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Letters to the Editor

To the editor,

Libraries are filled with words. All along the shelves are bound series of words that tell stories of all kinds. Libraries have always been places where words are important even when a reader or a patron disagrees with those words. Libraries are supposed to be the last bastion of banning of words. They are the fortress against the silencing of voices. They allow all to be heard.

Perhaps at one time that is what Dayton Memorial Library was like. But things have changed. The Board of Directors at CCRLD have decided that public comments at monthly meetings will not be allowed. At the January meeting a group of concerned citizens were informed that no public comments would be allowed. No explanation why.

The CCRLD Board has been under scrutiny for the past year for many reasons. Members of the public addressed concerns such as ADA requirements and surreptitious audio recordings of employees and patrons. Granted many of the words spoken came from places of frustration. But it is the job of board members is to listen to the public. Their own website states that board meetings are open to the public and public input is encouraged. So why the silencing?

Every year CCRLD receives approximately $400,000.00 tax dollars. We are fortunate to have those funds for our rural library. With that taxpayer gift comes the responsibility to listen even when words spoken are not supportive words. They stated the public is welcome to email the trustees. Which we have done for months. The only reply we receive is: Thank you for the email – I’ve forwarded it to the board.

Since we receive no other response, we have no reason to believe that the emails are read.

Our library used to hear all voices. But that was when all the voices agreed with the board. Once voices of disagreement started, systematic silencing began culminating on 1/27/2020 when public commenting was removed from the agenda.

Words are no longer welcome from the public at CCRLD. This is happening in OUR LIBRARY, a county asset financed by OUR MONEY. The fact that it is even happening in a library is unconscionable! If this concerns you please email the CCRLD Board of Directors at: [email protected]

Your words may not be heard but perhaps, if enough voices speak, they will have no choice but to listen.

Vicki Zoller

Dayton, Wash.

To the editor,

The Dayton School District has been providing a quality K-12 education for over 125 years. During those years, the community has been a strong partner and provided the financial support needed for education, operations, and facilities. While the Washington State K-12 funding model has been modified to reflect a larger state investment in education, a gap still exists between state funds and the cost of the educational opportunities expected by local community members. In Dayton, local funds support instructional staff needed to provide smaller class sizes, Career and Technical Education courses, athletics and clubs, technology, food services, and facility maintenance and repair.

On January 24, Dayton School District patrons received a ballot by mail that includes two replacement levy proposals. The first is for Educational Programs and Operations (formerly Maintenance and Operations). The second, a Capital levy for technology and facility improvements including a required engineering plan for updating electrical services to the elementary school and to begin process of updating heating controls and improve ventilation and cooling options. Similar measures were supported by nearly 65% of the voters in 2016. The final day to turn in the ballot is February 11.

With the support of local voters, the District has been able fill the gap between state dollars and the cost of meeting the needs of Dayton students. For more detailed information on the ballot measures, visit the District website at https://www.daytonsd.org/levies or contact the District office at 509-382-2543.

Douglas Johnson

Walla Walla

 
 
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