Two Superintendents receive top salaries, and complain about money
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.