AUDIO: Raw audio of Thursday night’s Highline Public Schools’ Town Hall


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Below is raw audio of Thursday night’s (Jan. 22) Highline Public Schools’ Town Hall meeting, held from 6- 7:30 p.m. at the Highline High School Library.

Between 50-60 people were in attendance at the event, which was moderated by journalist Kristin Fraser.

Families, community members, students and staff were encouraged to participate in the open meeting, which consisted mostly of Q&A from the audience. Superintendent Susan Enfield and School Board members held the meeting about district finances and the bond and levy measures coming up on the Feb. 10 ballot.

Here’s the raw audio, which runs 1-hour and 15-minutes long:

Also, here are some photos by Scott Schaefer (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):

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Comments

26 Responses to “AUDIO: Raw audio of Thursday night’s Highline Public Schools’ Town Hall”
  1. jenny says:

    Thanks for posting this recording. Questions regarding the top heavy admin, improvements to Evergreen and tyee, calculation for the high estimates of building new schools were met with scorn and/or evaded. They want 7 million of the bond to spend on computers, which become outdated in 2 years, fully depreciated in 5 years.

    This bond is loaded and needs a lot of trimming.

  2. Lee Moyer says:

    Jenny,
    I didn’t hear any scorn at the meeting, just in your above comment. They explained why the per student construction costs is an oversimplification that does not consider other factors such as building for longer life and lower operating cost, building green, etc. It will also cost more to keep the historically significant building features of Highline H S. I don’t agree with that, but no bond bill everyone’s wants in all details.
    John,
    You seem better at name calling than accuracy.
    They explained how they have to prioritize and are concerned about Evergreen, and other schools, but with a limited amount of money they can not fix everything.
    If we only vote for bonds that affect the school we use, nothing will pass and it will all continue to go down hill.
    We need this bond, and more, for that matter.

    • Lifetime resident, parent, Highline High graduate: says:

      Thanks Lee, I appreciate your comments:
      Jenny,
      I didn’t hear any scorn at the meeting, just in your above comment. They explained why the per student construction costs is an oversimplification that does not consider other factors such as building for longer life and lower operating cost, building green, etc. It will also cost more to keep the historically significant building features of Highline H S. I don’t agree with that, but no bond bill everyone’s wants in all details.
      John,
      You seem better at name calling than accuracy.
      They explained how they have to prioritize and are concerned about Evergreen, and other schools, but with a limited amount of money they can not fix everything.
      If we only vote for bonds that affect the school we use, nothing will pass and it will all continue to go down hill.
      We need this bond, and more, for that matter.

    • Lifetime resident, parent, Highline High graduate: says:

      Thanks Lee, I appreciate your comments. It astounds me how vitriolic some of these comments are. I hope our children don’t follow this example. What would you do if you heard your child talking to another child like this? Keep it civil – your true character is showing.

      Lee’s comments: Jenny, I didn’t hear any scorn at the meeting, just in your above comment. They explained why the per student construction costs is an oversimplification that does not consider other factors such as building for longer life and lower operating cost, building green, etc. It will also cost more to keep the historically significant building features of Highline H S. I don’t agree with that, but no bond bill everyone’s wants in all details.
      John,
      You seem better at name calling than accuracy.
      They explained how they have to prioritize and are concerned about Evergreen, and other schools, but with a limited amount of money they can not fix everything.
      If we only vote for bonds that affect the school we use, nothing will pass and it will all continue to go down hill.
      We need this bond, and more, for that matter.

      • jenny says:

        Lifetime, you either must not have been paying attention or fell asleep at the meeting. Listen to the recording and you will hear the the scorn and non-answers to attendee questions.

  3. Frank says:

    I thought the Superintendent said last night that even the relatively new Mt. Rainier High is overcrowded and kids are forced out of classrooms into the hallways?

    The new Marvista elementary has installed portables?

    Bond or no bond, we can’t rebuild Highline Schools fast enough to keep up
    with the influx people migrating to our area.

    Highline needs to transition to a new teaching model over the next decade,
    possibly a BLENDED learning system also known as HYBRID or INTEGRATED learning system.

    • Kathleen Waters says:

      The reason given for adding portables to Marvista were 1) extra room for all day kindergarten children and 2) move sixth graders to the portables. No one was ever asked about the decision to do this, that is, no one among parents and voters. So, the fact is the state mandated all-day kindergarten and that’s the reason HSD moved the sixth graders to portables. It had nothing to do with a sudden influx of students grades K – 6 into the Marvista student body.

      Further, the reason given by the district for feeling free to disrupt the sixth graders routine in the building was there was a need for “security” for the K’s that was only available by putting them in the main building. The portable, as it turns out, did not have restrooms.

      I question how it came to pass that kindergartners were dispersed thru-out the elementary schools causing major classroom re-assignments instead of housing them in one or two buildings until the district adjusts to this state requirement. Putting them in a central location(s) would appear to offer all kinds of savings: financial, educational and transportation. Again, voters were asked to support the bond in November which included money to transition fifth graders to middle school a year early. Since the bond failed that money was removed from Prop 2 which is what we’re voting on now. [

      What I’ve pointed out is just a teeny sample of poor administrative planning by the district, disinterest and dismissal of common sense and fiscally responsible decisions by the HSD. Please work in favor of our kids – VOTE NO on Prop 2 so that the district will listen to the voters and work to improve academics as well as improve physical plants. Remember, the District has complete choice in how to spend money the bond authorizes.

      • Frank says:

        Thanks for the clarification about Marvista.

        also,

        I talked to several Mt. Rainier students today and they said they never
        saw overcrowding into the hallways last year or this year.

        At this point, my trust in HSD admin. is non-existent and I have to rely on voters
        that have volunteered countless hours to research the Bond to educate voters.

        There is no excuse for the failure of paid HSD staff ( Communications office and associates) for not compiling a detailed financial fact sheet with
        comprehensive support data for 376 mil. in capital expenditures.

  4. Highline Employee2 says:

    I second that. Voting NO, again. She doesn’t listen.

  5. HIGHLINE SCHOOL LEVY & BOND — Here is why to vote NO!
    Most of you that own property received a ballot today for the three years of school levy and also the Bonds to construct more highline schools. Notice who the did not disply the dollars per thousand you will be paying on the proposition no, 2 bond.

    Do you know that you are already paying on prior school bonds until the year 2026? The money has been spent on the projects long ago but we are still paying. The school district claims that this is at a rate of $1.88 per thousand until 2026!
    They want to add a new bond that they claim will be paying and additional $1.09 per thousand of value probably tell hell freezes over on top of the $1.88 you are already paying…
    Plus they also want per thousand $4.22 (2016), $4.43 (2017), $4.55 (2018) for their proposition no. 1 levy.
    Add up what you will be paying in 2016 $4.22 + $1.88 (( till 2026)) + $1.09 till hell freezes over = $7.19 per 1000 of value.. Too Much!!
    If you look at a breakdown of your current tax bill you will find that 16.8% of it goes to the state for schools and 39.5% of it goes to local schools.. This excessive!
    If you would like to see the breakdown of your property for this last year on tax distribution follow these simple instructions:
    Here is the link to start the process:
    http://info.kingcounty.gov/Assessor/eRealProperty/default.aspx
    scroll down half way and click the box that you acknowledge……
    enter your address or parcel number click search
    after the property has come up click at the top “property tax Bill”
    click search again next to the parcel number
    scroll down and click on the tab “2015 tax/fee distribution”
    This will be an eye opener as to the money that you are paying and its percentage.
    Vote wisely to send a strong message.. VOTE NO

    • Highline Tax Payer says:

      This post states that 50-60 people attended the town hall meeting. The HSD website posts 80 people in attendance. I was present and I counted 30-40 people and 1/3 to 1/2 of the individuals were school district employees. I find this interesting.

      The public was rude? No way.
      Jenny is correct that some questions were met with scorn. In fact, one individual’s questions – the answers were prefaced with “I answered this question when we met”. This
      This post states that 50-60 people attended the town hall meeting. The HSD website posts 80 people in attendance. I was present and I counted 30-40 people and 1/3 to 1/2 of the individuals were school district employees. I find this interesting.

      The public was rude? No way.
      Jenny is correct that some questions were met with scorn. In fact, one individual’s questions – the answers were prefaced with “I answered this question when we met”. This was stated by both Susan Enfield and Duggan Harmon. I am glad the question was asked because I didn’t know the answer and as a taxpayer, I wanted the information. I thought the purpose of the meeting was to REALLY get information out there. The response that was given is a way to shut down community involvement. I find that interesting.

      Recently, this was posted on this blog in connection with the postings of these meetings.
      Please read: http://www.vlrc.org/articles/110.html
      This is exactly how this meeting was run. Interesting.

      At this town meeting, another meeting was announced for next week to be held in Des Moines. It was stated so that more questions could be asked and that the Zenith site could be discussed. Now, on the district website- yet another meeting is scheduled for that same night. I’m wondering why? The title of the party is – “Fiesta Informativa Para Latinos!” to be held at Highline High School. There will be free food, door prizes and child care. Paid for by the Highline School District. And it might be possible to register to vote. This is questionable. I have ethical concerns about this type of event. If both meetings are informational and both meetings require interpretive services and both meetings are being held on the same day – why are there two meetings? Why is one demographic group being courted? Is it because Algelica Alverez is on the school board and she happens to be Latina? Please do not allow this election to be bought.

      I do not know the SSOS individuals, but I applaud their diligence and courage. Thank you for sharing your research with all of us. If there is this much controversy, something is not right. It is up to us as voters to correct course. Highline School District administration is not being honest or respectful to our community, families, staff and students. It is time to stand up. We need to take back our schools FROM the corporate interests and RETURN our schools to our community.

      I am disheartened to say that as a taxpayer, community member and family member of a Highline School District employee, I am voting NO on the bond until the school district can write a bond that doesn’t break the bank and addresses the many concerns that we, as community members, have brought forward. Please join me.

      HSD- please rewrite a bond package that the community can get behind.

      • Highline Tax Payer says:

        I apologize for the redundancy in my post. I lost track in this small box and repeated myself.

      • District Employee says:

        Amen!

        • Frank says:

          I don’t remember HSD offering a Bond info party with food and child care to any other solo ethnic group before the Nov. election.

          Will there be a Spanish language interpreter provide?

          With Oregon voters passing a law banning the issuance of driver’s licenses to non-US citizens last Nov., the rate of illegal immigrants to Washington is going to increase at an unprecedented rate.

  6. Sensible Spending on Our Schools says:

    She is also an executive that is paid a salary and still charges for overtime. Not ethical.
    In addition, she is paid almost $10,000 a year for gas and lives 2.5 miles from her office. Talk about gouging! For her doctorate, she also gets paid extra but knows even less about administration and most of all ….. people!

  7. Stop the Ignorance! Support our kids! says:

    You really discredit yourself and the position you represent by making such disrespectful and rude comments. Most of us would like to keep this above board. If you can’t participate in a respectful way then please abstain. The majority of those of us reading the blog, no matter what our position is, would appreciate it.

  8. This comment has been removed.

    • John Castronover says:

      Well to say the least That was rough I forched myself to listen to the entire meeting this morning.
      I paid close attention to Superintendent Enfield’s answers, what I was hoping to hear was Direct , Confident and Sincire Explanations to what was for the most part simple and honest questions, but instead I heard a Rambling and Stumbling Politicain evading in giving simple and direct answers.
      For me nothing has changed our community cannot afford this bond and levy package Please join me in voting to reject ” again ”

      Not This Bond Vote NO On Prop.2

    • Betsy says:

      Thank you Scott.

  9. Katy says:

    Highline high school defiantly needs to be rebuilt. It’s been around since the early 1920s.. This school is falling apart. I say this as a student from highline.

    • Chris says:

      Katy, you’re wrong. The school went through a MAJOR renovation in 1989/1990. I know–I was there, and the entire freshmen class was relocated to the old Woodside School for the majority of the school year.

      Unfortunately, the renovation that was previously done, was a crap design (hello, outdoor hallways in WA State?!?!) and the school has not held up well. What they should’ve done way back when, was raize the school and start with a clean slate. But, it didn’t happen and you have the building that exists today.

      As far as the current proposal goes, I’m undecided. The district has done a terrible job in educating the citizens. The planning and decision making PRIOR to the first election was lackluster at best.

      The salient point though, that I think has been glossed-over by the district, is that there are already TWO existing bonds on the books for taxpayers to pay off. This isn’t exactly chump change, and the proposed bond is huge.

  10. Highline family says:

    I was planning on joining the phone conference on the 27th, but the HSD website states that the district will call all households for which the district has a land number. Many of us stopped using landlines quite some time ago. How do I join the call from my cell phone?
    I assume there must be a way to join. Please post on the district website.
    I will also try to call during office hours. Shouldn’t be this difficult.

  11. Sensible Spending on Our Schools says:

    Some of you will be called 3 times a day to reminded to vote yes, some of you will receive emails from the Highline PAC (Political Action Committee) telling you to vote yes because the information that we have put out for the public to see is not true. Any day of the week the increase of $1.09 per $1000 valuation on your house is 58% of the $1.88 that you are already paying increasing your payment by that amount.
    The trouble is that the Highline School District is trying to mislead the public and it is disgraceful. No where do you get the entire story of what this flawed bond will cost the taxpayers. That is because they don’t want you to know the whole picture. If we didn’t come out with the truth, there would never have been these meetings to try to brainwash the public into believing the partial truth that they are spewing.
    We want a financial statement listing line item by line item just what this bond includes.
    We want to see the competitive bids that were submitted for the cost to rebuild these schools. The Highline School District Board thinks that they operate in a vacuum where only they see the figures and the facts. Not true!
    This is our money and we get to say how it is spent! Vote REJECT on this Bond and let the HSDB know that we want transparency, accountability and responsibility…all of which we have not received. They will not control us through this bond, through their meetings and through the dirty politics that they have resorted to.

  12. Ex employee says:

    I worked at Highline and it was the worst employer ever. I will never work there again. So many hard-working employees told me stories about what happens at ERAC and most have no choice but to stay quiet in fear of losing your job. If you get on the wrong side of a princpal or ERAC employee, you will be gone. What they get away with is crazy, but they are very smart and know how to cover their tracks. Teachers work so hard and get very little support in their overcrowded classroom. Highline thinks it supports the teachers by giving them trainings but nothing more. I have deep respect for the teachers but ERAC needs to be exposed.

  13. Commenting has been closed due to uncivil behavior.