The more things change…

I recently came upon this quote:

“It is hoped that at the forthcoming session of the legislature such amendments may be secured to the existing laws as will provide for a more equitable distribution of the School Fund derived from general taxation, so that districts which bear so large a proportion of the public burdens as this, may not in any emergency have to depend upon extraordinary levies.”

You would be forgiven if you assumed that quote was somewhere in today’s Seattle Times newspaper.  School districts asking the state legislature for more money is pretty familiar sounding.   It turns out, though, that is not where it came from.

That quote is from the Tacoma School Board.  In 1889.  That’s right, 122 years ago.  I found it while I was doing some family research at the Tacoma Public Library (my great grandmother was a fifth grader in the Tacoma Public Schools in 1885).  In the Tacoma, Washington First Annual Report, Public Schools, 1889, the school board listed funding as a concern, as the school district had been expanding regularly for some time.  No surprise for the booming “City of Destiny.”

Remember, 1889 was the year Washington became a state, and the year the state constitution was ratified, with the crucial statement in Article IX, Section 1, “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders.”

It seems the Tacoma School Board of 1889 would find themselves right at home with many of the school boards of 2012, including those right here on the Eastside.  The more things change, the more things stay the same!


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