Community Forum to Outline, Discuss Next Bond Levy

Thursday, March 30, 5:30 p.m., Orcas School Cafeteria

— from Eric Webb —

I would like to take a moment to once again thank the wonderful supporters of Orcas Island Public Schools and their tremendous show of encouragement throughout the Phase III Bond process. Our next step in the School Bond process will be in the form of a Community Forum on Thursday, Mar. 30 at 5:30 p.m. in the OISD Cafeteria. Once again, our community members will have the opportunity to join OISD in planning our next steps for the bond election that will take place in November of this year.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to join us. Your contribution to this forum and the planning of the November bond is greatly valued. Let’s work together for the children of OISD.

Please join us.

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Community Forum to Outline, Discuss Next Bond Levy — 18 Comments

  1. My recommendation would to go for the exact same Levy and encourage those who didn’t vote because of the snow or other to vote early next time. What a great example of how EVERY vote counts in our democracy!

  2. Bill, that is an option.. and it may or may not work..
    the school really can’t afford to gamble., simply hoping the numbers work.
    Case history is just one example of that potential not in their favor. But hay.. it’s just numbers, right??

  3. I am concerned that the next bond levy may not pass, leaving our public students without needed improvements, so today I asked 5 random islanders “if the bond levy is the same,do you think it will pass next time?” Each & all responded vehemently “no, not if it still has the track in it.”
    So I agree with Clyde that the school can’t really afford to gamble on this, & frankly I don’t understand why they would.

  4. My sense is that a false dichotomy has been set up that’s setting the terms of engagement about the school bond (track vs. no track) rather than having a more reasoned discussion about what’s needed, why, and how much public investment the school board is requesting for our community’s children — and ultimately all of us. I hope the upcoming meeting on March 30 will re-boot the discussion and decrease, if not eliminate, the unnecessary polarization of viewpoints.

  5. No one I asked before the vote was planning to vote for the bond and the track (plus bond history) was a major reason. It seems that putting the main bond and the track as two separate votes would guarantee an answer for the important maintenance projects.

  6. Why can’t we split the two issues on the next ballot? List the track and its attendant expenses separately and as Part A from all the other items and their expenses as Part B and have the public vote on each segment?

  7. I think Martha Farish’ s suggestion makes a good deal of sense, and hope those responsible for shepherding the bond levy’s future will let the community know whether this idea is feasible.

  8. Peg and Susan — I offer my own anecdote: Everyone I and one other person I know talked with voted for it. So using a personal score, we’re even. Or more accurately, 3 votes short — a minuscule percentage in light of an election occurred during bad weather. The range of comments is why a new conversation is needed to lay out the issues and costs clearly, with good data, no rancor, and with a realization that every single vote, even those of the less vocal among us, counts.

  9. Donna– I wasn’t arguing scores; I was simply pointing out that a number of voters with whom I discussed the issue voted no because of the track, and if the school board is eager to have this resolved, separating out the track might provide the main bond a substantial plurality and allows the track a shot at passing as well.

  10. Peg — And I respectfully disagree. Individuals with whom we have spoken are simply anecdotes — and carry no weight. Let the open public discussion continue on March 30.

  11. The Board has to go for a sure thing !
    Bond without the track, let’s not waste more time
    and money

    Do a private fund raising for the track !

  12. One question worth asking is whether or not needed maintenance expenses were kicked down the road a bit in order to include the track and keep the bond amount at $8M…?…

  13. The Bond decision facing the School Board, and ultimately the voters of our community is more complex than whether or not we are willing to fund all of the items that are on the levy.
    The somewhat unspoken aspect of this issue is that a very generous island family has offered a substantial gift to the school (and to the community). Additionally, that same family has apparently also donated other monies to the community. I say ‘apparently’ because my source was not willing to be more specific given a certain confidentiality on this matter.
    The issue, for me, is not wether a track is a good option. Rather, it is a question of priorities, so I wonder if another option might allow a better understanding of the need to invest new monies in the athletic fields. There is little question that those fields are worn out. We built the current football field well over thirty years ago. It is necessary to expense a significant amount of levy monies to upgrade all of the athletic fields, AND, in doing so, to consider whether a re-configuration of the ball fields might be advantageous. So, re-building the football field to the larger space to the east and moving the baseball fields to the west might be the best use of the athletic spaces.
    AND THEN, the School Board can decide if they want to ADD a track to better fit around the reconfigured ball fields. The first issue is whether a line item on the levy request should include $500K – $1million as needed to upgrade, maintain, and reconfigure the athletic fields.

  14. The “no” voters were misled about the track. The track is a gift! 100%! But installing it only makes sense if the football and baseball fields get the necessary upgrades, including reconfiguration and drainage, as Ed Sutton explained.

    I’m puzzled why the voters don’t get it. Susan, Peg, Fred, Pierette… help me understand! And also help me understand why a community that is not backwards or disadvantaged can’t have a high school track like most all other communities have!

  15. Dan–please don’t insult No voters. The ones I spoke with knew about the track. Most have been here decades and seem to be frustrated by the bond process in general.

    The track is not 100% a gift. It costs more than the gift IIRC and maintenance isn’t provided. Now, there’s talk of redoing all the sports fields as well.

    Dr. Webb, neither Susan nor I will be on island for this meeting. My only hope for s that you consider our feedback.

  16. Peg, If you can’t attend the meeting, would you please encourage the group that you spoke to and refer to as “have been here decades and seem to be frustrated by the bond process in general” to attend this meeting? I hope this meeting will be well attended and honest discussion can occur, providing solid plan (more than on-line feedback!) for the next bond! Thank you!