June 25, 2019: "Dear Leslie Harris," by Matt Halvorson
This might be my most straightforward song yet. It’s written and sung to the president of the Seattle School Board, Leslie Harris.
The school board has been a dysfunctional impediment to progress for too long in Seattle, presiding over one of the worst opportunity gaps in the nation.
Las month, our longtime school board director, Betty Patu, stepped down after 10 years of service. She’s my rep in Southeast Seattle, and she explained her resignation by saying it’s time for someone new. I agree. But if Patu would have announced her resignation three days earlier, we the public would have voted to choose her replacement.
Instead, the school board appoints Patu’s replacement.
It’s either pretty fishy or an unusual combination of negligence and coincidence. I sent Dir. Harris an email asking about it, but I did not hear back. So, I thought I’d give this a try.
This year, Patu and the recently elected Zachary DeWolf are both hoping to vacate their seats (DeWolf is already running for city council). We also have four seats up for election in the fall. That means we could have six of seven new board members before year’s end.
We have a great superintendent. Let’s back her, for once, with a great school board — one with a knowledgeable and unapologetic focus on equity. This year. Now.