November 1, 2013 at 5:08 PM
An independent group supporting Seattle school board candidate Suzanne Dale Estey has dropped another negative ad on Seattle voters just days ahead of Tuesday’s election.
The latest direct mail piece from the committee, Great Seattle Schools, is headlined: “Inside the Mind of Sue Peters: A Vast Conspiracy.” The flip side of the full-page mailer is a positive ad for Dale Estey.
The mailer states that Peters “believes that the Gates Foundation is part of a vast conspiracy to take over Seattle Public Schools” and that Peters “thinks the Gates Foundation is the root of our problems.”
Peters says both assertions are false. She responded to the piece on her campaign website.
Peters and Taylor, the blog’s co-authors, analyzed publicly available financial data about various nonprofits such as the Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation and traced how they fund various education reform causes and organizations around the country and specifically in Seattle.
Peters argues that the diagram “connected various dots” and is not a conspiracy theory.
Great Seattle Schools has raised nearly $98,000 and spent about $95,000, according to state campaign finance records. Expenses dated Oct. 28 total about $43,000 for consulting, design, printing and postage.
The committee mailed another negative ad to voters last summer declaring that Dale Estey is the “candidate for change” while Peters would offer “more of the same.”
Peters said that ad misrepresented or omitted her views, qualifications and endorsements.
August 12, 2013 at 10:57 AM
Olu Thomas, in third place in the three-way race for the District 5 seat on the Seattle School Board, has endorsed the frontrunner, Stephan Blanford.
In a prepared release, Thomas said Blanford has the best potential to represent the interest of the students in District 5, which includes the Central Area, Capitol Hill and parts of downtown Seattle.
Blanford thanked Thomas, saying that Thomas based her campaign on the desire for an equitable outcome for all students, and he shared that view.
Blanford won about 79 percent of the votes in the primary election, which was limited to voters in District 5. LaCrese Green, a private tutor, was second with about 12 percent, about 785 votes ahead of Thomas.
Blanford and Green advance to the general election in November, where voters citywide will choose the winner.
August 7, 2013 at 5:24 PM
The results in the two contested races for Seattle School Board didn’t change much after Wednesday’s vote tally.
After Tuesday night’s count, it was clear that Suzanne Dale Estey and Sue Peters would advance to the general election in District 4, which covers Queen Anne, Magnolia and part of Ballard. Dale Estey still has about 48 percent of the vote counted to date, and Peters has 41 percent.
In District 5, Stephan Blanford’s lead on Wednesday rose one percentage point to 79 percent, and LaCrese Green remained in second with about 12.5 percent of votes counted. She is 678 votes ahead of Olu Thomas in the race for second place, and the chance to continue their campaigns into November.
August 1, 2013 at 4:58 PM
In the races for Seattle School board, an independent group that’s raised $32,750 has sent out a negative advertisement targeting candidate Sue Peters and promoting one of her two opponents, Suzanne Dale Estey.
The group, which calls itself Great Seattle Schools, declared that Dale Estey is the “candidate for change” while Peters would offer “more of the same,” painting Peters as someone who would add to the problems that have plagued the school board over the past few years.
Peters has criticized the ad, saying it misrepresents or omits her views, qualifications and endorsements.
The ad is unfounded, she said. “I have the support of four of the current school board members and what that means is that I have their respect, and I will be able to work with the board in a constructive manner if I am elected.”
On her website, she has a point-by-point rebuttal, including refuting that she would oppose any grant that Seattle Public Schools might receive from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Like many others,” she wrote, “I was disturbed to see supporters of my opponents resort to such dishonest tactics on her behalf, and so early in the race.”
Dale Estey said she first saw the ad when it arrived in her mailbox. She said the law doesn’t allow her to have any knowledge of what independent campaign groups do. She said she agrees with the ad’s main message, although she has mixed feelings about its negative approach.
Asked whether she had expressed those misgivings to the group, she said: “If members of the business community are fed up with the status quo of the school board and chose to articulate that – I’m not going to illegally try to inhibit their freedom of speech.”
All but $2,750 of the $32,750 traised to date came from two individuals: Real estate developer Matt Griffin and former Microsoft executive Chris Larson. The rest came from the Civil Alliance for a Sound Economy, a political action committee sponsored by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. In its paperwork to the state’s Public Disclosure Commission, the group says it also plans to support Stephan Blanford, one of the candidates in the District 5 race, which covers Central Seattle and Capitol Hill.
Peters and Dale Estey are two of the candidates running for an open seat in District 4, which covers Queen Anne, Magnolia and part of Ballard. The other is Dean McColgan, a former Federal Way councilman.
Griffin and Larson have also contributed directly to Dale Estey’s campaign – donating the limit of $1,800 apiece.
July 3, 2013 at 1:45 PM
A coalition headlined by Washington’s teachers union has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a recently-approved state initiative establishing charter schools, the group announced Wednesday.
The 31-page lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court earlier in the day, seeks to stop the establishment of charter schools.
A state commission established under the initiative is currently laying the groundwork for the schools, which are free and public but independent of school districts and allowed to use different techniques.
The lawsuit argues that the initiative violates the state constitution in seven ways, including that it improperly delegates education duties to private organizations, interferes with progress toward complying with a state Supreme Court order for the state to spend more on education, diverts funds to schools not under local voter control and takes power away from the state superintendent of public instruction.
“The Charter School Act poses a real threat to our public school system in Washington,” said one of the plaintiffs, education advocate Wayne Au, in a news release. “Not only does it divert already deficient state funds from public schools to private organizations, it also exempts those private organizations from many of the standards that are in place to ensure that all children receive an adequate education.”
The lawsuit had been expected. The coalition filed a legal challenge to the state attorney general over the initiative in February.
Initiative 1240 received 50.7 percent support from state voters last November.
June 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Higher education leaders said Friday they were pleased with the proposed legislative budget that bumps higher education funding by 12 percent and freezes tuition for at least a year for in-state undergraduate students.
The proposed budget adds $119 million in funding over two years, plus an extra $18 million to grow computer science and engineering programs at the University of Washington, Washington State University and Western Washington University.
It’s “a significant step forward,” said University of Washington President Michael Young in a statement. He said the budget agreement “will allow the UW to hold resident undergraduate tuition rates at their current levels without compromising the extraordinary quality of students’ educations.”
“The Washington State Legislature has turned an important corner toward re-investing in higher education,” said WSU President Elson Floyd, in a statement. “By far, the most encouraging part is the recognition that we cannot continue to fund higher education on the backs of our students.”
The state’s 34 community and technical colleges also saw a $10 million bump for performance funding, to reward schools that are doing a good job of graduating students.
“I think we did pretty well — we’re reasonably happy with everything,” said Marty Brown, executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
Both two- and four-year schools will be prohibited from raising tuition for the 2013-14 school year. They have the option of raising tuition for 2014-15, but if they do so, they’ll be required to set aside more money for financial aid.
At the UW, the $8.9 million in new money for engineering and computer science will help grow programs that are bursting at the seams. Many applicants are turned away from those programs every year because they are full.
Margaret Shepherd, director of state relations for the UW and a ubiquitous presence in Olympia during the legislative session, said the tide toward more higher education funding seemed to turn as legislators became more aware of how budget cuts over the economic downturn have caused tuition rates to rise.
The state has cut university funding by about 50 percent since 2009, and Washington now ranks near the bottom among all states in per-student funding. In response to the cuts, Washington colleges and universities raised tuition by double-digit amounts for four straight years.
June 27, 2013 at 1:17 PM
Sen. Barbara Bailey said Thursday morning that the Legislature is very close to agreeing to the details of a higher-education budget that would increase funding by 10 percent and freeze tuition for the next two years.
Bailey made her comments around the same time that other legislative leaders announced a tentative deal on the overall $33.6 billion two-year state budget.
The Oak Harbor Republican, who heads the Senate Higher Education Committee, said she did not think that the higher-education deal would take away tuition-setting authority for the institutions, meaning that their governing boards could still vote to raise tuition. But, she said, “we are hopeful we’ll have agreements on raising tuition” from the institutions.
Bailey would not put a dollar figure on the amount of higher-education funding, although she did say it was somewhere above 10 percent more than ”maintenance level,” or the level the universities say they need to receive just to maintain services as-is. The maintenance level for 2013-15 is $1.04 billion, suggesting that the deal would allocate at least $104 million more for higher education.
Before the session began, the state’s six four-year institutions requested $225 million in new money, a 20 percent increase, and said they would freeze tuition if they received an increase of that size.
“This would be the first time in 27 years we’ve not had a tuition increase,” Bailey said. “That is hugely important for middle-class families in particular. From all the data we’ve been gathering, by the time you put tuition, student housing, fees and books and everything together, the average family can’t afford to send their child to college in this state without some kind of help financially, or going into debt.”
Bailey said the deal includes about $18 million to grow programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). She said the additional money would stabilize the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program, which bases its payouts on tuition rates and is currently underfunded.
She also said that a controversial proposal to raise about $50 million by adding a 20 percent surcharge to international student tuition is “still being discussed,” although she noted that “there’s not been a warm welcome to that.”
Bailey said she fully expects a deal by Friday, and “we may have something by the end of the day today.” But she said things are in flux right now.
“Evidently, the jello has not stuck yet to the wall,” she said.
January 30, 2013 at 6:00 AM
A new take on Rodney Tom conversion? The new leader in the state Senate, he of the Majority Coalition Caucus, is an enigma for some Democrats who wonder how he can call himself a Democrat when he joined with Republicans to form the Republican-leaning group. Republican John Carlson has an interesting piece on Tom in Crosscut.
What do you think of the bill to change the state code to use gender-neutral language? Bye bye, firemen, fishermen and other such terms. If I am not mistaken, the University of Washington Daily has done something similar.
High marks for Washington’s charter school law. The charter bill is brand new and implementation will take time. But still the bill wins high marks for the way it is drafted. No. 3 in the country, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Oregon going to pot, well, maybe sometime. The Oregonian says Oregon could be one of the next couple of states to legalize marijuana , perhaps in 2014 or 2016. Oregon had a pot measure on the ballot this past year, but the measure was very broad and did not pass voter muster.
Good days and bad days, bad mornings followed by better afternoons: Tuesday morning, state Rep. Gary Alexander was part of an AP inquiry into lawmakers’ expense reports, dry cleaning expenses, to be specific. The story included Alexander’s cleaning bill. Uh oh.
Later in the afternoon, Alexander was announced as as the new Thurston County auditor, filling a spot vacated by Secretary of State Kim Wyman. Question for Alexander: Does he intend to become Secretary of State? Just asking. Both Wyman and former Secretary of State Sam Reed were Thurston County auditor before becoming Secretary of State.
Check out our new Facebook page.
January 8, 2013 at 4:55 PM
Randy Dorn, Washington State’s top schools official, is asking state legislative leaders to amend the state’s new charter school law so that his office supervises the new schools.
Dorn has repeatedly said he thinks the law, which voters passed in November, violates Washington’s constitution because it calls for the creation of a new, appointed charter school commission that would authorize and supervise charter schools.
Dorn, the state’s elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, says the constitution makes him responsible for supervising all public schools, including charters. Dorn has said repeatedly that he may challenge the new law in court as well as ask legislators to change the way charters will be governed.
In his letter to lawmakers, Dorn said he said he is not arguing for or against charters, just who oversees them.
The new law, which allows up to 40 charters to open in Washington state, gives school boards the chance to authorize charters, too, but also sets up the new commission. In his letter, Dorn said charter schools that are approved and overseen by the commission would not be directly accountable to the public.
“The Commission is the state level administrator, while the Charter School Boards provide local administration,” he wrote. “These unelected bodies will have the power to spend the peoples’ money without being accountable to the people.”
Because the initiative was passed just this fall, two-thirds of legislators in the House and the Senate would need to approve any changes.
January 2, 2013 at 8:01 PM
The state’s largest teachers union is exploring how it might help challenge the charter-school law that narrowly passed last November. The union’s board of directors has committed to help fund a lawsuit, although it is not yet clear who would file it, when it would be filed, or exactly what form the challenge would take.
Rich Wood, the union’s spokesman, said the union is talking to potential allies, which include many of the groups that campaigned against Initiative 1240 this fall, and is also looking at possible legal strategies.
Along with the union, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has talked about challenging the initiative on constitutional grounds, and a new parent group, called Protect Our Public Schools, has also formed to support any legal action.
As approved by the voters, Initiative 1240 will allow up to 40 charter schools to open in Washington in the next five years. Charter schools, which exist in most other states, are privately run but publicly funded schools that do not have to follow most of the rules and regulations that govern other public schools.
About this blog
Trending with readers