Whidbey school districts should combine
April 15, 2009 · 7:53 AM
It was with great interest that I read the stats on the recent Oak Harbor school tax issues. Almost as many who voted "yes," voted "no". The defeat for the math specialists was not surprising. What is surprising is that voters don't do their "old math" and realize that the money is already in the district for those things. Special voting isn't needed. The funds are already there, but not being used for direct services.
The funds are in the salaries of duplicated administrative services on this island. All three school districts are paying out millions to administrators and their offices that could be spent on direct services to students. Legislators should be looking at this inverted triangle. You don't have to be a geometry specialist to see that the point of the funding triangle should be at the top, labeled "Administrative Salaries and Benefits," with the majority of the funds at the base of the triangle labeled "Direct Services" for kids.
Why aren't the school boards insisting that these floundering school districts unify? They have the power. One superintendent, one assistant superintendent, one bus specialist, one special education administrator, one, one, one, one ... you name it, translating into dollars saved for educational use.
All of these districts could be fiscally sound and offer alternatives to students if they unified. The school board could have representation from all three areas and teachers could move from area to area to get innovative people in any and all schools to upgrade their peers' teaching skills and provide meaningful alternative programs.
Another issue is that purchasing power goes up for larger districts ... so money is wasted by not buying in quantity. There are perks that larger districts get that aren't even known by the voters. Information that is only privy to the "insiders," the administrators. Think about it. Email your school board and ask them to consider unification. It's their job to provide appropriate education to kids through responsible decision making. Unify and kids win. Divided they fail.
Beverly B. Casebeer