Our communities deserve great schools | Guest opinion

Capital projects levy critical to Lake Washington School District students.

  • Friday, April 5, 2019 2:44pm
  • Opinion

By John Marchione, Penny Sweet, and Christie Malchow

Special to the Reporter

Our region’s economy has grown and prospered. Our local businesses are thriving, the job market is robust and home values are rising, enriching the fabric of our community. As our cities have flourished, we have welcomed more families and their students creating significant population growth over the past decade.

During this time, enrollment in our Lake Washington School District has increased by 26 percent. This spike in enrollment has created an urgent need for more classrooms and infrastructure to provide current and future students with space to learn. That’s why we, as mayors of Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish, are supporting the district’s capital projects levy, which will be on the ballot in a special election on April 23.

The capital projects levy will provide funding to enhance security at our schools. This includes exterior security cameras at all elementary schools and modifications entrances to Eastlake, Lake Washington and Redmond High School.

The levy will also permanently increase capacity across the district for more than 1,000 students, funding more classrooms, as well as expanding gyms and cafeterias. Among the projects included in the levy are 20 more permanent classrooms at Lake Washington High School, eight new classrooms each at Benjamin Franklin Elementary and Rose Hill Elementary, and four new classrooms each at Rachel Carson Elementary and Mark Twain Elementary.

Unfortunately, the state does not pay for the majority of construction or capital improvements, so local districts must raise money themselves. We cannot let this opportunity pass us by to approve the capital projects levy for our schools and students.

High-quality schools are a critical contributor to prosperous communities and require schools with enough space for all our students. The capital projects levy isn’t just an investment in school buildings and students, it is an investment in the future success of our region. Our students and families deserve safe schools that aren’t overcrowded, are conducive to learning and inspire pride. A high-quality education positions our students for success into adulthood. Pride in their schools inspire graduates to stay in our region, raise their own families in our communities, continuing a legacy of success.

We are proud of our students, educators, staff and schools in our district. Our students living in Redmond, Kirkland and Sammamish need our support. Education is the foundation of any community’s success, and our cities are no different. This levy is an investment not only in the future of our students, but in the future of our community. As mayors of the three communities included in Lake Washington School District, we look forward to continued partnership and collaboration with the district.

Great schools are the backbone of our community, and we need to continue to ensure our students and schools have the funding they need to succeed. We urge you to support the capital projects levy and vote “Yes” by April 23.

John Marchione is mayor of Redmond, Penny Sweet is mayor of Kirkland, and Christie Malchow is mayor of Sammamish.

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