Letters to the Editor — Jan. 25, 2017

  • Wednesday, January 25, 2017 1:30am
  • Opinion
Letters to the Editor — Jan. 25, 2017

Voting yes is a privilege!

Please, registered voters in the Sequim School District — Vote ‘Yes’ for the Feb. 14 school levies.

I ask this of you because I live, volunteer and have a grandchild in Sequim schools. I love to attend school functions even now as a retired senior citizen. My husband and I attended the wonderful Sequim High School Jazz Band and Stardust Band dinner dance last weekend in the school cafeteria. It was a great community event. I enjoy attending other after-school programs as well — like the operetta in the spring, football and softball games, chorus and band concerts, school plays — and the list goes on. Our schools and students play an integral part in our community and they deserve our support.

The current levy expires the end of this year. The replacement levy (when approved by a 50 percent-plus one majority) will help continue our community’s support for four more years for student after-school and classroom programs (not covered by the state); technology, facility and bus transportation services; and additional teachers and classroom assistants to help keep our class sizes somewhere near a reasonable number.

The proposed tax rates in the two levies are reasonable. Our school district spends a dollar amount per student that lies in the bottom 5-10 percent, compared to the rest of the districts in the state. I call that grounds for calling them reasonable and they have consistently received clean audit reports. They, overall, are fiscally conservative.

District leaders listened to voters in many public forums last year and have adjusted their approach to making critical facility improvements over a period of time. The proposed Capital Projects levy will help prepare us for the future as well as serve critical shortfalls right now in our district’s central kitchen, built in the 1940s and using World War II-era appliances to serve 2,700-plus students.

Now retired and on a fixed income, I believe that supporting our schools and the children of our community through a positive vote is not only a responsibility, but a privilege. We all have a vested interest in keeping our school programs strong and facilities sound.

Please support your Sequim Schools!

Annette Hanson

Sequim

Former teachers support school levies

We need to thank our teachers for teaching us how to read! My wife and I are former teachers. We appreciate your support for our profession.

Without operating funds, teachers cannot meet the needs of their students. Teachers often pay for needed supplies. We feed our student body from a kitchen that needs major re-construction.

A well-known fact is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many of our students need the breakfast and lunches that are supplied so they can think clearly to learn their lessons.

Give our students a chance, support the two levy issues.

Dan and Nancy Hofmann

Sequim

Consider renovation instead of demolition

After receiving the flier from the Sequim School District about the Capital Projects levy, I find some of the information to be misleading. If a levy is to be voted upon, the information should be more informative.

In 1978 and 1979, the “new” Helen Haller Elementary School was built by Del Guzzi Construction. After the completion of that school, the old and original Helen Haller School (now the Sequim Community School) underwent a total renovation to bring it up to the Uniform Building Code standards. This included removing the large windows and installing the alcoves, rewiring, plumbing, insulation, new HVAC, etc.

The kitchen also underwent renovation; even though some old equipment may have been salvaged, the kitchen was included in the remodel.

The school district flier lists the building as being built in 1949 but does not mention the remodel.

It would seem that another renovation could bring the building back up to today’s code and be updated to meet all the security and educational needs to educate and keep our children safe in today’s world.

Gary Livengood

Sequim

Vote for basic educational opportunities

I am writing in support of the upcoming Educational Programs and Operations Levy.

As a community college instructor, mother of two children raised in Sequim, and as a member of this community, I urge all of you to join me in voting yes for the levy for these reasons:

The capital projects levy responds to the concerns of voters who repeatedly opposed a large, comprehensive bond issue addressing the majority of the district’s capital needs. If you originally opposed, please note: We listened to your concerns and compromised.

It is important to remember that the levy is not a request for more, but rather a request for a renewal of funding to maintain the programs and services already approved by voters.

Without support of such basic, foundational educational opportunities, the future of the children’s lives and of all our lives is threatened. Sequim is a place where sun is abundant and the soils are rich. This is why agriculture has been central to the community for many years.

Vote yes so that the schools, too, can provide a foundation for growth, for learning and for the future.

Kate Reavey

Sequim

School conditions lead to missed recruiting opportunities

As a registered nurse who has lived in Sequim for 20 years and recently retired from the medical field, I frequently get inquires from people trying to find a new physician. The usual scenario is that their physician is retiring or has decided to relocate.

Medical professionals know the importance of education and a good school district is in the “must have” column. A strong education system is a thermometer of the dynamic infrastructure of the entire community!

Unfortunately, the present conditions of the Sequim School district facilities are not meeting the basic expectations of the medical professionals that we are trying to attract and retain to this area. They choose to locate their young families in another community that does support the school system. This results in a negative impact to local medical care access for all of us.

If you recently received a ballot for this special election for the Sequim School District, take a moment to think of the consequences of your vote.

Please join me with a YES vote for both levies to show your support of education for our children.

Passing these two levies is critical for enhancing the quality of life for everyone in our community.

Susan Sorensen

Sequim

‘No’ vote sends message to legislators

Bertha Cooper is to be commended for her excellent article in the Sequim Gazette (“School levy is the only sure thing unless … ,” Jan. 18, 2017, page A-8) regarding the upcoming school levy vote.

With all due respect to Bertha, we should all take strong exception to the issue regarding the requirement for our state Legislature to fully fund basic education as ordered and directed by our State Supreme Court. We, the people and voters, must place all of the pressure and light on the Legislature to force them to do their job and comply with the court mandate!

Our school board has abdicated their responsibility by asking for approval of a four-year-levy — this does nothing to motivate the Legislature! Approval of the four-year levy, along with other school districts, only helps the Legislature to continue to not do their job! As voters, let’s do our job and put pressure on the people who we voted for in Olympia.

I am asking folks here in Sequim to join me in voting NO to the four-year EP&O Levy. The school board should then resubmit for a new vote for a two-year EP&O levy which we can all support and keep the pressure and light on the Legislature to force them to do their job!

I would also urge the school board and administration to seriously improving/upgrading the science rooms as part of the Capital Levy program. Again, please vote “No” against the four-year EP&O levy to bring pressure on the Legislature and not let them off of the hook! Let’s vote smart!

John Sartori

Sequim

Vote yes for both levies

Our community has been working hard to find the best way to support our schools. There is agreement that great schools are critical to the future of our kids and of this fine place.

Great schools can’t happen without solid financial support.

The new superintendent and the school board have listened to the community and come up with a common sense, two-part package upon which we’ll vote in February.

Part one supports continuation of important current programs and ongoing maintenance. Part two focuses squarely on the most important of the school system’s many capital projects.

Let’s vote yes for both parts of this package — the product of a superintendent and school board who heard us and identified our community’s preferred approach to school funding.

Jim and Jo Ann Roberts

Sequim

Pass this levy

So we as a school district are trying to pass a levy, as a result of Sequim’s inability to pass the school bond. The levy is a way for the people in the Sequim school district.

Teachers spend about $200 per year out of their own pockets on different school supplies, such as markers, tissues, band aids, pens, masking tape, paper clips and stuff for projects, envelopes, pencil sharpeners, and this is just some of the stuff they have to buy.

We need to pass this levy so my sister and her friends can graduate from a well-maintained school. This levy will help buy new stuff for the school kitchen, which is using World War II-era appliances.

Passing this levy will help pay for after-school activities and sports, by paying $1.52 per $1,000 which is really not that much for how great the outcome will be.

So let’s do this Sequim, let’s pass this levy!

Jade Arnold

Sequim

More levy details needed

Spending four years in the Sequim school district, I believe the levies should not pass.

Looking at the numbers and statistics I was presented with, I don’t see how it would take $6 million for educational programs and operations (EP&O), but only $681,000 to rebuild the community school and purchase new equipment for the cafeteria.

In my mind, it should be the other way around.

Where would all of money go? Is it actually going toward better education for the upcoming generations? Or, better pay to the people that work for the district?

Although, the people behind these levies won’t say, it still makes me curious.

We need more information on the levies before they pass on the Feb. 14.

Carissa Leal

Sequim

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Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
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