Thursday, February 1, 2018

Vote "yes" on school measures

OPINION:  I've talked to activists on both sides of the levies/bond measure for hours on end.  I'm 67 years old, on a fixed income and the rising taxes are starting to really stress me out.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to pay for the pending 2022 and 2026 measures but after looking at my budget I've decided I can pay for this one.

Building on SuccessThe data the district gives us is confusing and quite frankly I'm burned out trying to figure it all out.  I found a July 1, 2017 article in PATCH that's helped me a lot and makes good sense.  The "tax rate" gibberish is removed so you can focus on the real thing, tax dollars.  Tax dollars directly affect our pocketbooks not rates.  It's important to remember rising school taxes aren't the district's fault.  If you need someone to blame, point to the State legislature.

The PATCH article centers on the House measure passed late last year that raises state taxes by $2.70/ $1000 assessed value to fund education.  (The good news is local levy dollars are reduced.)  If you're really interested in an estimate of how the state increase will affect your household budget I suggest you read the article.  Though I may be wrong, I figure if my wife and I have one less latte per day our state tax increase will be paid.

The bond measure is another story. It's too confusing for me to explain how the tax is derived despite hours of study.  I do know we are in a terrible hole for lack of classroom space and if the bond doesn't pass our district will be entering a dark age.  On a bright side, should the bond pass the benefits to our kids and teachers will be immeasurable.  OPEN THIS LINK.

In addition to this measure, we need to budget for two more bond measures -- one in 2022 and another in 2026.  And, we can expect other taxes over time; for example every biennium the city consistently raises taxes 1% and the water utility tax 2%.  We live in an affluent area under the "Amazon effect" and we have to accept high taxes or move out.  Fortunately tax discounts are available for seniors.

At Paige Norman's "Education Hill Neighborhood Association" EhHNA meeting Eric Campbell, a developer on the Bond Committee addressed cost efficiencies from new architectural and construction practices.  New schools will be larger with connections for new wings. The  Middle School on Redmond Ridge and Juanita High will have two stories with straight walls and fewer corners.  Eric says $44 million will be saved by these practices alone.  The district is doing the best they can do to educate our children.  Now it's our turn.

Please VOTE "Yes" on February 13th

Redmond Community Member 

This opinion was published in the Redmond Reporter, 2/12/18  


Lisa Guthrie said...

Amen. On the ground here in LWLC, I literally do not know what we'll will do if the bond fails and LWLC doesn't get a new elementary school. At our elementary school, every room that can be a classroom has become one (there is no longer a computer lab or an art/science room), and the kids just keep coming. And the schools on either side of us are just as packed, so it's not like we can reboundary our way out of this one. We NEED a new school, or I'm worried that my 2-year-old will eventually attend kindergarten in the hallway Source: FB

Rimma Nayshulis said...

Thank you! The implications of these measures not passing are scary to me. My son attended kindergarten in California where schools are severely underfunded. The only reason his school had music at all was because the PTSA funded it. Nobody batted an eye at portables, it was considered completely normal. PTSAs at other schools had to foot the bill for extra teachers to relieve crowding and basic supplies. Our ‘suggested’ PTA donation amount ran in hundreds of dollars, not the $65 that was asked for here at Redmond. And it was not to pay for the nice little extras for the ‘rich’ kids, it was almost literally to keep the lights on. All because California voters have at some point decided against ‘unfair taxes
Source, FB

Stacy Hatch said...

Thank you for writing up this opinion piece. I don't think people understand the consequences of our classrooms if it is not passed- a glimpse into the 'dark ages' you refer to for example : classroom teachers will become PE, Music and Library teachers because the Specialists jobs will be cut. Special Ed, ELL, OT, PT -- gone! All of the resources we've come to expect for our complete education would be stamped out. Please folks, do NOT let this Levy/Bond measure fail.
Source: FB

Erica Lindgren said...

These measures pay for so much. Did you know the Librarian, the P.E. teacher and the Music teacher are all funded with this money?! No librarian = no events and activities school-wide for world read aloud day; no P.E. means no tennis unit, no music teacher means no ukulele or recorders or drumming every week. Please, for the sake of our students ... all of our students ... vote yes.
Source: FB

Martha DeAmicis said...

The renewal levies are also super important. They support staff and resources for all 29,572 kids in the district! Without them, 19.2% of our budget gone. We have them today. The state will not fill this gap. The state pays for basic education, and even that is still not clearly defined. What we have in LWSD is not basic, and if we want to maintain it and build space for our kids,we need these 3 measures. They fund what the state WILL not fund. And bob is so right, it isn’t LWSD taxpayers or LWSDs fault that the state taxes, which go everywhere to every school in the state, will come to us largely in King County. That’s an issue to discuss with the state, meanwhile LWSD Kids and the quality of education we know in this district is depending on you to vote Yes and approve these 3 measures.
Source: FB

Emily Johnson said...

I want to commend you, Bob, for taking the time to become an informed voter and then stepping up and doing the right thing even when it will negatively impact your household finances. You are an inspiring example of integrity, and I'm glad you live in my community.

Tracey Schofield said...

Thank you for sharing views from a fixed income perspective. The overall tax impact is actually lower than the current rate—by $0.23 per assessed $1,000 value. This is important point to emphasize as this levy and bond measures support foundational services/operations as well as expansion to meet growing community needs. At the end of the day investing in education equates to investing in our community’s future.
Source: FB

Cindy Lynch said...

I'm an LWSD teacher who has worked at Alcott since 2008 and is currently working in one of our 12 portable classrooms. I have 29 students. We desperately want a new school for our kids! Thanks for sharing and supporting us!
Source: FB

Bob Yoder said...

Good luck everyone. Though I am now a "community member" we were once school parents. Our daughter Lexie went through the system K-12, made many friends, was lucky to get some great teachers and signed up to some AP courses. She graduated as they say "future ready" got a Masters in environmental science and is now working as an environmental planner.

Now 26, she didn't have to suffer from this horrendous overcrowding. Horace MANN didn't have a single portable, nor did RMS or RHS. Ir seems like LWSD has a well thought out plan to phase in new schools and buy land. I remember in Chip Kimball's days when I think the district floated a $600M bond?! No wonder why it failed. Hopefully this bond will pass - a small reason that's sometimes forgotten when bonds fail the costs for building materials and land inflate adding to price of future bonds, I'm praying.

Suzanne Womble said...

To make up for the $65 million budget shortfall that the levy and bond failure would create, one of many cuts would be the elimination of two stipends teachers receive, the attract and retain bonus, and reversal of the raise that our union negotiated for the current contract.


[Very interesting and unfortunate. If this is true I can't understand why the District hasn't brought this up in their campaign. B.Yoder]

Susan Wilkins said...

By Susan Wilkins

The McCleary Decision by the State Supreme Court requires the State to take over fully funding basic education. In July 2017, the Legislature passed a $7.2 Billion plan to fund education. This means that the "state" portion of our property taxes are going up - WAY UP.

During the LWSD Bond & Levy presentations done by Superintendent Traci Pierce, the question of how the District can say "No Tax Rate Increase" when State taxes are going up was answered with a vague explanation about the school district not controlling state taxes. LTE

Let's be clear - the STATE TAX RATE INCREASE IS FOR SCHOOLS so proposing school tax levies that maintain the same tax rate while the state is increasing taxes collectively results in HIGHER TAX RATES & HIGHER SCHOOL TAXES.

It is so irresponsible and deceptive for the Lake Washington School District to be telling us that our tax rates won't increase.

We won't even get our property tax bills until the week after the election. Should we really be voting on new local school taxes without first seeing how much more we'll be paying for state school taxes?

The school board should have waited until April or August to put these measures on the ballot. School funding is in transition so nobody should be asked to vote yes. Vote NO,NO,NO on February 13.