Letters to the Editor

Coupeville levy: Schools miss part of child

The Friends of Coupeville Schools are actively promoting and encouraging a “yes” vote on Feb. 5 for the Maintenance and Operations Levy that funds 17 percent of the district’s operating budget. It will replace the existing levy and support the same programs it has for the past four years. The brochure touts Coupeville’s levy rate as the lowest of 22 districts in three counties. Should Coupeville voters applaud being at the bottom of the list?

I question two aspects of this levy request. First, why do we fund at such a low rate and second, who determines how the money is apportioned?

Before you throw down the paper in disgust, I am not recommending a “no” vote for this levy. But I do believe that all tax-paying citizens need to ask themselves how much they are willing to pay for quality education. Why does the district continue to fund at such a low level? Should we continue to pursue such conservative funding when the educational programs available to students are severely limited and unbalanced? I propose that change is necessary if we are to meet the needs of ALL children.

I admit that my definition of a balanced educational program is biased. I believe in the arts in education. I hold a master’s degree in integrating the arts into the curriculum, am a professional violinist, writer and artist. The performing and visual arts are essential and should be available to every student K-12. Just as not every child wants to learn to sing or dance, not every child wants to participate in sports programs. While there are abundant opportunities to engage in sports, what about music and art programs?

Middle school sports have become a big thing in Coupeville. Coaches groom kids for high school teams. Elementary age students can participate in local soccer and baseball programs. However, what happened to the music program? There is no instrumental or choral music at the elementary school. How can we expect that the high school choir or band will have students capable of performing at a high level, if the training and classes don’t occur in the early years of school? A single teacher provides musical training to middle and high school students.

I am frustrated with the way the district divvies up the money. If the board, superintendent and members of the levy committee do not want to assess more for the M&O levy, why must the apportionment of monies remain the same? There is money earmarked for sports, advisors and coaches, for technology and basic education. When will the district address the whole child, every child; the “gifted”, as well as those needing Special Ed.; the artist, as well as the athlete? If we have the same amount of dollars, maybe we should dole it out differently. Or perhaps it is time to ask for more and provide the best education we can for ALL children.

Roxallanne Kelly Medley lives in Coupeville.

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