Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Tacoma School Board


Our choices for Tacoma Public Schools: Gordon, Vialle

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Tacoma voters this year enjoy an embarrassment of riches in their school board candidates.

Three of the best candidates we’ve ever seen have stepped forward to help govern Tacoma Public Schools, one of the most complex and challenging school districts in the country. And the fourth candidate is no slouch.

Tacoma’s schools need the best oversight possible. They struggle with poverty, an unacceptable dropout rate and a frustratingly persistent achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their more affluent classmates. This gap often breaks along racial lines, between white and Asian students on one hand and black and Hispanic students on the other.

The school board plays a crucial role in addressing these problems.

Running for Position 3 are the stellar Dexter Gordon and Scott Heinze.
Heinze has a remarkable breadth of experience. He’s been an aide to U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, a police officer, a homeland security adviser to state leaders, among other positions. He’s exceptionally bright and is currently working toward a doctorate at Gonzaga University.
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Tacoma schools need Dexter Gordon and Karen Vialle

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Fantastic news for Tacoma: Two extraordinary candidates, Dexter Gordon and Karen Vialle, are running for school board. We endorse both enthusiastically. Here’s why:

The Tacoma School District – like many urban school systems – wrestles with tough social problems. It teems with poor and otherwise disadvantaged schoolchildren who struggle with academics and often wind up as dropouts despite the valiant efforts of their teachers.

Poverty and troubled home lives bedevil many children. As in many cities, the dropout rate among black and Latino youth is intolerably high. The district needs high-powered school board members who will lie awake nights thinking about student performance and demand results from everyone in sight.

Gordon, who is seeking Position 3, and Vialle, seeking Position 5, are made to order.

Both have worthy rivals.
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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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