This February, you will be asked to vote on three measures for the Lake Washington School District (LWSD). On behalf of the 29,572 students in LWSD, most of whom are not eligible to vote for their essential educational resources, I humbly ask for your support to vote “yes” on all three measures. It is a wise investment not just for our students and families, but for our community’s quality of life.
Proposition 1, the Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O), replaces an expiring levy. The EP&O Levy funds 19.2 percent of LWSD’s operating budget, including essential staff and programs in place such as substitute teachers, special education, Highly Capable programs, English Language learning, nurses, early learning, teacher training, and athletics. As the state will be increasing its investment in education for all districts across the state, LWSD was able to reduce the amount requested locally and therefore will reduce its local tax rate for this levy. While one may wish that state funding covered 100 percent of these essentials in education, it just doesn’t. To maintain what LWSD offers today, we need to vote “yes” and pass this Levy.
Proposition 2, the Capital Projects Levy, replaces an expiring levy. Thirty-six percent of the levy funds critical improvements in our facilities, and 64 percent of the levy funds technology. This levy funds maintenance to fix a school’s roof when it leaks, to repair a school’s heater when it goes out, and to implement security measures for safety. We also rely on this levy for computers, instructional software, networking, and security cameras in use across the district. Given our tech savvy region in particular, it’s important we deliver these learning platforms and tools for our students. Vote “yes” on this levy, and your tax rate will remain the same.
Proposition 3, the Bond to Reduce Overcrowding and Enhance Learning Environments, is the second step in a long-term, fiscally responsible plan to build space for our massively growing student population. Over the last seven years, LWSD’s enrollment has grown enough to fill seven large elementary schools. This bond will build space across all three cities for 2,100 children to learn. Just like any responsible investment, LWSD’s plan to build more school space is phased over time to build the schools we need but minimize the burden on taxpayers. Vote “yes” on this bond, and your tax rate will remain the same.
Thanks to good fiscal discipline, LWSD has saved $24M over the last three years for taxpayers by refinancing bonds. LWSD holds the highest rating possible from Moody’s Investors Service, a rating bestowed on less than .45 percent of school districts in the nation. By engaging outside advice on construction cost saving principles, LWSD has also avoided more than $43M in school construction costs and kept current projects on track or ahead (by a year!) of schedule.
I am grateful for the education I received, the education my children receive, and the education my future grandchildren will receive. Paving the way for a prosperous tomorrow, that is a wise investment. Vote “yes” on Prop. 1, Prop. 2 and Prop. 3 for LWSD kids.