Two Superintendents receive top salaries, and complain about money

December 6, 2013

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, while the rest of us were giving thanks, two Tacoma-area two school superintendents, Patti Banks of University Place and Frank Hewins of the Franklin Pierce School Districts, were complaining that taxpayers were not giving them enough money.  Their editorial complains they can't adequately educate the children entrusted to them because Tacoma-area families don't pay enough in taxes, compared to people in Seattle, which they say give school officials more money. 

Given the holiday, a little gratitude to their hard-working neighbors would have been more gracious. Superintendent Banks receives $201,000 in salary, and Superintendent Hewins receives $216,000 in salary, generous paychecks by any measure.  In 2013-14, their budgets received an added $2.1 million for University Place and $4.2 million for Franklin Pierce from the state's Local Effort Assistance fund (see page GF4 of the F-195 budget reports at these links). 

This year the legislature voted the single largest increase in money for the schools in state history.  The people of our state are giving schools $15.2 billion to educate a little under a million children, a boost of $1.6 billion over the last budget. Superintendents Banks, Hewins and all other school officials are receiving a budget average of $11,300 per student, more than most private tuition and the largest amount in state history. 

Ms. Banks and Mr. Hewins seem like the pushy uncle who grabs the biggest helping of turkey and then says he didn't get enough stuffing. 

As a result of the generosity and hard work of the people of Washington, all school districts, including University Place and Franklin Pierce, will be receiving an additional amount of almost $1,000 per student from the state.  University Place will have a total of about $10,500 per student to spend, and Franklin Pierce will have a total of about $11,600 per student to spend, but their administrators want more.  It's more appropriate, in this season of thanksgiving, to express thanks to lawmakers of both parties, especially House Education Chair Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle) and Senate Education Chair Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island), for increasing funding for schools.  

Parents and working families deserve an accurate picture of the resources they are giving well-paid administrators to educate children.  And on the Thanksgiving Day weekend, they deserve a little gratitude, too.   



mainstream media leaves out too many facts about school funding

Nice blog, hope it goes well for all of you :-)

Liv, can you find any newspaper reports about public school funding that include facts like you presented in this article about Tacoma's schools? Usually they just cite statistics about state ranking of money spent on schools, teacher salaries, etc. I suspect the high superintendent salaries are the mark of a good lobbyist who can get more money for their district, and of course they would get a "share." Maybe you could find proof that they spend time in Olympia testifying during session.

Another source of this demand for more money would be national conventions of public school administrators, can we get proof these two superintendents attended something like that?

I should think anyone paying for private education for their children would find the $11,000 better spent if left in their pockets, and you won't find the test score differences between private and public schools covered in the mainstream media either.

School Data and Funding Information - FACTS - Hard to Find!

UP Voters is a PDC registered voter commission taking steps to make this information available to voters within the University Place.

We are newly formed and just getting started. Visit us at

We support our schools. We have historic overwhelming voter support of local levy propositions. (67+%). These levy amounts keep climbing and yet they are presented to the voters as 'renewals' with no mention of the increased levy amount or increased tax burden.

Patti Banks, one of the administrators referenced in this article, quotes the TNT's real estate section of the newspaper as a reliable resource to demonstrate the excellent performance of the University Place School District. Clearly not a reliable source, but rather real estate promotional propaganda, in her official address to the school district (us).

The first two lines of her appeal include 2 hideous typos and grammatical errors. @$200,000+ salary (tax dollars) in her position are inexcusable.

She also sites an Independent Washington State Research group without naming them and I am unable to find that resource. I have found many more and they contradict 'her' findings.

We are dedicated to report resources, links and actual numbers to help our voters vote responsibly. The financial stability of our community depends on it. We cannot continue our upward trending of monetary support and maintain a healthy local economy. It's unreasonable.