The Sisters School District is not average. Its students beat the statewide high school graduation rate of 77 percent by 10 points and beat statewide averages on a variety of other measurements.
The district’s leadership will tell you there is a good reason Sisters shows its support where it really counts: in the pocketbook. Thus for almost two decades voters have taxed themselves specifically to improve schools. Five-year local option levies and 75 cents on every $1,000 of taxable property value have been approved four times since 2000. Sisters voters should support the levy again in the May primary.
The money raised, about $1.2 million a year, accounts for nearly 10 percent of the district’s $14 million budget. Officials says it’s a key to the district’s success.
The extra money makes a big difference. It is, for example, enough to pay salaries for about 15 teachers or 26 days of school. Those teachers mean relatively small class sizes, and that, in turn, means it’s difficult for a student to become lost in the throng.
It’s also allowed the district to keep music and other arts programs intact and to offer classes in such things as flight science and engineering and woodworking. Such classes are the reason some kids bother to stay in school.
It’s important to remember that this levy is not the same thing as the school bond for building improvements approved a few years ago.
Sisters residents are right to be proud of their schools. They should vote to keep the levy to keep the schools strong.