Like many readers, I’m a veteran, a retired businessman and a resident in the Oak Harbor School District. I don’t like paying too much taxes and I have no children in the school district.
As we debate which local taxes we want to pay and which we don’t, we should apply the litmus test of whether or not we have first adequately paid for the three main community priorities.
I believe they are:
1. Public Safety
3. Nutrition and Health
Regarding education, I support the new, increased school levy that is up for a vote in February.
To me this is pretty straight forward and it has nothing to do with whether or not I support school unions (not particularly) or the school board (I don’t have an opinion).
Plain and simple, for 2012 the current existing school levy provides roughly $632 per student. That makes us 249th of 295 schools in the state. Estimated comparables include Coupeville $2,263, Anacortes $2,615, Central Kitsap (Bangor/Bremerton) $1,583, Clover Park (Lewis/ McCord) $1,916. The state average local levy contribution to education is $2,014.
The new proposed levy will double our tax rate for schools such that we will provide $1,200 per student, still far behind the local alternatives for where to send kids to school and still way below the state average. (Source for all numbers is the State Office of the Supt. of Public Instruction)
There are a lot of other numbers we can throw into the equation, but the only one we can control locally is the Oak Harbor levy support. State and federal funding for all districts is going to fluctuate year to year and probably isn’t going to go up. If we want to focus on what we can control in Oak Harbor, then please join the community in voting “yes” for the new increased school levy in February.