Opinion

Editorials

"Support schools, remember to voteThere is no doubt that South Whidbey residents support their public schools, and that next Tuesday's crucial school levy will pass. All that is required is that all the supporters remember to go to the polls.If the maintenance and operation levy should fail for the second time April 25, the school board will have no choice but to drastically cut staff and programs. Some 40 jobs would be lost, and athletics, music, book purchases and supplies would be slashed in order to save $1.5 million next year. Our students would be left with a skeleton teaching staff and far fewer educational choices and extracurricular activities.This dark scenario can be avoided simply by voting for the levy. It's nothing new -- South Whidbey has always had a maintenance and operation levy, and the April 25 vote will simply continue the one that has been in effect for the last two years. The $3 million levy is slightly more than the one approved in 1998 in order to keep up with inflation, but the tax rate per thousand will likely drop. Nobody will be financially hurt by continuing this school levy.South Whidbey isn't the kind of place where people want to hurt their schools. The Feb. 29 levy surprisingly failed, but by a razor thin margin in an election muddled up by confusion over the presidential primary.We have no doubt that the levy will pass April 25 by an overwhelming majority. All it will take is for all the good people of South Whidbey to go to the polls. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Anyone who doesn't know where to vote should call the Island County Auditor's Office at 321-5111.Parks bond also worth of supportThe South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District will also have a proposal on next Tuesday's election ballot. And although it's not as crucial as the school levy, it too deserves support from the voters.The proposal seeks voter approval to issue $1,283,000 in bonds which would be paid back over 20 years. The cost to property owners is estimated at 7 cents per thousand.When first proposed Feb. 29 the bond failed but was only a single percentage point away from the 60 percent needed to pass. In response, the Parks District commissioners pared $167,000 from the proposal. Hopefully, this good faith effort will be enough to put the proposal over the top next Tuesday.The money will allow the district to purchase an additional 30 acres and build desperately-needed ballfields for our hundreds of young soccer, softball and baseball players, as well as the associated infrastructure such as restrooms, parking and concession facilities.Not only kids will benefit. Adults will enjoy an additional two miles of trails and open space and well as the ballfields.The park expansion is a good investment in the future, costing the owner of a $150,000 home less than $12 per year. Combined with 40-acres of park land purchased last winter, the levy should provide adequate recreational facilities for years to come on South Whidbey."

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