Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: District shows lack of transparency

Letter by Chad Allen, Tacoma on Jan. 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm | No Comments »
January 28, 2013 3:08 pm

Tacoma Public Schools mailed a flier about its Feb. 12 bond measure  recently, titled “Facts & Information” but I found it full of vague terms such as “upgrades,” “& more,” “replacements” and “improvements.” It also contains photos of what appears to be decaying walls, floors and pipes without indicating where they came from.

The Proposition 1 flier has lines stating that this bond measure is “Focusing on student learning and teaching.” However, there are no parts of this bond geared towards curriculum, teacher training, new programs, hiring additional teachers, etc. When an organization is asking taxpayers for $500 million, we need specifics.

As an example: I have spent significant time over the past two years at Giaudrone Middle School gym, and at no time did it appear that the requested “improved physical education facilities” were needed.

For the school district to be accountable with this requested taxpayer money there needs to be detailed plans, money assigned to specific projects and transparency. (Why do we need to relocate a parent parking lot and provide “staff room upgrades”? And with classroom portables costing more than $100,000, why are we “removing portables,” with no mention of disrepair, to place students in new classrooms in this economy?

I want to be supportive of our public schools and education system. A bond issue asking the taxpayers for this much money to “improve and update” all but five schools in the district is lacking transparency, details and priorities. Why would anyone vote to approve the measure based on this lack of information?

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