Their decision to not endorse Measures A and C was especially surprising given the editors acknowledging that:
- â€œThe Almanac has traditionally supported local school districts' efforts to fortify their funding through parcel taxes â€“ a revenue boost made necessary over the years by increasingly unreliable funding from the state.â€
- â€œWe believe that the revenue that would continue to flow into the district by a renewal of the current parcel tax would be a good investment in the district's schoolsâ€¦.â€
- â€œWe acknowledge that school board members are putting their hearts and their best efforts into the work of making very good schools great schools, and those efforts are paying off.â€
- â€œWe are not denying the need for additional funding to support outstanding teachers and programs, and to offset the costs of higher-than-expected enrollment.â€
They also do not dispute that the schoolsâ€™ need for the additional funds is expected to be there for the foreseeable future.
So, the editors admittedly reluctant decision to not support the Measures essentially comes down to the supposedly â€œfatal flawâ€ of the taxes being permanent. They claim that the absence of a sunset provision would result in â€œa diminution of public oversight of the public's business â€“ oversight that's necessary in a healthy, open democracy.â€
But in response to well-founded explanations provided by the Measuresâ€™ proponents about how public hearings and school board elections will provide appropriate public oversight, the editors can only point to an argument that is not based on actual facts.
The Measuresâ€™ proponents explain that if, after open, public meetings, the School Board decides to impose taxes in years when the community believes the taxes are not necessary, then the community can unseat School Board Members through the open, democratic process of school board elections. In response, they say:
- â€œthe problem with that argument is that the school boardâ€¦appears to have developed into a closed club: When a member decides not to run for re-election, he or she resigns before the term expires and at a point where the board is allowed to appoint a replacement. And that hand-picked new member then has the incumbent's advantage at the ballot box during the next election.â€
Undermining the editors' argument, however, is the fact that there is only one time in the last 20 years when an appointed incumbent Board Member later ran for office and was elected in by the voters. And in that instance, the person who filled out the term of the resigning Board Member, Jeff Child, did so when a Board Member moved to Europe and Jeff had already been previously elected to the Board in his own right. In fact, after the only other board resignation in the past decade, the person who was appointed to fill out the term of the resigning Board Member, Scott Hinshaw, did not run for election after being appointed.
In sum, it appears that the editors have picked up from the opponents of the Measures an argument that is not borne out in reality. And given the editors' concessions about the need for funding, the worthiness of such investment in our schools, and the proven track record of the District in improving our schools, it is actually the editors' argument that is â€œfatally flawed.â€
I respectfully disagree with the editorial and would encourage other proponents of this measure to forward this opinion so voters may have an additional viewpoint of which may help them decide how to cast their ballot.
I am voting YES on Measures A & C.