Letters to the Editor

BISD should wait until dust settles | Letters | May 29

At this time it appears Bainbridge voters have withheld BISD No. 303, the state-required 60 percent approval on the $42 million bond.

In a democracy, a single vote may be the decisive vote but that narrow decision is final and determinative.

How did Bainbridge voters come to spurn the call for $42M? First, let’s remember Bainbridge voters shot down a bloated $8.9M BISD tech levy, the first such defeat in 27 years. After several subsequent approvals of BISD bond and levy, BISD Supt. Chapel and the school board floated the bond in a toxic economic environment: classic chutzpah.

A district mailer, OpenBook, sent at taxpayer expense arriving as the ballots dropped, stated in part: “This bond would fund $9.5M in renovations across the district and $42.5M to replace Wilkes Elementary School, ALL WITH STABLE LOCAL SCHOOL TAXES (caps added).”

This talking point was also driven home by Supt. Chapel, board President Curtis and their press releases: taxpayers shouldn’t be concerned about costs since they were already repaying a school levy/bond and the new $42M bond would just continue the payments. In our crazy and troubling economy, who can I turn to demand a “stable” income, a stable retirement, a stable savings, stable taxes, stable anything? The fact is, there is no magic place I can turn to for a “stable” economic harbor. I find the statement from BISD about selling this bloated bond as a way for BISD to have a stable tax stream to be both insulting and arrogant.

BISD’s share of the May 19 special election cost is $40,000, along with the cost of mailers and any recount charges if it goes that route. That would have bought valuable education for children and the bond could have waited until the economic dust settles. BISD must narrow its focus and look for alternatives to a rebuilt Wilkes.

We have witnessed four years of shrinking BISD student population and expect the trend to continue. Voters will be examining the son of the-defeated-$42M bond very closely, hopefully more closely than this time. Voters want value and voters want convincing evidence BISD leadership understands what a NO vote means.

James Olsen

Bainbridge Island

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