Editorials

Pasco School District wise to put cards on table

It's premature for us to make a recommendation on a bond measure that the Pasco School District plans to put on the April ballot.

We haven't even started on our homework.

It's equally premature for us to pass judgment on the district's tentative proposal for year-round school, although we find the idea intriguing.

It is the perfect time, however, for voters in Pasco to consider what their vote in April could mean.

The district is right to plan for any alternative and smart to try to ensure that voters understand what the options mean for Pasco's children.

One thing is certain -- something has to change.

Fact: Pasco schools are overcrowded.

Option 1: Build more schools.

Option 2: Use existing schools differently.

The district is right to give voters a clear idea of what the measure's passage -- or failure -- would mean.

For various reasons -- and we aren't privy to all of them -- school officials suspect the bond measure might fail. Of course, that's always a possibility in any election, especially when approval requires 60 percent of the vote.

Judging from some reader comments at tricityherald.com, the board might have made a pretty realistic assessment of the temperament in Franklin County right now.

Some comments indicate the election follows too closely on the heels of the bond that paid for Chiawana High.

Some express dissatisfaction with the boundaries for the new high school. And there is an ongoing debate about who should pay the cost of educating the children of new immigrants.

The ouster of longtime Democratic county officials in Nov-ember's election seemed to also signal a shift further to the right for Franklin County voters.

That conservative trend may well extend to new taxes, regardless of the cause.

None of that is definitive, of course. Voters could surprise us and school officials. For us, at least, it wouldn't be the first time.

Regardless, it's a little early to be reading tea leaves.

Year-round school would be a first for the Mid-Columbia. No other district even is talking about it.

People who have experienced year-round schools generally seem to be in favor of it.

Those who haven't tried it, on the other hand, are pretty sure they don't like it.

The district has a citizens committee that has been studying options for months. This isn't an off-the-cuff proposal or an idle threat.

It's a reasonable response to the uncertainty that confronts Pasco schools.

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