In response to Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner’s argument that school districts should offer parents a stipend to make up for the loss of in-person instruction, I would remind him that school districts didn’t create COVID-19.
Like a bomb being dropped from above, all of us, including teachers, are adapting to a new norm. School districts have rallied to implement online teaching strategies, teachers have continued to develop and deliver lessons, communities are discovering that communication services like the internet are flawed, leaving many students and families without assistance. Putting the onus on schools is the wrong approach.
If he would look closer to home, he might suggest that taxes associated with property assessments be rolled back to 2018 numbers, instead of linking any property value increases to higher taxes. He might suggest that both State and Public employees freeze salaries and move financial negotiations into the future. He might promote forgiving the taxes owed by businesses during the time they shut down because of COVID-19. He should use his position to promote better and more affordable communication infrastructures to help students and families connect to the internet.
And lastly, he should pause to thank those educators who are scrambling to meet the needs of our students.