Vote ‘yes’ on Enumclaw school levy | Enumclaw Letters to the Editor

As we usher in the new year and look forward to a brighter future, let’s remember to vote “yes” on Feb. 3 for the Enumclaw School District’s capital facilities and technology levy.

This levy will benefit students by providing necessary repairs to roofs and heating systems that are essential to operating and maintaining safe, quality learning environments for students. Technology improvements and equipment will support student learning and assist teachers to prepare students for higher education and for a diverse range of occupations. As we know, technology is advancing at a rapid rate therefore it is critical that we provide students with current resources and opportunities that will enable them for success.

Let’s invest in a brighter future and vote “yes” for our kids. Please remember to mail in your ballot by Tuesday, Feb. 3. For more information about the school district levy, please visit the Enumclaw School District Web site at www.enumclaw.wednet.edu or the 4RKids Levy Committee Web site at www.4rkids.net .

Thank you for your support.

Kathleen Michael

4rkids Committee

In Bush we trusted; now we’re busted

In a few days the curtain will close on the most disastrous presidency in modern history. I think historians, 50 or so years from now, will look back and point to this president as the man who lost America’s superpower status by bankrupting the country. President Bush has borrowed more money in his eight years in office than every president combined from George Washington to Bill Clinton. And this is before the trillion dollar bailout to bankers. Mortgaging our children’s and grandchildren’s future is simply irresponsible and borders on criminal. So much for the Republican ideology of conservatism.

The response I hear from Republicans is that President Bush really wasn’t a conservative. My response to that is two-fold. First, the Republicans voted for him twice. Second, this philosophy of borrow and spend has been ingrained in Republican thinking since Ronald Reagan. Even Vice President Cheney has been quoted as saying that deficits don’t matter. This must be part of the Republican “Faith Based Economics” plan. Borrow as much money as you can and have faith that somehow you can pay it back. I don’t think that’s a way to run a country.

This borrow and spend economic theory along with “trickle down” ideology, the destruction of unions that provide a living wage and the destruction of the environment for short-term gain have made me reflect on the Republican philosophy. This has led me to conclude that most rational and halfway intelligent people would have to reject the Republican philosophy as a bankrupt model that has brought America to insolvency.

It’s difficult to understand how a president who demands accountability from others refuses to be held accountable for his and the Republicans mismanagement of the country. After being selected by the Supreme Court, President Bush spent six months of his first eight months in office vacationing in Crawford, Texas. Because of this he failed to read memos that were warning him that Bin Laden was going to attack the U.S. Then he illegally attacks Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. He illegally wiretaps Americans, imprisons American citizens on American soil while refusing to allow them to see an attorney or any family members for years. I don’t have room to list all the other irresponsible actions like torturing prisoners, cutting taxes while fighting two wars, the Katrina fiasco, deregulation and the list goes on and on.

The bottom line is this, the Clinton administration handed President Bush a trillion dollar surplus and a good economy and in eight years President Bush has not only spent that trillion dollar surplus but we also have nearly a trillion dollar deficit and a financial meltdown.

A friend of mine put it best, “In Bush I trusted; now I’m busted”.

Chris Quiles

Enumclaw

Citizens need to keep state park open

Yes, Nolte State Park is proposed for closure. The matter is not over yet. The reason for the closure proposal is the huge gap in the state budget. Every two years the governor sends out a proposed budget to the state Legislature for the following two years. It is this draft Gov. Gregoire budget that sets the funding for various agencies that is proposing to close Nolte State Park. It also proposes closing the regional park headquarters in Auburn, so all state parks in our area would be covered through the other two western Washington offices, which I believe are located in Vancouver and Bellingham (Mt. Vernon). In any case with the closing of the Auburn State Parks Regional Headquarters, we will see a substantial decrease in staff time and management to all the state parks in our area, with the possible exception of Flaming Geyser State Park, which came out with a fairly large capitol budget intact.

Since the governor’s budget is now out, the matter is in the hands of the state Legislature. They can accept the budget as is, make changes or propose a new budget altogether. If we want the part of the budget on state parks changed it means we are going to have to work hard on the state legislative delegation for our area. In particular since Nolte State Park is in the Enumclaw area district, we are going to need one of those legislators (two representatives and one senator), to be a sponsor for the alternative to closure that is now proposed. There are also other legislators that have supported our area for the past few years. While this is a quick overview of the situation, both a quick and strong support locally is our best hope to keep Nolte State Park open. I have lived nearby Nolte for about 20 years, I love this park. It is not only unique to Enumclaw but is now used year ‘round by more families than ever before. Keep Nolte Park open!

Cathy Kombol

Middle Green River Coalition Ambassador to Hyde Lake County Park

Enumclaw

Taking over fair is an opportunity

Having read of the uncertainty over whether or not there will be a King County Fair only makes me wish my kids would have been able to have experienced the feeling of going to the fair on a summer evening, having a great time hanging out with friends, seing the midway lights, smelling the food and seeing the lights of town while hanging upside down on the rock-o-plane!

My family went to the revised fair last year which was nice, not very crowded but definitely geared more towards the metropolitan, go-green, environmentally friendly type of crowd (I didnt feel like I was in Enumclaw other than the animal exhibits). I have nothing against being concerned for our environment but it wasn’t the fair.

So my thoughts made me wonder. I have attended the car show downtown many years in a row. Les Schwab used to do a car show at the fairgrounds. Buckley has carnival rides set up to coincide with the log show (I prefer to call it the logger’s rodeo like it used to be). Enumclaw used to have midway rides as part of the origional fair. I attended the bull riding event with my family last year and got drenched but I really enjoyed it and only envision a bigger and better event in the future.

So here are my thoughts. Why can’t we create a community event? It can be a fair and many other things over the course of a weekend. I imagine our new bull riding event as a main attraction, a midway with rides and food along with exhibits and all the great 4-H animals; roll the car show into it also one day or two – imagine an evening cruise through downtown and watching the cars cruise back in to the fairgrounds. Maybe we create a celebration of our logging and dairy farm heritage; we say we want to be an equestrian theme town but what I think of most growing up in Buckley and living in Enumclaw the last 18 years is the dairy farms that used to be commonplace in our community. People love barbecues and chili cook-offs – you could really do it up right by marketing a competition or something like that along with all of the other things.

There are many oppotunities to truly make a great weekend festival and, yes, not only will we be able to enjoy this for ourselves as a community event, if it is marketed correctly and kept as an affordable and well organized event tourists and visitors from outside of our area will come and spend their dollars in our town and isn’t that what the city has been studying for the last few years?

Just Imagining.

Rich Gold

Enumclaw

Consolidation not answer to budget woes

As the budget crisis in the White River School District becomes more and more complex, some district officials have suggested that consolidating the schools will ease the financial shortcomings that are threatening the educational system in our town. A few options that have been put on the table have been closing Wickersham School of Discovery and combining the Glacier and White River middle schools. In addition to school consolidation they must also lay off more than 16 teachers and 15 classified staff, so neither option maintains, let alone improves, our children’s education.

Neither alternative is a move forward; rather it is more of a defensive holding position to prevent even more drastic measures. This hasty reaction to the problem is lacking judgment in at least two ways. First, indiscriminately closing schools and shipping hundreds of children across town to the remaining schools ignores the fact that the remaining schools will need to be upgraded to receive the influx of new students. If the district is already facing a deficit where will the revenue come from to upgrade the remaining schools?

Secondly, this town went to great pains some eight years ago when they decided that a new elementary school was in need. At that time they went about making an important decision the right way and asked the community and future staff what would be their ideal representation of a public school. After many meetings a decision to open Wickersham “A school of choice” was implemented. This is a school where we have over 50 percent of the parents participating in the PTA. Where students learn at their own pace, not taught at the median intellect of the collective class. Collectively they have outperformed many of the other elementary schools on WASL testing within the district. At Wickersham, parent volunteering is abundant and students adore their teachers and learning. With all the positive facets of Wickersham, one would think that the district would want to model other schools after Wickersham, not indiscriminately close a successful representation. However, from what I can see, we are an expendable appendage which can be severed quite easily. The question I ask is, is this move in the best interest of the students? Would all the attentive work from students and staff be for naught if we now simply close schools on the pretense of saving money. I think not.

I am not against the concept of school consolidation if it can be proven that it not only saves money, but more importantly, improves the educational environment for our children. A haphazard, impromptu suggestion that closing schools is an answer is not acceptable to me and it should not be acceptable to anyone else who believes that a quality education is about the most important service that a government owes its citizens.

I understand that a balanced budget is part of the district’s concern and that White River has to be fiscally accountable, both to the taxpayers and to local and federal governments. I just believe that there are other options that have not been considered. There are many alternatives to closing Wickersham.

• Has the district considered reducing the school week to a four-day week by extending the current school day by 60 to 90 minutes? We could more than make up for days lost. Not only would this option cut down on transportation costs, it would also help in cutting heating and electrical expenditures.

• What about tuition-based enrollment at a “choice” school like Wickersham?

• Could Wickersham school be moved to another location, but still be continued as a “choice” program?

• Has the district thought about selling property they own for expansion but currently aren’t using?

• Are there more grants that the district could be qualifying for? We as a community could come together to work to achieve more qualified money for our students.

Unfortunately, just like in personal budgets, when it gets uncomfortable we start to squirm. Now that our children’s education is being affected, we are feeling the budget crunch personally and I for one would rather collaborate with the district to come to an acceptable alternative than to be dictated the impending outcome.

Once this crisis is resolved, I also believe it is essential for each and every one of us to stay involved in our community affairs and government so that we never find ourselves in these circumstances again.

Pat and Cassie Pearson

Buckley

Student loves School of

Discovery

“I wish it didn’t snow.”

I blinked in surprise at the bitterness in my sweet 7-year-old’s voice. She loves the snow. Why wasn’t she pinging with delight?

“You wish it didn’t snow? Why?” I asked.

“Because now I can’t go to school.”

As a child, I despised school with an intensity that was incongruent with my age. A snow day was a blessed reprieve from my compulsory education. I prayed for a snow day. I know that my daughter doesn’t feel the same, but to hear her respond to the school cancellation with such disdain was unfathomable.

When Emmaline turned 5 years old, I viewed the approaching school year with dread. As her mother, it was natural for me to want to protect her from the misery that I was certain she would feel. I considered home schooling, but, as an only child, I wanted her to have the opportunity to be with other children. The kindergarten orientation at Wickersham School of Discovery loomed over my head like a black cloud of doom.

When we walked in to Mrs. Jewell’s classroom, my skepticism wavered. This was such a happy place! The room was warm, friendly and inviting, the children seemed glad to be there, the parents were so supportive. My daughter’s admiration for her teacher made my eyes sting. I was quickly swept up in a whirlwind of activity; my strengths were identified and put to work. I put in more hours at school than I do at my job and found that I could make a difference.

Emmaline is in first grade now, with the marvelous Mrs. Fitz. The environment here is positive, nurturing and familial. The staff works together to shape a cohesive education for each student. The parent involvement here is unparalleled. The PTA is passionate and highly effective. The idea that the White River School District would throw away such an obvious asset is criminal.

It takes a village to raise a child.

I’ve never been in the presence of a more dedicated village than the one at Wickersham School of Discovery. I urge you to recognize the value of the effort being made there and support the future of the school.

Evangelynn Lenz

Wickersham parent and volunteer

Buckley