Wednesday, November 07, 2018

After the Families&Education Levy, what about SPS' Levies?

It will  be interesting to watch how Seattle Schools messages its own two levies especially given that the Seattle Times recently wrote a fairly hostile editorial and called SPS "dishonest." 
The Seattle School Board is considering asking voters, already paying higher state school taxes, to approve a new operations levy that would tax themselves even more than the new state school funding law allows.
My understanding - but I haven't directly confirmed this - is that yes, Seattle IS going to ask for more than the current law allows in order to challenge the State on school funding.  Asking is NOT getting. I think the district is trying to force the State's hand.
During interviews with the editorial board, many incumbent lawmakers and challengers said the Legislature should wait to see how the new system works before allowing local taxes to creep back up.
Oh sure, let's wait for years when the proof - via statements from superintendents of districts from around the state - is right here, right now.  The money is not enough.

The Times' says:
Seattle school officials say they still will not have enough money in the 2019-20 school year, in part because of new state regulations on how they can spend local levy dollars. Instead of trying this backdoor way of extracting more dollars from local voters, the Seattle School Board should tell the Legislature to keep its promise to fully fund basic education with state tax dollars.

On a statewide scale, proposals like the Seattle School Board is considering would steer the state back to the place of rampant inequity across school districts with wealthier districts having more money than lower-income districts. That cannot be allowed.
Well, it wouldn't steer anybody if the Legislature did its job and fully funded education.  I'm not sure how the Times is missing this.
Voters worried about another big increase in property taxes should contact school-board members before the board makes a final decision on the February levy — expected in mid-November. Tell them to follow the legislative plan.
You mean the legislative plan that doesn't include increased funding for Special Education.  The funding that leaves districts - big and small - in the lurch in just about a year.

Nah, I think Seattle Schools is not thinking selfishly but rather systemically for ALL the districts in this state.

Kids can't wait, remember?

I guess the Times remembers when they like city education levies but forgets that when they don't like school district levies. 


Anonymous said...

It sounds like the Times is essentially saying “yes, we realize the state still hasn’t fully funded education, but Seattle should let students suffer a few more years in order to potentially force the state’s hand,” is that accurate?

If you ask me, going ahead with levy is more likely to get the state’s attention, since the inequities won’t look good. They’ll find they need to come up with more money for all.


Anonymous said...

Special education is not, and never was, discretionary. The state is absolutely correct in restricting use of the levy for special education as levies are not mandated. Levies were never supposed to fund special education as it is defined as basic. Special education is supposed to be funded with regular education dollars. And it will be. Everyone crying about the levy and special education is essentially saying that special education is discretionary. You are wrong. Worse, that admission is tantamount in saying that students with disabilities should and will bear the brunt of whatever funding deficit there may be. Students with disabilities are protected from this erroneous line of reasoning with IDEA’s “maintenance of effort” provision which requires districts to fund special education regardless of whatever funding shell game is current. Requiring special education students to dip into the levy for their basic education funding is exactly this shell game. The district will have to use its regular funds instead of the levy. So let’s stop spreading the rumor that special education is underfunded. If anything is underfunded, it is regular education. Underfunding can not be an excuse to fail to provide services.