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Washington Voices

Time is now to help schools and Spokane

I hate taxes.  Hate ’em.  Years ago, I was an intern in California, and even though I was close to the poverty line, Uncle Sam and The Terminator took a hefty chunk of my measly income each month.  It was enough to make me want to move back to the darkest, rainiest corner of Washington to avoid extra taxes. 

As much as I hate seeing part of my paycheck disappear immediately each month though, there are two exceptions to my tax hatred: getting a good deal and putting that money toward community pillars like schools. 

Right now construction is cheap. Plus, if this bond gets passed, the state will kick in $32.8 million toward the Central Valley School District project and $31.8 million toward the Mead School District plan. We have an opportunity to improve the community, and the timing is right to maximize value.

Whether you have kids or not, solid local schools benefit the community, too.  Nice schools mean families finding not only Mead and the Valley desirable places to live, but also Spokane.  More families moving to the area means more money is going to be spent at local businesses. Money being spent at local businesses means – hey, local benefit!  Besides economic gain, there’s the cachet of being a sought-after region to live in. Sure this is anecdotal, but strong local schools are a piece of a healthy and vibrant community.

Look, taxes stink, but if we’re going to pay them, we might as well be sure we get the best return on them as possible: cheaper costs, money from the state, and improved community vitality.  I don’t even have kids, but as a member of this community, I know we all can benefit from taking advantage of approving these bonds now.

Maybe if the Governator could’ve shown me that my taxes were going toward something local and worthwhile, I never would’ve left California?  Nah, Cali can’t hold a candle to Spokane.

Steve Hitchcock


Central Valley School District pride runs deep with me.  I can proudly say that my husband and I both graduated from CV in 1981 and our son graduated from U-Hi in 2007.  Currently I am the principal at Chester Elementary.  My school is listed on the ballot under the first proposal for the construction bond. 

 It frustrates me when I hear people say we don’t need to spend money to renovate schools. I challenge any of the naysayers to visit my school and discuss the challenges we face on a daily basis.  We look great from the street, but come inside and notice that from one end of the building to the next, temperatures can flunctuate to extremes.  That’s what happens in a 37-year-old building and outdated HVAC parts are hard to come by. 

Originally, Chester was built as an open concept school (a fad of the ’70s).  We have closets, cubbies and hanging blankets that are fashioned to serve as walls.  Many of my students find learning more of a challenge because of constant noise. 

In 1974, safety concerns for school children were different than they are now.  As a result of this original design, we are also at a disadvantage when it comes to specific safety issues relevant to the current times.

Finally, I hope that voters accept my challenge to see firsthand that kids are not residing in an optimal learning environment where they can learn to their greatest potential in a safe environment.  Show your pride in our future, vote “yes.” You are investing in the greatest asset we have – our children!

Cindy Sothen

Chester principal


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