As city ballots came out last week, many Anacortes citizens have been considering the new passage of a replacement Tax levy to fund Anacortes schools. One drive around Anacortes’s neighborhoods and suburbs, both close to downtown and near the waterfront by skyline will show that many have opinions, telling from the bright purple and white “vote yes for Anacortes schools” and “No School Levy” signs. Our journalists wanted to compile some public opinion to help people see the community’s take on the argument.
From what our team has gathered, those who support the levy believe that while the Washington government does a decent job subsidizing, there is still a large need for extra funding. Sally Pullen, a former Anacortes district teacher and supporter of the arts, shares her views on the topic:
“I believe in public education. I also believe that even though Washington does a great job of subsidizing public schools, I think there are always other things that need to be taken care of…. The big point is not everything we need to make a foundational education for our kids can be gotten from taxes, and so we need to have levies in order to supplement.“
Romany Kerr, the mother of a high schooler and elementary student in the
Anacortes district, Is voting in favor of the Levy. She also shares her knowledge of school funding:
“Um, I know that the state funding doesn’t cover what I think the Anacortes community considers the excelled schooling we have. I didn’t originally understand that the state funding doesn’t actually cover a majority of the things kids do as extracurricular, 100% of sports comes out of the money collected through the levy funds we get, so the state doesn’t really approve any of the extracurricular activities. Such as arts and performance and yea.”
The fact that the Levy has been around in one form or another for a while now also leads many to feel confident that the updated edition would fulfill its purpose of supporting the district just as well as it has in the past. Preschool teacher June Steen shares her opinions on the old levy in comparison to the new:
“…The tax levy is not a new levy, it is a replacement levy, and we agreed to it before. Even more so, the way that our tax system is set up in Washington state, every district has its own levies to cover things state funding fails to cover. And it is really necessary. There is a massive difference between what our students really need, in the ways of extracurriculars and other amenities, and what the state funding covers. I think it’s crucial we support our children.”
As one can see by these statements there is a lot of support behind the Levies’ implementation, but of course, there is another side to the story. Our journalists also reached out to those in opposition of the levy and, while they attempted to speak with multiple people, their initial outreaches were not rewarded. With many doors not opened and even a door slammed in their faces, our team was disappointed on their first trip around the town.
But eventually, with additional effort, they spoke to a few citizens in opposition. One speaker, wishing to remain anonymous, shared their opinions.
“it’s less of a question of whether or not the community needs it, and more so an issue regarding the constitutionality of tax levies at all. The government shouldn’t be able to simply take money from you or your parents who work for the bread they should break. The typical excuse for why we need these levies, this highway robbery, that they always use is that we need it to fund things state funding doesn’t cover, but I argue it covers enough to keep the schools operating and the rest should come from the pockets of stakeholders.”