Letters to the Editor

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SCHOOLS: Higher tax isn’t the funding answer

Letter by Larry Vevig, Lakewood on Jan. 5, 2012 at 11:31 am with 12 Comments »
January 5, 2012 3:01 pm

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that our state is not adequately funding basic education as outlined in the state constitution.

On the surface this sounds like a good thing, but our governor’s first response is to come right back by calling for an additional .5 cent sales tax to address this issue.

I propose we take another tack. The payroll of our education system is more than 50 percent non-teaching positions. Do we really need that many support and administrative positions? The education system has become bloated with mid-management and administrative positions, much like many corporations in our country.

I realize that talking about removing any of these positions means some are going to lose their jobs, but hard decisions must be made. Over the last 20 or more years we have seen school spending grow with little to show for it. We are turning out high school graduates who cannot even make change without using a calculator.

The schools need to learn the same lesson that needs to be learned in all areas of government: Stop spending money you don’t have! We as individuals must live within our means. So must our government.

Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. Publico says:

    The favorite comment that comes from those who know very little about schools is that school administrations are “bloated.” That is total nonsense.
    Residents in WA are paying an historically low level of taxes. We need to raise revenue to pay for the important things only Government can provide. Public education for all children is the most important issue before us at this time.
    I hate sales tax, but without an income tax the sales tax is what we are stuck with.
    Higher taxes for everyone who can afford it is the answer.

  2. Fibonacci says:

    I hate to break it to you, but we have ALWAYS had students graduate from high school that could not make change. That is true today and it was tru 20 years ago. Our students are NOT getting worse. Yes, there are students graduating from public schools that know very little, but there are also students going to nationally recognized colleges and getting degrees in medicine, engineering, law, pharmacy, business, education, etc, etc etc.

    I don’t know what “bloated” positions you are talking about, I am not familiar with how many non classroom employees there are, or what they do. I expect you don’t either, but it makes a good sound bite doesn’t it? Washington has some of the worst class sizes in the nation. More needs to be spent on our kids, not less. I say this and I my kids are done with school, but I want a population that is educated, I don’t want to live in a third world country.

  3. Is the letter writer suggesting that we have poor students learn work ethics by being the school custodians, librarians, secretaries, nurses, counselors, aides and cafeteria staff? (Tongue in cheek in quoting Gingrich) Publico? I couldn’t agree with you more.

  4. keepinitreal says:

    Well Larry, one reason lack of funding happens is because we tend to rely on federal grants to start well intentioned programs. When the federal money sunsets we refuse to sunset the well intentioned program.

    note : I highlighted one reason

  5. keepinitreal says:

    If it’s a quote, frida, would you be so kind to link it ? Thanks. :)

  6. “The payroll of our education system is more than 50 percent non-teaching positions.”

    Please provide proof. Since each school has less than 10 admin people for 3 or 4 dozen people in teaching positions, you can’t make that math work. District offices cannot make up the difference.

  7. “You say to somebody, you shouldn’t go to work before you’re what, 14, 16 years of age, fine,” Mr. Gingrich said. “You’re totally poor. You’re in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing. I’ve tried for years to have a very simple model. Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”

    There is the quote. Search it for as many sources as you’d like.

  8. keepinitreal says:

    Thanks, when I get a chance I’ll see if I can find it.

  9. keepinitreal says:

    Politifact rated it mostly false.

    Who was it that mentioned context earlier ?

    No matter.

  10. So what is wrong with students working at the school as a custodian? I was 15 years old pulling chickens at Wilcox Farms making $3.85 an hour. I came home every night covered in chicken crap and feathers. Why are todays teens above that? If they want money they can work for it. They learn a work ethic in the process… nobody loses.

    Gingrich was right.

  11. cclngthr says:

    I think the court should have clarified what consists as basic education and put a number on that to determine the appropriate funding for that. My letter which is also here asks that same question.

  12. cclngthr says:

    If you include administration at a central office, yes that means there are more administrators than they need.

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