Letters to the Editor: February 2, 2015

The Editor:

Why should people living in Birch Bay vote “Yes” for the Blaine school capital bond?

Fixing what’s broken is what this capital bond is about. It covers needed improvements for today’s high school students including educational, technological and classroom environment improvements. It includes remodelling a few elementary classrooms that don’t have enough technological and electrical infrastructure to operate a sufficient number of computers simultaneously. It supports a move to full-time kindergarten and improves the safety of students by providing a secure environment.

Some suggest constructing a new elementary school in Birch Bay should be the district’s highest funding priority. Doing so means the district would have three elementary schools – two in Blaine and one in Birch Bay. That proposal ignores the plain fact that there aren’t enough students to operate three elementary schools. The district would need to close one of the existing schools in Blaine. At current federal and state funding levels, a district of this size needs approximately 450 students per facility. Building new schools instead of repairing existing facilities doesn’t make financial sense.

My wife and I have lived in the Birch Bay community since 1989, raising three children and actively participating in the school as volunteers. I know the quality of education students receive in Blaine and Birch Bay is first class, and it will be even better when the existing facilities are repaired and improved. Sending elementary students to Birch Bay isn’t going to improve the learning process.

Alternatively, I suggest the Birch Bay community plan and committee consider plans for a private school, part or full-time preschool, childcare or other community enhancements, such as a library. These ideas might be economically and socially attractive alternatives.

I urge my friends and neighbors in Birch Bay support public education of local students. Offer them the same opportunity to learn as other school districts provide. Please show your child, grandchild, niece, nephew and friends you care about their education by voting “yes” on the Blaine school capital bond.

Randy Bellville
Birch Bay

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