School budget cuts are lose-lose proposition
June 13, 2008 · Updated 4:20 PM
It is a mean sick game that the Highline School Board and the administration play. They use our children as hostages to get what they want. Consider the facts.
When a school levy fails, where do they make the cuts? It is always the most sensitive areas. They cut classroom teachers, often driving class sizes to more than 30 kids. They cut maintenance, leaving our schools to go to pot. They cut athletics, supplies and even meaningful extras like music. They leave largely intact budgets for travel, professional days, excessive personnel and other low-priority items. This makes a levy a lose-lose proposition.
Maintenance has a very low priority for funds. They have two roofers for 3 million square feet of roofs. When the White Center school roof developed leaks, they ignored it, which caused toxic mold and that cost the district more than $1 million to fix. Maintenance is always starved for funds, which causes our schools to deteriorate. Would you treat your home this way? Will a new school suffer the same fate as the school it replaced? Definitely, as maintenance will still be minimized.
Why is this? Jobs and perks for the establishment since the budget total is fixed, hiring more maintenance personnel or funding other high priority items would require terminating some low priority employees and/or reducing perks.
What is the solution? Yes, we could hire a new superintendent who promised to achieve our goals, but he has bosses, who are the board members. The establishment, through its support, determines who sits on the board and it represents the establishment, not the public.
If the board is not establishment puppets, then why do they approve cutting the heart and ignoring the fat when a levy fails? The establishment controls our public education system. They inflict the maximum pain per cut as they play this game. Until the voters understand this and start electing non-establishment-endorsed candidates to the board, nothing will change and the game will continue.
They purposely let our school facilities deteriorate, as this puts more pressure on the taxpayers for more funds. Their solution is always more money and never shifting funds from a low priority item to a higher priority one.
We must fight back. Until we can elect a non-establishment-endorsed board, we should limit their funds by defeating all levies and bonds.
Joseph C. Coomer