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School district compromised, vote ‘yes’ on bond measure | Letter
Why are we judging our school district based on their ability to save every penny? Lake Washington School District provides one of the best educations in our state. Families and businesses move here due, in part, to our schools and stunning graduates. These are not empty words. Compare district graduation rates, MSP/HSPE, SAT, awards — you name it. (http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/) Our district is in the top five in our state and they are focused on being the best. We should be celebrating how lucky we are to have such amazing schools and students! Woo-hoo!
Redmond is growing and our district needs to accommodate that growth. The district lost the first round this year and created the bond they thought the “no” crew were asking for: A bond for just the schools that are absolutely necessary. They agreed to save their other requests for a few years down the road.
Did the other side agree to this compromise? Not yet. I still hold out hope, though. Now they are complaining that splitting the bonds up was some sort of trick. Saying the district is lying about the cost of the bond. They are angry that the district tears down perfectly good buildings.
Yes, the school district replaces buildings for a variety of reasons. After you factor in the energy savings by using new building standards we could maybe save a few percent over 30 years of use by gutting existing structures. We would be ignoring the significant hardship to students during a remodel process and what they would lose is having a modern and more inviting learning environment.
They are not lying about the cost of the bond since it truly will cost 25 cents more per $1,000 the first year because they are mixing this debt in with the rest of their amount. This is not a “cover up” and is how school districts present bonds to the public. While the 90 cent amount being quoted by the “no” crew is not entirely accurate because they are using 2011 property values rather than 2014, it is a reasonable approximation of the bond cost if it were financed separately. However, the bond will be lumped with other district debts and we will be paying 25 cents more if it passes.
It may be a shocker to some but the district does count their pennies. Every photocopy is logged. Every ream of paper tracked. When the A.G. Bell fifth grade wanted to go to camp it was the students that had to raise money to do it. When we put on a talent show or school play, every bit of it — including every audition form, was paid for by the parents and PTSA. Their administration costs are in-line with every other district. The school board still makes the same zero cents an hour they always have.
However, I am writing to ask that we occasionally forget all this and judge this school district on their ability to educate our kids. Our Lake Washington School District is something we should be applauding. Stop for a moment and thank our teachers, principals, custodians and school board members for doing such an amazing job. When they come to us, hat in hand, needing money to build a couple more schools then maybe we should reward them by saying “yes” so they can continue their amazing work. We are truly blessed to have such a fine district serving the future leaders of our community.
Thank you, Lake Washington School District.
Johnmichael Monteith, Kirkland