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School bond: Make an intelligent choice
One element missing in every high school bond opposition letter is an intelligent argument against the need to renovate. Most people opposed to the bond concede this point; instead they have chosen to fight the bond on other grounds because they know the need is real, and that action must be taken.
We can no longer trust the education of our children, and our very future, to the current high school. An overcrowded high school that fails building code, lacks the infrastructure to support 21st century technology, cannot host a track meet because other schools have deemed the track unsafe, and forfeits the home-field advantage for its state championship quality football team because of its woefully inadequate facilities is unacceptable and embarrassing.
From recent letters it is clear that there are Oak Harbor residents who make a concerted effort, and take great pride in belittling the honest efforts of the dedicated, caring, and hardworking people in this town who are trying to make real progress. These people find it easier to criticize the work of others than offer real solutions. This community needs action oriented, viable answers and not people whose going in position to every argument is "if it is not my idea then it is not going to work."
The bottom line is that the school board has come up with a plan that trades off many complicated and interrelated issues such as total tax rate, maturity dates and total debt service and arrives at a workable solution. The fact is that even when the proposed bond passes, Oak Harbor property owners will still pay $0.94 less per $1000 in total education taxes than the Washington State average ($3.08 vs. $4.02). This plan not only fulfills the need for renovation in a reasonable way, it is also infinitely better than the alternatives, or rather the lack of alternatives offered by these nay sayers.
The idea that we need to fund our future by investing in our children seems so obvious to me that the financial cost of this bond seems trivial in comparison to the cost of inaction. To argue whether or not we should pay $125 per year or $180 or even $250 to help guarantee our future seems to miss the point that money is not the only, or even the best, way to judge if we should take action. It is not about how we can make a profit by buying these bonds and offsetting the tax increase, it is about doing what needs to be done.
Im unsure how you change the mind of somebody who shortsightedly argues that this is not his or her responsibility because they either have no children, or their children are no longer school age. Can they be convinced that supporting education issues is a small, but required price to pay to ensure everyones well being and longevity? I hope so.
Jeffrey S. Ruth