Simple Majority Campaign kicks off in Arlington

ARLINGTON Parents and staff of the Arlington School District conducted their first meeting Aug. 29 on two upcoming campaigns affecting area schools.
ASD Deputy Superintendent Warren Hopkins noted that the Simple Majority Campaign is already underway, and added that its outcome in November will impact the ASD levy in February of next year.
The Washington State Senate and House of Representatives have passed Engrossed House Joint Resolution 4204, the simple majority plan for school levies. If approved by the voters, this state constitutional amendment would allow 50 percent of the voters, plus one vote, to authorize a school levy, as opposed to the 60 percent supermajority thats currently required.
Were coming up on our four-year levy, Hopkins said. Three and a half years ago, we had to run it two times, because the first time it failed with a 59 percent majority. That incurred extra costs, in time and money, to parents and other volunteers in the community.
Hopkins agreed with John Burkholder, who was active in backing the last levy campaign, that running a second election for the same levy can endanger certain school district employees jobs.
If it fails, you have to have a contingency plan in place, Hopkins said. Theres a timeline when you need to let people know if theyre out of a job, and sometimes, its before you can run the levy again.
Hopkins, Burkholder, ASD employee Diane Kirchner-Scott and school district parents Wendy McClure and Sharon Billdt were among those who plan to meet at 432 Fir Lane at 5:30 p.m. every Wednesday, to do their part locally for the statewide Simple Majority Campaign. In so doing, they hope to pave the way for the district levy next year.
Its a simple issue of fairness, really, Hopkins said. Its only been since the 1930s that we were required to have a supermajority for school levies.
We cant take this for granted, Burkholder said. Were looking at this like we dont have any choice but for 4204 to pass. The teachers union and the PTA have been very active, but the margin is so narrow that every vote counts. It could literally come down to a difference of maybe 10 votes.
The group invites anyone interested in supporting 4204 or the school levy to attend their weekly meetings, or call either McClure at 360-435-2143 or Billdt at 360-435-3333.
Just be willing to bring your energy and commitment, Hopkins said.

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