With the $279.6 million capital school bond on the Feb. 12 ballot, the Puyallup School District was glad to release some good news. I’m just not so sure that the $23.2 million in future savings from restructuring existing 2004 bonds was meant as much for the public benefit as it was for the district’s political gain.
Thinking back to when the school board was dealing with a possible $12.5 million budget shortfall, I had questions.
While the deficit reductions came in around $8 million, 75 full-time staff members, teaching and non-certified, were cut from their jobs. You won’t find any mention of this in the district’s pro-levy literature. You also won’t find anything about the expected 230 student decline in the coming school year.
If the district didn’t have enough money to support the staff it had for the beginning of this school year, what will it do for next year, when even less school funding is available?
I’m a big proponent of the McCleary mandate – the Washington Supreme Court ruling that the state meet its constitutional requirement to fully fund education. It has been one year since the ruling, and one unsatisfactory review in meeting this requirement by the court.
Clearly the Legislature will need to act on this in the upcoming session. But with what money? And from where will it come?
Until it does act, stay the status quo and vote “no” on the Puyallup school bond measure.