Opinion

Think carefully about annexation, say no once again to charter schools | Our View

The Renton Reporter has always supported the planning goal that cities should provide urban-level services and counties should provide the less-intense rural services and regional ones.

That belief hasn’t wavered as we’ve watched the failed attempts to annex and incorporate a city of Fairwood. And it’s what supports our continuing belief that West Hill should annex to the city of Renton.

West Hill residents need to weigh their two options carefully –  annexation or remaining unincorporated as part of King County  – as they are voting on this important issue.

The amount of money available for the county is in decline, meaning the types and quality of services it provides can’t help but suffer.  That change is apparent with the move of the county’s land-use office from Renton to Snoqualmie, in order to  be closer to its rural customer base.

That also means that West Hill and Fairwood residents will have to travel farther to meet in person with this important agency.  A trip to Renton City Hall takes only minutes and you’ll be assured you get help with all permitting needs, especially those that deal with residential housing issues.

There is no doubt in our minds that Renton can provide continuing services to West Hill. Admittedly, King County can’t make that promise.

Face it, there’s a risk to current Renton residents that West Hill could become a drag on city finances, just as it is on the county’s, meaning their services could decline or their taxes could go up. That’s why, if annexation is approved, West Hill residents need to show patience. The City Council and Mayor Denis Law would take the next couple years to figure out how to pay for West Hill.

 

Say no once again to charter schools

The Renton Reporter is also an unwavering supporter of the public education system.

It’s the state’s highest priority and it’s our greatest responsibility as a community to ensure it succeeds.

The concept of charter schools – in the guise of Initiative 1240 – is on the ballot for the fourth time in Washington state. It deserves the same fate as the three initial attempts – defeat.

Now is not the time to siphon off the dollars from the public education system that’s obligated to educate all students in the state, not just a few who could get into a charter school.

 

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