Dare vows to battle waste - especially in DSHS
June 11, 2008 · Updated 11:07 AM
"His knowledge and experience with state aid programs gives District 35 Position 1 Republican challenger Frank Dare an edge in the reform department, he believes.The Department of Social and Health Services has 280 programs. Not all of them are necessary, not all of them are efficient, said Dare, a resident of Olympia.He noted two programs in particular, intended to assist with data collection and payment, that failed and cost more than $100 million.Both were computer system the DSHS found in another state. One, called ACES, Had problems from the very beginning. They actually had to rebuild it, Dare said. It followed another failed attempt called COSMOS, Dare said. And, as a social worker with the state, Dare said he was told he had to enter data in three different places, because certain people should not have the same information.They do it all the time. It's nonsense. If people can't be trusted with the information they shouldn't be working there, he said.But those are just some examples of why reform of state social programs is sorely needed, Dare believes.Dare also believes the state needs to assume a larger role in funding basic education.A former teacher whose wife, Melissa, still teaches second grade, Dare is also in favor of Initiative 732, which would mandate annual cost-of-living increases for public-school teachers and other employees.They are the only state employees not getting it, and it's not fair, he said. I'm in favor of being fair.But he also wants to hold public schools responsible for how well they are - or are not - educating children in the state.Dare doesn't believe the Washington Assessment of Student Learning tests for fourth, seventh and 10th graders is accomplishing that.It does nothing to really enhance student learning, because (the teachers) are teaching to the test ... It (also) takes 1/36th of the learning time for those three grades, and that's all they have, 180 days, 36 weeks all year, he said. They already have tests almost daily and weekly, to measure learning.Dare also likes the idea of giving parents a choice about where to sent their children to school, whether through a charter school or voucher program.One of the problems I see in the (school) system is teachers don't have as much ability to make decisions about the children, he said. When you have disruptive children in school, whether the reason is weapons, drugs, the learning curve goes down dramatically.Parental involvement is a big part of improving education, and Dare believes charter schools will increase involvement.Tax reform is also sorely needed, Dare believes.We are being taxed out of our shoes, he said. He favors passage of Initiative 722, which would limit increases on appreciating property by holding property-tax levies to 2 percent per year or the cost of inflation, whichever is less, rather than 6 percent currently allowed.The real problem is school bonds are (based) on the full assessed value, not on the 106 percent. We need to keep property taxes in line with inflation. Historically they have exceeded inflation, he said.He also took a different approach for relieving traffic congestion on the roads.There are 140,000 government employees not counting teachers and staff. Probably 100,000 of them could work four 10-hour days. That would result in one day less travel. The benefits to the system (could be) more efficient use of (the longer hours), and lessen travel on the road by 5 million trips per year, Dare said.As for funding ferries, with deep cuts in service due to passage of I-695, Dare points out that Washington used to have privately run ferries such as the Black Ball line between Port Angeles and Victoria, B.C.There's no reason why we couldn't have a public-private partnership ... no reason why private ferries can't operate more efficiently than state ferries, Dare said. He believes that private ownership would increase efficiency and lower costs to ferry riders. The savings in taxes could then be passed on to taxpayers, Dare said.Dare earned his bachelor's degree in elementary education and taught briefly before joining the Air Force. He flew rescue missions as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, and earned his masters degree in supervision of higher education while in the service.He minored in psychology, and worked as a vocational counselor, juvenile rehabilitation counselor and social worker and owned his own counseling service for a while. Dare and Melissa, his wife, have been married for 35 years and have two grown children and two grandchldren. "