** Apologizes to my email subscribers who receive this twice. I had technical issues and had to re-post this entry. **
I watched the news last night. Yes, Snoqualmie Valley was in the news again. According to the reporter covering SVSD’s redistricting struggle, district officials said our “new (director district) boundary lines don’t really matter.” I wondered if a district official actually said that or if the reporter was paraphrasing. Then I wondered if my first “wondering” attempt really mattered? Something to that effect was said or the reporter was opening himself up to a libel suit. To watch the story click here.
I keep hearing that sentence in my head. I can’t seem to get away from those words… “the lines don’t really matter.” To me, the lines are a fundamental part of our governmental district system structure. Why do we use districts? Possibly because someone, a long time ago, wanted all voices represented and heard within our governing system.
Sixty/seventy years ago, three school districts in this valley combined and created our very large (geographically speaking) school district. They created the rules for the district’s school board structure. In essence they drew the lines. Yes, they knew ALL residents would vote on each school board director. Yes, they knew each school board director would represent ALL valley residents. Yet, they still chose to create director districts. They established these lines. They did NOT create an “at large” director district school board – meaning you can live anywhere and run for any school board position.
Why did the founders of the Snoqualmie Valley School District chose this structure? Maybe due to the sheer size of our district and how many communities are contained within its wide borders. They created one large school district out of three distinct, established valley areas/cities – all diverse and facing different issues. All three areas wanted guaranteed representation. The goal was to prevent one city (or area) from controlling district policy and decisions. They strove to create a school board representative of the whole valley – not of just one part.
Now district officials are saying those lines, those rules, don’t matter? Why is that? Do the lines only matter if they support your side of the argument? If the lines truly don’t matter then maybe we should change and become an “at large” school district? No director districts, no lines, no obstacles. Until those lines are gone, until there is no state law criteria to follow, I believe the lines matter. The reasons for their creation matter. You cannot ignore them and say they don’t count unless they aren’t there. Rules are like that.
Of course, this is all just my opinion and I know many of you disagree. I always remind myself, that even when I don’t agree with someone’s ideas or opinions, that’s all they are. They aren’t the person. I have learned important things listening to people who don’t always land on the same side of issues. Listening to different voices, new ideas, hearing them, growing – isn’t that the foundation?