Opinion

Fund education appropriately

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Bremerton School District will be looking for voters to vote yes on their upcoming support levy.

As the parent of a Bremerton student I certainly do my very best to support Bremerton schools, students and programs both in and out of the classroom.

I volunteer my time, I donate my dollars and I pay my property taxes as a responsible taxpayer.

When it comes to the how and why, existing levy funding is being pressed upon to fund portions of education it was never intended to, I am really outraged.

I am outraged with the entire system and with the decades of legislators who have forced local school districts into the position of being the begging bad guy with every levy support “renewal” that is needed to keep a disjointed system of funding going for just a little bit longer.

On Wednesday, Jan. 8, I attended the legislative education event at Bremerton High School.

First off, I would like to say thank you to the legislators who showed up and made themselves available for more than an hour and a half of open mic questioning.

To those legislators who did not show up, you missed a valuable opportunity and your absence was both recognized and noted.

I think Lary Seaquist had one of the best statements of the night when he said that “they,” meaning the legislature, had over legislated the classroom.  I totally agree.

My personal service to the local education community includes three years of service on the Bremerton School District Budget Committee.  Time after time, those of us on the committee were stonewalled by the endless layers of legislation, from making or moving forward with common sense budget or operational recommendations that would benefit both the students of the district and the local taxpayer base that support them.

It was beyond frustrating.

The McCleary decision and the funding requirements that it has attached to it, are forcing the legislature into a timeline of compliance and towards some of the hard decision that need to be made when it comes to the states funding of education that is long overdue.

Changes to the entire system are coming. They will not be easy or cheap and they most certainly are going to take some more time before they begin to payoff.

It is my hope that antiquated portions of the entire system are overhauled. That includes ditching a school calendar that rotates around a rural agricultural situation that no longer exists.

Public pensions and how they are regulated, set up and funded also has entered the spotlight. Continuing on as they are now, without correction, is quickly reaching a point where they are no longer sustainable.

While the entire education system continues to wait for the changes that are coming from the state leadership level, the Bremerton School District continues to need your yes vote for the upcoming Support Levy at the local level.

Conservative practices when it comes to district management and financing, along with the recent welcoming change to the office of district superintendent, has positioned the Bremerton School District to remain successful, even under state financial and funding circumstances that are less reliable or desirable.

I ask that you join with me and vote Yes on Feb. 11 for Bremerton and for the up and coming future of our community.

 

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