November 11, 2007
4204 Might Pass

Sunday evening UPDATE: King County reported this afternoon as scheduled and seriously shifted the margins. Just as in the Snohomish County trending noted below, 4204 is gaining ground as later ballots are being counted in King County as well. Note further, and as also discussed below in the original post, the Secretary of State's website does not yet appear to reflect Snohomish County's most recent tally (yesterday afternoon), which will reduce the current margin of about 2,600 votes for the "rejected" side to a little over a 1,000. If King County's estimate of 58,000 ballots left to count holds 4204 will likely pass by a very modest though numerically significant margin.


Today's Seattle Times covers the news of HJR 4204 (the simple majority on school levies) inching closer toward a winning margin. I noticed the tightening as well while tracking ballot counting in King & Snohomish County the last couple days.

Darryl over at Horse's Ass does a quick backhand calculation based on remaining ballots left to count, speculating based on current trends it's at the very least going to be close. One variable in the calculation, which isn't Darryl's fault, is that the Secretary of State's turnout webpage and county-by-county results doesn't yet include the roughly 24,000 ballots Snohomish County counted yesterday, which will shrink the reported margin against by almost 1,600 votes (as well as reduce the total estimate of ballots remaining to be counted).

So, the race is closing and the Snohomish County results themselves reveal in microcosm why the measure's results are changing from first reports. The intial count of ballots on Tuesday evening showed 4204 failing in Snohomish county by a margin of 48.98% to 51.02%. As of yesterday afternoon's tally, the measure is now ahead in the county 51.25% to 48.75% - meaning the measure has been passing 53.48% to 46.52% in the later ballots.

It appears voters were breaking toward the measure as Election Day approached. As of this typing statewide results show 4204 trailing 49.6% to 50.4%, by about an 11,000-vote margin. The lead will shrink as the most updated Snohomish County results are actually included and as other counties report, including King later this afternoon. The only question is how much.

UPDATE: link to Snohomish County results added.

UPDATE II: Format of evening update changed.

Posted by Eric Earling at November 11, 2007 02:35 PM | Email This
1. These remaining ballots are out of 2 counties that had questionable results in 2004. Why should we be surprised?

Posted by: Susu on November 11, 2007 03:34 PM
2. That didn't take long.

Posted by: BA on November 11, 2007 03:47 PM
3. If you take the county by county trends from the Sec of States Office add the totaled votes to the votes remaining to be counted 4204 loses by about 3,200 votes. Now that I have given King County a Target, I can assume the measure will win by 133 votes... on the third recount.

Posted by: Huh? on November 11, 2007 03:48 PM
4. They're kicking into high gear at KCE, no doubt....waiting to see how many ballots they have to "find"....and how many Fatal Pends they have to pull out of the pile...

Posted by: Michele on November 11, 2007 04:01 PM
5. Hey, as long as it's for a good cause.

Posted by: Ryan on November 11, 2007 04:04 PM
6. Darryl also said that "Republican heads would spontaneously explode..."

Seems those "heads" are already whistling...

Posted by: BA on November 11, 2007 04:06 PM
7. I know BA, it doesn't bother you one way or another if levies are a simple majority and 4204 waves the validation requirments does it? Given that, shouldn't Bonds be at the same level too? Darryl is an idiot and he proves it on a daily basis this is not a D issue or an R issue, it is a MONEY issue. Personal financial impacts pure and simple and if the Governor thinks 4204 passing is going to help her get re-elected in '08 she is dreaming.

Posted by: Huh? on November 11, 2007 04:27 PM
8. The saddest part about this is the counties that are most against 4204 are the ones that get hurt most by it failing.

King County, which has many fewer passing issues, is all for it...but many of the counties that vote down school funding consistently are against the majority vote here.

So, in somewhat complete irony, the voters across the state would be helped signficiantly by the votes in King County -- much moreso than King County voters would be helping themselves.

Posted by: Bill Anderson on November 11, 2007 04:34 PM

Posted by: Raphael on November 11, 2007 04:34 PM
10. Amazing. Seattle votes out their incumbant school board members for mismanagement and inefficiency, yet at the same time they're voting overwhelmingly to give school boards more power to waste taxpayer money. Do these people ever think??? ARGH!

Posted by: Darth Dogbert on November 11, 2007 04:52 PM
11. Raphael: it's because they're bad parents.

Posted by: blathering michael on November 11, 2007 04:53 PM

Posted by: Huh? on November 11, 2007 04:55 PM
13. Raphael -- you don't see the Huh?'s of the world saying 60% or more are needed for jail financing, stadium financing, or anything else. If they really believe what Huh? says, they'd have Eyman write those up every time.

No, it's really that they don't like financing public schools and they believe a No vote on paying for schools should be worth a LOT MORE than a YES vote. Forget fairness, forget equality. It's just about getting back at public schools for various reasons they have...

Posted by: Bill Anderson on November 11, 2007 04:59 PM
14. "Huh?" - I voted to keep the supermajority for school levies.

I like taxes that are applied to a particular class of citizens to have a higher bar as opposed to those taxes that are more broadly applied.

I also think that schools are ultimately better served when their financial support is more than 50% +1.

Now, when a levy passes it represent a strong majority...actually something called a "landslide" when it applies to presidential elections...

Posted by: BA on November 11, 2007 05:09 PM
15. Well Bill good to know you were behind the Stadium Financing scheme from the State too, that explains alot about your perspective. Now back to Education, why isn't the State providing uniform per pupil funding in an adequate amount to ensure basic education delivery to all students K-12? Why are levies necessary for BASIC education at all? Sports programs, extracurricular activities should be financed via levies, not classroom instruction for core subjects like science and math. The State has fallen down on its "Paramount Duty" as described in the State Constitution to provide adequate funding for K-12, 4204 is a band-aid for failed policies of the State. By making it easier for levies to be passed, they are forcing property owners to pay more in taxes rather than make the hard decisions of budgeting and spending on what is most important first...Education.

Another example of "Basics" that should be priorities of the General fund is the MEDIC 1 service. Why is this considered "discretionary" by King County? Life, Health and Safety (Police and Fire) should be the FIRST Items funded. Yet we are told if we do not fund the Levies for Medic 1 the County is prepared to take the services away.

Perhaps it is time we had new people prioritzing our budgets in the State and King County.

Posted by: Huh? on November 11, 2007 05:32 PM
16. Huh is right---the Medic 1 service is essential, in my opinion. It should not have to appear on a ballot every so often. Put it directly into the budget and cut unnecessary stuff from the budget to make the room. It is an insult that Medic 1 is put up for a vote. It should just be in the budget, period.

Posted by: Misty on November 11, 2007 05:58 PM
Ron Sims post-Election Checklist:

1. Go to Staples.
2. Pick up HP Deskjet 2330
3. Get some #3 weight paper
4. Scan in ballot
5. Print up "adjustment votes"
6. Drop ballots in women's restroom at King County Executive Building
7. Send in "operative" who miraculously "finds" missing votes.
8. Whistle down hallway.

Posted by: John Bailo on November 11, 2007 06:19 PM
18. John Bailo is the poster child for failed schools.

Posted by: BA on November 11, 2007 06:20 PM
19. Curiosity.

Article VII, Section 2 of the Constitution applies the 60% rule to other levy's as well, yet I've only ever heard of schools requiring it. Any one know what other types of levies fall under this section?

Schools weren't specifically mentioned until recently and that was to extend the levy life to 4 years and the Maintenance levies to 6 years.

This means that this section applied to more than just schools. 4204 only changes the 60% for schools, it doesn't touch other levies.

Is RTA and RTID a taxing district? As such, would they qualify as taxing districts under VII,2 and need 60% approval? Just curious.

I have heard that over 90% of school levies pass the first time and 98% pass the second time. Doesn't seem to be an issue, unless you feel that ALL tax levies MUST pass EVERY single time.

A lower threshold lowers the bar for the tax increasers. Now all levies will take the form of:

"Give us your money - it's for the children." And that will be the end of the justification.

4204 and levies have become a cop out from our elected officials to shift basic educational funding from the state budget to local budgets. By doing this, the state is able to shift money into other "pet project" social programs that have little value to the state population, but it makes the individual legislators "feel" better.

I want to see higher academic acheivement. I want to see higher graduation rates. I want to see fewer drop outs.

How much money will guarantee those results? We're paying, on average, $11-$12,000 per student today? What will it take Bill Anderson? $20,000? $15,000? How will we know when we get there?

Guv and State Dems - how much will it take to improve educational results in this state? Why haven't your budgets increased educational funding to make EVERY child successful?

How many generations of children have been let down by the educators and the government? A program that takes 10 years to implement means that 10 years of students are guinea pigs in the educational experimentation lab of Washington State.

Why do 3rd-8th graders today have to wait for educational improvements? Where is the sense of urgency? Where is the prioritization?

Olympia! Get off your collective butts and fix this. Loss of levies should remove the "nice to have" items from a school district. They shouldn't remove the "need to have".

Posted by: SouthernRoots on November 11, 2007 06:47 PM
20. Agree, Medic one is critical. So is education. Both should be treated the same.

Truth is state government isn't funding BASIC education as you point out...but that's partially because their hands have been tied by the Eyman's of the world -- so that there isn't the ability to meet the constitutional requirement. The reason local levies pay for basics is the state is capped and they have things like health care to pay for.

It's about the levies inappropriately are necessary to buy papers, books, etc. Except when *ONLY* 58% say they should and then it FAILS. Great model there.

Posted by: Bill Anderson on November 11, 2007 06:49 PM
21. Southern Roots says: "How much money will guarantee those results? We're paying, on average, $11-$12,000 per student today?"

Hmmm...that includes *construction* spending which is 1) hardly related to the argument at hand since books/papers,etc don't come from that money and 2) entirely unrleated to 4204 (as you well know). Construction bonds still will have 60% approval regardless of 4204.

If you really care about the relevant information, I invite you to look at data from the census (of course anticipating how you can't trust the government arguments):

Specifically, look at table 18 in this excel spreadsheet:

You'll see in 2005 Washington state spends $8,941 on school funding per student (not adding in cost of new buildings divided by student like your spurious nubmer does). You'll see Washington is 35th out of the 50 states.

You get what you pay for. And when you want to pay less (as you do), you get less.

Finally, the very good news is 4024 is very close to passing now (2500 votes short with more coming in). Here's hoping voters votes all count equally -- and while this won't make any difference to Seattle, Bellevue, etc where levies pass, perhaps the districts in Eastern Washington that have huge class sizes and are short on books and classes have a chance.

Posted by: Bill Anderson on November 11, 2007 07:07 PM
22. I predicted on this website late Thursday night that 4202 would pass. King County was mysteriously going huge for it in the later numbers and the number remaining to be counted kept going up as they counted more ballots. A repeat of the 2004 Governor's race and 2000 Senate race was evident on Thursday. Where have all you so called politcal experts been? King County stuffs the box for another stolen election. This needs to be stopped. A law must be passed that ALL ballots must be received on election day or they will not be counted. If it's post marked but not received, it should not be counted. This will lower the opportunity for King County to steal elections. Either that or let's allow Canada to annex King County.

Posted by: Sick of High Taxes on November 11, 2007 07:09 PM
23. Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and King County election results.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega on November 11, 2007 07:18 PM
24. Tell us Bill how does the State manage a 33% increase in spending and NOT fully fund basic education? How come the Eyman initiatives not keep that from happening?

Now if the State were to stop gifting public funds to non-citzens for Legal Defense, Housing, Non-Emergency Health Care would they have enough to fully fund Basic Education?

How about if the State negotiated a portion of Gaming Revenues from the Tribes like other states do? They could see an additional 400 to 500 Million a year, would that do it?

How about getting out of the Liqour Business (Eliminate State stores) and allowing Sunday Sales state wide. How many Millions more in revenue would that generate? If taxes on smokes can go for childrens health care, why can't privatized Liquor revenues go for education?

There is plenty of money for the Basics in State and County Government, what is lacking is the will to prioritize. Will they cut non-essential programs...for the Children?

Posted by: Huh? on November 11, 2007 07:45 PM
25. 18:"John Bailo is the poster child for failed schools."

Well, maybe the poster child for Catholic education (k-12), perhaps. I'm not against spending every cent for a kid, I just doubt that unlimited spending will do the trick. Since almost everyone feels that way, it would seem to me that even with a super majority people would find it in their hearts to fund really needed school programs. At the same time it acts as a just limit to the true boondoggles.

You'll see in 2005 Washington state spends $8,941 on school funding per student.

I do the reverse analysis on these numbers as I do the RTID funding. In RTID I take the requested amounts and devide by the number of users -- and then it starts to look like for the billions spent, we could give everyone a voucher to take a cab to work and back every day with 2 other people.

For schools, I look at the $8,941 number and think, ok, so for a class of 20 kids, that's $178, 820. Think of that number as "class room revenue".

Now let's look at expenses. Let's take the teacher and pay her $60,000. That leaves $118,200 left for the 9 month school year. Ok, say they rent some class A office space for $2000 a month (replacing the whole separate school building infrastructure with regular business real estate). I calculate that a class of 20 would need 4000 square feet of commercial property. I would budget $4000 per month for that and maintenanice. That shaves off 9 x $4000 = $36,000 for facilities and leaves $82, 820.

Lunch. You have to feed the little guys don't ya. How about taking them to my favorite all you can eat Indian buffet, India Combo on Kent East Hill. With tips that's about $9 per meal. 20 students x 20 meals a month x $9 per meal x $9 months. $32,400. That leaves $50,000.

That sure is still enough for books, computers, dvds and the lot (and you can pass those on to the next crop each year).

I'd say, let's treat the classroom as a "startup" business that's funded with micro-capital. Take the $178, 820 and make the Teacher the CEO of the startup. Use private facilities as much as possible and have the minimum of bureaucracy eating up the revenue. Use existing knowledge systems instead of creating special "school" systems...and so on.

My calculations say that we're spending more than enough.

Posted by: John Bailo on November 11, 2007 07:48 PM
26. Bill Anderson - Whether the money goes to buildings or "classrooms" is immaterial. It all comes out of the pockets of the taxpayers. Besides, are you saying that the students don't need buildings, or buildings in good repair? I've seen many new schools around the state, supposedly designed to improve the learning environments for the students. Doesn't this count?

The question still stands. How much spending per student will be required to acheive excellence?

The focus should be at the state level, otherwise thousands of students could be "left behind".

How much? How will we know when we get there?

Get off the blame Eyman for everything band wagon. It's intellectually lazy and a cop out.

Eyman is just ONE voter. He had ideas, he sold them to voters to get the issue on the ballot and he convinced voters to approve the measures. You should be pissed off at the hundreds of thousands of voters that approved the Eyan measure.

Better yet, you should be upset with the legislature that they have sat on their butts for the last thirty years and let education receive less and less funding while they pursued other interests.

With the restrictions on tax increases imposed BY THE VOTERS (not Eyman), the legislature should make good legislation, make a good case, and present it to the voters. If they could prove they have their prioritizations right the VOTERS (maybe even Eyman) will approve what is needed.

What is your point about Table 18? It didn't show anything about spending per student. Did you mean Table 8?

Is there a direct coorelation between spending per student and quality of education?

Does this mean that the kids of New York ($14,119) are almost twice as well educated as a Washington kid ($7,560)? How about D.C.?

Where should we be? Is our goal to have the best education in the country? Is our goal to have the highest spending per student in the country?

Do NY or DC have higher or lower graduation rates than us? Are their acheivment scores higher or lower?

You say we need to spend more - how much?

Posted by: SouthernRoots on November 11, 2007 08:04 PM
27. I can't stand King County's Election department. But there is scant evidence that they are outright rigging the vote.

Case in point, I-25 is still passing by a healthy margin.

Tell me why they'd rig 4204, and not I-25.

The problems with Vote-by Mail are numerous. And one of those problems is drastically slowing down the vote counting process. King County and Snohomish County are going to always be later than other smaller counties, and with VBM they'll be even slower.

But being slow doesn't mean that they are rigging the vote.

Posted by: Gentry Lange on November 11, 2007 08:14 PM
28. The education industry spent $3,000.000.00 in adverstising toward getting the YES vote on 4204.

The "NO" campaign had $0.00 to spend toward getting the NO vote.

Should 4204 win, then the gauntlet is down toward establishing a true "level playing field".

Two new laws should be enacted to make sure we have this level playing field.

Pretty simple.

1) Mininum turnout of 50.00001% for validation of ALL revenue generating proposals.

2) Public funding for the NO vote.

Posted by: Bart Cannon on November 11, 2007 08:18 PM
29. My point John is this bogus speculation that the counting is being rigged.

It distracts from the real point about what is the appropriate level of funding for schools, and how do we fund them.

By the way, class A office space in Bellevue and Seattle runs in the upper $20's per square foot - so 4000 sf for 20 students (which is rather high and wouldn't just be the classroom, but the gross square footage for 20 student's for an entire school building) - would be higher.

How 'bout instead say 180/sf student, at $25/sf which is $4,500 per year. Add the teacher's salary fully loaded at $60k allocated across 20 students for another $3,000.

Now you're at $7,500 per student. Next add insurance, teaching supplies, counselors, maintenance, administrative services (direct management, payroll, etc). and the cost per student starts to add up. Don't tell me that management is unnecessary - unless you're running a business and have found a way NOT to manage your employees - you'd be the first.

But then, what do I know - I've only been a member of the board of a private school.

Does more spending equal better quality?


What makes a difference? Active, engaged parents and a community that wants the schools to be excellent.

When our kids went to public schools I noticed that when I attended parent nights, the advanced placement classes had one or two parents in the room for every child. The general studies classes had less than one parent for each child, and those parents in the room where the ones that came from the advance placement classrooms.

Excellent schools require engaged parents.

If you're no longer a parent of a child in schools you can still be that engaged parent for a child that doesn't have one.

Whining about schools doesn't do anything. Getting involved does. Private schools have the upper hand because they can REQUIRE parental involvement, and they do.

Posted by: BA on November 11, 2007 08:22 PM
30. Good, now on top of the 20% your rents and property taxes can go up due to I- 747 being overturned by this gang of theives, we can now plan on more bloated scool levies to be offered up knowing they will now be easy to pass, thus increasing property taxes even more.

Posted by: GS on November 11, 2007 08:29 PM
31. Another stolen election, so what else is new? I am leaving this sate for good in the very near future!

Posted by: St Claire on November 11, 2007 08:55 PM
32. Shouldn't all these leftists be just as concerned about monopoly in education as they are with oil, or computing software, or media? What do the government schools educate?? 92% of the youth? A monopoly by most definitions.

Posted by: Jericho on November 11, 2007 09:05 PM
33. I volunteered for the last two bonds in our district that failed by only a hundred or so votes and I voted against 4204. Why? because they run these school bond measures any month of the year. I don't want ~1000 people to turn out for an election in April and my taxes go through the roof. If they make it such that no elections can be help except for the first Tuesday in November, then I will be all for there not being a supermajority for any measure.

Posted by: Scott in Carnation on November 11, 2007 09:05 PM
34. #29

"Don't tell me that management is unnecessary - unless you're running a business and have found a way NOT to manage your employees"

But that's my whole point! A 20 person start up doesn't have any more "Management" than the 20 people in the office. A 20 person "classroom startup" of Teacher and 20 students would only have to report metrics in terms of standardized testing back to the central office.

I'm saying you could even rent a prestigious house in Bellevue (and certainly Kent), with enough room for 20 kids, for $3000 a month -- in fact, make it a "perk" for teachers to get to live in the house year round in addition to the $60,000 that would be like making $100,000 a year!

The "school system" is hiding gazillions in unneed ed costs, money that never makes it to students and teachers -- in the same way that the Rails and Transit was a 1-for-you; 2-for-me deal.

Do the math!

Posted by: John Bailo on November 11, 2007 09:14 PM
35. Maybe the schools 'professionals' (education has become the quack profession) should teach as they coach. Athletes are expected to memorize plays, signals, and routines? While these same youth hours earlier as students are coddled.


Posted by: Jericho on November 11, 2007 09:18 PM
36. Maybe the schools 'professionals' (education has become the quack profession) should teach as they coach. Athletes are expected to memorize plays, signals, and routines. These same youth hours earlier as students are coddled.


Posted by: Jericho on November 11, 2007 09:19 PM
37. Regarding the oft asked question "Why should it take more votes to raise taxes to support education than it would anything else?"

I don't think it should. I think it should require a supermajority to raise ANY tax - not just a school tax.

Anyone who passes even quick glance at our state and local governments knows how inefficient they are. If we starve them of new funding sources, we will eventually see the government fighting amongst itself about the most effieient way to use the money is has rather that always going to the publics pocket first. That will be a very good thing.

Posted by: johnny on November 11, 2007 09:24 PM
38. Doesn't 960 nullify 4204? I asked this question of the State PTA Legislative Chair, and he indicated that it was an open issue. At the least, it will land it in court.

Posted by: janet s on November 11, 2007 09:42 PM
39. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! This can't be happening again!!!


Posted by: SP Fan on November 11, 2007 09:46 PM
40. Irony alert.

This will screw King County residents the worst.

Posted by: Andy on November 11, 2007 10:10 PM
41. Just for Bill Anderson #8, you make no sense whatsoever. The areas that are voting against the simple majority have the MOST to lose in the long run if it passes. The state sales tax is supposed to pay for education. The richer areas, including King County pays far more in sales tax than it receives in services. The rural and poor school districts and their citizens pay far LESS in sales tax than those districts receive.

The liberal King County democrats have been on a rampage to change that. They want each school district to have to spend a higher percentage of their costs from their own area, from property taxes. First, so that the state can get away with spending even less of it's sales taxes on children and more on those who actually vote and second, so that the richer (in property value) school districts that they represent can provide for a better education than the poorer more rural areas of the state.

Simple majority is a first step for the Dems to increase the levy lid and force property owners to pay for a higher percentage of education costs. This will eventually result in what some other states look like where some districts have tons of dollars to better the education for their kids while rural poorer areas are at an extreme disadvantage.

Posted by: Doug on November 11, 2007 10:51 PM
42. A number of the people who post here have been observers during past elections 'administered' by KC Elections.

These are lucid people who generally don't get very excited about ANYTHING: accountants, statisticians, computer science people.

For several of them I know personally, the only thing I have seen them emotional about is being present when an election was stolen in front of them.

For some hard-core Democrats, I would suspect that election fraud seems no different from a nasty internet post or wearing a snippy T-Shirt.

But the consequences of engaging in it should not be underestimated.

2004 was too obvious.

And from what I have heard from our observers we have problems AGAIN. as one said:

"The problems are too systemic to be random. You could not have designed a more irrational and inefficient system if you tried".

KC Elections has done NOTHING to restore our trust.

If this continues to look 'manage' - I hope someone sues BEFORE the results are certified.

Posted by: Why No Trust? on November 12, 2007 12:44 AM
43. They are busier than Santa's elves over at KCE stuffing the ballots for their pet initiatives.

Posted by: pbj on November 12, 2007 05:23 AM
44. Doug @ 41 --

Our leglislators just told us the Federal Way lawsuit results will cause them to LOWER the levy cap rates for the higher districts.

Note...this is a democratic house, a democratic senate and a democratic governor. Your "liberal" arguments are nothing mroe than brainwashed flotsam.

Your argument is 100% backwards. This session, they tell us, schools in areas with levy lids abve the average will:

1) get less money from the state (healthcare is getting it)
2) have lower levy lids

The net result - a double blow to the funding.

Get your facts...before your spew your propoganda.

Posted by: Bill ANderson on November 12, 2007 06:24 AM
45. Government spending is out of control. That is to say, there is little or no control on government spending. The mind-set that manages schools also manages other agencies. Consider for a moment the plight of ports. Ask yourself why the Port of Seattle or Port of Tacoma take money from citizens, otherwise known a taxing? Either port owned and operated by a private company would be turning a profit and contributing taxes. The same made be said of many other government operations. Liquor stores and ferry systems are obvious commercial operations. My point is that the same mind-set operates government schools and the same mind-set pays for them. Washington taxpayers accepted the notion that there are no practical alternatives to government schools, just as they accepted the notions that there are no commercial alternatives to liquor stores, ferry boats and private management of ports, stadiums and other public operations.

Given that taxpayers and government agencies have accepted the terms of endearment, it seems rather moot to argue the means of establishing costs. History proves that most levies pass. In other words the costs for the schools, ports, stadiums and ferries are almost always charged to the taxpayer with few if any exceptions and customer service or satisfaction has nothing to do with it. Government agencies are a monopoly. Monopolies do no tolerate customer service. They don't have to, they are the only game in town.

Posted by: Snuffy on November 12, 2007 07:02 AM
46. It isn't the current batch of levies, but the districts will be more emoboldened to levy more taxes due to this thing passing.

Posted by: swatter on November 12, 2007 08:02 AM
47. Bill ANderson at 44,

I see you cannot answer a logical and accurate argument without invective. Did you include falsehood as well?

I hadn't heard about the recent judge's ruling in the Federal Way lawsuit, but I found a comprehensive web site to explain the case and to provide a copy of the judge's opinion:

The case centers on the disparity in state funding for school district personnel. Some districts receive far more than others for the salaries of teachers, administrators and other personnel.

The judge ruled that those differences, when based on nothing more than the disparities that existed 30 years ago, are unconstitutional.

The judge's opinion has nothing to do with levy lids. So, why would any reasonable person say that levy lids would be lowered?

If the issue of differing levy lids was part of the pleadngs and argument, it doesn't appear to have been accepted by the judge.

Posted by: Micajah on November 12, 2007 08:28 AM
48. Micajah,

Because, I saw the results and wento the legislators to ask what they are planning to do in light of the salary decision. First hand.

They said they will likely attack the salary and levy lid issue (which remains a big issue) simultaneously in the way I described above.

Now...have you ever seen a case where the courts rule about something and the legislature takes action beyond that? Check out the current discussion on the recent court's ruling on the various Eyman initiatives that either have been or will be upheld even though the courts ruled they don't have to be.

So, you see, instead of relying upon the published view..I suggest you talk directly with your representatives. First hand information is pretty helpful when it comes to these things.

Posted by: Bill Anderson on November 12, 2007 09:06 AM
49. John Bailo @ 34, you say you want schools to operate like startups, with no management. Surely you know that the vast majority of startups fail quickly. That is a fine model for some industries (including the two I've been in), but is that really how you want your kids educated?

Bart Cannon @ 28, the moral argument against requiring a minimum turnout is that, if the people who didn't vote really cared, they could have voted. So their non-vote indicates a willingness to let the voters decide the issue.

And the reason that the "campaign" against 4204 had no funding is that it didn't exist. There was no organized campaign, just some individuals on this board and elsewhere who spoke out against it. Any citizen was free to start a campaign, raise funds, etc.

Posted by: Bruce on November 12, 2007 09:19 AM
50. How about a Veterans' Day post?

Posted by: swatter on November 12, 2007 09:36 AM
51. Snuffy, there are easy answers to your simplistic libertarian arguments.

- The WA ferries are considered part of the state highway system, which is considered an essential public service. They may not seem essential to those of us who live on the mainland, but that's the long-established rationale for running them as we do.

- It is true that government agencies are a monopoly, by definition. That's why we elect our government. Private businesses have to compete, but we don't get to elect them. Each system has its advantages. It is certainly reasonable to debate which system is best for a particular function, but to have an intelligent debate, you have to recognize both sides.

Posted by: Bruce on November 12, 2007 09:44 AM
52. 49. John Bailo @ 34, you say you want schools to operate like startups, with no management. Surely you know that the vast majority of startups fail quickly. That is a fine model for some industries (including the two I've been in), but is that really how you want your kids educated?

Business Startups fail because of lack of revenue. A "Classroom Startup" is guaranteed $200,000 per year by taxes. Classroom Startups would be jugded by things like standardized testing. By that measure the Large Cap and Mid-Cap model for schools that is currently in place are enormous failures.

My argument is a financial one. If I shave down the Classroom to a point where money can be spent with maximum value to the student, I think the Classroom Startup is a good model.

Make each teacher and Education Executive. Give them $200,000 and 20 students. Let them rent a big house in Belleuve (5 room schoolhouse with a den, dining room, computer room, big backyard).

I run the numbers and I think we can deliver more value under the Classroom Startup than the current model.

Posted by: John Bailo on November 12, 2007 10:03 AM
53. Hmm. Courts are stacked with elitist libs, election officials are massive libs. Libs have the keys and toner for the ballot printers. Do not ever expect a fair election ever again in this lousy socialist State. Mail in ballots was the final master stroke, being the EASIEST to forge and almost impossible to prove they are not. Even if, the damage and acts will be well under way. The libs can enact anything they please, hang it up in the courts long after it has gone on. Look who is the Gov? Bend over Washington and say you like it or else. The State of useful idiots. We make Oregon look conservative.

Posted by: pbsmm on November 12, 2007 10:09 AM
54. Too bad that measures dealing with property taxes can only be voted on by property owners. There are too many ignorant renters that vote for higher taxes thinking they will not be affected.

Posted by: yaddacubed on November 12, 2007 10:14 AM
55. Bailo's example is the theory behind much of what is happening in Belgium and the theory behind true charter school innnovation. When people point to private school, they use Bush or Lakeside as the example because they want to make the argument that public schools are underfunded. Those are great schools, but what many children who are failing in public school need is a grounding in the basics and consistent attention from an adult who provides a sense of stability and discipline. The other part that great private schools can deliver is they require family involvement. Many parochial schools deliver a great education by focusing on the basics and discipline at less than the per student allotment of public schools. The start-up analogy is not that far off target, particularly if a lot of union work rule requirements, not education achievement requirements are eliminated. In states where home schooling and charters are taking off, the education monopoly always attempts to impose rules to make these options like public schools and ineffective.

Posted by: WVH on November 12, 2007 10:19 AM
56. "Business Startups fail because of lack of revenue."

Well, I suppose more revenue could keep any turkey going, but most fail because they have bad ideas and/or execution.

"Make each teacher an Education Executive."

Ah, so who would "make" them this? An administrator? Or would parents just choose from among thousands of Education Executives and hand over their government vouchers? And who would step in when the teacher got sick, or needed to go to the bathroom? And would the teacher be a specialist in all subjects, disabilities, etc.? Would every parent be, in effect, responsible for hiring a qualified teacher for their child? And would the teacher decide the curriculum, discipline policy, etc.?

I suppose you think restaurants should be staffed entirely by the cooks and software companies entirely by the programmers. It is amusing that you want to model the schools after business, yet the modern American economy -- the most effective the world has ever seen, despite its imperfections -- has more large companies with extensive management structures than any other country.

Posted by: Bruce on November 12, 2007 10:34 AM
57. As always, Bruce is spouting the union party line. The Brookings Institute had a conference about four years ago in DC on the effect of unions on education and that view was that it was not salutory. Bailo is closer to the mark on what it will take to deliver effective education to most children. Limo libs like Bruce and the dem establishment don't want choice in education. You can't fill the kids with secular progressive garbage if there is choice. The Heritage Insitute routinely surveys where those in Congress who are against school choice send their kids. No surprise, they send their kids to private schools and that includes those from caucuses of color. The hypocrisy of secular progressives about school choice is breathtaking. Just another example of them loving poor people to their deaths.

Posted by: WVH on November 12, 2007 11:28 AM
58. WVH invents, "As always, Bruce is spouting the union party line."

Um, what did my post have to do with unions? What have I ever said in favor of (or against) unions?

You're welcome to disagree with me, but please don't put words in my mouth.

Posted by: Bruce on November 12, 2007 02:27 PM
59. Bill Anderson at 48,

I find it more than difficult to believe that any legislator would suggest that the solution is to reduce state funding for the salaries of school district personnel in some districts, and then also reduce the levy lid of those districts so that there would be no possibility of offsetting the pay cut through some other compensation.

But, you say you got it firsthand from some as yet unidentified legislator.

Once this suggestion is made to other legislators, perhaps we'll quickly learn how high this particular balloon will soar.

I'm betting it won't get fully inflated, much less off the ground. It makes no sense. It would be the exact opposite of almost everything the legislature has done for the past 20 years.

This past session included a small increase in state funds for salaries in the districts which have been getting less state funding, but your understanding of your private communication with a legislator is that the legislature would reverse course -- and take money away from districts which have received higher state funding for 30 years.

Hard to believe.

Posted by: Micajah on November 12, 2007 03:55 PM
60. Bruce said:

"WVH invents, "As always, Bruce is spouting the union party line"

I did not put words in your mouth, see your posts
@ 49 & 56. Those are your words.

The technique I used is known as to characterize.

Definitions of characterize on the Web:

qualify: describe or portray the character or the qualities or peculiarities of; "You can characterize his behavior as that of an egotist"; "This ...
be characteristic of; "What characterizes a Venetian painting?"

So, Bruce you spout the union party line.

Posted by: WVH on November 12, 2007 10:13 PM
61. Gandhi said "be the change you want to see in the world." Send your kids to private schools, or homeschool them. Already, about 30% of students in Seattle go to private or home schools. Until the teachers' unions really wreck government schools, there will be no reform.

I am a high school teacher.

About 80% of school levies pass in this state, but they wanted more. Well, if 100% of school levies pass, then there is even less accountability. Schools will get their money no matter how bad a job they do.

They put their levies on the ballott at odd times, not during the general election, so that special interests can outvote the sleeping populace. All school levies should have to be placed on the November ballott.

It is dangerous to put the government in charge of education. It becomes propaganda. This is why most high school students never learn that the main purpose of the Consitution is to LIMIT government power. This is why they never learn about John Locke and Natural Law Theory that the Constitution is based on. This is where they learn that the general welfare clause of the Constitution allows the government to do whatever it can justify as in the general welfare, thus totally ignoring the 9th and 10th ammendments in the Bill of Rights.

Centralized school control destroys not only accountability to parents and communities, but the very diversity that schools spend most of their time trying to promote. Our communities and students are different, but one-size fits all centralized rules from Olympia ignore that diversity. And GW Bush's "No Child Left Behind Act" is even worse.

We have a separation between church and state that gives us freedom of religion. Part of the reason that religion is so vibrant and pervasive in this country is due to the separation of church and state. Well, we need a separation of education and state for the same reasons.

Give the poor vouchers that can be used at any school, and privatize them all.

This will require amending the state constitution and that won't happen soon, but in the mean time, boycott the government schools. Send you kids to private schools, if you care about them.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 13, 2007 02:57 AM
62. WVH@60- I don't see how recognizing the potential value of management, as I do, is the same thing as "spouting the union party line". Indeed, my appreciation of management (as well as my awareness of its potential pitfalls) comes from having been a manager in two large, successful companies. In neither case was I in a union; management rarely is. I think you are confusing your hatred of unions with your hatred of a nonsecular school system. You have enough intelligent things to say without twisting the words of others.

Posted by: Bruce on November 13, 2007 09:11 AM

Is it OK if I return to the original topic of this thread?

As of 8:45 this morning the Secretary of State updated the website to show 4204 behind by 1,036 votes. However, assuming that the estimated number of uncounted ballots in each county is correct, and those ballots run in the same proportion as those already counted, I calculate that the resolution will gain a net 3,675 votes to win by 2,639 votes. Apparently the late absentees have been running significantly more pro-4204 than the early absentees and poll ballots, which would suggest an even greater margin.

Posted by: Bruce on November 13, 2007 09:48 AM
64. Bruce,

You like to start things, but really don't have the intellect to finish them. First, I don't hate unions, they are not effective in the education of children. Please cite some support for your lame opinions other than you cherish your lame opinions. Dude, when it comes to twisting the words of others, you take first prize. You are a secular progressive weasel who will go after anyone not on your plantation. You would rather not educate a poor child of color than give up one of your lame secular progressive theories. As I have said many times before, don't know you personally, but your online persona is an utter waste of time and you and your secular progressive fraternity and sorority are, in my opinion, one of the biggest impediments to Black people advancing in this country. Your ideology likes to keep Blacks, dumb, dependent, and dependable for votes.

Posted by: WVH on November 13, 2007 11:29 AM
65. Bruce @ 49,

Your "morality" is different than mine.

If $3,000,000.00 was spent by the education industry to eek out a tiny yes vote, vs. $00.00 spent by the poor commoner, then I guess your morality is "money makes right".

By the way, what do you think of double subjects in the official ballot titles?

Unconstitutional. Correct ????

Check the official ballot title in 4204.

Count the subjects.

Posted by: Bart Cannon on November 14, 2007 08:05 AM
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