EDUCATION, PENSIONS MAIN CONCERN AT 24TH DIST TOWN HALL

24th District Representatives Steve Tharigner and didn’t sugarcoat their message to a Montesano open house on Tuesday night: filling a $5-billion budget gap is going to have an impact on the Harbor with cuts in healthcare and education. Tharinger’s first year in the comes as the House and grapple with some of the most sever spending issues the state has ever seen. However, the over 80 people who came to Beacon Elementary School wanted to see there areas of interest preserved. That included Montesano attorney Vini Samuels plea for a stop to tuition hikes in higher education and Montesano Superintendent Marti Haruff beating the drum for K-12 education and the state’s responsibility to fund basic education program. Van De Wege says despite those pleas he knows voter initiatives like I-728 and 732 will be suspended and new programs to help kindergarten through fourth grade enhancements will be threatened, although he is hopeful that cuts to levy equalization funding can be limited. College and school concerns were the most talked about issues, but they weren’t the only ones. Speakers also plugged for cost of living adjustments to pensions, efforts to save and a request for an investigation into the federal effort.

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