Vote yes for coming school district bond
January 23, 2020
To The Eagle:
It is no secret that the state of Washington has botched up school finances, the most recent example being the court-ordered enhancement of school funding which our legislature distributed in such a way as to penalize small rural school districts like ours at the expense of larger urban districts. In our local history, a decade-and-a-half ago we defeated a couple of bond issues to replace the J.A.Wendt elementary school for over seven million bucks and ended up with a remodel job for under three, and then-superintendent Bob Garrett managed to cut that bill nearly in half for us by strong-arming the state.
A little after that we formed a committee to study remodeling the high school, but got hit with the housing bubble collapse followed by the Great Recession, and decided the best policy was to retreat and wait for better times – which appear to be now. For the imminent bond issue, Superintendent Brent Freeman has developed a program that starts with basics like heat, light, safety, security, and getting the buildings up to snuff for building codes and insurance requirements, and then enhancing instructional areas, particularly in vocational and agricultural ed. They’ve already made much progress in the latter using local and regional partnerships, volunteers, and student participation. The program starts focused on the nearly 60-year-old high school, and then moves across campus to the other buildings, and is also scheduled over several years, so that we are not paying interest on dollars we haven’t used.
Our superintendent has hands-on experience as a naval officer working on similar projects in the strife torn Middle East, where politics and finance are even more squirrelly than here, and has garnered the support of local representatives, particularly Jim Walsh and Ed Orcutt, who have done well in defending the interests of southwest Washington. All in all, I’d say the project is much needed, well organized, and in good hands, so when the ballot arrives, go for it.