The silent majority spoke up this week.
We hope educators were listening.
With overwhelming support, voters in Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Kootenai school districts stepped up for their public schools. They willingly took on hefty property tax loads for the next two years by agreeing to maintenance and operations levy requests.
Granted, acceptance of the measures doesn't necessarily reflect a significant tax increase because for the most part, the levies were continuations of previous amounts. But the bottom line is that by rejecting the measures, voters would have shed substantial obligations. For the owner of an average home in the Coeur d'Alene district, for instance, the two-year levy represents just under $500. Who wouldn't appreciate an extra $500 down the road?
Conscientious citizens, that's who. People who are willing to take personal responsibility not just for their own kids' education, but for others', as well.
Because most of the levies go to salaries, voters won't see big, beautiful new buildings or lots of glitzy new gizmos. But they will see human beings in many key educational roles, with the payoff in a higher standard for public education in their communities.
We're proud that voters in these three districts did the right thing, and we applaud them for not just understanding the vital role public education serves, but their individual part in shaping the bigger picture.
We also hope this long trend of personal financial support for our schools discourages future complaints that people don't value education in Idaho, that waves of anti-tax advocates maroon educators on isles of intelligence surrounded by ignorance.
The Idaho Legislature must come to grips with its responsibilities, no question. But as voters proclaimed Tuesday in North Idaho, we love our kids and appreciate our schools, and we gladly back up our sentiments with our hard-earned cash.