By now registered voters should have received their ballots for the special Issaquah School District bond election and we are being asked to decide one thing: whether or not to help bridge the huge gap left by inadequate state funding of education. Although the $219 million bond package might seem big, the truth is our taxes will actually go down – the owner of a $500,000 home will pay about $215 less per year than we currently pay on the bond package that runs out this year.
You might be surprised to learn that Washington State does not fund regular maintenance of public schools – local voters must approve school bonds to make sure our kids have safe buildings in which to learn and grow. If we don’t approve this package, the ISD will be forced to divert funds from areas like teacher salaries and books in order to make even basic repairs to school buildings. For example, if a school boiler fails, the replacement is $500,000, which is equivalent to 6 teaching positions. In some elementary schools, class sizes are up to 28 students. Imagine how much more difficult it will be for our kids to learn and our teachers to teach if there are 30 or more students in each classroom!
Within the $219 million package are almost $4 million for Maywood Middle School and $44.58 million for Liberty High School, which will enable our district to complete the construction that has already begun and will turn our high school into a state-of-the-art facility like Issaquah HS and Skyline HS. Our south-end Newcastle & Renton schools are first on the construction schedule, which means the work should be complete in about 3 years, in plenty of time for most of our kids to actually enjoy the new buildings.
The ballots must be postmarked by April 17 and we need 60%+1 of those votes to be in favor of funding a better education for our kids. For more information, you can log on to http://www.visvote.org/.