Opinion

A simple way to support our students

Voters will have the opportunity to show their support for local schools and students with a “yes” vote for the “simple majority” measure EHJR 4204 on the Nov. 6 ballot.

If passed, the amendment would allow a simple majority of voters (50 percent plus 1) to authorize excess capital, maintenance and operation, and transportation levies for school districts. The measure also removes the 40 percent election validation requirement for levy elections. The amendment, however, would not affect school bond elections, only school levies.

A good, solid education is an important foundation for success. We owe it to our children, the ones who will be the leaders of our community in the years to come, to vote yes for EHJR 4204. It does nothing more than give a voice to the majority. Why should other entities, such as fire departments or libraries, receive a balanced and fair simple majority vote, but not school districts?

“This (simple majority requirement) is a democratic way to do things, everything else just needs a simple majority to pass,” said Bob Bentley, chairman of Central Kitsap Citizens for Quality Education. “Just for schools to be singled out, I don’t think it’s fair.”

The passage of the supermajority requirement dates back to the time of World War II. We need to get with the times and get back into the 2000s with a simple majority vote.

The 60 percent supermajority requirement was voted into the State Constitution 63 years ago during the recovery period following the Great Depression and during World War II. At that time, more than 2,000 school districts existed in Washington state. The supermajority requirement was proposed to address voter concerns and confusion about school funding elections. Today, there are only 295 school districts. Also, school districts are required to provide the community with specific information about levy funding requests.

“Maybe there was a reason (for supermajority) in the past, but not anymore,” Bentley said.

Washington voters will have a chance to stand up for education and provide school districts with a fair opportunity to pass levies.

Let’s break down the supermajority barrier that stands between voters and schools in their communities. With the passage of EHJR 4204, the money and time wasted trying to support levies with the unfair disadvantage of a supermajority will be saved. Should this amendment pass, no longer will the minority rule.

Say yes to schools and education and say yes to EHJR 4204.

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