Questions from “A Caring Community” about the Oak Harbor School levy – Why are we spending more and achieving less? + “Vote NO” levy Video

Author:Publius

Why are we receiving grant money if we are doing so well academically? Why do we need a levy that is 2.7 times larger that of past levies, or more teachers, if we have 1,132 less students?

These, and a number of other salient questions are posed and addressed in a two-page document titled “Questions from “A Caring Community”" about the Oak Harbor School levy. Download your own copy now! Click HERE!

An excerpt from the flyer:

Did you Know?

“Bonus Money” or “Tri-Day” Money which is funded with M & O Levy and Impact Aid Funds is in addition to a teacher’s salary plus health insurance. This ‘Bonus Money’ or ‘Tri-Day Money’ for the Oak Harbor School District ranges from approximately $2,000 to $33,000 /per year depending on the level of education and number of years taught.

The Oak Harbor Teacher’s Association is now asking for additional “Tri-Day” Money with the 2013 M & O Levy increasing their already allotted 16 days of bonuses to 19 days. The other districts in our area that receive ‘Tri-Day money are significantly lower than Oak Harbor as evidenced by the following chart of information:
School District    Bonus/Stipend   Highest Full Time Teacher Salary
Anacortes           $3,109 – 15,576         $85,406
Coupeville          $2,695 – 4,991           $67,946
Oak Harbor        $1,868 – $33,162      $96,526 -$106,253
South Whidbey  $495 – $15,287          $87,737

Source: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2012

Every other school district in our area stresses academics ABOVE all else. They have proven that money WELL SPENT contributes to academic success. IS OUR SCHOOL DISTRICT DOING IT’S JOB? SHOULD WE BE SUPPORTING THIS LATEST LEVY?

Here’s a recent LTE written by one of our Island Politics’ editors about the proposed OHSD levy:

“Vote “no” on the school levy. If teachers and their union feel so strongly about receiving 39% more bonus pay (TRI-Days), put your money where your mouth is: petition the school board to run a separate Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Levy ONLY for TRI-Days. If it passes, take as many TRI-Days – and only that many – as voters will directly approve. If it fails, lose all TRI-Days until you can ask the voters again four years later when the next M&O levy comes around.

No levy which the school board has ever proposed to voters (including this one) has ever specified that it would divert either M&O levy property taxes or Federal Impact Aid in order to provide even ONE TRI-Day for teachers’ bonus pay. Nonetheless, over the years, the school district has perennially cried “poor” while ever-increasing M&O property tax levy dollars and/or Federal Impact Aid dollars have been diverted into an ever-increasing number of bonus pay TRI-Days. Teachers perennially skim $1.4 million in 14 TRI-Days away from kids! This levy request would literally double the existing levy, would raise property taxes overall by 10% and would ensure teachers’ skim rises to 19.5 TRI-Days and $1.95 million! By not asking voters directly for TRI-Day bonus pay, M&O levies have become one big TRI-Day scam upon the voters, levy after levy after levy. Four years hence, the school district will again cry “poor” while teachers will have skimmed $8 million away from kids! The levy is a scam. Vote “no”.”

This (below) YouTube video, while about a school levy from a completely different place than Oak Harbor, WA, makes a number of points that are 100% applicable to our local situation in Oak Harbor, especially with regards to how these local school levy campaigns are run.

After watching the below video, if you are curious about how much money individual teachers earn in Oak Harbor, see the article “How Much $$ in Salary, Bonuses, Stipends, Insurance and Benefits do OHSD Employees Get? + Video Put the Money in the Backpack”

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2 comments

  1. avatar

    Editor’s note: Somebody named “Michael” sent us this below comment from the “CONTACT ISLAND POLITICS” link instead of using the comments section for this article.

    From: Michael
    Sent: Monday, January 07, 2013 11:32 AM
    To: admin@islandpolitics.org
    Subject: Island Politics’s message from Michael

    Site: Island Politics (http://www.islandpolitics.org)

    Name: Michael

    Messages: This contribution reads as though written by someone who has no kids in school and is angry about paying less than $2 per $1000 on the value of their home. According to the Whidbey Times-News, Oak Harbor schools currently receive just over 25% of the funding per student as the state average. Passing the levy would raise that amount to just over half. Maybe I\’m equally biased for the opposite reason – I am a parent with a child attending school in Oak Harbor and think the benefits of supporting schools extend beyond what is immediately recognizable. Rather than look to a YouTube video about a school levy some place else, I looked to a local
    source for local information:
    http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com/news/180381401.html?mobile=true

    1. avatar

      Or, you could go watch all the “pro-levy” videos which the OHSD has made at taxpayer expense: all locally made, all with your tax dollars.

      Island Politics is definitely a local source of information, but we are certainly not bound by the physical boundaries of Whidbey Island when it comes to finding relevant information. Many of the same local issues we have here are the same local issues elsewhere.

      As Tip O’Neill liked to say: “All politics is local”.

      All politics is local: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_politics_is_local

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