Rally starts levy campaign

Approximately 90 people crowded into the Broad View Elementary School gym Thursday evening. Instead of watching kids perform a play or a concert they were there to ensure some programs will exist next year.

The were attending a Citizen’s for Better Schools rally which kicked off a campaign to convince voters to continue paying a levy they originally approved in 2001. That levy is set to expire at the end of the year.

Should voters re-approve the levy, they would pay a levy rate of 75 cents per $1,000 assessed value on a home. For people who own a $200,000 home, they would pay $150 a year for the levy.

Volunteers with a group known as Citizens for Better Schools are focusing their campaign on the positive programs the levy funds.

“The motto of this is keep a good thing going for the kids,” said Stan Stanley during the rally.

The levy pays for 30 additional minutes for the elementary school day, 20 teachers, textbooks and supplies, advanced placement classes at the high school, additional hours for instructional aides and art and physical education programs at the elementary schools.

Stanley said the levy is paying for programs that have helped increased the graduation rate and helped more students pass the Washington Assessment of Student Learning.

Several students spoke during the rally about how the levy benefits their schooling.

Dakota Camacho, an eighth grader at North Whidbey Middle School, talked about the importance of choir at Oak Harbor Elementary and that he plans to take classes at the high school that are paid by levy dollars.

“I plan on taking a few AP classes in high school. These advanced placement classes are just another step toward a successful life,” Camacho said.

Broad View Elementary alumni Robin Wynn talked about the art walk in downtown produced by students in elementary school art classes.

My kids look forward to it ev”ery year,” Wynn said. “It creates a huge buzz in Oak Harbor.”

Representatives from the City of Oak Harbor and the Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce spoke in support of the levy.

Volunteers at the rally were also signing up pledge captains who will help get a minimum of 2,000 people to pledge they will support the levy at the polls.

In addition, Stanley encouraged people to write letters to the newspaper, place signs in their yard or even donate to the fund-raising campaign.

They have to get their work done fast with the March 8 election only two months away.

“It would be disastrous if it didn’t pass,” Wynn said.

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