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I offer congratulations over and over again to the voters and citizens of College Place for having the courage and the foresight to pass a school bond that essentially does a makeover of their school system while creating a College Place High School. This is the most important development in secondary education in the 35 years I have lived in Walla Walla.

It is worthwhile to notice the tax rate to pay for the bond for this new high school and redo are about four times as much as the ones that would have been imposed by the recently defeated by minority vote of the Walla Walla High School bond.

I attended the meeting at the School Board office to go over the recent campaign and voting. I deeply sympathize with individuals for whom an increase in taxes would be an intolerable burden.

But certainly there can’t be that many more senior citizens on fixed incomes who do not qualify for an exemption or are otherwise financially strapped in Walla Walla than there are in College Place. In my opinion, the argument that the bond was too big and that the community can’t afford it is invalid.

Four times, my fellow citizens. You can afford to pay a fourth as much as they are now paying in College Place.

The other issue that seemed to still have resonance for the naysayers was a lack of trust of the School Board. Another was that maintenance on the high school was not properly done.

Has it occurred to anybody that probably one of the reasons an earlier School Board took funds left over from the Edison construction, meaning it came in under budget, and distributed them to several other worthy projects at different schools was for maintenance? The Board emphatically did not take the money and run off to Hawaii. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t complain about the lack of maintenance and then criticize the Board for doing some maintenance.

It is possible to carry grudges for decades. On the other hand we are encouraged to believe in a forgiving God. In my opinion it is not good policy to punish new generations of students for the actions of an earlier School Board.

It is time to forgive, and to pony up. Taxes are a privilege assessed upon the citizens for a civilized society. We have a responsible School Board that put forth a reasonable bond. Please support the students and the Board when another bond comes forward.

Charles Potts

Walla Walla

Comments

ImJustSayin 1 year, 1 month ago

"It is time to forgive, and to pony up. Taxes are a privilege assessed upon the citizens for a civilized society..."

Yet another example of how the left has zero shame.

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barracuda 1 year, 1 month ago

Sorry Charlie.... Reasons I voted no....

With CP's vote.... It just removed about 20-30% of our operating budget, and we don't have a complete picture how we can operate the school without these students and the lost revenue.

According to my tax assessment notice that I just received in the mail this week... I am already paying $800.00 +/- a year for WWSD. (bond & operating) This is on top of Fire, Police, EMS, and Fresh Water taxes and bonds. Also there is some rumbling about street bonds as well coming up. (I might support this).

I cannot support every member of the school board! The board "unanimously" voted to table this bond....easy to do with the three member present. I will always wonder if it would have been unanimous if the other board member were present? This board cannot remember they are elected to serve as our representatives and to do our bidding not dictate their own wishes over the voters!

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wallyworldguy 1 year, 1 month ago

"Has it occurred to anybody that probably one of the reasons an earlier School Board took funds left over from the Edison construction, meaning it came in under budget, and distributed them to several other worthy projects at different schools was for maintenance?"

Doesn't matter what they used it for, they deceived the tax payers.

My property is worth 30 thousand less then it was 5 years ago, yet I just got my tax assessment and find my taxes are now higher then they were 5 years ago.

I will vote no on any bond until the economy gets much better and the school board brings there "wants" down to a much more realistic level.

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fatherof5 1 year, 1 month ago

This is a good letter, Mr. Potts. The reader comments that follow your letter miss a few important points, though.

First, wallyworldguy writes that the Board "deceived the taxpayers" by spending the excess funds from the 2007 Edison bond. The text from that bond says: "... This proposition authorizes the district to replace Edison Elementary with a new elementary school and pay for other capital improvements." Voters approved that language. There was no deception. Voters voted for it. We put Board members in place to make good decisions about the "other capital improvements." I think they did. But regardless of the merits of those projects, there was no deception. To the contrary, the Board was following the stated will of the voters, who approved that language.

Second, the Board cannot "dictate their wishes over the voters." That literally isn't possible, since the voters would be the ones to approve the Board's wishes. Also worth noting, a majority of voters agreed with the Board's wishes last month. That isn't enough yet to pass the bond, but it does show the Board isn't that far off.

Finally, while the CP bond did, indeed, remove a chunk of the district's operating budget by pulling 350 students from Wa-Hi, it also removed an equivalent amount of per-student state funding. So, that is a wash. There is no extra money there. But we still have 10 schools to maintain. That hasn't changed.

What also remains unchanged are the single-pane windows, the small classrooms, the lack of science labs, the lack of a quality fitness room, the lack of an insurable track, the lack of a classroom for drama, the lack of practice rooms for music, the lack of a modern H-VAC system, the old desks, the lack of modern technologies, and so on. None of this is impacted by the CP bond.

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ImJustSayin 1 year, 1 month ago

Just opened my tax bill and it seems I will be having the "privilege" of paying the following taxes:

STATE SCHOOL - $451.00 SD #140 GENERAL - $681.00 SD #140 BOND - $233.00

So Mr. Potts, it seems I have ponied up and it's time for a breather. Instead of asking for more, maybe it would be a good time to ask for a state audit to see how efficiently our dollars are being spent. If everything checks out, then the board gets it's trust back.

fatherof5, I know it will be hard to not respond......but this is Mr. Pott's letter. Give it a rest.

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fatherof5 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm not sure Mr. Potts is online to respond, ImJustSayin, but I am. I just called a good friend in College Place. He shared his tax statement with me for comparison.

STATE SCHOOL: $685; SD #250 GENERAL: $899: SD #250 BOND: $766

Your house in WW comes to $1,365 in school taxes. His in CP is $2,350. (His house is assessed at $283,500, which may or may not be more than yours and is obviously an important variable for this comparison.)

Public schools cost money. They are OUR schools, and Mr. Potts is correct that we are privileged in this country to have them. Taxes suck, but that's how we pay for schools. I've said this before: If we waited for each 10-20 year school bond to expire before passing the next one, each of our ten schools would wait 100-200 years between rebuilds. Yes, taxes suck, but math is math. And decay is decay.

Wa-Hi could be fixed and we'd still pay less per-capita than College Place or most other comparable districts. If the Wa-Hi bond had passed and added the $ .68 per $1,000 to our taxes, that would have been less than $200 extra for my friend's nice house (if it were in WW)....and less than $130 for an average house. It's not easy for everyone to add that cost, but there is also a cost to sending our kids to mediocre schools.

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ImJustSayin 1 year, 1 month ago

I bet CP residents are wishing they could have a "do-over" with that vote for a new high school. Seems they didn't realize churches and most of the elderly don't pay taxes and it has to be made up somewhere......and that would be your good friend and many more. You're going to see a mass exodus out of CP because they can longer afford to live there. And of course you couldn't resist piping in again.....you're the anointed one.

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fatherof5 1 year, 1 month ago

You prefer to rebut without being rebutted.

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namvet60 1 year, 1 month ago

I will state again - Why doesn't the Superintendent and the school board formulate a pay-as-you-go and then when the money is available have at it. The school levy is atrocious and could be cut in half and put in that fund and in a few years the funds will be built up and construct what is necessary. However if they are not trustworthy as our federal government utilizing and moving funds around, they never seem to have enough money to proceed with any type of construction.

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fatherof5 1 year, 1 month ago

As barracuda has suggested, this would be a good question for someone from the district to respond to. I wish I knew more about levy laws. However, it seems logical to assume that to set aside half or even 10% of the annual levy monies for construction projects would probably mean laying off library staff, music staff, cutting athletic programs, and making a number of other cuts that many of us would not deem acceptable. But, someone from the district could explain this better than I.

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namvet60 1 year, 1 month ago

I understand the so-called complications, theatrics and drama from these situations but it seems when they desire something they find a way to get around the small bumps. I'm not comprehending about the personnel loss? These employees should be in the school budget and if not there is some serious management problems. Not looking for an arguement just wondering.

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fatherof5 1 year, 1 month ago

namvet, my understanding from the district information is that the levies are used, in part, to hire approximately 100 staff. These staff work in libraries, music, P.E., as health clinicians, and in other programs to supplement the basic state funding. The district only receives so much money from the state to hire teachers and para-professionals; the rest is funded by local levies, which represent 20% of the district's budget. If you go to the district website and search "levy," you will find the same info I did.

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mtnthc 1 year, 1 month ago

Alias fatherof5, your reason and logic fall on the deaf ears of the ignorant, reactionary and stupid. If a crappy education was good enough for them then it must be good enough for everyone else (and seeing how they get so upset over chump change, apparently it didn't work out too good from them) . These morons can't seem to make the connection between education and upward mobility, funny they wonder why the good ole USA might be in decline. Bravo morons.

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namvet60 1 year, 1 month ago

You better get back in to your garden and smoke some more!

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fatherof5 1 year, 1 month ago

mtnthc, it is true that they view our society through a different lens than I do, and there seems to be a bitterness that permeates many of their posts. (Note the comment just above this one, for example.) I don't envision changing any minds of the regular posters here, who tend to view any government agency, even a local school board, as an oppressive body out to get them. That is deeply entrenched, and most of these guys are older gentlemen, I think.

While a couple of them might support a much smaller bond (which, sadly, would ignore most of the problems at Wa-Hi), my hope is that the non-participating viewers of these posts will be swayed. That's why I'm bothering with this. All I can do is to make my best arguments and see what happens. Ultimately, as more of the public learns of the conditions at Wa-Hi, I think they will be moved to step in and do something about it. The logic is on our side. The outdated facilities are a disgrace to the community, and the majority really do care about education. So it's just a matter of time.

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mtnthc 1 year, 1 month ago

Kudos to you fatherof5, your patience on these message boards should qualify you as a saint. Yes, I strongly suspect most are older white men who really never accomplished much with their lives and now seeing the end is near and real are bitter and would rather see everything fail then succeed.

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ImJustSayin 1 year, 1 month ago

mtnthc..... Post your name and let's see how bold you are with the name calling.

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barracuda 1 year, 1 month ago

Really? Wow............ If someone does not agree with your views, why must you try to draw us into a sludge slinging frenzy? I hope the trick makes you feel better.... AMAZING...........

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namvet60 1 year, 1 month ago

As I sit down at the computer with my evening refreshment I find that a couple of wannabe prima donna's expounding with egregious insinuations about the aging youngsters of Walla Walla country. I personnally do not believe in soothesayers, fortune tellers, palm readers and the rest of the envisionaries because normally you find the visionaries and envisionaries out researching in a field of bovine feces. So just bare in mind that old quote "sticks and stones ............ well you know the rest and your words are just a few amongst a bunch out there in that field.

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fatherof5 1 year, 1 month ago

"expounding with egregious insinuations" is a pretty good phrase, namvet, I have to admit.

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