Bond measure abuses taxpayers | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
October 25, 2010 · Updated 7:37 AM
To the editor:
I have always been a supporter of education, but I am finally convinced that public education is not supporting me.
We have been throwing money at the problem (poor education) for decades, but it hasn’t done any good. Test scores and performance of students show that explicitly. But, this bond referendum is not about teaching, which is by far the biggest factor in a good education, but about spending lots of money on facilities during really bad economic times.
My tax bill shows 57 percent of all taxes paid go toward our schools, plus a portion of the sales taxes paid to the state of Washington. My cost of living (groceries, gasoline, tolls, fees, etc. ) is noticeably increased. This is not the time for additional taxes.
The proposed $15 million (part of the $25 million) to upgrade (not maintain) a building that was completely refurbished and modernized less than 20 years ago, is a total abuse of taxpayers.
The notion that sixth-graders (12-year-olds) must be shielded from 12th-graders (18-year- olds) by separating them in one school building is ridiculous in today’s world of mass communications (cell phone, Internet, TV, movies, etc.). Physical and psychological abuse in schools should be monitored, reported and prevented by teachers; exposure to sex, violence and other improper behavior can only be regulated by parents.
As for the other $10 million, repairs and maintenance of facilities is necessary and in our best interest long term. This seems like a lot of money for repairs, and if it is truly necessary (and not being fudged for some new fancy facilities, let’s do it. It is in our best interest to keep up the repair of our schools. It’s too bad this worthwhile issue is bundled with the upgrade portion.
Our school board and administrators make a big deal out of state subsidy cuts. What they do not tell you is that they should be spending less money because of declining enrollment (a savings of $13,500 per student times a decline of 400 students in the last four years), about $13.5 million.
The expiration of one bond issue does not justify the need for another.
Every week you can read about a real education success; where a school district has become fed up with mediocrity and hired a superintendent, giving him/her carte blanche to restructure the district, teaching, administration and philosophy. None of these success stories involved “brick and mortar.” In fact, some of them happened in positively awful physical conditions with a student body that looked like it was doomed to fail.
The key to good education is good teachers who know the subject matter, can control and inspire students, and can convey the information in an understandable manner. It is not pretty buildings and segregation of students.