At a press conference this morning, Mayor Mike McGinn reiterated his commitment to throwing staff members, financial planners, unwanted advice—whatever it takes—at the Seattle Public School district in order to "break the cycle" of school district mismanagement, after recent district mismanagement resulted in $1.8 million in fraud. The school board has made it clear they don't want the mayor meddling with the district's finances. But: "It’s just too important," said McGinn. "They can’t say, 'Hey, we’ve got this ourselves don’t worry about it.' It erodes public confidence. This is a cycle, we need to figure out how to break that cycle."
A lack of public confidence in the school system isn't something the mayor can afford just now. At stake could be McGinn's proposed Family and Education levy, a $231 million measure slated for the November ballot that would provide supportive services for Seattle public school kids—everything from after school tutoring services and health screenings to services for immigrant and refugee families.
The levy funds wouldn't be managed by the school district, but voters might not make that distinction. "It would be terrible if we couldn't pass that," said McGinn, and so: "We’re fully committed to getting in there and we're making sure the school district is committed to doing that as well."
At this morning's meeting, McGinn also revealed that his wife cut a check for the anti-tunnel group Protect Seattle Now, which is running a referendum to put the tunnel contracts on the ballot.
"If you want to see what my wife is pissed off about, that tunnel pisses her off,” McGinn said, while declining to state just how much the check was for. McGinn said that if voters rejected the referendum, he'd stop opposing the tunnel. "That puts me in contrast to our city council," said McGinn, reiterating the council's opposition to a public vote. "I don’t think council member Conlin really gets this issue... I think the council thinks they’re smarter than the public on this thing."