EDITORIAL: High school still needs upgrade

The defeat of the high school bond proposal last Tuesday was disappointing but it does not change the fact that the school needs significant upgrading for the sake of improved safety, education, athletics and community usefulness.

Of course, we use the word “defeat” advisedly. Approximately 55 percent of the voters supported the proposal. If this were a regular election that would constitute a virtual landslide. But with school bonds and levies, 60 percent approval is needed. This isn’t the first time the “supermajority” requirement has scuttled an Oak Harbor schools proposal.

It’s always hard to pin down the reasons for a defeat. The mood of the country didn’t help, with war looming and a deeper recession threatening. And the fact that Oak Harbor has an active anti-school faction is also detrimental and somewhat disheartening. There are more constructive things to do with one’s time, and better legacies to leave than “well known school improvement foe,” for example. Wouldn’t it be better to help one child learn how to read?

What next? The school board, after consulting with the public, wasted little time answering that question Monday night. The board chose to bring the same ballot measure back to the voters in May. The reasoning is that all elements of the package rejected last week are truly needed by this community.

In May, the country should be in a better mood if a quick win in Iraq boosts the economy. There will also be time to better inform the public about the bond proposal. With luck, the second time around will be the charm.

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