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Tacoma Public Schools, Washington

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Tacoma Public Schools
Tacoma, Washington
Tacoma Logo.jpg
District Profile
Superintendent:Carla Santorno
Graduation rate:61.7%
Number of schools:50
Budget: $363.9 million
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Debbie Winskill
Board members:5
Term length:6
Tacoma Public Schools is a school district in Washington that served 28,321 K-12 students during the 2012-2013 school year. The district is the third largest by enrollment in the state of Washington after Seattle Public Schools and Spokane Public Schools.[1]

About the district

Tacoma Public Schools is located in Pierce County, Washington
The City of Tacoma is the county seat of Pierce County, which is located along the Puget Sound in western Washington. The population of Tacoma was 198,397 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[2]


Tacoma lags behind state averages for median income, higher education achievement and poverty rate. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (24.3%) is below the state average (31.4%). The 2010 U.S. Census calculated Tacoma's median income at $49,232 while the state median income was $58,890. Tacoma had a poverty rate of 17.1% in the 2010 U.S. Census while the state rate was 12.5%.[2]

Racial Demographics, 2012[2]
Race Tacoma (%) Washington (%)
White 64.9 77.3
Black or African American 11.2 3.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.8 1.5
Asian 8.2 7.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 1.2 0.6
Two or More Races 8.1 4.7
Hispanic or Latino 11.3 11.2

Presidential Voting Pattern[3]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 54.4 43.3
2008 54.9 42.8
2004 50.4 48.0
2000 51.4 44.0

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[4] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.


The current Superintendent is Carla Santorno, who has served in the position since her appointment in June 2012. She previously served in an interim capacity from January 2012 to June 2012. Santorno worked as an administrator with the Denver Public Schools and Seattle Public Schools prior to arriving in Tacoma in 2009.[5][6]

School board

The Tacoma Public Schools Board of Directors is a five-member board with each member elected at-large to a six-year term. Each member can be compensated $50 per day for district matters with a maximum compensation of $4,800 per year.[7]

Tacoma Public Schools Board of Directors
Member Assumed Office Term Ends
Scott Heinze 2011 2017
Kurt Miller 2003 2015
Catherine Ushka 2009 2015
Karen Vialle 2011 2017
Debbie Winskill 1989 2019

School board elections

See also: Tacoma Public Schools elections (2013)

Members of the Board of Directors are elected to six-year terms on a staggered basis. One seat on the board is up for election on November 5, 2013, two seats will be up for election on November 3, 2015 and two seats will be on the ballot in November 2017.


The table below displays the budget for Tacoma Public School District:[8][9]

Expenditures by Category
School Year Staff Expenses Student Services Operational Expenses Debt Service Other Budget Total
Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget
2011-2012 $271,727,433 84.5% $15,914,945 4.9% $31,761,264 9.9% $0 0% $2,180,129 0.7% $321,583,770
2012-2013 $278,110,859 83.6% $21,012,561 6.3% $31,780,776 9.6% $0 0% $1,851,046 0.6% $332,755,242
2013-2014 $292,107,470 85% $17,709,479 5.2% $32,403,666 9.4% $0 0% $1,390,138 0.4% $343,610,753
2014-2015 $304,873,533 83.8% $23,208,046 6.4% $34,468,465 9.5% $0 0% $1,408,969 0.4% $363,959,013
Averages: $382,273,098.33 84% $25,948,343.67 6% $43,471,390.33 10% $0 0% $2,276,760.67 1% $453,969,592.67

Teacher salaries

Tacoma Public Schools employed 1,810 K-12 teachers during the 2012-2013 school year. Teacher salaries are categorized based on higher education achievement, professional development and years of service. A teacher with a Bachelor's degree can earn higher salaries by pursuing graduate courses with raises at 15, 30, 45, 90 and 135 quarter credits. The salary schedule also accounts for graduate degrees by providing higher starting salaries and greater potential salaries. The following table details the salary schedule for the 2012-2013 school year:[10]

Salary structure
Degree level Minimum salary ($) Maximum salary ($)
B.A. 38,699 55,760
B.A. 15 39,061 56,837
B.A. 30 39,419 57,917
B.A. 45 40,036 61,151
B.A. 90 42,148 63,310
MA 46,323 66,551
B.A. 135 45,763 68,705
MA 45 47,337 73,740
MA 90 49,447 75,903
Ph.D. 50,847 77,338


Teachers in Tacoma School District are represented by the Tacoma Education Association (TEA). The current president of TEA is John Solberg who has served in the post since 2012.[11]

Schools in district


The district served 28,321 K-12 students during the 2012-2013 school year. The district experienced a 2.3% decrease in enrollment between 2008 and 2012. The following chart details enrollment in the district between 2008 and 2012:[1]

Total enrollment
Year Enrollment Year-to-year change (%)
2008 28,993 -
2009 28,721 -0.9
2010 28,591 -0.5
2011 28,539 -0.2
2012 28,321 -0.8

District schools

Tacoma Public Schools operates 50 K-12 schools listed below in alphabetical order:[12]

Tacoma Public Schools
Arlington Elementary
Baker Middle School
Birney Elementary
Blix Elementary
Bryant Middle School
Boze Elementary
Browns Point Elementary
Bryant Elementary
Crescent Heights Elementary
DeLong Elementary
Downing Elementary
Edison Elementary
Fawcett Elementary
Fern Hill Elementary
First Creek Middle School
Foss High School
Franklin Elementary
Geiger Elementary
Giaudrone Middle School
Grant Elementary
Gray Middle School
Jason Lee Middle School
Jefferson Elementary
Larchmont Elementary
Lincoln High School
Lister Elementary
Lowell Elementary
Lyon Elementary
Manitou Elementary
Mann Elementary
Mason Middle School
McCarver Elementary
Meeker Middle School
Mount Tahoma High School
Northeast Tacoma Elementary
Oakland High School
Point Defiance Elementary
Reed Elementary
Roosevelt Elementary
School of the Arts
Science and Math Institute
Sheridan Elementary
Sherman Elementary
Skyline Elementary
Stadium High School
Stafford Elementary
Stanley Elementary
Stewart Middle School
Tacoma Virtual Learning
Truman Middle School
Washington-Hoyt Elementary
Whitman Elementary
Whittier Elementary
Wilson High School

Academic performance

The Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction published a state report card for 2011-2012 assessing subject proficiency levels and year-to-year progress for each district. This report card relies on data from the Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) and High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) to determine if each district meets Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) goals in reading and math. The goal for each district is to meet proficiency goals at all grade levels and student demographics by the 2013-2014 school year.

Tacoma Public Schools met the state goal of 95% participation across all grade levels. The district did not meet AYP goals for reading at the elementary school level and failed to reach AYP for reading and math at the middle school and high school levels.[13]

MSP/HSPE Proficiency

Student Proficiency Levels, 2011-2012
Grade Reading (%) Math (%)
3 64.3 61.7
4 63.4 50.8
5 63.5 58.4
6 61.0 46.9
7 62.6 42.8
8 55.9 38.6
10 75.4 -

Adequate Yearly Progress

AYP Achievement, 2011-2012
Grade Meet Reading AYP? Meet Math AYP?
Elementary School No Yes
Middle School No No
High School No No


2011 teacher strike

On September 12, 2011, the district and the Tacoma Education Association halted negotiations over a new three-year contract. This impasse led to 1,900 teachers striking for smaller class sizes and a halt to salary cuts. Governor Christine Gregoire negotiated a conclusion to a 10-day strike that maintained limits on class sizes and froze teacher salaries.[14]

Contact information

Tacoma Logo.jpg
Tacoma Public Schools Board of Directors
Central Administration Building
P.O. Box 1357
Tacoma, WA 98401-1357
Phone: (253) 571-1000

Website evaluation

Elected Officials
Administrative Officials
Public Records
Background Checks

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process
Main article: Evaluation of Washington school district websites

Last rated on March 26, 2013.

The good

  • Budget
    • Budgets are posted.[15]
    • Budgets are archived to 20007.
  • Administrative Officials
    • Officials are listed with contact information on department pages.[16]
  • Elected Officials
    • School Board members are listed with contact information.[17]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting dates, agendas, and minutes are available.[18]
    • Agendas and minutes are archived to 2011.
  • Audits
    • Audits are posted.[19]
    • Audits are archived to 2003.
  • Contracts
    • Collective bargaining agreements are posted.
    • Bids and vendor contracts are available.[20]
  • Public Records
    • Public records information and request form provided.[21]
  • Taxes
    • Tax levy information is provided.[22]
  • Academics
    • Link provided to District Report Card.[13]
  • Background Checks
    • Background check policy is posted.[23]

The bad

  • None posted yet.

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction," "Student Enrollment Cohort Projections," accessed August 5, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 U.S. Census, "Quick Facts: Tacoma," accessed August 5, 2013
  3. Pierce County Elections, "Archived Elections," accessed August 5, 2013
  4. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  5. LinkedIn, "Carla Santorno," accessed August 5, 2013
  6. The News Tribune, "New Superintendent Carla Santorno wants Tacoma Public Schools to earn ‘innovation’ label," September 20, 2012
  7. Tacoma Public Schools, "Policy Manual," accessed August 5, 2013
  8. Tacoma Public Schools, "Summary of General Fund Budget," accessed December 3, 2013
  9. Tacoma Public Schools, "Budget," accessed December 16, 2014
  10. Tacoma Public Schools, "Salary Schedules," accessed August 5, 2013
  11. Tacoma Education Association, "Council Leadership," accessed August 5, 2013
  12. Tacoma Public Schools, "Schools," accessed August 5, 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, "Washington State Report Card," accessed August 5, 2013
  14. Christian Science Monitor, "In Tacoma, teachers needed to strike simply to keep the status quo," September 22, 2011
  15. Tacoma Public Schools, "Budgets," accessed August 5, 2013
  16. Tacoma Public Schools, "Departments & Programs," accessed August 5, 2013
  17. Tacoma Public Schools, "School Board," accessed August 5, 2013
  18. Tacoma Public Schools, "More Meetings," accessed August 5, 2013
  19. Tacoma Public Schools, "CAFR," accessed August 5, 2013
  20. Tacoma Public Schools, "Purchasing," accessed August 5, 2013
  21. Tacoma Public Schools, "Public Records Requests," accessed August 5, 2013
  22. Tacoma Public Schools, "Ask a Levy Question," accessed August 5, 2013
  23. Tacoma Public Schools, "Background Check" accessed August 5, 2013