Hunt runs unopposed for Oak Harbor School Board | Election 2011
By REBECCA OLSON
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
October 21, 2011 · Updated 1:16 PM
Serving on the Oak Harbor School Board wasn’t Peter Hunt’s plan but when no one else ran four years ago, Hunt stepped up to fulfill his duty to his community. He’s running again this year for position 1, unopposed.
“I’m a passionate advocate for the school system,” Hunt said, adding that he feels an obligation to his community to serve.
Hunt was a longtime volunteer for the school district before running for the school board last term. He said he thought he could make a difference then and he still feels that way now.
“I gained an understanding of where the school district is and where it needs to go. Any changes of lasting impact will take a long time and I’m committed to the long haul,” Hunt said. The district is seeing demonstrative improvements, Hunt said.
“It’s good to be part of something bigger than yourself,” Hunt said. Schools are of greatest importance to him because they give equal opportunities for all students to make of the experience what they will, he said.
As legislative representative for the board, Hunt keeps in contact with state and federal legislators and discusses funding issues.
Funding won’t change until the national economy improves, Hunt said.
The district has cut everything nonessential and is facing the possibility of eliminating whole programs, like athletics, art and music, Hunt said. After all of the students’ accomplishments in these programs, Hunt said it would be disheartening to see them go.
“I’m confident we will certainly look at increasing the levy or running a second levy,” Hunt said. He understands that everyone is sensitive to tax increases; he is, too.
“But schools are different because they are a locally controlled institution. Levy funding is the only funding we have control over; everything else has strings attached. If the community will fund more, then we can do more. We have a long track record of doing exactly what we say we will with levy and bond money,” Hunt said.
“I am most proud of the fact that despite extremely difficult and stressful times, we have managed to fulfill our budgetary obligations while maintaining a collaborative relationship with teachers and staff, which has fostered a very positive learning environment for our students,” Hunt said.
The efforts of volunteers have increased and can help offset problems caused by lack of funding. Hunt especially appreciated the Oak Harbor Lions Club sponsoring the Lions Quest program at the middle schools.
“That’s the sort of thing that gives me great encouragement that we can make students’ futures brighter,” he said.
Hunt is aligned with the district’s goal that every child graduate from high school on a training path to make a career by going to college, joining the military, getting an apprenticeship and more. There are many roads to success and the schools are trying to prepare students to find their path, Hunt said.
Hunt has a daughter in her senior year of high school and a son in eighth grade.
Hunt retired as an airline pilot six years ago when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He’s working on publishing his second book, a diving history of the Andrea Doria blended with his personal story of Parkinson’s and the changes people face with age.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Rebecca Olson at email@example.com or 360-675-6611 ext. 5052.