LETTER: Highline School Board responds to John Castronover’s letter

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]

A Response to John Castronover’s Letter (published 12/27)

Dear John,

A few days after the November election, you and your wife Laura wrote a letter appealing for the community to rally around our schools. You said, “The time has come to put divisions behind us and come together as a community to create a plan that will go specifically to the needs of our schools.”

As your elected school board, we couldn’t agree more.

We are disappointed that the message of your latest letter to the editor is not one of community support for our schools, but just the opposite. You encourage citizens to reject not only the bond but the Educational Programs and Operations levy that provides more than one-fifth of the funding it takes to operate our schools and educate our children, including teacher pay, school buses and textbooks. Fuller detail about what the levy pays for is found at www.highlineschools.org/levy.

Under the leadership of Superintendent Susan Enfield we have set very ambitious goals for our students, and we are making progress toward those goals. Our students will not reach these goals overnight, and they absolutely cannot do it without the support of the community. A basic and necessary element of that support is making sure our schools have adequate funding.

We believe your suggestion to fund more police officers rather than schools is a false choice. Low crime rates are closely tied to the quality of education in a community. Countless studies show that young people who get a good education are far less likely to commit crimes. And good schools attract families, businesses, and jobs, which discourage crime and provide funding for police departments.

We encourage all community members to attend a district-wide Town Hall on January 22, 6:00 p.m. at Highline High School, where we will provide information and answer your questions about the levy, bond, district finances, and other important issues.

We are also holding information sessions this month on each of the major bond projects. You will find the meeting schedule and all the details about the bond and levy at www.highlineschools.org.

We are committed to providing you with all the information you need to make an informed vote.

Highline School Board:
Michael Spear, President
Tyrone Curry, Vice-President
Angelica Alvarez
Bernie Dorsey
Susan Goding

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4 Responses to “LETTER: Highline School Board responds to John Castronover’s letter”
  1. Greg Wright says:

    That’s a really good point about quality schools and crime rates.

  2. John Castronover says:

    Well first, a thank you to everyone who contacted us today your support is appreciated.
    When the school bond failed we did reach out to Superintendent Enfield and the School Board in an attemp to work together on a bond that was affordable to our comunity and one that we could get passed however our calls and emails were never returned, how convenient that they choose to leave that out of their above letter.

  3. Mom says:

    Has any Highline School Board member driven through Des Moines lately? It’s going to take a lot more than good schools to attract jobs or families to this tired, worn out ghost town. A quick drive through town is all that’s needed to see that most residents can’t afford to pay a higher tax. Any spare dollars could be spent on our local businesses- a more robust business/downtown district would be much more beneficial to bringing in new residents. The district needs to fix up the school we have and make do, just like the rest of us are. My vote is no.

    • Nicole says:

      We need to acknowledge the fact that Des Moines already has one of the better schools in the district. I have nothing but compliments for the education my children have received at Des Moines Elementary. They have been well-prepared for secondary education.

      The structure isn’t what draws people to a particular school and neighborhood, its the teachers, test scores and parent support. Centrality of the school among the service area is important as well. Des Moines has that added charm and desirability of being an old red brick schoolhouse. Maintaining its location and giving it similar respect as has been planned for Highline High School will go a long way for this community. It will only increase the desirability to live in Des Moines and attend school here.

      We have plenty of new schools in the district that are producing low scores, parents are electing to transfer their students elsewhere, they haven’t improved property values and are definitely not drawing people to those neighborhoods. New schools don’t equal good schools.

      Relocating Des Moines Elementary to Zenith will crush what is remaining of our community. Our city can’t afford another vacancy. Vote no and prevent this tragedy.