March 6, 2006
Mr. Steve Mittge, School Board Chairman
Mr. Brian Metke Oakville Schools Superintendent
Oakville School Board Memers
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am a voter and a taxpayer. I am one of the many who voted "no" in the recent election. I hope you want to hear my opinions and my evaluation of the failed levy election.
But first, everyone should know I am the spouse of Judith Palmer. Judith is a school board member and Vice-Chairman of the School Board.
We both work very hard to maintain our honesty and credibility. I was not privy to any discussions or materials of the Oakville School Board or the Levy Committee. Judith did nothing to influence me, nor did I attempt to influence her decisions.
Now, with the Board's permission I'll share my written views of the voting statistics and the limited levy information. Both views are attached to this letter.
The voting statistics came from Grays Harbor County and my purchased copy of the Secretary of State Statewide Voter Registration Data Base. The only public levy information which reached me was The Cruiser. The December, January and February editions are quoted in my attachment. Two articles, one letter to the editor and one advertisement, from those editions, were the sources of my voter information and that was the only information I received.
When the time came to vote my only course was to vote no. I did so because of the lack of information, because of the inconsistency in the available information, and because it looked like the district was trying to promote a bond issue as a maintenance and operations levy.
The levy information in The Cruiser was at times misleading. The 'savings account' and 'Capital Fund' concepts were confusing, the new math dealing with savings amounts and interest were at best amusing.
As proposed the failed levy front-end loaded all costs and the current taxpayers shouldered the major burden. A separate bond issue would spread the proposed additional classroom cost and new building costs over 10 years. That way new Oakville residents 3, 4 or more years down the road, would have also paid for the bonds.
Finally, instead of unplanned projects, a separate bond levy commits the board to a specific course of action. As a voter I would see, in advance, where the money is going. Further the bond makes the money available now, and the school doesn't have to wait 4 or 5 years, as proposed, to accumulate enough money to begin paying cash for buildings or repairs.
I was not alone in my 'no' vote. As the statistics show, while the total number of voters increased 40% since the 2002 levy election, the number and the percentage of 'no' voters more than doubled.
To paraphrase others and other situations, the increase in M&O levy looks like a bond levy, and is described like a bond levy, so why hide it in a maintenance and operation levy?
Thank you for this opportunity to present my thoughts,
Quotations from Oakville Cruiser and comments
2006 February Election Results
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