By Rich Smith
The $450K GVSD two-year levy failed almost by a 2:1 ratio. The statistics resulting from this election are revealing: 583 voters cast 402 “no” votes and 181 people voted “yes” for the levy.
Eighteen months earlier, 988 voters cast ballots in which a $12.65M bond for new school passed with 760 “yes” votes and 220 “no” votes. While 405 fewer people voted in this levy election, almost twice as many “no” votes were cast against the levy than those cast against the bond. A low turnout also contributed to the outcome. Over 200 children attend GV School; I would have expected at least 300 parents to cast votes and most of them (besides teachers and staff) vote to approve the levy. Nevertheless, only 181 “yes” votes were cast.
Some say that all the Alamar turmoil in the county and the continuing hullabaloo in the school district itself contributed to the large “no” vote. Other reasons may also be responsible. The country is going through a “no more taxes” period of self-examination, and the overall mood is to control spending. Many voters I spoke with opted for a school that concentrates on the “3 R’s” and have little motivation to fund other programs.
The burden of growing taxes was also a contributor. A good look at our homeowner’s tax bills, already burdened by county taxes, various taxing districts, and School and Library bonds, also contributed to the large number of “no” votes: “Well, the levy may only be $100 more each year, but that’s on top of everything else.
The low turnout is more puzzling. Did a lack of advertising and patron apathy contribute? The levy was not as well advertised as was the bond and as a result many folks may have been unaware of the vote, while others simply remained unmotivated. Then again, many folks are not here during the winter months or were out of town at the time. Finally, the new process of absentee voting was more difficult than in previous elections and could account for the small numbers of absentee votes.
The bottom line is the community is in no mood to increase funding for the school, or any other public works now. The school trustees and administration must now figure out how to maintain the quality of education with less money, and that ultimately means less for the children. This will not be an easy task.