Opinion

Everything Bremerton: The corruption of education legislation

Cuts in public funding and public services to nearly every agency in the state of Washington are inevitable. The current levels of spending are not reasonable or sustainable. Education has and will continue to experience major funding shortfalls while at the same time student performance levels are mandated to improve.

 

During this past election season, many promises and statements were made by those who now hold elected positions for Kitsap about the issue of education. I spoke personally to many of these individuals. I attended many candidate forums. I watched rebroadcasts of candidate events and forums on TV and YouTube. When candidates said that education would be a priority, I thought they actually meant that education would be a priority. I was very wrong. Needless to say I am extremely disappointed by what is, or in some cases, what is not happening in Olympia. I am referring to the same people who spoke at length to their constituency that, if elected, this time would be different.

First off, the outright theft of federal funds via the EduJobs bill by our elected leadership is disgusting. Edujobs is federal money that was to be given to states for the specific purpose of avoiding layoffs and keeping existing teachers in the classrooms for the upcoming school year.

In late 2010 the state Legislature, at the request of Gov. Chris Gregoire, decided to give the federal money to school districts only to then turn around and deduct that same amount of money from the state monthly apportionment funds. Basically, the state made the entire process a complex shell game of money laundering that used federal money to pay state educational obligations so that state money could be kept and diverted to other special interest programs.

On top of everything else we have elected leaders like state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12 Education, who refused to allow hearings on a measure that would finally authorize districts to staff teachers based on ability and performance instead of seniority. The refusal to move this bill forward for a vote despite some of the biggest numbers ever of non-union groups providing direct testimony in support of the bill borders on negligence and political cowardice.

There is still a chance that the measures could move forward if enough pressure is applied. No bill is truly dead until the Legislature adjourns April 23.

Kitsap legislators, consider this my personal pressure being applied to you to do whatever it takes to move these bills forward in this session. Reform education, stop stealing from it.

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