Levies hold key to kids’ education



Did you know that, of the $18 million general fund for the Port Townsend School district, $3 million comes from local levies?

While the vast majority (close to $15 million) comes from state and federal sources, local citizens pay for about one-sixth of the cost of our local schools.

That, according to our school representatives, is par for the course.

Which begs the question: What are we paying for?

It’s the locally sourced produce your children are learning how to cultivate, along with education on the nutritional and environmental benefits of growing and cooking their own food.

It’s the maritime education so important to the history and the future of our community. Such place-based learning helps our kids better appreciate the community in which they live.

It’s teachers’ salaries. These are the men and women we entrust with helping our children become critical thinkers so they will act as informed citizens — people who don’t just exist but make our world a better place.

On Feb. 12, Port Townsend School District voters will decide whether or not to pass a capital levy and a general fund levy to continue pay for our schools.

If the levies don’t pass, we limit our children’s access to becoming productive members of society. We dull their ability to shine as brightly as they might.

This is why we are obligated, as a community, to support our children and the teachers who educate them.

From the perspective of your wallet, it won’t cost much more than it has in the past.

We’ve already been paying taxes for most of the needs of our schools, but due to a recent state mandate, levies like these are required to cover enhancements you’ve already been paying for.

If you want your schools to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (they aren’t), support these levies.

If you want your children to have a better life than you’ve had, vote yes on these levies.


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We are spending an absurd amount of money, and get so little in return from this school district.

An $18 million budget for 1200 students equals almost $14 per hour of instruction per student.

Put another way, by the time a kid has gone through the whole system, preK-12, each one will have cost taxpayers more than $200,000.

And then, because there are so few local jobs, most will leave the area, contributing nothing toward paying for the next generation.

Tuesday, February 5
Tom Camfield

I'm with Lloyd. I voted "yes" for everything on this current local ballot. I had classroom experience from 1936 through 1954. Of that the 1 through 12 years were here in P.T. And I've watched our schools evolve in the years since. Near as I can tell it's the same old story. Keeping up with a progressive society costs more money than is allowed our schools. The state is dragging its feet in obeying the law and providing sufficient funding. The local special levies thus are required merely for schools to provide a decent education in clean, safe facilities.

My wife Jean could speak better to this issue. She was District 50's finance officer for many years.

Members of the public don't much coordinate with elected members of the school board, and when a levy comes around, all they see is a tax increase. Those without children in school get particularly indignant. But what we're paying for is the future of our local society, our national well-being—and the survival of the world itself. Myself, I don't want to shuffle off leaving everything in shambles.

I'm hugely in favor of an expanded curriculum including environmental attention, maritime study, and such.

Children need something to grab and hold their attention, whatever age they might be. Something they can build on. When I graduated from PTHS in 1947, none of us had much of a plan at all for our future.

I've never complained about teachers making more money than I while having an extended summer break. I'd like to see teacher salaries upgraded to attract more truly dedicated and competent into the profession. These people are charged with moulding the lives of the next generation. I feel that our current president will be pandering ignorance all the way, which makes our task all the harder.

Friday, February 8