Does a close vote on the override indicate problems?
The results of the Nov. 6 Williams Unified School District's override election were stunning. Of the 2,255 registered voters in the Williams area, 814 returned their mail in ballots. The election passed by only 20 votes, with 417 casting "Yes" votes and 397 casting "No" votes. This was one of the closest elections in Williams' history.
The voters have spoken. Voter turnout was high. Thirty-six percent of those registered voted, compared with less than 11 percent that voted in the override election in 2005. Nearly half of the voters did not approve of the Nov. 6 override, even though taxes will not increase. Why?
Are area residents dissatisfied with Williams' schools? Are more and more students being home-schooled and therefore, their families chose not to support an override for a school system their children do not attend? Is a large majority of residents registered to vote not interested in supporting Williams' schools because they do not have children? Are voters worried about an increase in taxes? Has our economy become so tight that many believe they cannot afford additional taxes? Did voters actually understand the purpose of the override election?
We don't have the answers. Perhaps it's time to take a closer look at our school system. Had the override not received voters' approval, the effects would have been devastating. WUSD would have been forced to cut approximately one third of its normal operating expenditures. Cuts could have included the loss of staff, cuts in wages and other budget decreases that ultimately would have hurt our most precious resource - our children, who are our future.
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