Northwest NEWS

March 11, 2002


Guest Editorial: Children are a precious investment in the future and demand a well-rounded education

by Helen Mellor
   Thanks to the support of concerned voters in the Riverview School District, the Maintenance & Operations and Transportation Levies both passed, exceeding the 60 percent Super Majority requirement.
   The passage of the M & O Levy ($4 million replacement over two years) by a narrow 15 vote margin at 60.5 percent epitomizes the pattern predominant in rural communities undergoing growth related transformation.
   As anticipated, the smaller Transportation Levy ($210,000 for one year) netted nearly a 65 percent approval rate. When public school districts in Washington are expected to satisfy the toughening state mandates with the continuing inadequacy of state funding, communities with much greater population density and property tax bases are typically better able to absorb this burden.
   Those with superior socioeconomic and educational demographics tend to support schools with heightened fervor, whereas areas such as Riverview are in the transition mode.
   As has been demonstrated repeatedly, the struggle to combat the prevailing level of consistent negative votes still looms large in our district.
   Another factor equally inauspicious is the alarming complacency among the parent population.
   Since enough of the primary stake holders appear to suffer from "My one vote won't be missed" syndrome, the passage of the M & O Levy by a mere 15 votes can best be defined as a bitter-sweet success.
   If not for the efforts of a determined group of parent volunteers who invested innumerable hours of hard work and sacrifice to campaign for the schools, these levies would have undoubtedly been defeated.
   These individuals believe in ensuring quality public education for the children of Riverview and were willing to go the extra mile.
   Those parents who dismissed their own votes as inconsequential ought to take responsibility for registering to vote and then "do the right thing" by actually voting on election day.
   IF NOT THE PARENTS, THEN WHO? Your children's education is a stake too enormous to neglect.
   While the fate of the M & O Levy remained uncertain for many days following the Feb. 5 election, there was an outpouring of concern by parents who thought the measure representing 20 percent of the district's budget had failed.
   Perhaps this "concern" can finally materialize into meaningful progress for the sake of Riverview and its students.
   Children are the most precious investment of today and their future demands a proper and well-rounded education.
   Helen Mellor is chairman of the Riverview Schools Committee.