Recently departed Oak Harbor School Board Director attacks teacher-constituent who used private dollars to pay for print ad against proposed doubling of Maintenance and Operations (M&O) property tax levy

Author:BillB

A single quarter-page ad against the Oak Harbor Maintenance & Operations (M&O) levy appeared (buried) on page 12 of the Whidbey News-Times’ 26 January edition. Having just left the Oak Harbor School Board as an elected School Board Director, David McCool wasted no time penning a letter-to-the-editor attacking his former constituent  - a reading teacher – and the WNT wasted no time in printing his letter-of-attack. The ad had been bought and paid-for at the Whidbey News-Times by a single individual, a private citizen, using a personal credit card. McCool called the ad “shameful” because, he says, whoever paid for the ad did not “have the courage to take personal ownership”. McCool also purports it to be “political fantasy” that the school levy is in any way connected to teacher TRI-Days. McCool is an outright LIAR.

The person who placed that single, solitary ad against the school levy has informed me that he/she has since been contacted by the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) for having failed to file paperwork disclosing his/her personal information to THAT agency PRIOR to having placed the ad in the newspaper. The ad-placer received a phone call from the PDC informing him/her that the PDC had received an email complaining about the subject ad. Having never previously placed such an ad, the ad-placer had been unaware that such prior disclosure was expected or required. When contacted by the PDC about the ad, he/she was also informed that immediate disclosure of the information to the PDC was required in order to avoid a $100 fine for the submission of information in a timely manner.

David McCool could have obtained information about the ad-placer by placing a single phone call to the Whidbey News-Times. Chances are, that’s exactly what he – or someone else closely affiliated with the OHSD – did after first seeing the print ad and then eventually realizing that a PDC filing had not yet been filed about that ad. Calling the Whidbey News-Times for information about the ad-placer is exactly how the PDC found out who paid for the ad against the levy (or, it was relayed to them), as the PDC then used that information to call the ad-placer directly on the telephone to ask for some paperwork.

McCool’s attack-letter includes an attack upon the name “Citizens for Academic Success” (a name which had been stipulated in the print ad). He concluded that anyone who claimed they were interested in “academic improvement” would “provide a much different message”.

McCool is entitled to his opinion, but not to his own facts. The ad-placer is, in fact, a still-working certified reading teacher with decades of experience helping children towards academic improvement. This same teacher previously sent a letter-to-the editor to the Whidbey News-Times about the school levy, but, like dozens of other letters recently sent to the WNT which spoke against the levy, this letter never saw the light of day in the WNT. That letter has, however, appeared here on Island Politics as “A Citizen Comments- Facts and figures are distributed by Oak Harbor School District with little concern for their validity”.

McCool also claimed the “levy campaign funding is provided by private citizens”, but a search at the PDC web site clearly shows that pro-levy contributors to “CIT FOR BETTER SCHOOLS OAK HARBOR” include corporate and government groups such as:

  • PUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYEES OF WA
  • CHARTWELLS SCHOOL DINING SERVICES 
  • OAK HARBOR EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
  • WEA FOURTH CORNER
  • H.B. JAEGER COMPANY, LLC
  • BANK OF AMERICA
  • OAK HARBOR HARDWARE PETERSON HARDWARE INC DBA
  • NATIONAL WATERWORKS

Finally, McCool’s claim that “political fantasy” is the only thing which connects this levy in any way to teacher TRI-Days is an outright LIE. As a former school board director, he KNOWS better. I have delineated, in great detail, how Time, Responsibility and Incentive Days (TRI-Days) are funded by the co-mingling of Federal Impact Aid and local property taxes in the form of Maintenance and Operations (M&O) levies. These facts – not fantasies – are all spelled out in the article “If OHEA Members Believe they “Deserve” TRI-Days Prove it by Running a Separate M&O Levy for All TRI-Days and Nothing Else and Lose All TRI-Days if the Levy Fails”.

 

Other relevant articles about this proposed school levy include:

See ALL of Island Politics’ articles on the OHSD by clicking HERE

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4 comments

  1. avatar

    Just a note for readers: sometimes buying an ad is the only way an opposing viewpoint will make its way to print, especially in one-paper towns.

    The good news is that there are websites like this one that feature well-researched articles and learned viewpoints.

    1. avatar

      The Whidbey News-Times (WNT) editor wrote an editorial back in early December, 2012, titled “Oak Harbor High School is an impressive facility” which addressed this upcoming levy.

      In closing, that WNT editorial said:

      There’s going to be a lot of public dialogue going on leading up to this election.

      I encourage everyone to listen to both sides with open ears before casting their vote.

      Then, instead of presenting BOTH SIDES, the newspaper editor obviously did her best to present a FLOOD of information that was “pro-levy” and only a small TRICKLE of the information it has been sent against the levy. That WNT editorial certainly was intended to mislead voters into believing that the WNT would itself be a fair-and-balanced source of information regarding “both sides” of this election. To borrow a phrase from David McCool’s letter-to-the editor, “nothing could be farther from the truth”.

      Maybe, when the WNT editor wrote “listen to both sides with open ears”, she was being literal, as she apparently never had any real intentions of providing both sides in print so that people could read “both sides”.

      Thanks for the compliment, but this article and the existence of IP is hardly “good news” unless we effect real positive change, which, when it comes to our public schools, will only start with voting “NO” on this school levy, since our votes on levies and bonds are the only thing we control about the school district. School board directors themselves presently are out of control and operate with impunity writing letters of deceit in the newspapers of “one-paper” towns.

      For example: “Oak Harbor School Board Directors sign their names to the false claim that there has been “no money for textbooks” + Video “California Teachers Union Socialist Brainwashing – Tax The Rich””

  2. avatar

    In Seattle, the Seattle Times actually prints op-ed pieces against the school levy. In Oak Harbor, the Whidbey News-Times suppresses such articles, and, instead, people are forced to “pay up” if they want something substantial printed that speaks against the school district’s local property tax proposals:

    “Op-ed: Vote no on Seattle’s school levies Propositions 1 and 2: By continuing to support the lack of accountability at Seattle Public Schools, we are actually hurting our students”

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