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IN OUR VIEW / EDUCATION


Schools deserve your vote

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Government doesn’t keep its promises. It doesn’t focus on what’s really important. It thinks of taxpayers as a bottomless piggy bank.
Such sentiments, expressed frequently on this page in letters to the editor, are true more often than not. The frustration and anger that builds among voters is justified, and they’re right to take it out on leaders at election time.
By the same logic, when government keeps its promises, focuses on real priorities and respects the financial pressure most families are under, that behavior should be validated. Voters ought to seize the opportunity to encourage more of it.
That’s one of several important reasons Marysville voters should approve the school levy and bond measure on the Feb. 9 ballot, which has started arriving in mailboxes.
Other voters in Snohomish County also have school measures to decide, mostly four-year replacements for existing levies that cover basic educational needs and provide about 20 percent of total school funding.
Local levies pay for teachers and support staff, textbooks, computers and other technology, building maintenance, transportation and extracurricular programs, among other needs. Especially against a backdrop of state budget cuts, levy failures would put local schools, and our children, in a position so dire that it’s unthinkable. We strongly urge approval of this year’s levies.
Besides Marysville, maintenance and operations levies are on the ballot for the Edmonds, Everett, Lake Stevens, Mukilteo, Northshore, Snohomish and Sultan school districts. These are renewals that will cost property owners about what they’re paying now — in some cases slightly less. Everett, Lake Stevens, Mukilteo and Northshore also have special levies to pay for technology purchases and training, and building maintenance. They’re modest but needed. We recommend a yes vote on them, too.
In Marysville, the combination of a four-year replacement levy and a bond measure to replace three old and obsolete schools will actually result in tax payments lower than they are now. District personnel and community members who planned the measures struck a careful balance between educational needs and the community’s ability to fund them in a tough economy.
The measures follow the district’s remarkably successful stewardship of money from the 2006 bond measure that barely cleared the 60 percent requirement for voter approval. Grove Elementary opened a year early and under budget. Marysville Getchell High School is under budget and on track to open this year — a year sooner than planned. Savings will replace the track and field at Marysville-Pilchuck High, and lowered the amount of this year’s bond measure.
After several difficult years, punctuated by a divisive teachers strike and failed ballot measures, the Marysville School District has staged a remarkable turnaround. Test scores are up. Staff morale is up. Community confidence is up.
Votes for the levy and bond measure will encourage more of the same.

Look for news stories in The Herald this week and next on individual district proposals on the Feb. 9 ballot.

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