Northwest NEWS

April 30, 2001


Guest opinion: A lesson in community awareness and pride

by Lorna Barth
   Just for the record I want all of the Riverview School District students and their parents to know that I have voted YES on every other school proposition bond and levy as a member of this community.
   I voted YES for the new stadium the first few times it showed up on the ballot. I also voted YES on both state initiatives to raise teacher salaries. I voted YES on the new high school and YES on the improvements that were not done correctly.
   I have been an avid supporter of high school athletics at both Tolt High School AND have been a booster supporter for Cedarcrest High School and have the calendars to prove it. Having said that, I want you to know why I cannot vote YES on Proposition 1 in May.
   What you are asking me to do with this issue is to raise the taxes on my Valley neighbors for something that does not serve all students. Your new high school serves all students whether they can play athletics or not. Your busses provide transportation to all students whether they use them or not.
   Your teachers, administration, bus drivers, staff personnel and custodians are provided by this community for the education of every student in this district.
   I cannot in all good conscience, go to the people of my community who are on incomes they cannot change and ask them to raise their taxes by an average of $40 per month in a time when every other aspect of their incomes is being ravaged.
   When taxes go up, everything else in a budget becomes optional heating, phone, water, food and clothing. As of April 1, the State Tax Rate for Duvall went from .082 to .084. A small thing, it seems, until you add that to every- thing that is purchased as well as the utility bills that have just doubled and the gasoline that has gone up so that even getting to work is now more expensive than ever.
   Taxes affect every community member, not just the ones you see in the new houses near the high school. Some people will have to add another job to make ends meet. Older community members who have lived here all of their lives and paid for the education of thousands of Riverview students will have to add this to the taxes on their homes.
   In the past few weeks many people of all levels have lost portions of their income because of the downturn in the market. Retirement accounts have been affected as well as investments and dividends. This is not a good time to ask for a permanent change in someone's budget so that a few students can enjoy a stadium for a few weeks during their high school experience.
   As for the repair money for the leaky roof that is in appeals, what will happen to the money when the school district gets that back for the faulty job done by the contractor? Do you think it will be refunded to the voters?
   And about that pride thing a real athlete will play on anything, anytime, under any conditions, wearing any kind of gear and take on anybody and win.
   When you know who you are and reflect an attitude of pride and gratitude for the things that your community has provided for you, that is known as a lesson in community awareness and provides a solid foundation for every student.