Letters to the Editor

Education: Some facts about schools

In his letter (News-Times, March 6) referring to a super majority of votes on levies, Dr. J. K. Johnston goes slightly afield to comment at the end of the letter that, “With a greater portion of the state’s revenue expended on schools than for any other function, it may be time for them to make do with what they have.”

Dr. Johnston apparently has little or no idea of the restricted Oak Harbor School District resources and spending levels and how much of the resources are used in fulfilling state mandates. These levels are, with one or two exceptions, the lowest in the state per student. Indeed, it is remarkable how much the district accomplishes making do with so few funds. Bravo, Schulte and the board.

On March 9, in Ms. P. Christine Smith’s article on the high school remodeling meeting, she quotes Mr. S. Hornung about the eventual locale of any sports facility for the schools saying, “My preference would still be to have the football and the soccer stadium, and track, if space will allow it, in downtown Oak Harbor. I think it would be in the best interest of the town. If we are going to put a significant amount of money into something, I’d like that opinion considered.” Two other far more important considerations might be noted here. School facilities are not created for the best interests of the town, but for the schools, and far more important, for the students — their interests are paramount.

Mr. Hornung is in the same mindset as are too many others. The “we” he speaks of as putting out the money are all the taxpayers of North Whidbey, and not just Oak Harbor. And they are close to, if not greater, in numbers and in payments than are the Oak Harbor taxpayers. Their interests may easily trump Mr. Hornung’s ideas on the matter. Perhaps the facilities ought to be sited mid-way between the two sets of the community.

Finally, in that same edition, Mr. Paul Bixby, apparently highly annoyed that the “rich” are getting away with something in terms of taxes, remarked, “Education: Children’s education is an area of disgusting neglect.” What exactly is he writing about? That bald, hard sentence ought to be documented. Otherwise his claim will remain a most instructive and brutal remark. What is the neglect and how “disgusting” is it, and to whom?

S.M. Harris

North Whidbey

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