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Letter to the Editor-Is levy too much of a burden for taxpayers? A different perspective-Gina Applegate

Dear Editor

Recently published in this publication was a view regarding the upcoming school bond to replace the current track and field at the High School. It is my opinion that the view had very little to do with financial concern for local citizens and much more to do with politics.

While it is true that the current economic condition is very challenging for many if not all, let’s not forget that this same condition is very challenging for our local school district. The increase we have experienced in many products and services affects our local school district as well. This makes it equally challenging for budgets to be met both in households and local government entities. The bills passed by our state representatives to help local schools is definitely helpful for school districts, however, let’s remember those dollars are based on student numbers making budgets for smaller school districts still tenuous.

While it was noted that planning seven years ago was insufficient, it is my opinion that lack of planning was not the issue but more an attempt to make that levy more palatable for taxpayers. While fundraising is certainly one method to off-set some school district expenditures, it is often competing with many other equally deserving entities which makes achieving larger sums next to impossible. Over the years, I have seen fundraising efforts with regards to the track and field deliver a new pole vault pit, hurdles, and high jump pit. All very expensive items. Additionally, I would like to point out that the track and field program has had many individuals donate both their valuable time and dollars. If you were to pop into track and field practice, you would find many volunteers offering their time, expertise, and dollars to the program. Interestingly, no other school sport facilities have used fundraising to fully fund their existence. Furthermore, on any given day, you will find many members (taxpayers) of our community using the track for personal health benefits.

Finally, I would like to address the importance of all students having the opportunity to compete in a high school sport. Many legitimate statistics point to the fact that competing in sports builds many positive attributes to young people participating; building confidence, sportsmanship, and the ever-valuable ability to interact with one another. Over the years, I have personally seen the local High School Track and Field program be the most inclusive sport offered at the high school level. Currently the track and field program serve approximately 75 students of a varying range of abilities – giving all an opportunity to participate, learn and grow. Let’s remember, the children of today will one day be the individuals making the decisions for us all in the future.

The most important point would be to check your facts: reach out to the individuals who can answer your questions. Reach out to the school district superintendent and trustees; reach out to those involved with the track and field program. Do not just take the opinions of those who are completely uninformed, but of those who are informed. 

I was recently told by someone I highly respect, “it’s our responsibility to pay it forward”. My vote is yes!

Gina Applegate

Weiser, ID

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