Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Art Jarvis

Aug.
24th

Tacoma schools must open on time next week

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

The Tacoma School District has long enjoyed a rare degree of community support, as evidenced by successful levies and generous construction funding.

That bond must not be broken lightly – and a potential teachers strike next week threatens to do just that.

Let’s be clear about what led to the tense showdown between Tacoma’s school administrators and teachers.

This isn’t a matter of greedy teachers or callous school officials. A stark conflict was built into their contract talks from the start. District leaders and the Tacoma Education Association are at odds because the Legislature was forced to cut funding for the state’s public schools last spring.

Had the district received money enough to maintain a healthy-sized staff and strong programs – and give teachers the money and small classes they want, everyone would have walked away smiling before now.

Nor are lawmakers the culprits. They were dealt a losing hand by the distressed economy, which forced brutal cuts throughout state government, schools and colleges. The core issue in Tacoma is the core issue everywhere else: The money just ain’t there.
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Feb.
3rd

Districts must protect instruction above all else

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Closing a public school is an excruciating experience for everyone – students, parents, teachers, school boards and administrators.

That’s especially true for a comprehensive high school like Tacoma’s Foss, whose distinguished academic programs draw students from the entire city.

But even Foss’ most ardent supporters ought to hold their fire until Tacoma School Superintendent Art Jarvis can clarify the impacts of not closing Foss and several small elementary schools.

As he points out, mothballing Foss would save a full $2 million of the $5 million that must be carved out of the school district’s spending next year. The temporary closure of some elementary schools would likewise achieve major savings on administration and overhead.

Tacomans must understand the alternatives, and the administration itself doesn’t have them worked out yet. It is crunching the numbers to determine how that $5 million funding gap might be filled without closing schools.

More money could no doubt be squeezed out of the administrative budget, though Jarvis says he’s already done that repeatedly in recent years. Getting all the way to $5 million could require wholesale layoffs of teachers and expansion of class sizes, and perhaps the elimination of precious electives and extracurricular programs.
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