Arlington schools ask legislature to lower bar to pass bonds

  • Saturday, February 23, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

By Marc Rosson

The Arlington Public Schools Board of Directors recently sent letters to legislators in the 39th Legislative District, which encompasses many cities in Snohomish and Skagit counties along with the northeastern corner of King County.

The board is asking the legislators for their support of Senate Bill 5066 (an act relating to school district elections) and the associated joint resolutions in both the House and Senate that will be necessary to make this law.

The proposed bill, if passed and subsequently ratified by voters, would lower the voter approval threshold from 60 percent to a simple majority of voters for school districts to issue bonds for capital purposes, levy taxes to pay for those bonds and exceed statutorily imposed debt limits.

Many school districts in the 39th District have struggled to secure a 60 percent supermajority for our bond efforts.

While all of us struggle with the hard choices we must make, we are all bound together in communities where most people will do the right thing.

Most people support their children and are willing to support their schools.

However, even when more than 50 percent of our voters are supporting these causes, they are thwarted by a minority that do not see the value that school bonds provide to local communities nor the hardship that this lack of funding causes.

We are asking for the legislators to help remove the 1940-era requirements that provide a minority of voters with undue power.

If the majority of the people vote to support a school bond, the will of the majority of the people should be granted.

We would expect nothing less in the elections for Senate, Congress, City Council or school board. Why should we expect something different when so much is at stake for our children and schools?

Please contact your local legislators and ask them to support Senate Bill 5066.

•Sen. Keith Wagoner (360-786-7676, keith.wagoner@leg.wa.gov)

•Rep. Robert Sutherland (360-786-7967, robert.sutherland@leg.wa.gov)

•Rep. Carolyn Eslick (360-786-7816, carolyn.eslick@leg.wa.gov)

Marc Rosson is a school board member and the legislative representative for Arlington Public Schools, whose column runs monthly.

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