In Wes Morrow's November 30 article in the Independent, South Kitsap School Board President Kathryn Simpson states, “I think that many voters across the state, and not just in Kitsap County, have a misperception that public education is failing in Washington State.” I have to disagree with Ms. Simpson on the ideology of “misperception.” There is a very huge situation of “education voter ignorance” illustrated by the fact that voters keep giving schools money over and over again for the same things with no changes taking place. Voters are not aware that they pay 88 percent of each teacher's retirement, medical, and life insurance premiums (several different systems), that teacher benefit packages as of November last year nationwide (documented) is on average five times higher than anyone working in the private sector, their yearly salary (180 days) is $30,000 to $50,000 over the highest salary level the state appropriates, that every teacher has a new TRI contract every year that adds huge amounts of unappropriated salary on top of their already existing salary, they only teach students four hours a day (the highest most fair number I can give) out of a 7.5 hour day (the school day is down to 7 hours before they see a student and goes down hill from there). Parents also don’t know that this state's K-12 education system is tuition free and they should not be paying $3,500 per student for all-day kindergarten at SK schools. These are just a few of the things that constitute education in this state. These things cost the taxpayers of this state billions of dollars every year and have nothing to do with the billions of dollars in alleged short funding of “basic education.” Voters are likewise ignorant of the fact they are paying these bloated benefit packages for every worker in close to 50 state unions. One part of this group calling themselves a union is the Washington Education Association (WEA). The WEA is NOT recognized by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office as a union. They have local groups like the South Kitsap Education Association (SKEA), Central Kitsap Education Association (CKEA), North Kitsap Education Association (NKEA) calling themselves unions when they are NOT. These imaginary unions as partners in the group of 50 are the major problem in this state with their unsustainable wage and pension demands alone. Mary Lindquist of the WEA and Judy Arbogast of the SKEA are adamant and deathly against anything that has a ring of “school reform” including “charter schools” that will enlighten the mentally challenged taxpayers that fund their “cash cows.” I sympathize with Ms. Simpson about loosing students to a charter school because the district will loose funds, however, Ms. Simpson your district has been losing right at 2 percent student count a year for the last 12 plus years. Yes, charter schools will more than likely be appropriated the same $12,000 per student (round up by $200) that you now collect from the fed via OSPI. Is there some belief that if you loose students you retain the same amount of funding or you are somehow entitled to increased funding? I have to side with and support Ms. Simpson’s opening quote by saying the voters are mis-lead as to how incredibly well education employees are taken care of financially and benefit wise during their working life and after their working life. That part of the public education system, any way you take it apart or look at it, cannot be called a failure. The product is the failure on so many levels and here the parents are totally brain dead about what your district and all other districts are teaching students and what they are not teaching students.
Larry L. Mann