ACHTUNG: The following is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.
“But it’s too late, baby, now it’s too late,
though we really did try to make it.
Something inside has died and I
can’t hide it, I just can’t fake it.” — Carole King, 1971, “Tapestry.”
It is indeed too late for Superintendent Tim Reeves and the Wayland Board of Education to take advantage of a political opportunity that presented itself Monday evening at the school board meeting.
I let myself consider the possibility that a second Wayland Union School bond proposal would be offered to district voters in the Nov. 8 general election. But Reeves and board members passed on that brief suggestion and instead turned their attention to next May as a time to put a $48.5 million bond proposal again on the ballot.
I sincerely believe, and obviously I’ve been wrong before, that the best chance the bond has of passing would be in the November general election.
To be sure, some citizens would protest coming back with a request so soon, but I submit the vast majority of naysayers would vote “no” and register complaints regardless of when it reappears. Their chief problem is that it’s coming back at all.
A little more than 2,700 people voted against the bond on Aug. 2 in a primary election that usually attracts a low turnout. The “no’s” apparently came out in droves, which they will do often to stop anybody from lifting their wallets.
But in the Nov. 8 election there is a strong incentive because of the likelihood the abortion issue and the gubernatorial contest will bring out a much larger number of Democrats. And Democrats are notorious for voting in favor of school millage requests.
Though the vote totals were fairly high Aug. 2, a primary in these parts of Michigan customarily involves candidate races only among Republicans, not a particularly good way to get Dems to the polls or to vote via mail. So the GOP faithful did their duty in the primary and I believe they helped bring down the bond, particularly in the areas outside the City of Wayland and Wayland Township. The urban-rural political split that divides America these days was unmistakable.
But from where I sit, huge numbers of Democrats and more progressive voters will take part in the November general because of the abortion issue and because of the race between Tudor Dixon and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
These are the kinds of voters the schools want to participate. They are a lot less likely to be naysayers.
I don’t think kicking this issue down the road to next May will be beneficial to the school district at the ballot box. The naysayers will be in out in force to protect their economic interests while too many who might normally be favorably disposed will sit it out. A May special election will be plagued by low voter turnout, and poll watchers generally agree that spells trouble for millage requests.
However, as Carole King sang in her biggest hit, “It’s Too Late.” The deadline for filing with the state to go back to the voters is Tuesday, Aug. 16.
My take is that opportunity knocked and Wayland school officials complained about the noise.