Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Adequate funding for Washington schools
Walk the talk, editors
The Seattle Times needs to walk its talk. Calls for better funding for schools [“Lawmakers put on notice,” Opinion, Dec. 22] and for DSHS to hire enough workers to fulfill its mission of protecting the vulnerable [“DSHS must protect vulnerable from abuse,” Opinion, Dec. 21] are great. But that is only half the battle.
“Government” does not pay for these programs out of thin air. Legislators do not come equipped with personal billions to do these jobs. The people of Washington need to make the choice to fund these important public programs. The era of Ronald Reagan’s something-for-nothing government is coming to a close.
That means more in taxes. It is time for the editorial board to produce more than all these “I want, I want” editorials. Get to how we might raise the actual funds to pay for these programs. Walk the talk, editors.
Endorsing outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire’s remarkably realistic recent budget proposal would be a great starting place. Reality. Arithmetic. Walk your talk.
Isabel D’Ambrosia, Seattle
Where’s the money?
In its editorial on the “court ordered mandate to fully fund a 21st century public education system,” The Times lists four components of the vision in the 2009 education-reform law (early-learning programs, all-day kindergarten, smaller classes and school transportation”). At the same time, it describes the task for the Legislature as “how to spend the money it now has and grow the state’s investment in education, from early learning to higher education.” It is difficult to see how this can be done without additional revenue.
All of the cited components will cost additional money. Certainly oversight and monitoring of how money is spent is necessary, but oversight and monitoring cost money too.
An example is the $3 billion to set up a system to oversee 40 charter schools ($75,000 per school). How can the Legislature find the money to satisfy the court’s requirements without cutting or eliminating other programs, or finding new revenue? Which of the other government services that voters expect, or that our humanity demands, should be cut or eliminated? It is for good reason that the state’s Joint Task Force on Education Funding focuses on revenue.
Mary Wallon, Seattle
After a 30-year career in the mortgage world, I have worked as a special-education assistant in the Seattle Public Schools for the past several years. Aside from the salary, it might be the best job I’ve ever had.
Your editorial [“Gregoire budget hints at tough session ahead,” Opinion, Dec. 23] says that state workers “should not be shielded from the sacrifices” of those in the private sector when it comes to benefits such as pensions, co-pays and premiums.
My monthly premium for school-sponsored health insurance three years ago was $230. I didn’t qualify for benefits the next year. Last year my monthly premium was $362. This year I’m paying $444. This represents an average increase of 25 percent each year.
Lance Richmond, Seattle