Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Oct. 20, 2007

Using old history books

I’m amazed that the Federal Way School District has the money to pay our superintendent, Tom Murphy, while my son in Kilo Middle School is using a social studies textbook that is over 20 years old. Yup, over 20 years old.

This book is still in the Cold War, practicing apartheid, has a divided Germany, a Soviet Union, and countries named Zaire and Yugoslavia. No mention of Desert Storm, 9/11, no bringing down of the Berlin Wall, no Internet, and no Presidents Clinton or Bush. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

I’ve contacted the Federal Way School Board and my son’s teachers about this situation and found out the problem is lack of money. But somehow the district has found thousands of dollars for our superintendent. For what? Our schools have been in desparate need of textbooks and supplies for the past decade.

Why are we rewarding those that are in charge of the sinking ship?

Jim Knapp,

Auburn

Yes to simple majority

I was just reading in the voters pamphlet the statement against EHJR 4204, the amendment that would eliminate supermajority for approval of school levies.

I was amazed at the misinformation given in the statements. “This is a property tax increase.” No, it’s not. The passage of this amendment does not increase taxes; it is up to the voter to vote yes or no when the school levy, which can increase taxes, is run in their school district. It says, “You, the voters,” said levies must receive 60 percent approval, this constitutional item was not voted by “us, voters.” It was voted by people 100 years ago. This is the chance for us to make this a current law, applicable to today’s situations.

Also stated in the pamphlet: “Currently, school districts ensure high voter turnouts, EHJR 4204 would discourage that.” What? School districts will always try to ensure voter turnout for something that benefits our children; passage of EHJR 4204 won’t change that. I think that is a ludicrous suggestion.

“Should a small minority be able to raise your taxes?” Everyone over 18 that is a citizen of the USA gets the right to vote, so what is the small majority of people? One thing stated in the responses: The responsibility of school funding should be the state’s. True, and passage of this amendment will not change the people who are passionately trying to get the current laws changed in that aspect.

But why wouldn’t “you, the voters” want to be able to have a fair chance to pass something with a majority of voter approval or disapproval?

Let’s get this constitutional article current to today’s situation. This is a chance for fairness...majority rules.

Let’s vote to approve EHJR 4204 — simple majority — to pass school levies.

Connie Lunka, Federal Way

Watch for library closure

I would like the city to be aware of a meeting affecting the library.

The King County Library System (KCLS) is having a public meeting regarding the Federal Way Regional Library expansion from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Federal Way Regional Library, 34200 1st Way S., Federal Way. Their stated purpose is to “review and offer input about the design of the Federal Way Regional Library expansion. Meet the team from Mithun Architects.”

I hope that every citizen of Federal Way attends this meeting. We currently pay property tax money for the 2004, $172 million library bond. One of the bond promises was to expand the FW Regional Library by 10,000 square feet, and the library system seems to have suddenly decided to begin work on this.

When I visit the library after school and on weekends, I see that many students are there, and the study tables can be rather full. An expansion would be welcome. What might not be welcome is the possibility of being told that we will not get the whole 10,000 square feet due to poor estimation of costs, that the library system has no intention of putting in more space for books, but intends to use the space for “living room”-like seating to encourage people to “hang out.” Worst of all, they intend to close the library during the expansion, expecting the patrons to move to the 320th Library during that time, estimated to be 12-14 months of closure starting in summer 2008, eight months from now, until at least July 2009. The FW Regional Library would be closed for over a year.

The 320th Library is also very full. The Woodmont Library on the northern edge of Federal Way is currently closed until July 2008. Rather than maintain a bookmobile or other nearby storefront library during expansion, the KCLS decided to have everyone use “other libraries” there too, so the patrons have to go to Des Moines or to the 320th Library.

If the Regional Library happens to be closed while Woodmont Library is still being worked on, we will be very, very crowded in the 320th Library.

I urge everyone to attend the Monday, Oct. 29, meeting at the Regional Library to hear the plans and ask questions. Fliers are available at both FW libraries. Then, please come to the KCLS Board of Trustees meeting the next day, 5 p.m. Oct. 30 at the KCLS Service Center in Issaquah. Members of the public have three minutes to comment. Please tell them what you think.

Any librarian can help you find directions to this meeting. The board’s e-mail address is boardoftrustees@kcls.org.

In a time when our Federal Way schools do not each have librarians, and at a time when an adjacent public library, Woodmont, has been closed without providing alternate service to the community, we need to attend these meetings, listen, ask questions, and make sure our needs are known.

It is everyone’s responsibility to be aware of what might happen to the library and make sure what happens is the best result for our community. I hope the council, school board and superintendent will attend these meetings, and speak up for the children too.

Margaret Nelson, Federal Way

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