Inside Opinion

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Tag: Puyallup School District


A choice of superlatives for Puyallup School Board

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Only one seat on the Puyallup School Board is up for election this year. It’s a shame there aren’t three — one for each of the hyper-qualified candidates competing for Position 4.

That’s how good Karen Edwards, Margie Silver and Kathy Yang are. For the Aug. 6 primary, we favor Edwards in a very tough call, but the district’s students would come out ahead with any of them.

Puyallup’s schools have a single overriding problem: space. The district already crams more of its students into portables than any other district in the

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Get ballots in for Tacoma, Puyallup school bonds

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

For supporters of public schools in Tacoma and Puyallup, this is not a day for complacency.

Both school districts have critically urgent construction bonds on Tuesday’s ballot. Tacoma is trying to replace or renovate 14 worn-out schools, half dating to the 1920s or earlier. Puyallup is trying to expand or repair 11 schools, and move students out of its 220 portables, to easeovercrowding and handle rapidly rising enrollments.

Each measure would also pay for improvements across the district.

These bonds – $500 million for Tacoma, $279.6 million for Puyallup – are of utmost importance to public education in the two districts.

Tacoma voters, for example, haven’t approved school bonds since 2001.

A district with so many antiquated schools just can’t do its job without regular reinvestment.

A story in Thursday’s Seattle Times should correct any misconceptions that Puyallup or Tacoma are on a spending binge. It contrasted Seattle’s $695 million school funding plan with the Tacoma and Puyallup versions:

Measures on Tuesday’s ballot in Seattle and Tacoma would each fund dozens of construction projects over the next decade, with both districts focusing on rebuilding old elementary schools.

But while Tacoma officials are requesting about $30 million for each of the eight elementaries in their proposal, Seattle is seeking about $42 million apiece for the six it wants to build.

Compared with Seattle, Puyallup and Tacoma have relatively modest expectations. Consider building size.
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Portable-heavy Puyallup needs voters’ bond measure support

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

One reason many people move to Puyallup is because of its highly regarded schools, which boast high on-time graduation rates and innovative programs.

But Puyallup’s dirty little secret is that about one-fifth of its 20,000 students are consigned to spend all or part of their day in the district’s 220 portable classrooms, many of which are hidden behind schools and largely invisible to passers-by. Puyallup has more portables than any district in the state – even though it’s only the ninth largest.

Portables can be a useful way to deal with student population growth spurts. But they’re inefficient, costly and not meant to be part of a long-term solution. Portables cost more to heat, cool and maintain, and they have only about a fifth the life span of a school building. Many have no bathrooms, and security – a growing concern for many parents – is hard to provide in the sometimes far-flung campus “portable farms.”
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For Puyallup schools: Pasquier, Jenkins and Ihrig

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

After the Nov. 8 election, the Puyallup School Board will have at least two newcomers. They’ll have to hit the ground running, because they’ll have a lot on their plate from Day 1.


The board faces challenges that include hiring a new superintendent and coping with even more budget cuts likely to come down from the state Legislature. It will also decide on grade realignment that would shift ninth-graders into the district’s high schools.

Fortunately, voters have some good candidates from which to choose.

• Position 2: One of the best candidates we spoke with this election cycle is Therese Ngo Pasquier, director of development with the Tacoma Philharmonic. She’d be an excellent addition to the school board.

Besides an impressive personal story – she fled from Vietnam with her family to this country at age10 speaking no English and graduated from high school as valedictorian – Pasquier has been active for years in the district and her community. Read more »


Skipping salary increases. In the public sector, no less.

There’s a critical school-funding measure riding on Puyallup’s Feb. 9 election, and opponents can’t accuse the administration of the Puyallup School District of insulating themselves from the pain of the recession. This from Superintendent Tony Apostle:

In February 2009, approximately 150 district administrators and central office staff that includes the superintendent, superintendent’s cabinet members, building principals, assistant principals, unrepresented professional/technical staff, and unrepresented confidential executive assistants agreed to freeze their salaries for the current school year (2009-10).

This week, 184 staff members representing aforementioned parties have again voluntarily offered to freeze all salary increases, annual salary step increases and cost

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