Next Tuesday, February 6, the Seattle School District is coming at ya, hat in hand, wanting $736 million of your hard-earned money. In one case, do the right thing and hand over the cash. In the other, you tell them, "Later, 'gater."
Proposition One would put $398 million into gutting old buildings and fixing them up. After years of combat with citizens, the district has grudgingly, painfully acknowledged that pretty old buildings should not be knocked down. We have no argument with the central part of the levy that would renovate three high schools—Roosevelt, Garfield, and Cleveland. Other portions of the levy give us serious pause. The last time we gave the district tons of dough to spruce up buildings, it added lots of new space north of the Ship Canal. As a result the North End has 2,500 more seats than students. Now the district says it's time to add capacity and fix up schools in the south and southeast. While we don't begrudge the South End, which usually gets the fuzzy end of the infrastructure lollipop—decent schools, district leaders haven't made the case that they have thought long and hard about their central space conundrum: too many seats where there are too few kids to fill them. Vote No on Prop. 1.
Proposition Two is easy. The state is stingy with education dollars. Today's students need all-day kindergarten, six periods in high school, smaller class sizes, and art, music, and drama programs after school. The only way for Seattle's students to get these "extras," which make up 22 percent of the schools' budget, is for us to fork over the $338 million. Vote Yes on Prop. 2.