Most people agree that education is one of if not the most important factors in creating upward mobility and a healthy diverse community. Yet, despite all our talk of equity in Seattle, we see dramatically different realities for one school versus another in our city. A recent episode of ‘Problem Areas with Wyatt Cenac’ on HBO gave national attention to the fact that while Roosevelt High’s PTA has $3.5 million in its coffers, the Rainier Beach High PTA has $2,000. This is the kind of difference that allows wealthier schools to weather budget cuts and economic downturns by supplementing their schools base funding. This simply isn’t an option for schools in poorer neighborhoods.
We as a city absolutely must do more to address this problem. When you elect me to the city council I will fight for equity in how our schools are funded and work to expand educational opportunities to under-served communities that will lead to higher-paying careers. Here are a few of the things I will work on for our students:
- Offer tax incentives to companies in wealthier neighborhoods in exchange for paying into a fund to assist schools in poorer neighborhoods.
- Work with the Seattle School Board to develop a plan where the city can offer additional resources to the school district in exchange for taking PTA funds into account when making decisions on where funds are to be allocated.
- Use city resources to create offices in under-served communities that will provide information and resources to help residents take advantage of higher education, apprenticeship, and training programs made available by higher ed bill recently passed in state legislature.
- Expand after-school programs and programs for at-risk youth.
- Bring our labor and business communities together to expand apprenticeship and training opportunities.