I am urging you to support the Orcas Island schools by voting yes on the Orcas Island School District Proposition 1, in the upcoming November 6 election.
The Orcas Island School District board has been working hard the past few years to insure that our students will have a safe and healthy environment in which student success is strongly supported and encouraged.
A couple of years ago and with the efforts of the administration staff, we were able to win an energy upgrade grant in the amount of $900K. We were also successful, thanks to you the voters, in obtaining a matching bond. Together these funds allowed us to revamp the plumbing and heating systems in the 1949 building; the elementary school. The upgrades were done, on time and under budget. Teachers and parents have commented that the elementary school has never been this comfortable to be in in the winter months and the water is not rusty. This matching bond will be repaid by the end of this year.
Earlier this year, and thanks to the efforts of our own Senator Kevin Ranker and others, we were awarded a state grant for $1 M to replace the siding on, and the windows in, the high school building; we will also be able to resolve some foundation issues with the Waldron school building. This effort is ongoing and will be finished by November. The siding on the high school will fix weathering and construction defects that were not addressed in the early 1990’s when the building was built.
Proposition 1 on the November ballot is for a construction bond in order to continue the progress in making sure that our schools are safe and healthy. The board, after studying this issue since 2004 when I first joined, has been struggling to find a resolution for the 1980s buildings; the middle school, library, and cafeteria. These buildings are decrepit, have not enough insulation in the walls, the heating systems have never worked right, the rainwater seeps in behind the siding, the classrooms are dark, and engineers have told us that the buildings will be hazardous during earthquakes and so on. The bond measure on the ballot is to fix these problems through rehabilitation. After examination by local building professionals, they recommended to the school board that the foundation, and as much of the existing structures, remain. We took that recommendation and this bond represents that approach.
So this election is about the community’s need to have safe schools for our students and staff and about you trusting that the board and administration will deliver, as promised, long lasting, low maintenance, safe and healthy buildings, under budget and on time.
Thank you for your continual support and please vote yes for Orcas Island School District Proposition 1.
Tony P Ghazel
Orcas Island School District Board Chair