Blaine School Superintendent gets budget increase (to nearly $15,000 per student) and announces plan to lay off teachers
Jun 14, 2019

On Tuesday, Blaine School District Superintendent Ron Spanjer (annual salary and benefits $221,000) announced he plans to lay off teachers.  Like all districts in Washington, Blaine has received large funding increases from state taxpayers over the last six years.  Last fall Superintendent Spanjer gave out pay raises he couldn't afford, putting his budget into deficit.  Now he wants to lay off teachers.

The Blaine School District, with five schools, employs 269 people. Of these, only 128, less than half, are teachers. Since 2014 the district’s budget has ballooned from $22.3 million to $33.2 million, a nearly 50% increase.  Blaine school spending rose from $11,000 per student in 2014 to almost $15,000 today, more than most private schools get.

Superintendent Spanjer’s troubles are part of a bigger picture. Last fall strikes by the powerful WEA union closed schools in thirteen districts, and union officials threatened the education of children in a dozen other districts.

To appease union power, many superintendents gave out unaffordable double-digit pay raises, which of course increased union profits from monthly dues.

This was part of the WEA union’s larger strategy to raise taxes and increase its own budget. After the legislature increased state property taxes for schools in 2017, the union in 2019 pushed for an increase in local property taxes too – and got it.  Governor Inslee and the legislature repealed the $1.50-per-thousand tax limit, breaking their no-more-local-taxes promise and opening the door to big increases in 2020.

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Refuse to cooperate with state audit, lose taxing authority
Jun 14, 2019

When we pay taxes, we usually focus our attention on the federal or state government. The reach of the taxman, however, is vast extending all the way down to special taxing districts. In fact, there are more than 1,800 taxing districts in the state of Washington. While most generally work to comply with the transparency and accountability requirements in state law that Washingtonians demand, a few are defiantly refusing to be held accountable. The problem is now so pronounced, the State Auditor has created a separate reporting tool to bring attention to the rogue taxing districts: “Unauditable Government.”

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Cyberbullies seek to silence WPC
Jun 13, 2019

When children insult and degrade their fellow pupils online with a goal of shaming, isolating and silencing them, sane adults react with unified horror.  Parents, teachers, and school administrators have agreed to policies to prevent this cruelty and correct those who would engage in cyberbullying. 

Unfortunately, while cyberbullying by children is actively discouraged, cyberbullying by adults – especially in politics and policy debates – can be actively rewarded with social media attention.  It’s the scourge of the internet age. 

Today’s example: the organized labor backed “Northwest Accountability Project” (NWAP).

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