First, thanks to Liberty In Bellevue, the League of Women Voters and the North Suburban Chamber of Commerce for hosting another candidate forum on Monday, Oct. 28th. If you weren’t able to attend, you can watch the video online. I was hoping the moderator was going to ask the school board candidates about their vision of the future, similar to the final questions she presented to the council and mayoral candidates. I wanted to briefly touch on how the school district will affect the community, but since we did not get to the question and only had limited time to respond to other questions, I will touch on it now.
I do not believe that you will see a drastic change (improvement or decline) in a school district from year to year but rather small incremental changes over many years that ultimately have a substantial impact on a community. Not only will a school district influence whether or not families move into or out of a community based on its reputation, but a large percentage of graduates will remain in the community, take local jobs, and possibly take leadership positions within the community. It may not seem like much, but if we fight for education and it prevents a couple students from falling through the cracks, and less students get held back, and maybe one more student gets the opportunity to go to college, and perhaps there is one less teen pregnancy than there would have been, and one less family leaves the district in favor of another school, then the long term benefits will far outweigh the immediate financial savings of cramming 30 kids into a classroom.
To that end we need school leaders that are willing to fight for education. We cannot afford drastic teacher furloughs while awarding our superintendent a raise. We cannot afford to reduce graduation requirements because the school is not appropriately staffed. We cannot remain silent when people in positions above us make decisions that negatively impact the potential of our children. We simply cannot afford to just say “there is nothing we can do about it”. We cannot afford to have leaders that refuse to ask questions and do not think for themselves.
I think a little common sense with a bit of passion could give Northgate, Bellevue and Avalon the boost needed to start to turn the tide. Hopefully there are enough other people out there that feel the same way. One way to influence change in your community will be November 5th. Don’t forget to get out and vote!