Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Levy is vital to our students

To the editor:

Have you talked to a South Whidbey school staff member lately?

They will tell you two things. Number one, they love their job of teaching kids here on South Whidbey. Number two, they are gravely concerned about the ability to do that job if the levy does not pass in February.

Teachers are worried about the confusion surrounding the levies and the bond. Let us be as clear as possible. The upcoming levy has nothing to do with the bond which supports the consolidation of Langley Middle School and South Whidbey High School.

Our immediate focus is on the passage of the February levies. The maintenance-and-operation levy represents 20 percent of the district’s operating budget. This money supports the basics in programs, teachers, utilities and services.

We have been drastically cutting staff and programs for several years. Declining enrollment and increasing lack of state funding will create even more hardship in a district already financially distressed. Failure to pass the levy would double class sizes, cut staff and impact every aspect of your child’s education. The effects would be devastating.

We would like to underscore the following points:

• Our current levies will expire Dec. 31, 2010.

• The maintenance-and-operations levy is 20 percent of our operating budget.

• The technology and capital projects levy will fund technology upgrades and instructional tools and replacement of roofing at the elementary and high school.

• These are not new taxes, but replacement taxes for the current levy.

• These levies do not fund consolidation, they keep our doors open.

We are a staff of dedicated professionals who continue to serve the children of South Whidbey in spite of dwindling resources and declining enrollment. This community has always supported us in our endeavor to give our students the best education possible. We are counting on you once again to show your ongoing commitment to our children by passing the upcoming levy.

If you haven’t talked to a South Whidbey staff member lately, now is the time to have that conversation.

Val Brown, Jan McNeely

Co-presidents

South Whidbey Education Association

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