Wednesday, May 22, 2024

LETTER: Be mad about the past, but don’t make our kids pay for it.

| April 8, 2024 2:03 PM

Dear Editor, 

As someone who worked really hard to keep the second high school that was approved by voters in the 2017 bond election, I’m very troubled when I hear people citing that situation as a justification for voting no on the current levy election. Levies directly benefit students. If this levy was put up for a vote in 2018, I’d still vote in favor of it. My focus is on doing what is best for the kids, and that’s what the community should focus on as well.

There has been a lot of discussion about children’s mental health during and following the pandemic. Twelve school psychologists are employed by the Moses Lake School District, making our schools the largest provider of childhood mental health care in the area. If the levy fails, we lose 11 of those school psychologists — leaving just one to serve over 8,000 kids. Getting care outside of the schools can take six months to a year due to a shortage of mental health providers in our community.

Safety is the top priority for schools. Right now, we have 10 School Resource Officers and security staff working to keep kids and staff safe while they’re at school. If we don’t pass this levy, that will be reduced to one full-time officer and one part-time officer. We would also lose three school nurses, five counselors and 11 tech support staff. When these employees are lost, it’s extremely difficult to get them back again — just ask anyone who is trying to hire good employees right now.

We also need to remember the sports and extracurricular activities that levy money pays for. These things often make a huge impact on children’s lives, but are frequently just an afterthought for people who don’t have kids currently in the schools. We have several students graduating this year who will be attending top-ranked universities in the fall. Those universities want kids who participate in multiple clubs and sports. Taking away levy funding would make it so that only kids whose families can afford to pay for them to participate in clubs and sports would have a good chance of getting accepted to a top university.

Finally, if you’re frustrated with the school district, the best way to improve it is to get involved. There are numerous committees and organizations within the district that community members and parents can join that help determine what happens in the schools. The district has been asking for the community to get involved, and those of us who are volunteering our time would love to see more community members doing the same. If you’re mad about what happened in the past, the solution is to get involved and help make things better. It’s not OK to take away from the kids. Please vote yes on the levy.

Matt Paluch, Moses Lake