Kent levies deserve ‘yes’ — Editor's Note

If there was ever a time to vote to help local kids, this is it. The Kent School District is about to see the end of two critical funding measures: a maintenance and operations levy, and a technology levy.

If there was ever a time to vote to help local kids, this is it.

The Kent School District is about to see the end of two critical funding measures: a maintenance and operations levy, and a technology levy.

Both of these measures enable the district to provide tools critical to keeping our youths educated, and their lives meaningful.

And they are not - we repeat, NOT - new taxes. They are simply to replace levies that are set to expire.

The M&O levy provides a staggering 20 percent of the district’s total budget. That means $1 of every $5 in district budget dollars is coming from taxpayers, because the state will not fully fund education, no matter what the state constitution says.

Funds from this M&O levy cover nearly every facet of student life in our district: everything from extracurricular activities to getting enough teachers into classrooms so that class sizes can remain down.

The technology levy is equally critical to keeping our kids engaged, providing 21st century tools for learning. Those dollars cover everything from individual student computers to learning stations, projectors and the “smart boards” that are now as prevalent as chalk boards used to be.

It’s disheartening that our local schools should be forced to go out every four years to basically beg people to continue to support them. But given the paucity of state dollars, it is unfortunately part of the equation. We as voters should heed this call, because even if we don’t have children who are in Kent schools, we are reaping the benefits. Good schools attract good homeowners, meaning more people who are willing to put more dollars and effort into their homes, neighborhoods and community. Good schools also help to combat issues associated with teen truancy, giving our kids meaningful places to be both before, during and after school hours. And good schools are a focal point of our community, with events that bring together people from all walks of life. Schools, and extracurricular activities like sports, also offer our kids opportunities that can take them far in the coming years, whether it’s through full-ride athletic scholarships, or invitations to the best of our nation’s colleges.

Some critics of these levies have worried aloud about “more taxes,” but district officials have taken pains to ensure these levies are not going up in terms of cost.

Nothing is free anymore, and we need to realize that no matter how much we grind our teeth over taxes, they are a part of the schools picture, at least for the time being. There is nowhere else for our district to turn.

We need to remind ourselves, when we fret over taxes, that we are helping to ensure another generation of our children get the same opportunities we had - and perhaps more - for a productive adult life.

This Feb. 9, vote “Yes” for the Kent School District tax levies.

What the levies cover:

Prop. 1: Maintenance and Operations Levy

• Transportation services

• Smaller elementary class sizes

• Extra help to address larger class sizes in middle and high schools

• Additional classroom supplies

• Music and drama programs

• Extracurricular programs such as athletics

• Safety officers in our schools

• Clean health and well-maintained schools and classrooms

Prop. 2: Technology Levy

• Student computers for classrooms and libraries

• Teaching stations 1 in every classroom

Station includes:

1.Multimedia projector

2.Document camera

3.DVD player

4.Interactive white board classroom computers for teachers’ use

This column reflects the views of the Kent News editorial panel, consisting of Publisher Polly Shepherd and Editor Laura Pierce.

For questions or to make comments, contact Laura Pierce at lpierce@kentnews.us.


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Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He is a former president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. Contact thebrunells@msn.com.
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