On April 23, Lopez Island citizens will be asked to approve a $15.5 million bond measure for a major school renovation project. It would be easy to think that this measure will be approved, as school bond measures on Lopez typically do. However, this assumption, in my opinion, is misguided.
Parents and staff, who oppose the bond measure, have to do so in anonymity out of fear of negative repercussions for themselves, their children and their jobs. Additionally, community members don’t want to voice their concerns regarding this bond measure out of fear of being branded as unsupportive of the school or made an outcast in the community. Just because we oppose this measure, does not mean that we oppose the school. We believe there are other, more effective, ways of supporting the school that do not involve the option that we have been provided.
What kind of community do we live in, where the school is granted so much power and influence over us, that we fear for our personal sanity when we make rational decisions to oppose a measure such as this. The purpose of Democracy is to allow people to freely speak their mind about these issues without any of these repercussions. However, we somehow find ourselves hesitant towards letting our voices be heard when we believe the issue might affect how we are viewed within the community.
As an alumni of Lopez Island Schools, I will not be voting for this measure. I do not see the necessity nor the economic and social benefits for this $15.5 million project. I do not see how saving over $750,000 over a period of 30 years or supposed “huge enrollment projections” justify an excessively expensive project that is seemingly unnecessary. I urge Lopez citizens to vote “No” on this bond measure, and encourage everyone to take a stand up and make the statement that we will no longer succumb to the overly powerful organization known as the Lopez Island School District.