What direction now?

Record Editorial

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 2:40am
  • Opinion

The school bond has once again been defeated. The rhetoric on the local Yahoo groups was, at first, personal and heated, without much logic. Both sides pointed fingers at the other, with the proponents of the bond being much more vocal than the opponents. That’s probably a good thing since the opponents were labeled as illiterate, uneducated individuals who don’t value their community. Thankfully, those sentiments are shared by only a few overly zealous parents who typically throw out criticism from the cheap seats.

So what direction should the district go? It’s imperative to find the reasons that people are voting “No,” but with nothing but negative rants coming from proponents, it’s not likely those who voted against the bond will step forward.

I have heard from many people on both sides of this issue in the last two months. Most would agree that new school facilities, at some level, are needed. Most opponents have said the bill is too high and when they hear the argument that it will get more expensive with time, they question that logic.

But the biggest concern I have heard is that people simply can’t afford the extra $500 a year that the average homeowner will pay if the bond passes. So, who out there has an answer for that? Suggest these people move? I would almost expect that response from some of those who rant on the Yahoo groups, but both sides call the Valley home. Besides, how many people received their tax statements last week and will see increases in their base taxes next year?

I am guessing everyone. And it’s likely that some of those people who want the bond may not really be able to afford it once that first post-levy tax statement hits their escrow account. Or maybe the bond will force one more retired person to leave the Valley, an all too common scenario.

The point is, there are lots of reasons that people may be voting against the bond, but it’s not because they aren’t supportive of schools. It’s a personal decision based on affordability, value and investment, and some people just don’t seem to agree with the bond that’s being forced down their throats.

The district needs to come back with something palatable and get the process going to at least relieve some of the capacity issues at Mount Si. Let’s vote on portables and land acquisition right away to get the ball rolling.

It’s really up to the school board to determine what steps should be taken in the future. It has the task force’s recommendations and two failed elections. We need a new direction.

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Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
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