Northwest NEWS

February 25, 2002

Editorial

Fifteen votes made all the difference

Thank you to the 15 special parents or community members who put the Riverview Maintenance and Operations Levy over the top. Our school district barely scraped by this time and only by 15 votes. I don't know which 15 special supporters you are, but your "yes" votes have made all the difference in the functioning of our schools.
   We won't have to let our guidance counselors, music teachers, PE teachers and drama department go.
   We won't have to worry about two new buses, but no drivers to drive them, or new athletic fields with no one to maintain them, or exploding classes with no educational assistants, and libraries with no librarians, or school offices with no secretaries, or lunch rooms with no personnel.
   I can't say for sure where the $4 million in cuts would have been, but without you 15 supporters (only about 2 per school in our district), we might have been in the ironic position of having a field, but no coaches; a theater, but no drama department; uniforms but no band.
   Our district is already run on a shoestring budget and we, as caring community members, can't let our basic budget be cut any more.
   We don't get to choose how our schools will be financed. It is a law in our state that at regular intervals, a maintenance and operations levy must be put before the people of each district. This levy just covers the 20 percent of the school budget for which the state does not pay.
   Unlike other states, where 90 percent of the funding comes from the state coffers, in this state, only 80 percent is provided by the state, and each district is expected to finance the rest with their maintenance and operations levy.
   To make matters for schools more difficult, the law says the levy has to pass, not by a majority, but by a super majority of 60 percent. It is not the school district's fault that they must ask for money; it is the state's. These levies are a necessity for our schools, our children and our property values.
   So thank you to the 15 parents/community members who stopped on their way to work, who dug out their chewed-up absentee ballots, or who gave up something important in order to vote.
   If it hadn't been for you, our schools would have lost so much. We might have had that field with no coaches, that theater with no plays, not to mention cut-backs in the already minimal funding for our special needs kids, our academically talented kids, our music departments and our school libraries.
   And to the parents and community members in Riverview who aren't registered or didn't vote, I ask you, Aren't the kids most important
   Aren't your kids important? Does this levy passing by only 15 votes make you feel comfortable?
   Cecelia Horkin, Carnation