I find it disconcerting how misinformed Bill Burnett is about the local levy. He consistently and constantly misleads readers with exaggerations and outright lies.
The school district has done a wonderful job in getting the message out about the importance of the levy. It is not really necessary to go into great detail, but some facts need to be shared. Compared to surrounding districts our levy dollars are much lower, especially when you compare it to districts comparable in size as well as military districts. In fact, it is one of the lowest in the entire state.
State and federal funding continue to decline and if the levy is not passed then even more drastic cuts will have to be made. This is not a threat from the district, but a reality. One of the first things that new residents ask is how the schools are. Now I would place Oak Harbor School District up with any district in the United States, however, we also need local support. We face a potential brain-drain without that support as families opt to live elsewhere and matriculate in neighboring districts, thus harming not only our schools but the economy in Oak Harbor/Whidbey Island as a whole.
I have had the honor of working at Oak Harbor High School for eight years. I love the school and I love the community. I also believe the community to know wild accusations when they read them. Mr. Burnett’s falsehoods are almost comical, but they are dangerous too, because it slanders the district and its hard working denizens wrongfully and distastefully.
He has accused us of teaching the students to be marxists, like this was the 1950s and he is on his own personal witch hunt. He has accused Oak Harbor Education Association of threatening to boycott businesses. Finally, he has accused teachers of wanting to line their own pocket at the expense of the children that he seemingly cares so much about.
I assure everyone that not one of these accusations has any truth to it. There is no threatened boycott, and as for Burnett’s manic mantra about Tri Days, we have one of the lowest in the entire state. Tri Days are not at all what this levy is about, and are used by Burnett as a scare tactic only.
I have offered for Mr. Burnett and anyone else to come to my classroom and observe as well as discuss the local levy. He has refused, and instead uses his bully pulpit to spread further propaganda, as well as to call me and others names for daring to disagree with him. Oak Harbor citizens have a right to see what is going on in the classroom and to ensure that their children are getting the best education possible. That is why my door is always open, so anyone and everyone can see that their children and our future is in good hands.
This levy is extremely important, as the district needs to remain competitive. Already we have cut athletics, clubs, transportation, electives, instructional assistants, technology, custodians and other integral aspects for the best quality education, and if it fails in February, we will not only lose more of the above including great programs like choir, middle school athletics, AP classes, but also more reliable technology, textbooks and of course teachers and aids; thereby setting back the quality of education for years to come. I have two kids in the district and a third one nearing school age, and I want to ensure that they continue getting the greatest education possible.
Oak Harbor High School teacher