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A community that cares | IN OUR OPINION
Bainbridge Island: What an amazing place to call home.
That notion was reinforced this past week with the overwhelming support that voters showed for Bainbridge Island schools and students.
Voters approved two three-year levies by larger-than-landslide proportions. The Educational Programs and Operations Levy was approved by a 76 percent “yes” vote. The Technology Levy got the nod from voters with a “yes” vote of 71 percent.
That levy of support was nearly unmatched in the state for school levies this February, save for Prescott, Kahlotus and a few other districts in Eastern Washington where support was even stronger.
While it’s true that the two local levies did face some opposition, it’s also clear that voters rejected wholeheartedly the claims made by those who urged a “no” vote on the measures.
For one, opponents tried to make the election a referendum on leadership in the school district.
The referendum on the district’s leadership, however, was during the General Election last fall. Voters underscored their support for local school leaders, with School Board President Mike Spence easily winning re-election and incumbent Mev Hoberg running unopposed. We must also note that leadership in our classrooms and schools, and the talent and passion of our teachers and staff, is beyond question.
Opponents also tried to gain traction on the allegation of poor leadership by harkening back to that old canard that the $21 million cost to build Captain Charles Wilkes Elementary made it the most expensive school project in the state. It’s not: Carl Sandberg Elementary (Lake Washington School District), Rachel Carson Elementary (Lake Washington), St. Thomas School (Medina) and Benjamin Rush Elementary (Lake Washington) all exceeded the costs cited by critics.
Islanders wisely set aside the red herrings dangled before voters this week and made their decision based on what was truly most important: providing Bainbridge children with the best opportunity for a quality education and giving them the tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex and technology-driven world.