Vote yes on school levy | Letters
October 25, 2011 · 11:04 AM
I would like to urge everyone to vote “yes” for the Proposition #1 Orcas Island School District #137 One Year Capital Project Levy.
Last winter, with little notice, the public school board was presented with a unique federal matching grant to make critical repairs on the elementary school building. Unfortunately, this decision had to be made without going to the public for the remaining funds because the money was only available for a limited time and the need for the repairs was dire.
I am grateful to the school board for making the difficult decision to accept this grant. We put our trust in these elected officials to do what is best for our schools. The action taken by the board strengthened that trust for me.
It is baffling to me why some members of our community would want to stand in the way of investing in our most precious island resource, our children. Offering our children a better environment to learn and thrive will set the wheels in motion for our community to rise to new levels.
With a child in the public school, I obviously have a major stake in this situation. I hope you realize that even without a child in the public school system, healthy and strong public schools make for healthy and strong communities overall. They depend completely on community support.
Let’s raise the bar for Orcas Island. Please stand with me and support our public school and the school board’s decisive efforts to improve its facilities.
Vote yes on the Orcas School District’s One Year Capital Project Levy.
Last year, in our elementary school, an EMT was unable to use water from the drinking fountain to clean a student’s wound. It was unsafe. Children and teachers wore coats in classrooms all winter. The ventilation system produced dirty, not clean fresh air.
Our school board stepped up, won a $900,000 matching grant to pay half, hoping Orcas voters would approve a $900,000 loan to do the repairs during the summer to allow the children to return to a safe school. A large group of residents encouraged the board to obtain the loan and many generous residents have committed to raise $100,000 to help offset that loan. Orcas Island is not a third world country.
Proposition 1 is not a $35 million or a $27 million levy to rebuild the schools. It covers only the absolutely necessary repairs to the elementary school. It will be a one time only, one-year levy of less than $100 for a $350,000 house – $0.28 per $1000 of assessed valuation. It would have been twice that if our school board had not acted promptly and creatively to provide a safe, healthful environment for our children.
Vote yes on Proposition 1 and mail your ballot before Nov. 8.
We voted “no” on the last two capital Orcas Island School District levies. We are happy to vote “yes” on the upcoming levy to pay for the upgrades and repairs to the elementary school plumbing and heating systems.
We attended the school board meetings as the board grappled with how to make the necessary upgrades for health and safety and pay for it while taking advantage of the $900,000 grant. We appreciated the difficult decision they had to make the repairs during the summer while taking the chance that they would have to cut sports and other popular programs to pay for it if the levy this November does not pass.
We are thankful for those in the community that have made donations towards this work and that this levy will be for one year only.
Clyde and April Duke