Letters to the Editor

Letter | Yes for schools

It has been a long road spanning over four years and an enormous amount of work, but this week, the Mercer Island School Board decided to put a new schools bond proposal to an April vote. It cannot be overstated how critical passage of this bond proposal is not only for our children, but also our identity and value as a community.

We are in crisis mode in our schools — not in a few years down the road, but right now, today. Our three elementary schools and middle school are bursting at the seams, with schools already up to 40 percent over-capacity. With over 640 kids in portable classrooms erected on precious outdoor play space, our facilities’ common spaces and shared areas are woefully inadequate. Curriculum is impacted now by our facilities, and I shudder to think what another influx of kids will do to the learning environment over the next three to four years. This should be a lightning rod call to action to get this vote passed.

The answer is to rebuild our aging schools as quickly as possible, so that our quality, excellence and reputation are not degraded. The #1 reason many of us moved onto Mercer Island is because of our excellent school system. We are the best place to live and learn in Washington, but that position is in jeopardy if we do not invest now. Every other surrounding district has embarked on replacing aging facilities with modern schools. Our own renovations in the early ’90s to our schools contemplated rebuilding in a 20 to 30-year timeframe. Guess what? Before the first school can open upon successful passage of the bond proposal, we will be within that window.

Please join me in approving new schools for Mercer Island. We have a history of offering the very best public education possible for our children. It is now our turn to pass the same legacy on to the next generation of families, and protect the special, unique culture of learning that Mercer Island has developed over the past 70 years.

Cliff Sharples

Co-president, Lakeridge PTA; board member, Mercer Island Schools Foundation

 

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