Opinion

YES for schools

It goes without saying that as citizens, it’s our duty to vote. And while the ballots mailed to Mercer Island voters this week contain just two items — voting and returning those ballots is crucial in determining what the future for our children will be and this place we call home.

We emphatically say, vote yes .

Islanders have always taken great pride in our community and our schools. Those values are intertwined in the School Bond and Levy ballot measures before us in the Feb. 11 special election.  The bond measure to expand and remodel Islander Middle School and Mercer Island High School, along with constructing a fourth elementary school, represents  the outcome of a process that began in 2007 to consider the adequacy and safety of Island Schools.  That discussion continued and intensified after the bond issue was turned down in 2012. The School District listened and worked with opponents to make changes. This new, more finely-tuned proposal is half the amount proposed before. Now, there is no organized opposition.

The O & M levy is also  extremely important. This money will ensure that our investment in educational facilities are managed and maintained. The levy also pays the salaries for dozens of key school staff.

A  statement in a letter to the editor on this page sums it all up. Our schools define us. How many families came to this Island for our schools?  Too many to count.  And the School District delivers. It is always ranked one of the top school districts in the state and in the nation. Test scores show that Islander students are at the top of the class. All but a handful graduate, all but a few go on to college.

Teachers and administrators, parents and the community have always sought to do more, make it better, make sure that no one is left behind, that all are supported and encouraged to reach their full potential, no matter what their abilities.  We need to ensure that our facilities are safe, efficient and adequate.  More than 400 new students have come since 2008 — 400 more are expected by 2022. We need to get ready.

We want those buildings to be places of learning and discovery — places where teachers can do their jobs  and where children can stretch out and grow.

 

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