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Facts support continuing school levy

Letter to the Editor

 


As a community, we are facing a significant decision between now and February 10. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, the outcome of this decision will affect everyone in our community — young and old. I am referring to the pending public school levy vote.

Some might say the passing of this levy doesn’t affect them because they don’t have school-age kids, for example. I disagree. The responsibility of a community to support its schools never expires with time. The successful education of our community’s children has a wide-ranging and prolonged impact on all area residents. Properly educated and socially developed young people represent this community’s future and strength. These youngsters will become the next round of community leaders, business owners, employees, and volunteers. Further, a high quality school system represents a magnet for potential new residents, creating upward demand on housing and directly affecting property values. Unfortunately, a poorly resourced school district has the opposite effect.

Over the next three weeks, The Star will be running a series of informational advertisements intended to bring the facts about this school levy to light, enabling voters to make an informed and responsible decision when they cast their ballots. I believe — emotions aside — if everyone understands the facts about this levy, asks engaging questions when they don’t understand a point, and recognizes the adverse impact that losing the levy would have on our school system and our kids, that an informed electorate will vote “yes” in support of this levy.

The fact that losing this levy would also include losing roughly $536,000 annually from state-authorized funding should cause us to take note. Further, the fact that losing a $1.13 million levy plus the $550,000 state money would result in an overall 18-percent reduction in the current school budget should get our collective attention. That reduction in school revenue would force significant cuts in currently offered school programs and staffing.

Further, understanding that approving this levy represents a third continuation of a four-year levy, not a new tax over and above what is currently being paid by property owners is noteworthy.

Finally, knowing that the revenue generated by this levy will not go to Washington, D.C. or Olympia to be siphoned off elsewhere, but will be spent locally by school district leadership should convince most of us that passing this levy represents an important and predictably significant investment in our community’s future.

I encourage each of you to investigate the evidence and to vote responsibly on this upcoming school levy. Our school system depends on it. Ballots will appear in the mail around Jan. 26 for your vote, and need to be back in the mail not later than Feb. 10 to be counted. Thanks for your help.

Rich Black

Citizens for a

Quality Education

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