RIDGEFIELD, Wash. – Several Clark County school districts are asking for money to run and keep their schools in shape, but recent decisions by one district has some longtime supporters rethinking their votes.
David Dansky, in particular, is not happy about armed guards at Ridgefield High School.
Dansky taught for decades in a tough Bay Area high school. He says he called the Ridgefield superintendent's office to talk about the gun issue. He was told he'd get a call back, but it never came. That led him to do something he’d never done before, which was to vote against a school levy – the first time in his 75 years.
"I didn't feel good doing it, but I felt it was something I had to do," he said. "Let's say they needed $40,000 for an academic program: I could just hear the superintendent saying, 'I'm sorry, it's not in the budget.'"
Dansky wonders where the district got $40,000 to hire armed security guards.
He used to own a security company. He's not anti-guns, but he doesn't really like them on campus. But more than that, he doesn't like the way the district went about putting them there: without talking to voters and local police.
When his opinion went online, "I actually got about five or six phone calls from people who said we're in the same boat," Dansky said. "We're strong supporters of public education, but we don't feel good about the way this was handled."
Ridgeview hardware store owner, Scott Hughes voted "yes" on the levy and thinks there are other ways to address the gun issue.
"But to vote 'no' on a levy, especially an operating levy, to give us books and things like that for the schools, it's just unfortunate," Hughes said. "I understand some people's frustrations with things."
From the looks of it, the three-year, more than $14 million levy will pass. And even though Dansky voted against it, "I almost hope it still passes, believe it or not. I don't want to hurt the kids, but I hope there is enough of a 'no' vote, at least, that the people in charge will take notice and think about things a little more carefully before they make these decisions," he said.
Dansky talks about dealing with kids the way Mr. Kotter used to deal with "The Sweathogs" on the show "Welcome Back Kotter:" By using your mouth instead of a gun.
The results from the Ridgefield vote and other districts will start coming in after 8 p.m.