Voting down school levy serves no one



School districts are unique, in that people have the right to engage in something they might not fully understand, leading to real consequences for children and staff. From comments I have viewed on Facebook pages, to conversations I have heard of at public forums, I am astounded at the lack of understanding what voting “NO” on this levy means for students.

I am an alumnus of Yelm Community Schools, coming up on my 10-year reunion, something thrown painfully into focus while I took my little brother’s senior photos. He also will be graduating from Yelm High School. I care deeply for the Yelm area, the place that shaped and molded me. 

Southworth Elementary was where I fell in love with reading and writing. When I

struggled, there was support for me. There was always a teacher to help or a paraeducator to give me a hand. Ridgeline Middle School fed a love for civics and history, my eighth grade U.S. history teacher fostered a love that would influence me to study law in my undergrad. 

Even in the times where I didn’t think I could be a good student, there was an adult to help me. I never did figure out Algebra 2, but my teacher made time for me when I asked.

I said I was astounded at the lack of understanding on what a levy means for the students at Yelm Community Schools, but I really shouldn’t be shocked. The misinformation and lack of commitment to our schools and the children who attend them is strong. It is much simpler to vote “no” than to vote “yes” and engage. It is hard work to care, and harder work to participate in the process. 

I agree with the sentiment of a lot of people. We must hold our schools accountable. We must make sure our children are getting the best education and support they can. Voting “no” is not the solution. Participating in the school board meetings, voicing concerns and engaging in the system is a better way to both support children and hold Yelm Community Schools accountable.

The system is not perfect. We can choose in how to respond to it. It reminds me of something I have seen teachers talk about. When a student is struggling and not understanding material, a helpful way to engage is to empathize with the student, encouraging them to engage the material with a positive mindset. When I struggled with Algebra 2, it was not with a positive mindset, and I almost failed that class. When I began to engage it with a sliver of positivity, I was able to move my grade from failing to passing. For the record, I still don’t like math. We all have a choice to write things off, choosing to not engage or understand. I hope that those who voted “no” put their actions where their votes were and support Yelm Community Schools in every other way they can. Our community and our children deserve our best selves.

Mike May