By Pat Jenkins
Eatonville Town Council members found themselves defending their 11th-hour endorsement last week of Eatonville School District’s levy.
At its Feb. 10 meeting, the council approved a resolution that formally expressed council support of the educational programs and operations levy. In the special election that ended the next day, the district measure passed, with more than 60 percent of the votes in its favor.
Before council members gave their endorsement, they were criticized by a levy opponent.
Bob Thomas told the council he was “disappointed” that the officials were in step with levy support that he claimed lacked factual reasons. He also blamed the news media for reporting “propaganda” in favor of the levy.
Thomas wrote in the print and online editions of The Dispatch in staunch opposition to the levy. He contended the measure is an unjustified tax burden.
Councilman Bob Walter said the council endorsement was a relatively “moot point” since it was made 24 hours before the end of the election. “But I support the levy,” he said. “The students and teachers deserve our support.”
Mayor Mike Schaub said the town should back the school district because of the educational benefits for the community.
Four of the five council members – Walter, Abby Gribi, James Schrimpsher and Andy Powell – voted in support of the pro-levy resolution. The fifth, Brendan Pierce, recused himself from the vote because he wanted to avoid a conflict of interest. He explained that his sister, Ronda Litzenberger, is an Eatonville School Board member.