Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Think again before voting 'yes' on the school bond

Before this Island burdens itself with a $75.5 million school district bond debt, there are several questions we should ask ourselves:

According to King County’s own numbers, a whopping 49.1 percent of our property taxes already go to the state and local schools. How much more are we going to feed this seemingly insatiable appetite before we say, “Enough already — learn to live within your budget and manage your existing resources like we all have to do these days”?

Is it wise to spend this kind of money on a small student body whose numbers will decline over the next few years due to changing demographics — going from approximately 500 high schoolers to something much less, based on the overall expected decline of the total school district’s enrollment numbers from approximately 1,400 on-Island in 2009 to approximately 1,100 on-Island students in eight years?

Is it wise to burden this small community of 5,000 to 6,000 households with a median income of $60,000 to $70,000 per year and declining due to the failing economy (not the near-$100,000 income some have suggested) with such a debt? At the first public meeting on this issue, someone suggested that the increase in our property tax would amount to no more than a couple of “lattes” a week, as if it was nothing more than discretionary money that we would simply waste on such luxuries anyway. For too many households on Vashon, it isn’t about “lattes”; it is about “meat and potatoes” for their families.

Finally, is it wise to reward this school district with such money and spending in light of the recent below-average academic performance, by their own admission, with regard to math and reading skills and to some extent science skills as well?

Even in the best of economic times this would be a questionable debt to take on by this community. But in light of the tough economic times ahead now and in the future for all of us, it seems much less than prudent.

— Douglas E. Larsen

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