School Boards “Gaming the System” at Taxpayer Expense

Letter to the editor submitted to the Spokesman Review in regard to Washington’s February 10, 2015 special election

It’s special election time again – that time of year when we waste taxpayer dollars to print, mail and process ballots with only one or two items on them – usually a school bond or levy. Ostensibly, these are issues that could not be foreseen at the last regular election and which cannot wait until the next. Hence, school district officials appeal to county commissioners for a “special” election as provided in state law for dealing with such emergencies as school administrators not being able to project revenues and expenses far enough in advance to place these matters on a regular election ballot. But do these issues appear on special election ballots merely because school boards are incapable of planning ahead, or is it because voter participation is notoriously low at these elections, making it easier for the education establishment and its associated special interests to carry the vote? I would be curious to see the outcome of such bond/levy issues if county commissioners were to stand up to school districts, refuse to waste taxpayer dollars on special elections and tell the education establishment they’ll just have to place their bond issues on a regular election ballot like everyone else.