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Earl Hopes for More Public Interest in the School District

Peninsula School Board member, John Earl, said he will be resigning from his position due to health reasons. However, he hopes the school district, including his replacement, can drum up community support for a proposed M&O levy.

The is looking for a new school board member after John Earl to focus on his health.

Earl, 50, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his brain earlier this year. He said he underwent surgery in late June and still is receiving treatment at the University of Washington.

But he said he hopes his replacement will help generate community support for a pressing financial measure that looms for Peninsula next year.

Earl, who has served on the board for the past two years, said he hopes the District is successful at rallying the community to pass the levy this upcoming February. The District this year.

Earl, the current President and CEO of Townsend Security, said his successor will need to have experience with budgeting and be able to take on the financial challenge, especially during this tough economic times.

"Budgeting is going to be tough for the next couple of years, and the state doesn't have a large pile of money that they can fork over," he said.

"If the school district decides to put another levy on the ballot, I'd like to see the community support that because the district has cut $15 million from its budget over the last 5 years, and we will continue to cut this year," he said. "It will just be devastating if we didn't receive the returning levy money (in the spring)."

On Thursday, PSD Superintendent Terry Bouck recommended to the board of directors to go forward with plans to run a four-year maintenance and operation Levy, which would replace a 2009 levy that was approved by nearly 66 percent of the voters and is set to expire after 2012, according to Bouck.

The District will be hosting a public forum on Tuesday, Nov. 1 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the library where the community is invited to weigh in on the proposed levy. The School Board is set to make its final decision on Nov. 9.

With his own two kids being Peninsula products and now his grandchildren attending PSD schools, Earl said he also wants to make sure the district continues to run well, but he is concerned with the lack of public input.

"In the last election, Wendy Wojtanowicz and I both ran unopposed. In this election, we've got three incumbents (Jill Uddenberg, Matthew Wilkinson and ) running unopposed," he said. "It's a little disconcerting to see so little public passion and interest in the school board. On the other side, I guess it's an indication that nobody has real issues."

Despite the sparse community participation, Earl credited school district administration for communicating and executing its plans for the district, which serves about 8,700 local students.

"It's a good district, and it's a good team. I'm confident that it will continue to do well," he said.

Bouck recognized Earl's services to the district in this week's Superintendent newsletter.

"I would like to take a moment to express our appreciation to our outgoing school board member, John Earl, who has served our students, staff, parents and community with integrity and class. John Earl’s thoughtful decision making, incredible questioning skills and unwavering support of our students and staff are second to none."

The school board will be interviewing potential candidates to fulfill the remainder of Earl's District 5 term at a Special Meeting on Nov.17 at 5:30 p.m.

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