Letter: Reinstate supermajority for school levy passage


Say “no” to the Oak Harbor School District levy. The school district wants local property owners to hand them $48.4 million over the next four years to operate the schools.

This is money the school district really doesn’t need: Washington state recently added billions of dollars more to the K-12 operating budget from the state level.

Article IX, Section 1 of the Washington Constitution says, “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders.”

Following an eight-year court battle, the McCleary decision resulted in a huge infusion of money from the state level into the K-12 budget, prompting the state’s largest teachers’ union to celebrate, stating: “Because of McCleary, state funding for K-12 basic education has increased by billions of dollars, including billions for competitive and professional educator compensation. In 2016-2018, WEA members in school districts across the state negotiated historic pay increases for both certificated and classified education support professionals.”

The school district calls this a “replacement” levy, which is a disingenuous spin on its part.

Voters handed the school district a property tax levy four years ago. Property values have increased significantly since then. Zillow estimates property values have increased by 35 percent in Island County over the last four years. The school district explains “… the approximate rate per $1,000 is $2.28. This is the same rate currently being collected.”

However, this new levy over four years is for $48.4 million, while the previous levy was for $41 million. So, this would be a huge increase over the previous levy. The school district telling people that the “tax rate” would be the same is a purposely misleading “spin.”

The school district levy is an excess property tax levy. Some years ago, before McCleary, all school levies required a 60 percent supermajority to pass at the polls. School districts whined about the state not meeting its statutory obligation under the state constitution. State legislators eventually voted to place the issue on the ballot, and in 2007 voters approved doing so by a slim 50.61 percent margin.

After McCleary, it’s time to reinstate the 60 percent supermajority for all school district excess property tax levies.

William Burnett

Oak Harbor

More in Letters to the Editor

Letter: Don’t censor, but sharing Drum letter unnecessary

Editor, I’d like to take a moment to address the letter from… Continue reading

Letter: On loan from God? Should have much better connections

Editor, I certainly can’t claim to be the most buoyant duck in… Continue reading

Letter: WhidbeyHealth CEO is paid more than Biden

Editor, I read the article that described the financial condition of WhidbeyHealth.… Continue reading

Letter: Students fortunate to have Eager as a teacher

Editor, We are writing as parents and community members. We are writing… Continue reading

Letter: Why is ‘narrative’ focused on equity, social justice?

Editor, There are many forms of government — communism, socialism, fascism, democracy,… Continue reading

Letter: Fair Start for Kids Act would give access to early care

Editor, As a mother, I know how essential child care is for… Continue reading

Letter: Article should have included letter in entirety

Editor, This is a note to in regards to Stina Wenzek’s letter… Continue reading

Letter: Teachers do not abrogate their right to free speech

Editor, This is in regard to the citizens’ complaint against a teacher… Continue reading

Letter: Limbaugh may be speaking with God, but long-distance

Editor, What Americans need to remember is that it is democracy, the… Continue reading

Most Read