It seems the SVSD has found some very vocal opposition to its upcoming February 8th school bond – from a self-professed, long time bond supporter and former State House of Representative candidate, David Spring. It seems that opposition is now fueling supporters to work even harder to pass this bond.
It is good to be informed. To hear both sides of any argument. That’s the way our country functions. Isn’t that why we have freedom of speech/press? I did my due diligence. I looked at Mr. Spring’s website (www.organizingforcommunityschools.org) and weighed his arguments. He has some points – no matter how the information is presented. He is passionate that facts have been fudged to promote a bond he believes is a bad idea. It’s obvious he’s spent time researching his arguments. But, in the end, the information did not change my vote.
Most people are average voters. They want to hear both sides – without the mud-slinging found in modern-day politics. Political issues sometimes run off topic – with a tendency toward personal attacks. Personally, it was difficult to read a recent email where Mr. Spring stated that a group of intelligent, well-meaning people (VVFE) “have no idea what they are talking about.” Especially knowing the long volunteer hours spent learning the details and pros/cons of each school bond. What’s wrong with presenting an argument, stating the opposing argument along with both sides’ sources and letting us make up our minds without any insults/negativity?
Once the negativity/insults surface other things come into question – especially motives. Here’s some examples. If Mr. Spring has supported all previous - and some more expensive – school bonds that held no guaranty of state matching funds, then why the opposition to a much cheaper bond now? Why weren’t the last three years spent challenging Olympia before our school capacity hit this critical stage? Or maybe they were, but that legal battle has been futile? Or is it the desire for two high schools (an option voted down 3 times) that is fueling the opposition? Again, I am sure there are legitimate reasons – quite possibly different than these listed. The point is, when negativity starts, motives (true or not) may come into question.
The fact is without another middle school the overcrowding problem is not solved – only displaced from our high school to our middle schools. And not just in one city – the effects stretch valley-wide. From Fall City to North Bend to Snoqualmie Pass. Yes, that middle school is expensive to build. Building costs jumped drastically after the 2005 completion of Cascade View Elementary and during the 2006/07 construction of Twin Falls Middle School – a peak time when construction costs were rising 1% per month. In fact, costs jumped so fast that impact fees were needed to complete Twin Falls. One look at stock market commodity prices proves the basics are not getting cheaper. China still wants its steel – even if growth here has slowed. Our economy is global and global demands affect costs right down to our valley.
If voters are willing to move forward without attempting a state lawsuit, then that’s their right. Just as it is Mr. Spring’s right to say we should push for matching funds – even if they aren’t in the state’s budget and SVSD can’t apply for those funds until a bond passes. Only time will tell whether a 60% majority is willing to pay for more school infrastructure. The final two weeks of the campaign should be interesting. Until then, let the debate continue…. but please, without the insults!
** Before publishing this piece Mr. Spring contacted me in response to my questions regarding the perception of negativity. I thank him for that. He apologized and stated he is trying his best to stay positive. **