[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:]
Some 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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Thank you for writing this letter. I agree. If voters are not satisfied with the current school board, new school board directors should be elected. If the current school board directors are interested in continuing, we have learned a great deal about what is absent in their leadership. I hope they have been paying attention and plan to make the necessary changes in order to provide better leadership in our community.
I believe what the current school board has learned is that 59.3% of the voters approve of the work they are doing. In a presidential election this would be called a landslide. I can’t see how this will cause them to be concerned for their jobs.
I suspect instead they will look at these results and work to clarify their message and make some minor tweaks to the bond. All they need to do is to convince a very few “no” voters to change their mind, and get a few more “yes” voters to turn out who didn’t vote last time. This has been the approach taken in the past with close elections, and it has usually been successful.
Just FYI, had this measure received 215 more yes votes it would have passed. That’s really not much – less than one percent of the people that voted. It was very close to reaching the required 60 percent approval. Just saying…
Betsy Just FYI, .73% percent of a percentage point is considerable more then just 215 votes, please don’t come in here with your false and inaccurate numbers,
Before the School District takes the tens of thousand of dollars of tax payers money from the class rooms to have this bond on the ballot again, they should think long and hard that there is no guarantee of the bond passing a second time, just saying.
How did I figure that wrong Highline Parent? I would like to know.
This is from King County:
Approved: 17,485 (59.3%)
Rejected: 12,015 (40.7%)
One percent of that total is 295 people. If 1 percent more of the total number of people had voted yes, instead of no, it would have passed. It only failed by 215 votes.
This is not a statement of for or against – I’m just doing the math. I was just pointing out a fact. You don’t need to be rude about your rebuttal. You might even be surprised to know that I didn’t decide until the last minute how I wanted to vote. I had some concerns myself.
Okay, if I was snarky there I apologize. But the math still stands.
Come on now Betsy none needed, I did say please now, always stand by what you say in here.
I think we are taking away from a excellent letter that Conley Kershner has written she makes a very valid point and is so very true in what she says about the Highline School District Board, for me I find it hard to trust or believe anything that they have to say.
I do feel they are going to take the exact same bond a try to ram it down our throats again at the expense of one Foreclosed home at a time just to get what they want and that’s our hard earned tax dollars.
I don’t know what you mean Highline Parent. Your first line confuses me – I am standing by what I said about the math.
Then I think that those 200+ people need to get out and make sure they vote “no” again so the district hears us loud and clear. It’s a terrible bond. The district needs toi listen to yhe people – actually really listen- and try again with a different and much smaller package.
To Conley Kirshner and all School Bond Cheerleaders…….
Your comment: “The biggest complaint was â€œwe cannot afford itâ€. 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.”
What a blatant insult to the Highline Community!
The only thing universal about ‘we cannot afford it’ is the lack of money that Highline people have to pay for the over-zealous wish list that the HSDB is trying to force the voters to pay for. While we all want the best for our children, we know that if you can’t afford it, you don’t buy it. There isn’t any concern for the citizens with the battle cry about the children. It is the citizens that have to pay the bill. It is the citizens that experience the heartache if they lose their homes, don’t have enough money for food or are just not ‘able to afford’ any more bills.
It is about time that this part of the equation is addressed. Your argument is well taken but it is lopsided. You should have more respect for the source of the funds that is needed for improvements.
Just because Susan Enfield wants what she wants when she wants it, it is time to grow up and realize that affordability is a major stumbling block to getting a bond passed along with the unreasonable demand that Highline voters should fund whatever she wants.
Great letter and invitation to the community to begin considering running for the School Board. Some of the current school board members have been serving far too long and are not doing a proper job representing the community and leading our district. Don’t let these members run unopposed again. Please spread the word to worthy citizens to consider stepping up and running for Highline School District Board.
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