School levy drive kicks off

"A group of about 90 or so parents, teachers, politicians and community members took a break from Christmas shopping and decorating to rally around the school levies Tuesday night.Admitting that they were preaching to the choir, rally supporters took turns giving reasons why they support the levies in front of a crowd of allies.Nobody questions paying insurance on their car or home, Partnership With Youth Director Roosevelt Rumble said. The children are our insurance for the future.Although the special election for the three levies are over three months away - March 13 - the rally organizers said they needed to get the momentum building and start educating the community now. After all, they pointed out, 15 proposed school levies have been voted down since 1965.The Citizens for Better Schools group is reopening the campaign headquarters in a building donated by local developer Bill Massey.Last week the Oak Harbor School Board decided to separate the levy into different pieces in order to boost the chance of passage. Voters will get a chance to choose or reject a $1.5 million maintenance and operation levy, a $225,000 hot lunch program and an $8 million stadium.Several local politicians attended the rally, including Island County Commissioner Mac McDowell, state representative-elect Barry Sehlin and Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen.Several high school students, including seniors Scott Sebens and Molly Bull, spoke about the embarrassment and resentment they've felt in comparing their schools to others they have visited - other schools with a hot lunch program, adequate stadium and a track that's fit for competition.Teachers talked about the problems and shortages that affect the schools, including outdated textbooks, a short elementary school day and kids who come to school hungry.--------You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at or call 675-6611. "

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