Petitions come to the Archbishop
Eastside Catholic High School and the Seattle Archdiocese have received petitions bearing some 21,000 signatures in support of Mark Zmuda, the vice principal ousted after he married his same-sex partner. The spokesperson for Archbishop J. Peter Sartain told seattlepi.com's Joel Connelly that while church officials appreciate the petitions, it was the school that made the decision to let Zmuda go. In summary, wrote Connelly, the archdiocese feels that "the buck stops" with Eastside Catholic's principal Sister Mary E. Tracy. Sure, blame the nun. Nice touch, though, by the archdiocese, saying it appreciated the petitions.
Get Out of Jail card for Bellevue mayor
New Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci is getting out of jail. County Executive Dow Constantine announced on Wednesday that the jail director will be stepping out of her top job in the King County criminal justice system. William Hayes, head of the Maleng Regional Justice Center facility in Kent, will serve as acting director while a recruitment process is launched. Balducci will keep working for the county as a strategic advisor with the budget and performance office. In a statement, Constantine and Balducci both attributed the change to her new role as mayor, a largely ceremonial post that can be time-consuming. She continues on the Bellevue City Council. — J.C.
Boeing to Spokane?
A Spokane site offers Boeing a nice alternative to the Puget Sound area for at least some of the work on the new 777X. So says a state document submitted to the company. A Spokesman-Review story says the document, obtained by Associated Press, noted Spokane's cheaper business and real estate costs, its skilled workforce and shorter commute times. Speaking of commute times: Has anybody seen any movement by the state Senate on a transportation package? Didn't think so. — J.C.
Oly focus on homeless students
The state's schools would have to provide a rundown on Washington's homeless students to the governor and Legislature biannually under a bipartisan bill introduced Wednesday by Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle. That information would include homeless enrollment numbers overall, enrollment in certain special programs, academic performance, standardized tests, proficiency in English, and dropout, truancy and absentee rates. — J.S.
Class size standoff
A timetable to improve Washington’s student-to-teacher ratios in Grades K-3 is the focus of a bill introduced Wednesdayby Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell. So far, the bill has no Republican co-sponsors, signaling little chance of support from the 24-Republican-two-Democrat Majority Coalition Caucus that controls the Senate.
McAuliffe's bill maps out annual targets to reduce the student-teacher ratio (to 17-to-1) by the 2017-2018 school years. In 2012, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the state is not meeting its constitutional obligations to provide a good basic education for the state's kids; the 17-to-1 student-teacher ratio is a legal target. The ratios in grades K-3 currently range from 21 to 25 students per teacher. Last week, the Supreme Court said that the Legislature has been too slow in addressing this problem and others, and gave lawmakers until April 30 to create a catch-up plan. — J.S.
Police command flexibility
Seattle City Council's public safety committee approved a measure that would let a police chief appoint top-ranking assistants from other police departments. Committee chair Bruce Harrell and Council President Tim Burgess say the flexibility could help with police reform and Mayor Ed Murray's recruitment of a new police chief. But Harrell and other council members said the advantages of knowing the city argues for filling most command staff posts with officers who have come up through the ranks. The proposal now goes to the full council for approval. — M.C.
Portland bike parking: Top this, Seattle?
An apartment complex under construction in Portland's Lloyd District will have 1,200 parking spaces. Some of those will offer bike-parking valet service. The 1,200 parking spots tops the number in any other facility in North America, but a project architect tells the BikePortland blog that the development team is looking to add even more before the project opens next year. That's because many of the occupants will be young people, including young families. There will be 328 residential parking spots for cars. — J.C.
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