Sunday, January 30, 2011

Public School Funding

School Funding

School Funding has been a controversial issue as it is too often accomplished via long term debt burdens paid for by taxpayers and land owners. The controversies often arise when the state fails to follow the state’s constitutional provisions to fund schools 1st or at least as a high priority. What has been happening under the years of Democrat single party rule is that critical monies have been allocated 1st to other vote getting social programs leaving schools and emergency protection to their own devices to raise funds through additional voluntary levies. I say in quotes “voluntary” because when the super majority speaks, it is no longer voluntary!

Until we can recreate at least a two party system in our state and establish real conversation on this matter in Olympia, we are left to resolve matters on our own.

1) We must continue to push back – even suing the state as need be for failure to allocate funds per the priority outlined in the constitution. Bailing Olympia out for our every need should be after that fails. With the construction of the massive Ridge project, those thousands of new homes delivered millions of new $ . The state should have plenty of resources to build new infrastructure as truly needed based on the existing property tax base - as long as it is actually allocated as the constitution already demands!

2) We must share resources as much as possible to stretch out the time to when more infrastructures would be truly required. Issaquah High has just very prudently expanded “UP” . It is certain, based on the very large expansion of that project, that excess student capacity exists at that school. This option should have been addressed in all those effusive propaganda puff pieces that came our way in the last week or so. Is there any solid reason why inter district transfers of students should not be possible just as many of our students attend BCC for “Running Start?” That would defray our immediate needs and reduce the un-occupied liability of Issaquah's new addition; a win-win for both districts.

3) We should use our land resources frugally building UP not OUT. New schools mean new non-teaching administrators and staff. That's bad. They mean new boilers and new gyms and and and- Oh yes we must have NEW Astro-turf right???

What I mean by building Up vs. Out is to do a similar retrofit or rebuild to 4 story structures just like Issaquah did. There are even companies that specialize in erecting multi-story right over the old existing structures for additional savings.

They set their own piling/foundation structures to support the loads without touching the existing building/foundation. In the end it all looks like a seamless structure. I understand that some settling has occurred at Mt Si – this is often best addressed by concrete high pressure jacking. Alternately tear down a wing at a time and rebuild. There are established techniques to build multi story buildings on reclaimed swamp land – these are just engineering details. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done. Bottom line – there are other alternatives to making a new school.

4) Studies and tradeoffs should be published and presented to the public for review – The school board has acted as if we were more children to be spoon fed the information they want us to hear – the finished assertion. When the news article in the Valley Record quoted administration’s concern over an aging boiler that needed “frequent repair” – they should show the numbers of why buy vs. repair is going to be cheaper. Sorry I don’t trust drinking the government Kool-aid nor what the building department wants to spoon feed us. Give us the facts, show us the trade off – you pushed this ballot to our doors – how about promoting a web site with some real detail. It is not fair to demand that we as individuals tooth-pull this info-documentation – the school board should be proactive. Currently they are not – only working with a small hand picked committee. Outreach 1st to the wider community or expect push-back.

5) Don’t try to bully us with insipid focus on handicap ramps and overstuffed bologna about the safety bugaboo. That’s just window dressing .

6) Somehow we got by without Astroturf. Sports programs in general are a waste of taxpayer money and have no bearing on education. If community soccer leagues are tearing up the grass then let them pay for the Astroturf. Anyway, somehow I don’t think Chinese, Indian, Korean and the 99.99@ of other schools around the world have such extravagance and they are cleaning our scholastic clock while we force feed a dumbed down education chock full of social indoctrination too often aimed at making a new generation of good dependent Democrats.

7) It’s all about the parents – not the schools. In Utah they spend about the least per capita, but their High School and College graduation rates are tops. If we get back to basics and include parents intimately in the education process we will excel too. Fancy electronic whiteboards and computer labs do not make us more competitive on the global market. In fact it is just dumbing us down to a culture of information gatherers and fancy formatters rather than students with deep understanding.

8) The schools are totally failing to teach comprehensive US history. The US constitution and world geography, history and core science are getting scant treatment and often skewed to the political persuasion of the teacher. Reading the amendments can be a one day deal but a week will be spent on junk politically motivated global warming. Sometimes that persuasion has also been one of immorality and socialist/communist indoctrination. Get back to basics! Quit looking for some quick techno-fix. Purge the personal politics. Remove the few offending teachers that are giving public school a bad name. Stop promoting homosexuality and other society destroying lifestyles and it will be much easier to part with more money to the system; seeing its success in supporting family in our goal to educate our students.

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