Next month, voters will be asked to consider two school levies designed to maintain existing schools and support facilities, make improvements to aging facilities and technology, and pay for nearly one-quarter of the district’s day-to-day operations.
Both Proposition 1 and 2 outline projects that will be familiar to anyone who owns or maintains a home.
As structures age, they require maintenance to roofs, plumbing, windows, and flooring to keep them in safe working order.
Schools are no different.
Proposition 1, a four-year Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy, provides funding for ongoing maintenance of our 32 neighborhood schools and district support buildings. This maintenance supports safe heating and cooling systems, for example, as well as security systems and basic utilities. The levy, which replaces one approved by voters in 2010, also supports 24 percent of the district’s day-to-day operations. As the ninth largest district in Washington state, this equates to nearly $500 million and pays for up-to-date textbooks and learning materials, teachers, reasonable class sizes, extracurricular activities, and academic programs.
Proposition 2, a six-year School Facility Improvements and Technology Upgrades Levy, focuses on just what the title says — improvements and upgrades to items such as deteriorating school roofs, windows, and heating and cooling systems. The dollars will also go toward improving security and safety systems, making earthquake safety building improvements, upgrading school playgrounds to meet safety standards, and expanding access to full-day kindergarten.
Being proactive with building maintenance and security is necessary to create a safe learning environment long-term.
Proposition 2 also proposes about $1 million each year be spent on upgrading technology to support teaching and learning throughout our district. Each of our more than 20,500 students deserves to have access to up-to-date technology to support their learning. About $1 million a year will go toward replacing outdated computers, as well as placing interactive white boards and mounted projectors in each instructional space. The district’s goal is to move toward developing a cycle of regular replacement of instructional technology and upgrades to the network infrastructure — both vital tools in the education of our children.
As always, we are dedicated to continuing to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, as evidenced by 11 consecutive clean annual state financial audits.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about both of the proposed school levies in the February 11, 2014 Special Election. There are more articles about the election in this issue of Connections, as well as on our district website. Thank you, too, for taking the time to vote.