Friday, July 30, 2004

Vote 'yes' on the Nevada R-5 tax levy

How will you vote on Aug. 3? Folks expect voter turnout to be small, but ballot issues like Amendment 1 allowing gambling on the White River at Rockaway Beach, Amendment 2, designating marriage as between a man and a woman, and a close-to-home, right-out-of-the-pockebook issue proposing a 39-cent property tax levy increase for Nevada R-5 schools are likely to bring out more voters than most August elections.

Here at the Nevada Daily Mail, we've heard quite a bit of talk about the proposed school levy -- much of it from proponents like school board members, but some from the naysayers who plan to vote no.

We urge the community to check yes on the ballot on this one. Not because school board officials or adminstrators or even this newspaper endorse it -- but because it's good for the kids. And, if that's not enough reason for you -- it's good for the community.

Don't get us wrong. We understand that $37 a year -- that's the estimated additional cost to property owners with a property valued at $50,000 -- is a lot to some folks. Most of us can point to times in our lives when that $37 just wasn't there. We're not gathered here in the newsroom, jumping up and down, shouting, "Tax me, tax me, please!" But the reality is this. Nevada has come to have high expectations of their schools, and if the prestigious accreditation with distinction from the state is any indication, that expectation is justified.

But maintaining the quality of schools isn't about fancy awards or 'distinctions."

It's about whether our kids are prepared for life after high school and that we're producing a pool of future employees that incoming businesses are comfortable hiring. Local employers consulted say they have no reservations about hiring Nevada High School graduates, and economic development experts tell us new employers want to know there are high-quality schools in the area, both to provide a pool of competent employees and to attract new business and employees with children to the area.

The quality of the school system has a direct impact on property values, so better schools make your home worth more money.

No, money alone doesn't make a school district the best it can be. It doesn't ensure that administrators and teachers will be able to carry out the enormous responsibility of providing education without making mistakes or having to re-evaluate policies now and then. It does give them the tools to educate our children and to strive to continually improve.

Asking them to maintain programs without funding them is like asking a mechanic to overhaul an engine using a butter knife and a roll of duct tape.

We urge you to vote yes on the Nevada R-5 tax levy proposal, but whatever your vote, be sure to go to the polls -- and make your vote count.

-- Nevada Daily Mail