Support for Orcas School Board

In the last election I had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of people who willfully subject themselves to public scrutiny simply to provide for the educational needs of our children. First, as a critic of the Orcas School District’s bond proposal and then, after due consideration, a supporter, I came to appreciate the hard work and dedication that our volunteer School Board members have put into this process.

The Orcas voters have now made a clear statement that they cannot/will not support the current school district development plan. Those of us who supported the initiative may not like the outcome of the vote, but I do believe that we understand the resistance to the project as it was proposed. We know that in order to make many of the badly needed repairs and improvements to our campus we will need to reach farther out to the community to develop a new plan that balances the economic, educational and functional needs of our schools.

A new, viable plan will take the support of our community, reaching out and providing the school board with the answers they need. A discussion that leads us down a path where our school board members are vilified, criticized and otherwise accused of malfeasance does not move us forward. I can only imagine that for many of them, a defeat in the next election would signal a relief. I know that for all of them, this process has caused mental exhaustion and was not done to further their high-paying political careers, but instead in an attempt to do what they felt was right for their community and their constituents.

As the discussion of school buildings, maintenance and quality of education moves forward in time, I hope that those vocal in support as well as in resistance step up to help formulate a new plan – one not focused on divisiveness, but instead on the best course of action for our schools.

Justin Paulsen

Orcas Island