Guest Rant Jun 27, 2024 at 9:00 am

Washington Voters Must Elect Judges Willing to Allow the Legislature to Amply Fund Education

The Temple of Justice must do the people's work. POWEROFFOREVER / GETTY



A question and a point of clarification for Austin. Can you provide any example of how the massive revenue infusion from McClearly provided any uplift in educational outcomes? Pumping more money into schools that are not focused on educational quality is not going to change anything except providing a salary bump for teachers.

The supreme court did the right thing. If an income tax is so overwhelmingly popular the legislature can pass one at any time by creating a constitutional amendment and putting it to the people for a vote. The supremes have shut the back door so now the legislature will have to do things the right way.


“I became a father on April 25, 2024; a week later, Seattle Public Schools announced that the elementary school I’d hoped to walk my kid to may close, along with nineteen others.”

For fucks sake, the kid’s only two months old and the ranter’s fretting over potentially losing the privilege of having a school within walking distance… then complaining that WA’s Supreme Court isn’t progressive enough.

Someone needs a reality check.


Great run down of the role of the Washington Supreme court and legislature in delivering among the most unfair taxation scheme in the nation. Thank you.

@1 are you claiming that providing more competitive salaries for teachers will not improve the output and quality of teachers, thus education? Current median King county teacher salary just barely cover expenses for one person without kids.


@2 Are you saying that each time (everyday, perhaps several times day) you pay sales taxes and nickel and dime fees, it isn't a "reality check"? You do have an odd definition of reality.


@3 I'm not making any such claim. It doesn't seem we have an issue attracting and keeping teachers. The issue is attracting and keeping students. How is paying teachers more money (which is essentially what will happen if we pour revenue into the current system) going to fix the student retention problem? I have no issues with teachers making more money but I don't think that is the issue here.


@5 your comment referred to "educational outcome" and "educational quality", not to attracting student and retention. Educational outcome is likely highly correlated to teacher salary. Attracting and retaining students should follow from education quality but I am not sure what issue you are specifically referring to.


@6 The reason SPS is in this predicament is because they have lost and continue to lose students every year. Let's say you and the OP get your wish and the legislature lowers the bar for the capital gains tax to crank up revenue. How will that stem the tide of student losses when the only thing it will do is keep the status quo?


@4 - the primary “reality check” is the author’s unrealistic expectation of having an elementary school within walking distance of their home. A multitude of factors including population density, demographics, and cost mean only a relative handful of households will ever be that close to their local schools; and even if you go out of your way to live that close to your local school (which implies a certain level of privilege), it’s not realistic to assume nothing will change between the birth of their child two weeks ago and the time that same child is finally school-aged.

The other reality check is on the authors expectations for the state Supreme Court to proactively address issues beyond the core context of a case under consideration vis-a-vis a progressive income tax and some x-degrees of separation later their toddler being able to go to their preferred local school.


@7 Why are you assuming that funding needed programs will keep the status quo instead of reversing it? If public school get the funds they actually need to provide quality education, they are in a much better place to do so than if their funding remains inadequate. Retaining students will follow.


@7 which programs are they going to fund that will increase student retention?


Sorry that last one was for @9 obviously


All good points above ^^^ but dang are we letting this school board and district staff off the hook for this super lackluster, trolling performance of leadership? They’ve been threatening closures for over a year now, asked and received input, done so many analyses, families are tired of being strung along on this will they or won’t they close the school they’ve built their life around.

I find this series on pointing blame fingers - the legislature! the courts! - everywhere but the school board very concerning.


@12: "I find this series on pointing blame fingers - the legislature! the courts! - everywhere but the school board very concerning."

Concerning, sure, but utterly predictable. As has been noted elsewhere in the comment threads on this topic, every one of the current Seattle Public School Board members had once received an endorsement from the Stranger. As the Stranger's interminably servile obediences to O'Brien, Sawant, Herbold, Gonzalez, Mosqueda, Morales, wanna-be NTK, and never-be Oliver shows, admitting error and moving on are the diametrical opposite of the modern Stranger's core competencies. There is no way this Stranger will ever admit to making political errors of any kind, let alone of the magnitude that have dumped SPS into the current abyss.

I have nothing but the deepest sympathy for you. I spent my childless decades voting for every Seattle school levy, researching even the most long-shot candidates for the School Board, in every election -- and then I left Seattle, in part to obtain a better education for my child. I cannot even imagine enduring what you survive. I hope that, somehow, matters improve for you and your family.


Parents and students are fleeing the failing Seattle Public School system.

Private schools are overwhelmed by demand.


Just the usual note pointing out that The Stranger accused the candidates who warned about school closures of "fear-mongering" while endorsing a slate that is now closing schools. The Stranger has said nothing about these board members and publishes this "hey, don't look here, look there!!!" collective of guest rants. Meanwhile the Hannah performance art collective whines not being able to be hard-hitting on a Councilmember the collective doesn't like.

You're gonna race that car over the cliff of irrelevance no matter what, eh?


@10 Take you pick. Public school budgets show that all programs, from basic to special education, have been underfunded.


@12 only the legislature and the courts have the means to provide adequate funding without which no good solution is available:
Designed to Fail: The Legislature’s McCleary solution has collapsed


The Stranger has a track record of offering astonishingly stupid takes about WA-6. They previously wrote an article advocating that people vote for Derek Kilmer's primary opponent back in 2020. She wound up getting 13% of the vote in the primary. Kilmer then proceeded to stomp his GOP opponent in the general 59-31. Kilmer was an absolutely dominant candidate in every race he ever ran and a reliable Democratic vote, so naturally The Stranger wanted him to lose his seat.

You can read it here:

Obviously Medicare for All was the shiny object in front of The Stranger back then. Now it's Gaza. In 2 years it'll be something else.

What The Stranger knows about any aspect of Washington politics occurring more than 5 miles away from the corner of Pike and Broadway could be printed in 100 foot high letters on the head of a pin. If Emily Randall wants to win, the best possible thing she could do is disregard any and all advice given to her by The Stranger.


FFS, wrong thread.


@3: Competitive salaries for teachers is one thing. Ever-increasing salaries for (and numbers of) administrative and other non-teaching positions is another. Unfortunately, the easiest way to combat this bloat is to consolidate and reduce the non-teacher to teacher ratio. The more you water down the districts employee pool with overhead positions, the less money you have to pay the teaching staff.

But it's all for naught if families with children have to move out of the district because the cost of living there is too high. Fewer kids means less teachers, no matter how highly paid.


@20 Competent administrators and non-teaching positions are also essential to well functioning schools don't you think? The legislature funded 0.1, 0.2, and 0.4 nurses per elementary school between 2022 and 2024 for example so it's going to be hard to find meaningful bloat in non-teaching positions.

Fewer kids mean fewer teachers but the money allocated per student by the legislature has to increase in order to cover basic expenses and provide a quality education. Many school districts are facing cuts. Washington state is currently in the middle of the pack in term of money allocated so there is room to increase funding.


@21: If you mandate 0.4 nurses per school (or any other fixed staffing/cost per school) it stands to reason that the cost per student of this fixed overhead goes down as the school size goes up. Without increasing the funding per student. Hence the push to consolidate.

On the other hand, as student numbers decrease across the city, people are going to expect overall funding numbers to go down. Particularly if those people don't have kids in the system. Expecting the number of schools to remain the same just isn't a reasonable position politically. Besides, that one last kid in an otherwise empty building is going to be pretty lonely.

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