I urge a vote of "no" on the Walla Walla Public Schools' levy.
Am I anti-kids or anti-education? Absolutely not! I've devoted over 40 years of my life to kids and teaching.
I simply do not trust the Walla Walla Public Schools' handling of our money. Officials proved themselves to be pretty free with our tax dollars for a long time now, spending it as they chose, rather than as we chose. This new replacement levy is in addition to the money for schools that is already part of our tax burden.
This is extra, voter-approved money. Although the ads say it's "about the same" as the retiring levy, heed the word "about." It is "about" ... but more and increases yearly.
It would cost me an extra $127 a month on my taxes, which are already higher in Walla Walla than they were in the Seattle area where I previously lived, if this levy passes with a 50 percent plus 1 vote. My income hasn't increased to accommodate that.
In the school district I work in, we, like many people in this economy, are tightening our belts. We're making do with a bit less. The kids are still getting well educated.
They are still achieving and meeting benchmarks. They still have sports, music, drama and other electives without an additional levy.
Our school district staff, like many city, state and county employees, have agreed to "cut days" to save both money and jobs and avoid having to lay off any employees.
We're pretty careful about how we spend the dollars we have.
Walla Walla Public Schools needs to get realistic. If we can do it, it can too without continuing to burden taxpayers with ever-increasing levies.
Had it even asked for a replacement levy that reflected the economic times and was less than last year's, I might have felt somewhat differently. All over the country, state services and government funding are being trimmed.
The national debt is a huge election issue! Is it only in Walla Walla that officials think we have bottomless pockets and will always approve their increases so they don't have to cut like the rest of us?
I think there are many creative and just ways of limiting the cost of education in Walla Walla without asking already burdened taxpayers for more money. Send a message to the School Board and vote no.