Opinion

City Council endorses School Bond and Levy

The high quality of our public education is a core, defining value of our Island community.  Consequently, the Mercer Island City Council is united in recommending a “yes” vote for the Prop #1 school bond and Prop #2 levy renewal on the ballot in February, 2014.  We believe both initiatives are critical to maintaining excellence in our Island schools.

The bond and levy address two critical needs. The bond effectively and efficiently addresses critical overcrowding conditions in all schools.  District-wide, more than 700 students are currently housed in 34 portables. Continuing to add more portables is unsustainable and not cost-effective. School common spaces are overwhelmed with students and outdoor PE areas have been reduced as portables take field space.  The bond provides for a new elementary school and expanded capacity at the current middle and high schools – every school will be right sized.  With enrollment projected to increase in coming years, if we fail to act now,  the need for increased capacity will only become more critical.

By renewing the levy, the Island is recommitting to its historic willingness to maintain excellence in programming and staff – which the state has been and is still unable to fully support.  The levy provides for 26 percent of general funding and supports nearly 100 teachers and staff, school supplies and athletics, music, and transportation.

Both the bond and levy are the outcome of extensive public input and fiscal prudence and will carry our community forward for years to come.

As your council, we commit that the city will continue to offer support for and cooperation with the district in all phases of the bond - from planning, to building and eventual operations. This will enable school investments to be maximized.  Our city staff has been working diligently to identify ways to address possible traffic, access and environmental impacts.  We believe our partnership with the school district to be exceptional, delivering value to the community as a whole.

We urge you vote yes on both initiatives, Prop #1 school bond and Prop #2 local levy renewal.

 

Bruce Bassett,

Mayor

Dan Grausz,

Deputy Mayor

Debbie Bertlin, Jane Brahm, Mike Cero, Tana Senn and Benson Wong,

Councilmembers

 

Community Events, April 2014

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