Letter: Oak Harbor school bond is worth our support


The Oak Harbor Public Schools are asking for our support again for a school bond to replace three aging schools. Should we give it to them this time? What’s different than the bond we rejected last year?

The bond failed last year, and they heard our feedback. They were asking for too much money, and it wasn’t clear what we were getting for it. This time, it’s targeted to the replacement of three aging schools, and there’s an unprecedented 80% match from the Department of Defense (thanks Whidbey NAS!) to rebuild two of the three schools.

I’ve never heard of such a large percentage being funded by the federal government. This is an opportunity we must take advantage of. If we don’t, the government will take the matching funds and go help some other community. I’d rather see those funds help rebuild our schools and our community on Whidbey Island! And while no one, including me, likes additional taxes, we’d actually be paying less than we have been for the last bond that built the new high school, given the last bond expired in December 2022, and this one is $1.24 per $1,000 of assessed home value, versus the $1.54 per $1,000 for the last bond. Less taxes and the schools get huge benefit from it.

Plus, this bond is going to enhance safety and security at all our schools with single points of entry, something that unfortunately is absolutely necessary these days to keep our kids safe. I had two daughters grow up in public schools, and I’m thankful they were safe throughout their years there. Our kids in Oak Harbor deserve to have a safe environment to learn and grow in, which the current schools to be replaced don’t offer – they were built in the 1950s, 60s and 70s!

We’ve got approximately 26,000 residents who could vote in this election. Only 8,000 or so voted in the prior bond election last year. We can do better, Oak Harbor. Register to vote if you haven’t already. Take the five minutes to open up your ballot and vote yes for the bond by Valentines Day, Feb. 14th. Washington state requires a 60% super majority yes vote to pass a bond like this, so every single vote counts. For parents of kids in this district, this is a no-brainer. And even if you don’t have kids in school here, we all desire and benefit from a stronger community. Better schools make better communities. If you want more details on all of this, check out their website at www.ohsd.net.

Let’s invest in our kids and our community and take advantage of this unique and huge government match.

Dean Andrews

Oak Harbor