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Wednesday, May 15, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Education Campaign Draws Fire -- Project `Step Forward' Gets Thumbs Down From Labor Council

A project designed to promote awareness about school leadership, public education and the upcoming Seattle School Board election ran into opposition only a few hours after its kickoff.

The King County Labor Council says the project, dubbed Step Forward, does not have the support of its 85,000 members. Council President Dale Daugherty, in a written statement, calls Step Forward "the attempt of business to seize control of the School Board and turn it into a board that functions like Board of Directors of Corporations."

The project was initiated at the behest of the chief executive officers of Safeco, The Boeing Co. and several other large companies and banks, and has the support of Mayor Norm Rice, and several educators and community groups.

The council contends that corporate leaders missed their chance to support education by opposing long-range funding measures, such as the 1990 Children's Initiative.

"It's fine for business to get involved, but the fact is that certain sectors of the business community have been involved in stifling every effort to try to get more money for public education," said Robert Stern, a member of the Labor Council's committee on public education.

Stern says the interests of businesses like Boeing, which benefit from certain tax measures, are at odds with educators who want to change tax laws to generate more revenue for schools.

The council is forming a coalition, Public in Public Education,

to push for education reform and more money for schools "so that the children of Seattle and their parents do not have to fight over the crumbs that remain from inadequate funding."

Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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