Letters to the Editor

For students sake; ‘Yes’ on M&O levy | Letters

Being asked to contribute more money for education is frustrating to many islanders.

“We’re already spending plenty,” you’ll hear. And on a national level, it’s true.

In 2011, the University of Southern California produced a graphic which shows the annual education spending of 12 countries. Although we outspend other nations, the Federal Department of Education takes a large part of the total.

Individual states have their own education divisions and fund them differently. But basic education funding provided by the state of Washington is not sufficient to fully fund our district’s programs. Especially with recent cutbacks from Olympia.

In 2010 our district had to seek a four-year maintenance and operations levy. We voted and approved it. Now it must be renewed.

These funds comprise almost 20 percent of the annual operating budget of our district and pay for such things as full-service bus routes, reasonable class sizes, comprehensive student schedules, staffing for technology, visual arts and libraries, advanced placement and community based courses. Pretty much what you’d expect from a top-ranked school system.

I know it’s hard to vote for something like taxes. And yes, there’s room to cut spending on a national level. But these funds are critical for the success of our local students and the monies will be used for purposes worthy of your support.

And remember, this is not a new tax, it’s just a renewal for four more years. It’s a fixed-dollar amount that is unchanged as assessed property values may rise.

According to our county assessor’s office, the approximate levy rate will go from 73 cents per $1,000 assessed value (now) to 81 cents per $1,000 in 2018.

For a home assessed at $300,000 the levy change will mean almost $16 per year more in 2015 and 2016, $22 for 2017 and an extra $25 for the year of 2018, or about $2 per month. Less than a latte.

Good schools mean better communities. Please support our island schools and the greater community.

Vote to continue the maintenance and operations levy for the San Juan Island School District.

Gary Franklin, San Juan Island


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