Monday, May 12, 2008

How to Pass a School Levy in Six Easy Steps!

1) Always postpone bad news until after an election.

Bad press is not a way to win voters and influence people. In 2003, a case for fraud by former bookkeeper Vicki Lewin was not pursued until after the levy that year lest the taxpayers catch on that the chicken coop had been breached by a fox living right underneath the farmer’s nose.

2) Use scare tactics and make things sound worse than they really are.

The condition of Lynnwood High School was characterized to be so dilapidated and such a "safety" hazard that a family fought and won, the right to send their daughter to another high school. The reality was that when the school was evaluated in 2002 for the state Renovation Grant, the school did not qualify for funding to fix its highest priority; concrete falling from its second floor walkways.

3) Play with the numbers.

Make budget shortfalls sound huge, then "revisit" the budget and "find" money to make it look like the District is working hard to make reductions.

4) Play to the heartstrings.

How many people have heard the cry, "its for the kids!" That line has been used far too often. If administration was actually concerned about the well-being of students they would start spending money responsibly.

5) Blame others.

The state legislature is taking the heat for the current budget shortfall. However, most of the shortfall is a result of an absolute disregard for internal planning and enrollment forecasting. Administration uses opportunities like these to target undesirable elements of staff. All those pesky educational assistants and librarians that work for some reason other than money.

6) Make parents feel the pinch.

Nothing motivates a throng of supporters better than when parents feel their services are being reduced. Make parents drive their children around from program to program or to their school of choice. Shift some financial burden to the end user. Soon the parents will be happy to pay a taxpayer's dollar for a shiny new quarter.

Editorial: Thank you to another anonymous contributor.

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