As with any good subject that is open to public debate, Proposition No. 1 School District Cocurricular Activities Funding has strengths and weaknesses. Because the subject includes intellectual activities such as drama and debate, I would like to present the subject in the dramatic format of a debate.
OPENING: "Do you approve the exercise of powers necessary for the Kenai Peninsula Borough to directly fund cocurricular activities for the school district in addition to operating funds currently authorized by law?"
(Cocurricular activities include educational, cultural and recreational activities that are of a supplementary educational nature such as sports, drama, dance, speech and other similar activities sponsored by the school and conducted before or after school hours.)
PRO: Participation by the entire community is a function of cocurriculars. Parents, businesses, educators and our children all benefit from working together and providing an environment which teaches fair play, teamwork and the development of mind and body. The activities allow students from public schools, private schools and home schools to meet face-to-face and side-by-side while developing needed skills and friendships.
CON: The proposition places the entire added tax burden on property owners at a time when there is a healthy budget surplus in borough accounts. There is no rational argument that can be made which explains why this burden should be placed only on property owners. The benefits of government service and the taxes for them must be fairly proportioned. Proposition No. 1 does neither; the benefits and the taxes are disproportionate.
NEUTRAL: The 2006 Arctic Winter Games are scheduled to formally begin on the Kenai Peninsula in 23 months. As the ballot was being mailed on March 8, more than 100 local residents and athletes were returning from the 2004 Games in Wood Buffalo, Alberta, Canada. Their enthusiasm and knowledge is expected to help Kenai Peninsula residents as they gear up mentally, physically and economically to put on the 2006 Games. Will this ballot proposition impact the needed energy and fund-raising for the 2006 Games?
PRO: The city council of Soldotna has unanimously passed Resolution 2004-07 "Supporting passage of the ballot proposition for a tax levy funding cocurricular activities in Kenai Peninsula Borough schools." The resolution has been signed by the mayor.
CON: The entire election is a poor use of taxpayer money and poor public policy. The assembly already has the power to provide for cocurriculars. The election is a political manipulation to provide cover for those who have authority but lack leadership. It puts the assembly in a mind field created by the Board of Education.
NEUTRAL: Having an election by mail in March, which does not include any personalities running for office, creates a different dynamic when it comes to predicting voter turnout. Whether the return of ballots is higher or lower, democracy teaches us, "Those who vote decide the issue for those who don't."
Thanks for listening.
Dave Carey is the mayor of Soldotna, teacher at Skyview High School and vice president of the 2006 Arctic Winter Games Host Society.
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