Senator Ranker endorses bond and levy | Letter

When I write to the paper it is often to keep you up to date on decisions being made in Olympia. Today I want to discuss an important matter that will be decided right here and have significant benefits to our entire Orcas Island community.

You will soon receive your November ballot in the mail. When you receive it, I hope you will join me in a strong vote of ‘yes’ for the Orcas Island School District’s bond and levy.

This bond empowers our school district to address critical repairs so that our children can learn and grow in a safe and healthy place. Our last levy in 2012 was ‘paired down’ to meet the challenging times we faced during the Great Recession. Today our community is financially more stable, and we must make these critical renovations and repairs now… not only for our children’s future, but in order to be financially responsible as these so costs escalate annually as the repairs go longer without being addressed. Now is the optimal time to tackle these issues.

The 2017 bond covers all necessary repairs left off the 2012 bond including: comprehensive upgrades in the “Old gym”, repair of the HS HVAC system, paving the road in front of the school and HS parking lot, and additional health and safety repairs throughout the district. Additionally, it provides funding for construction of the important music/multi-purpose room that will be a wonderful space for our children.

The levy is a separate ballot measure and provides restoration to our school fields. Voting ‘yes’ on the levy covers field rehabilitation; it is not a vote of ‘yes’ for the track. To clarify, the new track and its long-term maintenance are funded by several private donations. Rehabilitation of the fields’ ‘backbone’ is necessary, regardless of whether a track is laid atop it or not.

As you likely noticed this is a change from the bond that was narrowly defeated in February of 2017. After listening to the community, the school board took the scope of the field restoration work out of the bond and made it a separate initiative; the levy.

For the children in our school district, for our community, and for the necessity of the work that lies before us, I will be voting YES on the school bond and YES on the school levy. I hope you will join me.

Senator Kevin Ranker

Orcas School 4th Grade Parent