Vote Yes Yes Yes ... and Yes

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Commentary / Diane Hettrick

You have your ballots. It's the weekend.  Just mark everything Yes and mail it in now. Don't forget to turn the ballot over to vote on all three school issues.

Vote Yes for the Library measure. It's the continuation of an existing tax which provides a substantial portion of the King County Library budget and provides us with three fine libraries in Richmond Beach, Shoreline, and Lake Forest Park.

There are two levies and a bond for the schools. The Maintenance & Operation Levy or M&O provides 21% of the budget. We only failed the M&O once, during the Boeing Bust. Some people think we have never recovered. Vote Yes for the M&O. The second levy provides specific funds for technology in the schools and is written so the funds can be used for hardware, software, or training, depending on the specific needs. Vote Yes for the Capital Tech LevyBoth of these continue existing levies.

The bond provides the financial capability to rebuild the two high schools, while keeping our tax levels stable. The language says rebuild/remodel to give the design teams flexibility depending on what happens in the architectural process. My personal opinion is that both should be razed to the ground. If we only build high schools every 50 years, they should be built to last 50 years without patchwork repairs to aging structures.

Portable classrooms at Shorewood. Photo by Steven H. Robinson
Shorewood is a 1951 elementary and a 1953 junior high with a connecting roof. In spite of being five blocks long, it has never been big enough for the students to eat lunch in the cafeteria and it has been almost a decade since all students had room to assemble together in the gym. It takes 30 minutes to lock-down the school in case of emergencies, all too common these days. There is a village of portable classrooms behind the old Ronald School. They are windowless, cold, claustrophobic spaces and you have to go outside to get to them,

Shorecrest, built in 1961, is crumbling around the students. An assistant principal spends 75% of her time dealing with plumbing and electrical problems. Students have gym class with rainwater dripping on them from the leaking roof. In the meantime, all the districts around us have built state of the art high schools. Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds-Woodway, and Lynnwood High Schools are beautiful structures, reflecting the community value for education. Our community values education and history. Now that we have an apparent settlement with the Museum, the only reason to vote against the bond is gone.  Even opponents of the bond have been supporting the two levies.

Wonderful things still happen in our schools. Better things would happen in better buildings. Vote Yes for the Bond.

Vote Yes Yes Yes Yes and mail in your ballot now - there's no drop box north of downtown, so don't wait.

Diane Hettrick is a member of the Citizens for Shoreline Schools 

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