This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
News flash: The citizens who pay for public schools expect their hard-earned money to be spent on public schools, not on adults angling for business contracts.
Especially when money for teaching actual students is getting scarcer.
Had the Seattle and Tacoma school districts kept their focus relentlessly on the classroom, they wouldn’t have wound up duped by a rogue operation that claimed to be cultivating minority contractors while in fact squandering or pocketing money that should have been spent in the classrooms.
The Tacoma School District’s role in this is relatively minor, though it did wind up spending $105,000 without seeing much in the way of results. Along with the City of Tacoma and several other local governments, it bought into the Seattle district’s “Regional Small Business Development Program” (RSBDP), whose purpose was to help minority businesses bid for contracts.
According to the State Auditor’s Office, the Seattle School District got burned to the tune of $1.8 million by the new program, which misspent the funds on “services” that were either impossible to verify or never delivered – or turned out to be pretexts for siphoning money into private hands. A criminal investigation is under way.
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