What if it fails? Well I guess our community is going to find out the hard way. We had before us a remarkable opportunity—an elegant plan that was carefully crafted by a smart, dedicated group of citizen volunteers that gave a year of their life to our community. Their recommendation was strategic, cost-effective and community-minded. And it failed.
There’s a million reasons why which I’m sure will be discussed at length over the coming months, but mostly today I feel sad.
I’m sad for our kids and school staff who will now need to continue to make due for years. I’m sad that teachers won’t have the spaces they need to teach the way they really want and students won’t have the spaces to learn the way they really should.
I’m sad for Youth Theatre Northwest, Pixie Hill Preschool, Country Village and CHILD School that will likely get their eviction notice this year to make way for a portable Kindergarten school on the North Mercer campus, and I’m sad for the next generation of Kindergarten students and teachers that won’t be a part of our elementary school communities.
I’m sad for our realtors and the story they now need to spin about our overcrowded and aging schools and try to explain away this vote. I’m sad for our young Island families that moved here for the schools and are now questioning their decision. I’m sad that my property values will reflect this decision for many years to come.
I’m sad for our Island athletes – our state champion MIHS swimmers and our community pool users that will likely see their pool shuttered with the next costly maintenance issue. I’m sad for our field users and teams that have lost an opportunity for additional fields space as we build two-story schools. The potential loss of our South Mercer playfields as Lakeridge continues to grow across the street.
I’m sad for our future engineers and scientists that won’t be able to take the courses that their peers are taking in other districts and won’t have competitive labs and facilities for their studies.
I’m sad for our open space advocates because we’ve lost our opportunity to save the beautiful Stevenson property from development and transition it to public use. I’m sad about the battles for our parks that we’ll now need to fight as the NO campaign presses to find a location for a single school option on the North end.
I’m sad about the lack of decorum that has become the Island political norm. I’m sad for our community volunteers that were confronted by personal attacks, blatant distribution of false and misleading information, and even physical intimidation during this campaign. I’m saddened that we are no longer able to hold public meetings that aren’t scary and upsetting to attend. I wonder who will step up again to serve in this environment.
But mostly I’m sad that Mercer Island has so profoundly demonstrated that they’ve lost their vision of educational leadership and are now simply happy with being adequate.