap must be uniform throughout the state- unless the state is willing to create an unequal system of funding. The board is not working within the construct of the existing law and their actions pushed us towards McCleary 2 or the levy cap being lifted throughout the entire state to pay for unsustainable teacher raises.

The state would love to see the fact that Seattle is seeking $2.1B when other parts of the state struggle to pass levies. Seattle's ask for $2.1B would only prove that Seattle is flush with cash and those dollars could help other parts of the state.
Levy Swipe said…
I will also add that state legislators have their eyes on Seattle.
Anonymous said…
We voted yes on prop 1 and this paragraph in the Seattle Times sums it up.

"Imagine a city with high-quality, accessible preschool and free community college. Imagine a city that provides significant financial relief to students and parents of both toddlers and college students. Seattle’s Proposition 1 will give Seattle kids something to aspire to and Seattle businesses the workforce they need to keep our economy strong for future generations."


We can't put our heads in the sand and wait for some mythical plan that Melissa claims is out there that is better.

Eric B said…
Levy Swipe, It is kinda weird that there are 3-year operations levies and two leapfrogging 6-year capital levies. But maybe it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the nuances before you post?

As I understand it (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong), the levy will go to the maximum of (a) the cap the Legislature allows, (b) the total annual dollar cap, or (c) the $/$1,000 property valuation times the overall property tax base in the city. If the Legislature raised their cap after the levy passed, SPS wouldn't be able to take advantage of that increase until the next levy if they didn't do it this way.
Anonymous said…
A big concern of mine is that one of the largest pre-school studies to date found a negative effect. The Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K study, conducted jointly by Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee Department of Education, was the first randomized control trial of a scaled up pre-K program. Again, the results for the participants in the program were negative as compared to the control group.

We need to absorb this information. The downside risk to the Seattle pre-K program is not merely that is too expensive. Our downside risk is that we are actually inflicting harm.

Until I am confident Seattle's program has safeguards in place to prevent harm, and a strong, evidence based definition of "high quality" Pre-K, I will not support this program.

Anonymous said…
Recorder - wow, that quote really tugs the heartstrings...too bad reaching 2,500 out of 12,000 possible students with no wrap around care or camp options isn’t really accessible to many. A different program could possibly make a much bigger impact, but it’s really all about the sound bite.

I’ll be livid and horrified if this passes and we end up losing one or both of the SPS levies (bloated as they are) which are crucial to funding basics like nurses and special education as well as trying to slog through a massive backlog of major building projects.

NE Mom
Anonymous said…
@Recorder, $700+ million is a lot to spend on something that requires so much imagination (and wishful thinking).

If we really want "high quality" preschool, shouldn't we get the quality of our pilot preschools up to that level before this expansion?

And until they can figure out how to deliver a pre-K program that does not eat up about half the funds on overly expensive administrative costs, I'm out.

Clearly, they are not ready to roll this out out a larger scale. The next step should be some sort of cost-effectiveness evaluation, not expansion.

If we really want "high quality" preschool, shouldn't we get the quality of our pilot preschools up to that level before this expansion?

In a nutsheel, yes. I've seen, from reading and talking to pre-k teachers, that the quality varies in SPP a lot. And, if you vote in a 7-year levy, there's no "piloting" to that.
More interesting thoughts from my friend, Joanna Cullen, on Prop 1:

Margaret Pageler wrote an interesting op ed where she she pointed out that rents are only going to rise with property tax increases. She also pointed to those who were outraged about a proposed head tax on businesses a few months ago are enthusiastically advocating to double this extra tax on ordinary people.

During her campaign, Mayor Durkan pledged to pay for College Promise without raising taxes. The City’s general revenue has grown by $300 million just this year. Why are not some of our wonderful programs not funded through the general fund?

In this proposal we are funding these programs by doubling a tax levy and reports that where she lives in South Seattle, long time residents are being priced out of their homes. Residents and renters whose kids might be the beneficiary of the programs are being priced out of the city. We must find sustainable ongoing funding for our high priority programs and stop depending on special levies.

To a large degree, I completely agree with her. Although if the city came back with a better defined levy in April with more transparency on how the City’s pre-k programs has increased access and what type of grants and to whom would being offered through the education portion of the levy, I may support it.

However, I would hope that perhaps the head tax could be considered again. Perhaps the city’s income tax will be found to be legal and provide an ongoing stable source of revenue. Then we can get back to examining how the city is using the general fund and ensure that our priorities have stable funding through a more fair and equitable tax.
If this levy is necessary it can be brought back in April with a more defined spending plan, along with more transparency regarding it the pre-k program has increased access and what the plan is to leverage available state and federal funds.

Also the Seattle Times is making Pageler's letter almost impossible to find."
Just Saying said…
Eric is unfamiliar with nuances, but is free to criticize others.

Just saying.
Levy Swipe said…
I'm quite certain that the state has decided upon a fixed rate that is computed at a dollar amount per $1000 assessed value. The state caps levy funding at $2500 per student. The district and board are asking for an amount that is in excess of $2500 per student.

There are rates for both the operation and capital levies. Between 2014-2025, the capital levy rate will decrease from $0.90-$0.56. However, between that time property values have risen. During that time frame, BTA funds will decrease from $0.35- 0.25 and Ops funds will decrease from $1.30- $0.87.

At this point, nothing is certain. The state may lift the cap for the entire state and Seattle's dollars- similar to McClary- will be spread across the state.
Anonymous said…
Wow. One of our state reps from Eastern WA is making news and may be in big trouble with the law over a "manifesto" he wrote>

From the Daily News,

"The four-page document, leaked online by Spokane resident Tanner Rowe, includes multiple biblical citations and says vanquished enemies must “stop all abortions,” disavow Communism, prohibit same-sex marriage and “obey Biblical law.”

“If they do not yield – kill all males,” the document reads."


Eric B said…
Just Sayin', feel free to tell me what I got wrong and what the right answer is. I welcome corrections if I didn't understand it right.

Levy Swipe, I'm not sure how you can square "nothing is certain" with "Seattle's dollars *will* be spread across the state". [emphasis added] I agree that nothing is certain with the Legislature--that's why we don't know what will happen. There's a whole lot of different ways this could play out. FWIW, I'm guessing they barely pass something around SpEd that halfway addresses those program costs, but I'm a cynic.
No more said…
Whether we like it or not, our state constitution puts the obligation on the state to fund basic education. That the state does a poor job does not shift the burden (or grant a right) to local jurisdictions to raise money for basic education.

The remedy to funding shortfalls is not to impose MORE local taxes but to pursaude the legislature to raise the revenues and fund basic education.

You wanted McCleary.
Levy Swipe said…
The theme of my blog comments revolve around the following points:

1. McCleary resulted in levy dollars being spread from wealthier areas to poorer areas.

2. McCleary was intended to create a uniform and equal levy system to avoid inequities.

3. No one is certain about the outcome of the next legislative session.

4. It is possible for the state to increase levy capacity and Seattle could see another outflow of levy funding.
5. Should the system revert to a voter approved levy - for every school district- we will return to the same unequal system that brought us McCleary. And, yes, there is support to recreate this system.

Clearly, an individual on this thread appears less interested in debate/discussion and more interested in arguing and splitting hairs.
Levy Swipe said…
I'm sorry, Eric. I was looking at the operation levy, BTA and BEX levies and misstated a number. I stand corrected.
Eric B said…
Levy Swipe, that makes a lot more sense. I had it in my head that you were thinking that the state would swoop in and take Seattle's levy money and distribute it across the state without raising levies elsewhere. I agree that it's possible that the state will increase property tax levies statewide in the next session.
Levy Swipe said…

Truly appreciate the dialogue. Thank you.

Have a great day... :)
Jet City mom said…
So we have security cameras but they don’t work and burglaries.

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