April 15, 2014
Vote Yes on LWSD Bond
Recent letters recommended we vote down the upcoming Lake Washington School District bond to “send a message” to school administrators and apparently to overly fertile parents. I think we already sent that message, and we now need to recognize the benefits we all get from good schools.
One letter said demolishing an existing facility and replacing it is never acceptable in a time of classroom shortages. With no facts given, this is merely the writer’s opinion versus the district’s cost / benefit analysis. The district’s post-election survey showed this was not a big issue for most voters.
Another objection attempts to divert attention to lobbying by the district to end the 60 percent positive vote requirement for bonds. School levies require only a simple majority. Why are bonds different? And why 60 percent rather than 58 percent, or 55 percent? Analysis seems appropriate, but it is doubtful it takes significant money from schools.
Another writer says he never votes for school-based tax increases because he has no kids. Past votes show his narrow perspective is in the clear minority. We all share a community responsibility for the services our taxes support (parks, buses, health care, etc.). Whether we personally use them or not, we all benefit directly or indirectly. Plus, homeowners benefit when good schools enhance our property value.
The district’s survey showed the overwhelming reason the bond vote got only 58 percent (a clear majority!) was that $755M is a big number. To address that, they now ask for about half as much and focused it on the most immediate need, creating more classrooms. We already have a large number of modular classrooms and increasing class size, with a projected 4,000 new students coming. Furthermore, Washington schools spend fully $2,501 per student less than the national average (as of 2011)!
The quality of our schools prepares our children to be productive members of society. Maintaining that quality is a worthy investment for us all, parents or not. Send that message to our children.
Vote no on LWSD bond
The Lake Washington School District is asking voters to approve a $404 million bond measure to address overcrowding in the district. They’re telling us that if we don’t approve the bond measure, there will be severe overcrowding, double shifting, lots of portables and no all day kindergarten.
But will this bond measure address overcrowding in Sammamish schools? Two of the city’s five elementary schools, Smith and Mead, have more than 600 students. Carson, Blackwell and McAuliffe are all full. All of these schools already have rows of portables. Students living in north Sammamish are bussed to Alcott Elementary outside the City Limits. Alcott has 640 students and eight portables. Inglewood Middle School is overcapacity, too. And yet the bond measure will add no classroom space in Sammamish! The only options will be to add more portables or assign more students to each classroom.
The bond measure will dedicate $170 million to tear down and rebuild Juanita High School with a STEM wing – nearly 42 percent of the total measure. It will build a middle school in Redmond Ridge, three new elementary schools and put an addition on Lake Washington High School in Kirkland. This bond measure seems to be poorly thought out. It provides too little needed classroom space and it costs too much. We need to spend our tax dollars wisely. This bond measure is not wise.
Its not just about you
Mr. Denton, right on! In the same vein, I feel I should not need to pay taxes to cover police and fire, either. After all, I’m a careful homeowner who locks up. I’m not going to be robbed or be so careless as to burn down my home. I am a bit aggrieved that I have to pay the gas tax that funds road repair just so I can run my lawn mower. It by no means is making any stress on the road, so perhaps I can get an exemption for it?
Perhaps I’m sounding a bit ridiculous? Perhaps you were too?
We pay for schools not because individuals have children, but because it’s beneficial to society at large that we have an educated populace. Or would you rather we just defund the entire education system and let China take over as the economic and innovation powerhouse of the world?
Think of your paying for schools as insurance against those same children some day coming and burglarizing your house so they can pay for their drug habit. Keep in mind also that paying for schools is vastly cheaper than paying for prisons.
If we paid taxes only for those services we personally used, society at large would likely break down. Now, I’m not specifically advocating paying for the latest bond measure, but to have such an anti-social attitude that just because you have no immediate personal need for some social service means you shouldn’t need to pay for it is deplorable.
Schools need support
In our work as a Redmond City Council member and as a board member of the Lake Washington PTSA Council, we’ve personally witnessed the positive effect our high-performing public schools have in our Lake Washington community. Families who could choose among many neighboring school districts choose Lake Washington School District because of its impressive track record of academic success. Businesses consistently look at our successful schools as a key factor in deciding to locate and grow here.
As a result, we’ve seen explosive student growth. We aren’t just a little bit cramped for space – our schools are now overflowing with students. Our schools are expected to grow by 4,000 students in the next eight years. If we do nothing, we will see more portable classrooms on our school campuses, and we may even be forced to double-shift school schedules to accommodate overcrowding.
Right now voters in Lake Washington have an opportunity to avoid these problems and keep our schools top-notch. On the April 22 ballot is a bond measure that will secure funds to build much-needed new facilities and additions, as well as renovate existing structures.
Specifically, the bond will pay for the construction of three new elementary schools and one new middle school to help alleviate overcrowding. It will also rebuild or expand two high schools, and build and equip a new science and technology-focused high school.
This bond is our community raising money to build schools for our students. It is our community solving its own problems. Our schools and our children should not be held hostage by national or state political fights that have nothing to do with the values of our community.
Students can’t learn and communities won’t grow if our school system fails to provide the basic structure – the classrooms and schools – needed for learning. Our big Lake Washington family is growing.
Let’s welcome and encourage that growth by investing in our schools. Please vote Yes for Lake Washington School District Proposition No. 1 on April 22.
Redmond City Councilman
VP advocacyLake Washington PTSA Council
Don’t want to pay? Then, don’t use it.
Don’t support schools? Then, stop using our infrastructure grid which is built and maintained by generations of learning passed from one educated population to the next via schools. It is expensive to educate future engineers, doctors, teachers, scientists, etc. in order to maintain our standard of living.
Don’t think school finances are perfect? Go beyond the Election Day vote and build positive change from the local to the national level if you’ve got a plan to a better job for less money.
Local companies have made it clear they will request more foreign visas for skilled workers while we debate the short comings of school funding.
Vote to fund schools now.
Work cohesively and in a timely manner to come up with a better way to fund schools before, and not only when, schools request funds.