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Vote yes three times for schools on Feb. 11 | Letter
The economic development work done over the decades with many other business and community leaders around community vitality always comes back to answering one question: why does anyone — a business or an individual — select one community over another? Pursuing that answer always brings the value of the education system into focus.
The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) is a high-performing education system, well regarded for helping our children prepare for tomorrow. We recognize the dependency of a high-tech, global economy upon a sustainable outstanding public education system. Educating our children across Redmond, Kirkland and Sammamish, the LWSD is without question a core, essential partner in achieving economic diversity and sustainability.
We must presume our region will continue to compete in a global economy with countries that are hungry to grow and succeed, and which continue to heavily invest in their education systems. We have to ask ourselves, are we really still hungry enough to succeed? Do we want to be a community that is chosen in which to build businesses and create jobs for the long term?
The city councils and business chambers of Redmond, Kirkland and Sammamish all answered that question by endorsing the three school funding propositions on the Feb. 11 ballot.
Our community needs to have a competitive education system if we want to compete in the world far beyond our community borders. Wanting a prosperous and sustainable local economy may seem like a luxury to some, but when communities have a need — and ours needs a consistently and continuously high-performing education system — we find the way to make it happen.
As an advanced and successful society, we have always taxed ourselves to build the infrastructure we need to create the next opportunity. This is a collective decision to tax ourselves for the things we need, not just simply want, but need. As parents, we invest and sacrifice to educate our children to prepare them to enter adulthood as productive members of our community — to be prepared for their next stage. As a community, we have to take the same care in ensuring our community is prepared for the future we promise our children.
If we are not prepared, if our schools are not prepared, then people and the people who build business and run enterprises will select other communities that better fulfill their needs for the future.
LWSD’s goals and solutions align with our community vision. The community should ask hard questions and should be able to critique the school district plans. That critical inquiry has been taking place for better part of a year. The district has involved and engaged our community in developing solutions to our communities’ growth and answered the questions and critiques. For some, the temptation is to say “no” now because they believe the plan is not perfect. An insistence on perfect often means to little or nothing gets done at all and perfection becomes the enemy of the good. We need to move our schools out of the impending crisis of far too few classrooms for far too many students. A good plan today is far and away better than a more perfect plan put off forever. LWSD has a very, very good plan for us today. We need move forward with the plan now to protect the future. We vote on that future on Feb. 11.
Propositions 1 and 2 renewal levies address our operational needs the next four years. The Proposition 3 bond is very well aligned to invest in the infrastructure our communities need over the next eight years and beyond. The bonds will enable the district to build six new schools to accommodate tremendous growth and to modernize or replace five existing schools in Phase III of the updated 1998 modernization plan.
I will be voting yes on all three of our school district’s funding propositions and I encourage all my fellow community members to do the same — vote yes three times for investing in our communities’ futures.
Pat Vache, Redmond
Former Redmond City Council member