Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Detached from the real world and the value of money.

Article in the Herald

Dear Editor,

While it is terribly unfortunate that our local schools are suffering as a result of declining enrollment and increased operational costs, I find it difficult to remain sympathetic.

The Edmonds School District, for instance, has been actively tracking student generation rates since 2002 and their own Capital Facilities Plan has been clearly demonstrating a downward trend in enrollment. It troubles me that conclusions drawn by their own staff are not incorporated into their planning processes.

What is equally perplexing is that everyone in our community must make concessions in their personal finances to keep up with the increasing costs of utilities, fuel and basic commodities. How would any agency, solely dependent upon public assistance, not manage their finances under the same basic principles?

It is a tragedy that school administrators are now left with the daunting task of hand-picking programs to eliminate. During such times, it is critically important that we have the right people working on budget reductions. In the Edmonds School District, for instance, they just paid $2,300,000 more for a piece of contaminated property than it was actually worth. Such an obvious detachment from the real world and the value of money cannot be helpful during a budget crisis.

This is the same school district that pays people to sit at home, funnels money to piano-selling friends and violates every conceivable board policy that is intended to prevent public funds from being wasted.

Mark Zandberg


Anonymous said...

Nobody expects Eric Stevick to do any real journalism, right? He will only sympathize with poor Marla, and ignore all the horseship that has been going on for the last 4 or 5 years. Believe me, he is well aware of some of the districts crap, but he is too scared that Marla won't fund his retirement any further if he does any true work. This area just sucks. Too many Buddies. Speaking of Buddies, our favorite Buddie in Inhumane Resources made a special appearance today. No rhyme or reason, but nothing either of them do makes a damn bit of sense anyway. Chuck was a busy little beaver in the districts vehicle again today. Probably out celebrating his wifes special appearance. How about renting a car? Why not just buy a nice economical vehicle for the work commute? Oh thats right, then you would have to pay for your own gas. That would be wrong, huh? Counting days!

Anonymous said...

You asked once, "Who is on the Budget Advisory Committee?" Here are a few of it's members: (pardon the spelling of some names)David Golden (prin. of Lynn HS); the new Homeschool principal; Scott Barnes, David Quinn (teacher at EW); Katie Wysaki; Debbie Carter (head of HR); new principal of EW--couldn't even begin to spell her name.

Anonymous said...

Dear Eric Stevick,

ESD15.org said...

It is clear that as a society we pity schools and their frequently wayward administrators. Our pity is turned on like a tap by poorly-written drivel from "reporters" that no longer scratch beneath the intentionally-selected color of paint that covers the less-than-palatable truth.

Anonymous said...

Eric, you need to report all or none. Your garbage makes satellite radio a bargain. I'll cover my position, yours, and the first manager gone in ESD #15. LAZY BOY!

Anonymous said...

Eric, can you say "Garbage reporting" If you were true to yourself and us, you would have reported the truth on the Edmonds School District. Millons wasted by Marla Miller & Nicky.

Anonymous said...

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2008

Edmonds levy would buy schools laptops

By Kaitlin Manry
Herald Writer

LYNNWOOD -- Laptops, carpet and mobile computer labs in south Snohomish County schools are on the line in the May 20 election.

Voters in the Edmonds School District will decide the fate of a technology and capital facilities levy that would replace a levy that expires this year.

The proposed $31.5 million levy is expected to cost residents 28 cents per $1,000 of their property's assessed value. The owner of a $400,000 home would pay $112 each year.

The expiring $44 million levy cost voters 52 cents per $1,000 of the assessed value of their property.

The new levy would help replace outdated computers and buy laptops for classroom use, said Cynthia Nelson, director of technology for the Edmonds School District. The state usually doesn't pay for computers, so most districts buy their computers with levies or grants, she said.

Every school in the district has at least one mobile cart of laptop computers that is wheeled into classrooms so students can use computers in their room instead of having to work in a computer lab. Additionally, around 30 percent of the classrooms in the district have a set of seven laptops for classroom use.

Most of the computers were bought in 2004, with funds from the previous technology levy. Nelson said many are having issues and need to be replaced.

"We've done a lot of work to pretty much bring the Edmonds School District into the 21st century -- and renewing this levy will allow us to continue that good work at an even lower tax rate than we're currently running," she said. "It is pretty amazing if you talk to a lot of teachers, they're not real sure how they could go back to the old way of doing things."

The levy would also pay for security system improvements, roofing upgrades and changes to make schools more energy efficient.

There is no organized opposition to the levy, but a few people have criticized it online and in letters to newspapers.

Although he thinks technology is important, Edmonds resident Mark Zandberg plans to vote against the levy because he doesn't like the district's management style.

"I think the levy is a fantastic thing," said Zandberg, a former planning and property management specialist for the district. "This community needs that levy to pass. However, the manner in which the district manages those funds, I can't tolerate at all. I'd rather take a hit in the short term."

Tracy Greene disagrees.

A mother of three, she volunteers at Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood and says the need for the levy is obvious to anyone who spends time in the classroom.

The district is a good steward of resources, said Greene, president of Citizens for Schools, a group that advocates for school levy and bond issues in Edmonds. "The money that goes into the district is spent well. It's spent wisely and it's spent to better the education of children."

The Snohomish County Auditor's Office sent out 76,421 ballots in the vote-by-mail election. So far, 6,048 have been returned.

All ballots must be postmarked by May 20.

Reporter Kaitlin Manry: 425-339-3292 or kmanry@heraldnet.com.