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Past, future levies help school district thrive | Letters

January 16, 2013 · Updated 3:52 PM
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Editor,

During the last several years, the citizens of Oak Harbor have made great strides in improving opportunities for kids and bringing pride back to our schools.

Just 15 years ago, our school buildings were in shambles; we had no hot lunch; our elementary school day was shorter; we had just one Advanced Placement class serving only 50 students.

Through your action, you have changed all of that. Today, our students go to schools in classrooms that are warm and comfortable and conducive to learning.

We have some very strong programs — elementary art and P.E., 12 AP courses serving 450 students, an outstanding career and tech program, and hot lunch and breakfast in every school – thanks to our local levy.

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, your school board is asking you to support the renewal of our local school levy to keep good things happening in Oak Harbor.

This levy will do several things.

It will restore some of the cuts forced on our schools over the last four years: returning to a full middle school day, improving safety and learning in special education, restoring after-school tutoring, middle school sports, textbooks and classroom computers.

It protects 20 classroom teachers currently funded by the existing levy and returns 14 of 34 teachers lost due to state and federal cutbacks.

It protects all after-school activities, including all team sports, music, Wildcat TV, debate, DECA and the culinary arts team from inevitable cuts due to shrinking federal funding.

The proposed levy is affordable. Currently, we are in the bottom 10 percent in Washington when it comes to local levy dollars provided per student. Our levy is about one-quarter that provided by neighboring communities and other military communities.

Federal Impact Aid dollars have already seen significant reductions and, with severe Congressional cuts looming, it will likely shrink more.

In Oak Harbor, we have enacted more than five years of significant budget cuts and staffing and administrative reductions.

We cannot make further cuts without eliminating student learning opportunities.

We are asking for your help in renewing the proposed levy.

Approving this levy is critical for the continued success of our district. Our students deserve the opportunity to succeed and to compete in today’s world.

Please vote yes on Feb. 12. Thank you.

 

Gary Wallin
Oak Harbor School Board

 

 

 

 

 

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