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    The Daily Troll: Superintendent roulette. Gas Works vandalism. Paying more for pensions?

    Plus, Ballmer's billions approved and King County's Public Health Chief resigns.
    Superintendent Jose Banda

    Superintendent Jose Banda Seattle Public Schools

    Gasworks vandalized!

    A group of teenage vandals hit Seattle's most iconic park last night, leaving swarms of empty beer cans and graffiti in their wake. An article on Q13Fox.com has some good photos of the destruction and the Seattle Times reports Seattle Parks and Recreation has dropped all other painting projects to clean up the park. There's a certain cruel irony in the fact that, in the rest of the country, Gas Works is best known as the site of a massive paintball fight in the '90s teen flick "10 Things I Hate About You." Still, I'm guessing Parks workers aren't amused.  — B.A.

    Superintendent roulette

    Why can’t Seattle Public Schools keep a superintendent? With the recent departure of Superintendent Jose Banda for a job in Sacramento, a Seattle Times article today suggests the district’s high turnover rate (five superintendents in the last ten years) is due at least in part to a fractious school board engaging in “strident advocacy. “

    The Times dug up an email from Banda himself scolding the board for bullying his staff over the selection of a new math textbook for the district. Though board president Sharon Peaslee denied the bullying charge, a range of other board members, lawmakers and other education advocates backed up the Times’ findings and said they go way beyond the math book incident.

    So what did Banda have to say about all this? Asked whether the board’s dysfunction played a role in his decision to go, he said, “It does in a way influence that decision. Yeah, I’ll leave it at that.” — B.A.

    Paying more for pensions

    As state retirees live longer, rising pension costs are pushing the state to seek additional funding options. On Monday, the Pension Funding Council voted to increase the pension contribution requirements from state workers as well from state and local governments, The Olympian reports.

    The state will have six years to ramp up its pension investments, even as it struggles to find sufficient funds for schools to adhere to the McCleary court decision. Budget writers will have to carve out $100 million toward increased pension contributions in the 2015-17 biennium, according to House Appropriations Committee chairman Ross Hunter, D-Medina. Starting next July, rates for workers in the Public Employees’ Retirement System 2 will bump up to 6.12 percent from 4.92 percent, and rates for Teachers’ Retirement System will grow from 4.96 percent to 5.95 percent. — M.L.

    Ballmer's L.A. Clippers

    Sorry, Sonics fans but the big deal is (almost) sealed: A judge appears to have cleared the way for former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to buy the L.A. Clippers for a record-breaking $2 billion. In a tentative oral decision issued Monday, Judge Michael Levanas favored Shelly Sterling, wife of the embattled former team owner Donald Sterling — allowing her to move forward with the sale against her husband’s will, the Wall Street Journal reports. The judge noted in his ruling that "Ballmer paid an amazing price that cannot be explained by the market."

    Ballmer was previously part of an investor group seeking to resurrect an NBA presence in Seattle. While Ballmer may have abandoned the Seattle cause, group leader Chris Hansen issued a statement in the spring “assur[ing] Seattle fans that my remaining partners and I remain committed to bringing the NBA back to Seattle.” Would-be owners Peter and Erik Nordstrom, as well as team executive Wally Walker, reiterated their involvement in the investor group, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. — M.L.

    County public health chief resigns 

    After seven years in office, Dr. David Fleming, the director of Public Health Seattle & King County, is stepping down from his post, saying that his “personal plans and needs” prohibit him from making the “long-term leadership commitment” required for the agency.

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    Posted Tue, Jul 29, 6:16 p.m. Inappropriate

    Good riddance to Banda. The board should have called him to task more for not having his staff follow policy. His staff should be fired for not doing their jobs.

    And how come the Seattle Times has space available to trot out this tired falsehood that the board is supposed to just be a rubber stamp? Yet they say nothing about the Fed investigating the district for not following its own Title IX policy and treating a victim raped on a Garfield High School field trip like a problem to be swept under the rug.

    Good riddance. I hope the interim superintendent is able to clean house at the district headquarters of all the overpaid do-nothings.


    Posted Wed, Jul 30, 7:27 a.m. Inappropriate

    Graffiti to me is really a sign of the coarsening of society. We all put up permanently with the boorish behavior of a few, the few reducing the quality of life for the rest of us.

    I am in favor of dramatically increasing the monetary penalties for this vandalism, with a large portion of the funds going to rewards for turning in the culprits, and the rest to a fund to repair the damage.

    This is a worthy city initiative.


    Posted Thu, Jul 31, 11:11 p.m. Inappropriate

    Let's implement Singapore's solution: flogging. I'll volunteer to be a flogger, as long as I can wear a Mike McGinn mask.


    Posted Wed, Jul 30, 8:02 a.m. Inappropriate

    Another theory about Banda's departure: he had signed off on the coverup of the rape of a student (that coverup being in violation of law and policy), and he must have known that journalists were working on a story, and the public would eventually find out about it. Most likely that would have led to his resignation. I don't blame him for seeing the writing on the wall and leaving early.


    Posted Wed, Jul 30, 8:39 a.m. Inappropriate

    Please don't just copy opinions from the Seattle Times when it comes to issues at Seattle Public Schools. This post by Charlie Mas captures the situation accurately. http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2014/07/an-alternative-narrative-on-turnover.html -Kate Martin

    Posted Thu, Jul 31, 11:08 p.m. Inappropriate

    So that's really what McCleary is about then -- shoveling more money at compensation. Gee, who knew?!


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