Letter to the editor: Throwing more money at the problem is not the solution


Three years ago, the taxpayers of the Battle Ground Public Schools (and most other school districts in Washington state) were brutally assaulted and robbed by a greedy band of thugs. They held our children hostage, ignored and defied court orders while demanding more and more money from our already strained pocketbooks.

These thugs employed tactics that were disgusting and I cannot forget how bitter I felt three years ago. Ultimately, local school boards had little choice to cave into their outrageous demands and give them what they wanted. 

These thugs gained a massive (25 to 30%) pay increase for their gang, while giving us absolutely nothing in return. Notwithstanding the fact that these same gang members already earn on average two to three times the median income of Clark County citizens for working less hours and days each year than most full time workers. Beyond their above average pay scale, these gang members have medical, dental, days off and retirement benefits that are beyond what most people can achieve or dream to attain.

When this assault and robbery occurred, everyone involved knew and predicted the outcome would have long term effects. School district management openly admitted they would have trouble funding local schools in the future due to these thugs and their actions. 

Now, three years later we are asked to forget about this terrible assault on our children and our pocketbooks. The thugs are counting on our short memories and are using our precious children as tools to gain even more of our hard earned money. 

Yes, I’m bitter. Shortly after this robbery, I received my property tax bill and in horror looked at the largest increase in property taxes I had ever seen in my 25 years of living in my home. My taxes went up over $1,000 per year because of this assault three years ago. I just needed to suck it up because I’m not a thug that can hold innocent children and a community hostage to increase my pay and benefits.

This cycle has to end. Per student spending on local public education has doubled in the past 10 years, yet we’ve achieved nothing in improved educational standards and student performance. In fact, despite the doubling of funds per student, our kids are receiving less educational opportunities than they did 10 years ago. 

The thugs need to return some of the money they stole. I know it’s wishful thinking and it’s never going to happen. That’s why I voted no on the last levy and I will continue to vote no on additional school funding. 

Everyone knew three years ago that the assault on our pocketbooks was unsustainable. This problem needs to be addressed and fixed. Throwing more money at the problem is not the solution. 

Let us never forget the assault and robbery that took place in September 2018 in the state of Washington.

Ritch West / Brush Prairie 


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