UPDATE: This posting now also includes the “against” statement drafted by Ken Miller.
Robert Hill, currently residing at the Pierce County Jail, was 12 minutes late submitting this statement opposing the Tacoma School District’s proposed $500 million bond measure on the Feb. 12 ballot. So the voters pamphlet will only have a statement in support of the measure. See the news article here.
Don’t get me wrong: I fully support Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson’s decision not to accept the statement. Rules are rules, and if the rules are stretched 12 minutes for one statement, why not 12 hours? Couldn’t the other side sue the county if it were to break its rules?
In a Friday editorial, we criticize the way statement writers are selected in Pierce County: by the governing body that is putting a funding measure on the ballot. How aggressive will a school district or transit agency really be to seek out people to write a cogent “against” statement? We think the process needs to be refined to either have a less biased party make the selection or require the governing body to do more to solicit statement writers.
Anyway, here’s Hill’s unedited statement, which he emailed to our office on New Year’s Eve. It’s not all that great, but I’ve certainly seen worse statements in voters pamphlets. And credit Hill for at least being willing to take on the task that others were unwilling to do.
Half a billion here…half a billion there…pretty soon we’re really in debt.
BE A Fully–INFORMED VOTER FOR APPROVING THIS PROJECT
The Board is paying $400,000+ to The Elections division for this proposition. For no extra cost, the district could have put thirteen additional measures on the ballot for your approval: one for each school, with the bond amount requested–and the specific description for each project. They are not being fiscally prudent; they are being arrogant, just like pierce transit.
VERIFY THE NEED.
Please visit at least one of the 14 schools and talk to the principal and chief maintenance technician, and students, and investigate our “deteriorating” facilities. (Also read the full text Resolution #1923 elsewhere in this pamphlet.)
TO BIG; TO MUCH AT ONE TIME.
A lower interest rate is likely to lead to more interest paid for the life of the bonds. Call Superintendant Santorno at 571-1010 and have her tell you this amount. or the C.F.O at 571-1200…please!
And here’s Miller’s statement, referenced in Friday’s editorial, which he emailed to me today. He says it was written “after consultation with Hill.”
Tacoma schools have lots of room and new construction doesn’t improve education. We’re voting “no.”
We Don’t Need More Room
Tacoma has 12 percent excess classroom capacity according to district administration. Foss is 58 percent full; Stanley barely two-thirds. And there’s ample room for growth. Let’s make better use of the schools we have.
Construction Doesn’t Improve Education
Construction doesn’t improve education. Student performance actually went down in 12 of 13 schools funded by the 2001 bond.
This Bond Isn’t Free
A family of four will pay $10,000 for this bond. We support money for safety and repairs – about ten percent of the total proposal. Let’s vote separately on this.
Spend On Better Teaching
We’re happy – even eager – to pay for better education. But the key is teaching – not new buildings. Unless we improve what happens inside our classrooms, it’s futile to build more of them.
Send A Message
Tell the administration our priority is better teaching, not new buildings. Vote “no.”