February 3, 2011 in Washington Voices

Vocal Point: Good schools worth couple cups of coffee

Thomas Sherry Special to Voices
 
Have something to say?

Vocal Point is written by members of the community about issues of area interest. If you’d like to address a topic in this space, let us know. Contact Jeff Jordan at (509) 927-2170 or by e-mail at voice@ spokesman.com to discuss what you’d like to write.

I’m a lifelong resident of the school district; my children were educated here; I’ve volunteered at the schools, and I’m interested in the teaching and learning conditions inside the district. I’m also ashamed as to the condition of some of them, and am quite willing to help pay to fix them. Happy to, actually.

The slippery mailer sent out by the South Hill-based “Citizens for Responsible Taxation” states that:

“Current school levies, bonds and state taxes account for over 50 percent of your total tax on your home and business in the CV District.”

Good for us. I like to have kids around me that were educated in buildings that aren’t hovels. Other than taxes, bonds and levies, how exactly do the opponents expect public facilities to be supported?

“Taxes destroy jobs and stifle job creation ….”

Seriously? Do the opponents believe that? Who pays for the Fire Department? The libraries? The roads? The parks? We all do, through taxes, bonds and levies. Employment will increase due to construction and because we have new teachers in a new school. Better educated people create new businesses and invest in their communities. I know. I’m one of them, and I’m not alone.

“People are losing their homes”

What are the statistics in CVSD of people losing their homes or in danger of losing their homes because of an increase of $8 per month? Eight bucks. People spend dramatically more than that on the cable TV bill.

The opponents recently stated on their website that:

“It is just the first of five bonds totaling an estimated $400 million that we simply cannot afford.”

“We?” Since when do the opponents have the right to tell me what I can afford? We’re talking about two coffees a month. I’m pretty danged sure I can afford that.

“$100 million is an excessive and unreasonable amount of money.”

We’re not building pole buildings here. We want our children to be educated in facilities that are code compliant, safe, and on a par with other districts. We want buildings that will last more than 50 years. This bond issue will help make that a reality.

“This will raise property taxes dramatically, and impact property values.”

Nonsense, to be kind. In many cases, this additional cost equates to a couple of cups of coffee a week from Starbucks or the Wake Up Call. Good schools increase property values because people want to live near them. That is in fact an impact, and a positive one!

“This is a gold-plated plan. Many of their wish-list items are excessive and unnecessary.”

I do not consider having more than two electrical outlets (one that actually works) per classroom “gold plated,” or roofs that don’t leak “excessive.” The opponents don’t know the need, and their argument cannot be taken seriously.

“It is a big-spending plan that ignores the financial realities that we the people must face today.”

Buildings that are falling apart result in substandard teaching and learning environments that do not inspire students or teachers to achieve their best. There is no greater financial reality than the failure of one to achieve what they are capable of. It is our responsibility to ensure that the buildings enhance the learning environment, not destroy it.

“CV Bond No. 1 relies on $32 million from our state government, which is facing a $5 billion deficit itself and cannot be counted on. Besides, it’s all taxpayer money!”

Well of course it’s all taxpayer money. We’re not the federal government, and therefore cannot create “money” out of thin air. We will vote to decide if we want to spend our own money how we would like to. The state budgetary problem is both an issue of loss of income from poor management of the lands and resources of the state and a massive increase in state spending on social programs. Painful cuts are coming. They should not be made at the expense of our kids.

Spokane Valley resident Thomas Sherry can be reached by e-mail at TSherry@spvv.com.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email