Opinion

Levy: chance to ‘pay it forward’ | Letters

I am writing in support of the ballot measure to renew and increase the capital and technology levy for San Juan Island schools.

The reasons why  parents and families should support this measure are obvious, and well described by others in letters and mailings.

Less obvious is why islanders without children in our school system should support it.

I am among this group. But I believe very strongly that education and schools are the bedrock upon which we build strong communities.

The measure provides the funds to ensure we maintain our investment in the schools, beyond their daily operation. It also ensures that our schools can provide children with access to tech

nologies that will make them successful in tomorrow’s society and job market.

We focus a lot of energy upon what happens in the schools’ formal curriculum. But many of the learning opportunities that occur outside the curriculum also provide crucial skills and inspiration that can lead to good careers and jobs down the road.

In my own case, I was fortunate to attend a junior high school which was able, in the late ‘70s, to buy a single personal computer for students and faculty to explore. This investment in infrastructure — difficult to justify in 1979 — paid handsome dividends for the small group of children and faculty that learned its secrets.

Today, we expect our schools to provide students with much greater access to technology. But somewhere in our schools, there are seeds of new experiences and learning opportunities that will be important in decades to come.

We can’t plan such things, but we can ensure our schools have good infrastructure and modern technology. Added to a solid core curriculum and employment of great educators, the result is a great educational system.

As I mentioned, I do not have children of my own. But a previous generation of taxpayers were willing to fund the schools that helped me succeed and give me such formative experiences.

I feel lucky to be able to “pay that forward” by supporting our schools today.

I urge everyone else to do the same.

Mark Madsen

San Juan Island

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