Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Op-Ed: Republican Central Committee rebuts levy editorial

by BRENT REGAN/Special to The Press
| March 17, 2021 1:00 AM

Supplemental levy votes have long benefited from being held on dates that don’t coincide with major elections. These levy elections are decided by a tiny fraction of the population. One would think that the voting age family members of more than 12,000 students and staff of the Coeur d’Alene School District would turn out in large numbers to support the system in which they directly benefit. Apparently not, as less than 6,000 voted in favor of the levy, or about 6 percent of the registered voters or 3 percent of the population, hardly a “mandate.”

School districts spend tens of thousands of tax dollars promoting the levy; dollars that could otherwise be used for education.

As evidenced by the rapid rise of private and charter school attendance and the precipitous decline in levy support, parents and students are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with our taxpayer funded government schools. The proposition that the only solution is more money has lost all credibility.

At the core of our public schools are calcified bureaucracies that fail to adequately serve our quality teachers, our students, and their families. These bureaucratic mires use teachers as shields and children as pawns to deflect from their bloat and waste. Contrary to the propaganda offered by these bureaucrats, it is entirely possible for a citizen to be “For Education” while being against wasteful spending. The two are not mutually exclusive.

The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee (KCRCC) is composed of nearly 70 members, each from a different precinct and each elected to the office by their neighbors. No other organization in the county has such a diverse representation of the entire county. These committeemen are volunteers who dedicate their time, effort and often money from their own pockets to help better inform and motivate their neighbors. They host free public Town Halls with legislators, assist with voter registration, interview candidates, promote voter turnout, and distribute election information. Seven of our committeemen have either served or are currently serving as education trustees and have seen the problems and issues firsthand.

Rather than address the core problems in education, the levy supporters at The Press chose to engage in name calling and sophistry. Not having recently attended one of our regular meetings, this handful of Press employees, huddled on Second Street, chose to describe the KCRCC as extremists, posers, liars, paranoid and "Bonehead." And that is in just one editorial. These same people bemoan the loss of civility in the public square.

As for sophistry, The Press editors argue that “property taxes will not increase with passage of any of the levies” yet right on the ballot it says “the proposed levy is a tax of $145.54 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value,” so it is not false to say that property taxes will be higher if a levy passes than if it doesn’t.

Is it “patently false” that district employees are being paid to attend IEA union events? Is it a “manifestation of paranoid minds” to object to the school district giving gender transition counseling to a 10-year-old without their parent’s knowledge? No, these are genuine issues that deserve honest discussion. Calling your opponent silly names is the last refuge of a losing argument.

The editor is right on one point; there is a fight for education control. It is between the citizens of Kootenai County and the local operatives of the union machine that is the Idaho Education Association.

The KCRCC proudly stands with, and will fight for the teachers, students and parents who want a high quality, 21st century education system.

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Brent Regan is chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.