[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

LETTER: 'Some thoughts on recently failed Highline School District bond issue' 1Some thoughts on the recently failed Highline School District bond issue, the follow-up survey to see what residents consider to be the most important issues for a future bond issue, and the just announced levy to be put on the ballot in February.
If the school board had been reading the letters and comments in the B-Town Blog about the bond proposal they know the answer as to what the main issues are already and are doing the poll to get some confirmation. I notice there are already comments on the notice of the levy proposal in the B-Town Blog.
From my reading of the letters and comments there were three major complaints and one significant local issue.
The biggest complaint was “we cannot afford it”. This is kind of a universal complaint about all bond issues and there is not much that can be done for those complainers. So I will let that one pass without comment.
The number two and three complaints are closely related.
These two complaints were:
1) The present bond proposal is not specific enough. For example “What is going to happen with Highline High School” “Will the Facade of the school be saved” “Where will the money be spent, on the worst performing schools, on the oldest schools”. Plus the phrase “to be spent or allocated at the discretion of the school board”.
2) The prior bond issues were not well written and the funds not used wisely.
These two complaints can be addressed by the board when writing future bond issues.
The fourth complaint was about the closing of the Des Moines School and replacing it in another location.
This complaint could solved by working more closely with the residents in the area,
I hope that the School Board will use the results of the survey (and perhaps go back and read the B-Town Blog letters and comments) to put together an acceptable bond proposal.
To deal with the overall problems of the past bond issues one has to, in the business term, get to the root cause.
The first question is where do the bond issues come from and how are they written. They do not write themselves, so who does?
The answer, is bond and levy proposals are the responsibility Highline School Board with input from Superintendent Susan Enfield.
Let’s take a look at the School board and see if this could somehow be at the root of the problem. The Board is divided into five districts somehow. Each district has a director that is elected to a four year term.
The present directors are as follows:

  • District 1 Tyrone Curry
  • District 2 Angelica Alvarez
  • District 3 Susan Goding
  • District 4 Bernie Dorsey
  • District 5 Michael D. Spear

To relate these directors to the present bond issue problems take a look at the length of tenure for various board members.
Starting with District 5, Michael D. Spear, was first elected in 2007 as an unopposed candidate and has ran unopposed in his two elections since then.
In District 4, Bernie Dorsey was also first elected in 2007 beating Melissa Sue Robinson 63.03% to 36.34%. He also has ran unopposed in his next two elections.
In District 3, Susan Goding, was first elected in 2005 beating Menstab Tzagai 56.16% to 43.46%. In 2009 she ran unopposed and in 2013 beat Miles Portman 76.41% to 22.95%.
In District 2, Angelica Alvarez, was first elected in 2009 unopposed and was reelected in 2013 running unopposed.
In District 1, Tyrone Curry, was first elected in 2011. He has not yet had to stand for reelection.
In looking at the tenure of the board there are three board members that have been involved in this bond issue and the prior ones that were mentioned in the letters and comments to the B-Town Blog. They are Susan Goding, Bernie Dorsey and Michael D. Spear.
I do not believe in the general statement of “vote the incumbents out” but for those of you who were against this bond issue and the prior ones look to yourselves for changes. To quote Albert Einstein “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Since Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Spear have run unopposed in their prior reelections and Ms Goding has ran unopposed or against what appeared to be a weak opponent. This would seem to indicate you are happy with their actions, including the bond proposals.
If you feel a change must be made, however, start by looking at how the districts are formed and what the requirements for candidates are. Then start looking for candidates that more align with you wants and desires. The next election in which you will have an opportunity to make any changes in the School Board will be in 2015. At that time three candidates will be up for election Mr. Curry, Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Spear. If you would like a change now is the time to start planning for a change. It is a little less than two years to the next School Board election. It is definitely not too early to start planning, we already are knee deep in the presidential election and that is over two years away. As to Mr. Curry since this is his first term and I don’t know if he should be tarred with the bond issue or be judged on other votes and board items.
In 2017 Ms. Alvarez and Ms Goding will be up for reelection. I think that is a little far in advance to try and make any judgment as to whether they will even run for election again or what type opponents might be available.
The above election information came from the King County elections web site: http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections/election-info.aspx
– Conley Kershner

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