Letters to the Editor

Vote yes for schools

On behalf of the School Advisory Council (SAC) at Lakeridge Elementary, I am writing to urge Mercer Island voters to vote yes for Resolutions 575, 576 and 577 in the special Feb. 9 election. These three levies are crucial for maintaining our school district’s operating budget, the schools’ physical plants, and to assure continued safe bus transportation for our students. All Mercer Island PTAs support these levies.

State funding only supports a portion of education funding for our children. Last year, the state cut $2 million of funding to MISD, and this year our district expects another $1-2 million in cuts from the state. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to support our levies to offset state funding reductions.

Vote yes for Resolution 575 (general fund levy), and you are voting for a renewal of an expiring levy that currently pays for nearly a quarter of the school district’s education and support programs. With a yes vote, we can continue to pay for 88 teachers and staff, which will keep K-12 student-to-teacher ratios lower than the state funds and continue funding for most athletic, arts and special education programs.

Vote yes for Resolution 576 (capital levy), and you are voting for an extension and enhancement of the capital projects levy supported by voters in 2008. A yes vote will allow the district to make necessary facility improvements such as boiler replacements, improve security systems, upgrade the phone system and enlarge classroom size to accommodate growth within the district.

Vote yes for Resolution 577 (transportation levy), and you are voting for the district to be able to replace aging buses. The district only receives about 50 percent of necessary transportation funding from the state, and this levy is put forth to voters every four years to make up the funding difference. Our buses become more expensive to run and maintain with age, and the district can maintain a safe fleet with your yes vote.

The cost of these levies per household is minor compared to the value that our school district brings to all of our property values and the vibrancy of our city. Our district is in the bottom 10th percentile statewide for funds received from the state for education. The quality of education that our district provides relies heavily on passage of levies. Please vote yes three times on Feb. 9.

Susan Gibbons

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