Why we’re supporting LWSD schools on Feb. 13 | Guest Column

  • Friday, January 26, 2018 9:00am
  • Opinion

As elected officials in the three cities served by the Lake Washington School District, we’ve seen first-hand how our area’s growth is affecting our local schools. It’s time to address the overcrowding and provide needed resources for our schools by voting yes on the Feb. 13 school bond and levies. And to be clear up front, these requests are items that are not covered by state funding and they will reduce your local tax rate.

By voting yes on the bond and levies, you will provide needed resources for students and teachers, maintain and improve critical building and technology systems, and build new schools to address overcrowding while reducing the local tax rate.

Proposition 1, the Educational Programs & Operations levy, funds important educational needs and ensures teachers have the resources needed to help students succeed. This levy provides programs and operations that are not funded by the state. Examples include current staff for special education, highly capable and English language learner programs; nurses; graduation requirements aligned with college entrance requirements; security and transportation staff; early learning programs and athletics and activities. It is a replacement of an expiring levy. It will decrease the local tax rate. Our schools can’t operate effectively without this money.

Proposition 2, the Capital Projects levy, funds facility, education, safety and technology needs not funded by the state. Examples of things this important levy funds include code compliance and health and safety improvements, such as upgrading fire alarm systems, expanding lockdown hardware and security systems; upgrades to heating, ventilation, water, roofing, and door locks; learning space improvements; athletic and playfield maintenance; improving access for people with disabilities; and technology needs such as voice/phone systems, classroom technology, security cameras, printers, instructional software, staff training and district software and systems. It is a replacement of an expiring levy that will maintain the current tax rate.

Proposition 3 is the bond. LWSD is one of the fastest-growing districts in the state. This growth is at all grades and levels. Our schools are over-crowded and many students are being educated in portables. This bond provides more classroom space to help relieve urgent overcrowding concerns without increasing the local tax rate. It prioritizes the most critical building, safety, and security needs across the school district. The state does not provide this funding.

We believe that the Feb. 13 school bond and levies are fundamental to maintaining the quality of life for our cities’ residents. We all know that good schools contribute to the economic vitality of our community, by attracting families who want to live here and businesses that want to locate here.

The propositions are endorsed by the Lake Washington PTSA Council, the Lake Washington Education Association, the Seattle-King County Association of REALTORS, and hundreds of other groups, elected officials and community members. You can see a full list of elected officials and community leaders who endorsed the bond and levies at www.vote4lwsdkids.org.

The bond and levies fund critical education needs that are not covered by state funding, including paying for existing staff, current programs, and desperately needed facilities. That’s why we urge you to please vote yes for the Lake Washington School District bond and levies by Feb. 13.

John Marchione is the mayor of Redmond, Amy Walen is the mayor of Kirkland, Christie Malchow is the mayor of Sammamish, and Bob Keller is the former mayor of Sammamish.

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