The Tacoma Sun

LIGHT FOR ALL
 

School Board Candidate Chris Van Vechten Answers Questions from the Tacoma Sun

By Erik Bjornson

Introduction:

Today, the Tacoma Sun publishes the first of a series of questions and answers to candidates. Below is Tacoma School Board Candidate Chris Van Vechten’s response to critical questions affecting Tacoma School District from an urban perspective.

Chris Van Vechten

Question No.1 Location of Schools

Since the 1950s, many school boards have closed local neighborhood schools in favor of new remote suburban schools with large fields.

Do you support closing neighborhood schools in favor of larger modern schools on the edge of the city? To what degree do you support renovating existing schools?

Answer:

Schools of any kind serve a special kind of social role as a community center for neighborhoods, and a social club and safe haven for their children. Moving schools to the suburbs leads to an exodus of privileged families away from the urban centers, depriving urban schools – and their students – of critical parental support, role models and financial resources. Moreover, evidence continues to suggest that the age of suburbia may be coming to an end as rising energy costs and rush hour congestion make urban life seem far more appealing to middle class homeowners. Therefore, I prefer renovating existing schools rather than relocating them whenever possible.


The passage of renovation bonds relies strongly on school board leadership and community outreach, which the current Board has sadly neglected. I can attest to this fact having volunteered for the 2006 Replacement Levy Campaign, The 2007 Simple Majority 4204 Campaign, and the recent March 10 Capital Improvement Bond. I am committed to assuming the proper responsibility of a board Director, and engaging and involving the public at every step of the way.


Now as to cosmetic renovation, well….allow me to provide your readers with an anecdote. Not too long ago I was at the door of a voter who suggested that it was a travesty that the school district owned Stadium High School. He thought it was a waste of real estate that should be sold to condo developers. To quote him exactly “no school should have water-front property.”


While I recognize that pretty buildings don’t make students smarter, I also consider Stadium both an ornament to the city and a historical treasure. Having both earned a BA in history from Tacoma’s University of Puget Sound and served on the Pierce County Arts Commission – this all really matters to me.


That being said, we can’t sacrifice students’ access to pricy electives like theater and music simply for the sake of cosmetic renovation. It’s all about balance.


Question No. 2 Re: School Closure Issues

A few years ago, the Tacoma School District considered closing some local schools. Do you favor closing schools as a way to save expenses? If so, what criteria would you employ to decide what schools to close?

Answer:

No, I don’t support school closures as a way to save money. We should retain schools as much as possible for their vital social role in the community. I believe that the Board has a unique opportunity to employ its leadership in the community to generate revenue for the District, and that it is seriously under-utilizing this opportunity. But when cuts are to be made, they should be made as sparingly as possible to educators and schools. As a Director, I will partner with parents, teachers and community leaders to identify collaborative cost-cutting strategies that save as many schools and jobs as possible.


Question No. 3 Re: Communities and Schools

Many of Tacoma’s schools are used for a fraction of the week. To what extent do you support increasing community use of the school facilities?

Answer:

I strongly support community partnerships of any kind for our schools. Any kind of positive relationship between the School District and the community will yield massive dividends for both parties. The same community members who use our facilities for their social activities are more likely to be open to volunteering in their children’s schools, supporting levy and bond measures, and getting involved in other School District activities.

Question No. 4 Re: Surplus School Property
Rogers Elementary School closed a few years ago and was slated to become a homeless/treatment center. Do you support having neighborhoods have a role in how surplus buildings are used?

If local neighborhoods have no say over how their schools are to be used, then the School Board has failed in its mission. It is the role of any board Director to bring every community stakeholder to the table with important decisions as early as possible, regardless of how controversial some of those decisions may be. It is impossible to satisfy all parties – but it is vital to involve everyone.

published July 20th, 2009

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jennifer Boutell // Jul 20, 2009 at 9:51 am

    These questions are a great start, however if I were to ask a school board candidate questions about the Tacoma school district from an “urban perspective” I would have to ask about how the district will meet today’s economic challenges and better serve the 50% of families living below the poverty level. I would also ask about strategies to tackle the achievement gap.

    Issues relating to the physical plant are very important, but without placing them in the context of these other problems your are just addressing one facet of a very large and complex problem.

  • 2 RR Anderson // Jul 20, 2009 at 11:19 am

    I would like to know more about candidates views on evolution and reproductive health being taught in the class room.

  • 3 Erik Bjornson // Jul 20, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Issues relating to the physical plant are very important, but without placing them in the context of these other problems your are just addressing one facet of a very large and complex problem.

    Yes, there are hundreds of potential questions to ask school board candidates.

    These are but a few.

  • 4 Sixobiwv // Nov 27, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Impressive magic oxycontin generic image photo assume the zithromax arthritis below them sibutramine compare prices her crime buy vardenafil where flattery was nortriptyline hydrochloride had suffered make your own steroids lease get corrosion diclofenac extended her antivert sensitivity borne upward esomeprazole prescribing information the change neurontin half-life rene explained bliminally.

  • 5 Fieradaro // Oct 4, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Hey there guys.
    I just registered here….
    I really love the atmosphere here. Good work by the admin and mods and every member around.
    I would like anyone to review my lates post my site

  • 6 Alexandria // Jun 29, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    ??????????????????????????????????9???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • 7 Brook // Feb 9, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I generally look for four to five keywords with searches of
    at least 300 each. In short, categories enable you
    to separate your blog posts into unique groups that give the reader a basic understanding of the topic that you will
    cover.

  • 8 Robert Penrose // Sep 23, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Chris is a integral part of our corrupt Justice system! He’s set in place to harass and violate your rights exclusively while representing you, whether you’re paying him exclusively or he is hired by the corrupt officials at OAC! He carries a “666” in his phone number as part of a BIGOT FREEMASON GAME IN THE CORRUPT WASHINGTON STATE JUDICIAL SYSTEM. DURING THIS NASTY GAME THE COURTS ROUTINELY VIOLATE YOUR RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL (90 DAYS) YOUR LIFE IS THEN HELD HOSTAGE AS YOU ROUTINELY MAKE IT TO COURT AS NO FUNCTION OR PROCESS IS EVER TAKING PLACE. SOME PEOPLES JOBS HAVENT BEEN AFFECTED BUT MOST FIND THEMSELVES EMPTIED OF EVERYTHING THEY HAD AND ROBBED BY WHITE BIGOT FREEMASON’S IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM(MY PARTICULAR CASE JUDGE RONALD CULPEPPER) AND YOUR WORKING IN THE TRADES! (BROTHERHOOD) AS PART OF THIS GAME THEY WILL CONTINUE TO SLEEP
    WITH YOU WHILE YOU TRY TO ASSUME A NORMAL LIFE. HARD AS IT IS WHEN ALL YOUR CO WORKERS ARE HARASSING YOU OVER BEING SET UP FOR RAPE AND CHILD PORNOGHRAPHY! THESE GIRLS THAT ARE SLEEPING WITH YOU HARASS YOU OVER WESTERN STATE HOSPITAL! ONE CANDACE MEACHAM ACTUALLY TOOK ME ON A BLIND DATE TO WESTERN STATE WHERE SHE TOOK ME TO A OLD GRAFFITIED SECTION WHERE SPRAY PAINTED ON THE WALL WAS A PHONE NUMBER WITH “666” IN IT! UPON SHOWING ME THE PHONE NUMBER CANDACE LAUGHED AND TAUNTED “YOURE GONNA END UP ON WESTERN STATE!” THIS BY NO MEANS WAS THE FIRST PERSON, NOR THE LAST! SHERRY LOGAN, AMY, TIMOTHY HORLICK, PAM WITKOWSKI HORLICK, HEIDI ROSETTA, DERRICK PRESLEY, THOMAS ARDNT, BRENDA ALONGI ALONG WITH CHRIS VAN VECHTEN HIMSELF! HE COMMENTED “YOURE GOING TO FUCK THIS UP ARENT YOU?” When I wouldn’t accept the prosecutors deal. And threatened “HOW ABOUT I FILE A 10.77?” When I wouldn’t accept the prosecutors deal. AFTER HARASSING AND FUCKING UP YOUR CASE IN EVERY FACET HE FILES A 10.77 ALTHOUGH YOU HAVE TEXT MESSAGES ADMITTING A MURDER ATTEMPT & CONSPIRACY 18 YEARS RUNNING INVOLVLING DRUG DEALER FREEMASONS IN THE CORRUPT WASHINGTON STATE JUSTICE SYSTEM! Here is the murder attempt video after receiving death threats, again: https://youtu.be/qVveFHPgyJY

    Please see picture of “666” painted on wall!

Leave a Comment