Letter | ‘Yes’ vote for schools is vote for Island
March 15, 2012 · 2:12 PM
I am writing to ask my fellow Islanders to vote yes on April’s school bond.
I confess that I was a skeptic initially, but after examining the evidence I decided that the district’s plan was well-conceived and demanded my support.
1. Schools are the foundation of our community and every generation has a duty to look forward.
Like most of you, I moved to Mercer Island because of the quality of our schools and the strength of a community that supports them.
Fifteen years ago, my children enjoyed the privilege of attending a freshly renovated Lakeridge and then a newly expanded IMS. Somewhere in the course of my deep involvement with our schools, I began to appreciate that my kids were the beneficiaries of the thousands of people, most of whom I will never know, who voted “yes” on successive bonds and levies.
2. Replacing our schools makes economic sense.
(a) Our schools help drive our property values. People will pay more for a house on Mercer Island than elsewhere so their children can attend our schools. We have fallen behind other districts in building and renovating our schools. Prospective homebuyers report being shocked by the age of our facilities and their overcrowding.
(b) The schools slated for replacement are more than 50 years old. When I served on the School Board, we commissioned a study and I was surprised by the extent of repairs needed just to maintain our buildings in their current states. And then we will still have overcrowded buildings, which have reached the end of their useful lives and do not meet current earthquake standards.
(c) Now is the time to lock in low interest rates.
3. Our tax rates will still be reasonable.
Mercer Islanders have enjoyed exceptionally low property tax rates, lower than any local community except Seattle. Following approval of this bond, Mercer Island’s rates will still be lower than Issaquah, Northshore or Snoqualmie, and only slightly higher than Bellevue and Lake Washington.
The citizens’ committee, School Board and administration that developed the bond measure possess the highest integrity and the best intentions. Please vote yes.
Lisa Strauch Eggers