Opinion

Prop. 1, Seattle Schools Supplemental Levy: PubliCola Picks "Yes"

By PublicolaPicks October 19, 2010



Back in September, the Seattle teachers' union and Seattle Public Schools reached an unprecedented agreement: Teachers would agree to new evaluation standards (essentially, linking teacher evaluations to student performance, as measured by tests and other factors). In exchange, the teachers would get additional training, staff planning time, and instructional materials to help them meet the new evaluation standards. Teachers would also receive one-percent salary increases in  2011 and 2012, and high-performing teachers would get promotions and merit pay. With the agreement, Seattle became one of the first urban school districts in the nation to start the process of linking teacher evaluations to student performance.

This year's school levy pays to implement those reforms. Of the $48 million it would provide over the next three years (at an average cost to homeowners of $48 a year), $19 million would fund pay increases, merit pay, and teacher training; $23.5 million would reduce the severity of funding cuts to basic education (since 2009, state funding cuts have forced the district to slash $32 million from its now- $505 million budget); and $5.0 million would pay for textbooks and classroom materials.

PubliCola believes that we should expect better from our public schools. By signing a contract that promises improvements, Seattle teachers have agreed to do just that. Now it's voters' turn to keep up their end of the bargain.

All our other endorsements to date (including our early-round of 32 No Brainers) is here.
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