LETTER: ‘The Community has Spoken about Kids and Cops’
The Community has spoken about Kids and Cops. Will Mike Martin and the City Council listen?
At the School Board Meeting of June 5, 2012, Mike Martin/Burien City Manager and Brian Bennett/Burien Mayor presented the proposed issue-which the Burien City Council has still not approved-Kids and Cops. Martin openly admitted that he, his staff and the Council knew very little about schools. And that was clear from the quality of the presentation he and Bennett gave and the content of the proposal that had been written. None of the public that commented at the meeting was in favor of this issue being put on the ballot for the upcoming election. The public that commented against Kids and Cops were; the Highline Citizens for Schools, the Highline Education Association, Tom Slaughtery/ex-school board member and Robert Howell on behalf of himself and some of his neighbors.
Additionally, Martin claimed that the City had been partnering with the schools already. This was questioned by a couple of school board members as this was the first time they had ever heard of this partnership. The things that were questioned about this issue were:
- Equity of education for all students in the Highline School District which this proposal does not address
- The process and research that had been used to select which group of students should benefit from a proposal like this
- Who knew public education best and was most capable of directing a proposal of this kind in the future. The City of Burien staff and Mr. Martin has been insistent that Mr. Martin will select and direct this project in the Burien schools.
- Whether the proposal, as it was currently designed, undermined the Highline School District and its mission and charge under the State.
- Whether work had been done to create a true partnership with all of the cities that the Highline School District serves. It appears this had not been done.
- Whether the name of the proposal suggested that the kids in the Burien schools needed to have cops supervising them in the schools. The title seemed to imply that.
- Whether this was ill timed for the ballot and might interfere with ballot issues that the Highline School District might be putting on the ballot in the near future.
All of the public speakers agreed that the best agency to run projects and proposals in Burien schools was the Highline School district and not the City of Burien. For those reasons, they were not in favor of supporting Kids and Cops.
Hopefully Mr. Martin and the Council will listen to what the community had to say and reconsider not placing this proposal on the ballot.
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