Letters to the Editor

School bond: Arts helps bring jobs

The proposed high school bond includes provisions for a performing arts facility imbedded in the school. The arts center is intended for both the basic educational needs of the students and for bringing music, stage, tourist, benefit performances, etc., into the life of the entire community, not just the student body.

Does music and drama participation and appreciation have significant value in determining the quality of life in the community? Absolutely. Would you, as the CEO of an enterprising company, consider expanding or relocation to a town where the school facilities were second rate and the same could be said of the town’s entertainment facilities? Those qualities are among the first and most important factors involved in maintaining or acquiring a motivated and productive work force.

We have an excellent little theater group, but aside from that, Oak Harbor is a second rate entertainment community when compared with other, even much smaller towns. Langley, Coupeville, Anacortes, all have excellent performance centers imbedded in their schools. They accommodate top artists and entertainment of all sorts which cannot be attracted to Oak Harbor. For example, during the past year and foreseeable future, Oak Harbor will have no community concert programs. They have been cancelled indefinitely because of inadequate facilities. Another example, for four years now the Whidbey Island Schools Jazz Concert, involving all island middle and high schools, has not been performed here because of second rate facilities.

A stand-alone, independent performing center has been considered for some time, since Langley built one several years ago. However, the Langley operating experience and lessons learned elsewhere have shown that stand-alone centers cannot exist financially without external funding support beyond what could be expected in Oak Harbor. The Seattle P-I newspaper, Jan. 26, 2003, features an excellent confirmation of this required support.

A no vote or not voting at all is a cop-out on the future. Your yes vote says that you care about the future of Oak Harbor and the quality of life here. If you’re fed up with taxes take it out on the local politicians who raised them at every opportunity. If you think the school board or administration has messed up, get involved to change things. Don’t take your frustrations out on our kids and the rest of the community, including yourself! Do the right thing.

Jerry Jones

Oak Harbor

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