Washougal resident Anne Haller shares her thoughts on the Washougal schools levy on the April 25 special election ballot
Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com
We have seen and heard many thoughtful points of view about the upcoming April 25 Washougal Levy vote. Folks in our community have the right to express their opinion and vote based on their judgment of what is in the best interests of our schools and kids. These legitimate perspectives, however, are often drowned out by people who promote misleading information and often neither live nor work in the Washougal School District.
Case in point: Voters’ Pamphlet April 25, 2023 Special Election, EP&O Levy “Rebuttal of Statement For”, written by Richard Rylander of North Clark County, states the increase in EP&O levy is 31.25%, implying this is not in line with any rational need for the schools. The reality: the increase averages 8.55% per year, which covers both inflation and future population growth. Mr. Rylander also says students are “failing” math and English, implying that schools are not focusing on these core subjects. The reality: Washougal kids are behind standard grade level expectations, as are kids across the state and the U.S., due to circumstances, a pandemic, beyond anyone’s control. This is not “failing”.
Quite the contrary; everyone involved, including students, teachers, administrators, and community volunteers, are working hard to help students meet expectations before graduation, and the results are impressive. https://www.publicschoolreview.com/washington/washougal-school-district/5309540-school-district The most dramatically misleading statement, however, is in Mr. Rylander’s “Rebuttal of Statement For” the Capital Levy, writing the Capital levy is going “from $2.623 million to $9.050 million (a 246% increase).” He almost certainly knows that while the Capital Levy is going up significantly, a nearly equal amount of bond repayment is going away. In fact, the net increase in revenue to the district is 6.63% per year over the three-year budget period. Again, this covers both inflation and population growth. Even these lower percentages likely overstate the actual increase in property taxes any of us will pay because much of these increases will be covered by new homes being built in our community. Believe me when I say I am fiscally conservative but there is being financially prudent versus penny-wise and dollar-foolish. Not funding a full educational experience for our kids today means less productive citizens tomorrow and reduced value for our homes in the future. I don’t know what Mr. Rylander’s agenda is but it is not in the best interest of our kids or our community. Vote YES on the Washougal School Levies.
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