Schools gearing up for levy kickoff

Erica Wasinger, co-chair for the Citizens for Better Schools, show two of the 1,500 signs printed that will be used to promote a replacement levy for the Oak Harbor School District. - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Erica Wasinger, co-chair for the Citizens for Better Schools, show two of the 1,500 signs printed that will be used to promote a replacement levy for the Oak Harbor School District.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

As one campaign ends, another is just beginning.

A rally scheduled one week after the general election will take place to round up volunteers needed to promote an upcoming replacement levy that will help fund Oak Harbor School District.

The kickoff rally is 6 p.m., Wednesday Nov. 14 at the North Whidbey Middle School gymnasium.

Voters in February 2013 will decide whether to approve a four-year tax levy that will bring in $7.3 million over the course of four years. Unlike capital bond measures, levies have to pass by a 50 percent simple majority.

The kickoff event will include performances by two bands — one comprised of teachers and another of students — and provide a way for people to get involved promoting the upcoming levy.

“We’re just hoping to have a big kickoff,” said Erica Wasinger, who is co-chairing the Citizens for Better Schools along with Lynn Goebel. Wasinger noted the door prizes that will be available, which include two three-month memberships to Thrive as well as gift cards to Toppins and the Rusty Chandelier.

Both Wasinger and Goebel attended a recent Oak Harbor School Board meeting to highlight the group’s participation in the homecoming parade and volunteer efforts selling T-shirts and sweatshirts.

The four-year levy will maintain 20 current teacher positions and restore 10 teaching positions previously eliminated due to reductions in state funding.

The levy would also provide $2.3 million in textbook and technology purchases; $700,000 for athletics, music and tutoring; $500,000 for special education teachers; and $1.6 million for maintenance and custodial.

In addition to the levy dollars, the school district would receive an additional $1 million in state match. If approved, it will cost the owner of a $250,000 home $495 or about $1.98 per $1,000 of valuation.

Organizers for the levy committee are busy preparing the campaign. They have 1,500 signs for people to place in yards and on the sides of roads throughout the district.

They said they decided to wait until after voting of the General Election took place before starting their promotional work.

“When these campaigns end, we’re going to start,” Superintendent Rick Schulte said during Monday’s board meeting.

School officials are also busy informing folks about the facts surrounding the proposal. Schulte said he and assistant superintendent Lance Gibbon have spoken to community groups about the levy and they are looking for more speaking engagements.

Schulte said that he’s received a warm reception from the groups he has spoken with.

Wasinger noted that there will be challenges running a campaign over the busy holiday season, but said volunteers will make a push to promote the levy before the absentee ballots are mailed in late January.

Citizens for Better Schools has established a website and a Facebook page.


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