Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: Jarvis needs greater oversight

Letter by Mary C. Rickey, Tacoma on March 7, 2011 at 10:37 am | 2 Comments »
March 7, 2011 1:18 pm

Re: “Scandal was brewing unseen during 2008 vote” (TNT, 3-6).

Over the past few months, many parents attended public meetings where state and Tacoma school budgets were dissected, cuts recommended and details outlined by Superintendent Art Jarvis, resulting in his urge to close many schools.

Repeatedly he was asked to also detail cuts specifically to his non-teaching staff at Central Administration, and he failed to respond to cutting his bloated administration and deficient money-wasting programs, such as the Regional Small Business Development Program (RSBDP).

Offering to “look at cutting” and coming up with essentially nothing _ while continuing to target school closures, increased class sizes and associated teacher reductions _ is not a legitimate response.

The News Tribune uncovered that it was Jarvis, formerly the chief financial officer for Seattle Public Schools, who first proposed that Tacoma fund the very program that caused his counterpart Seattle superintendent to be fired last week.

Jarvis’ claim that he was unaware of the Seattle risk manager’s memo regarding “potential” misuse of funds by RSBDP is disingenuous. He must have heard something; he was the chief person in charge of money in Seattle.

He sold our school board on the idea nearly two years later and wants us to believe that he – a former CFO and current superintendent who is proud of “over 46 years in this business” – did not do his homework.

Jarvis deserves an “F” on his homework, “Incomplete” on cutting his staff and a failing mark overall. He needs greater oversight.

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