School levy passage no cause for joy
School Districts in Thurston County are still celebrating the fact that they passed their special levies (now called replacement levies).
Voters passed all maintenance and operations levies with around 60 percent of the vote with some districts getting a little more and some districts getting a little less.
But, while voters passed the measures, providing up to 25 percent of a district’s operating budget, it doesn’t mean that all’s well with our local school districts. Nearly 40 percent of the voters said NO. Despite the fact that failure would mean cutting about a quarter of the school’s budget, 40 percent of the voters said – - go ahead – cut.
And, to top it off, the turnout for the election was about 39 percent of the registered voters. Of those who received ballots, nearly 60 percent didn’t vote.
Supporters of more money for schools see the low voter turnout as a positive. If people don’t vote, they obviously must be happy with the way schools are being run. That seems to be the feelings of school supporters.
However, those opposed to more money for schools see the low voter turnout from a different perspective. They think that voters have given up trying to wrest control of the schools away from the teacher unions which control school operations.
You may think your school superintendent or your local school board control school operations, but you’d be wrong. The real power, the people who actually run your local schools are the teacher and other education worker unions.
They’ve become so powerful that they’ve actually stymied any efforts to improve school quality, and have become so powerful that they control the Democrats in the state legislature and consequently the purse strings.
Many voters know that they have no ability to make an impact on schools so they just don’t try. They don’t vote because they know the deck is stacked against them.
It’s a shame that the education of our kids is in the hands of a special interest group whose only concern is getting more money and more benefits for its members.
It’s a further shame that voters allow such a group to put a strangle-hold on education reform.
Not voting is NOT the answer. Showing your dissatisfaction by voting will eventually bring down even the most powerful of special interest groups.