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Guest Commentary / Granite Falls Schools

Levies directly serve student needs

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By Rick Short
As one of the Granite Falls School District board members, it is my job to work toward the betterment of this community and serve as an advocate for the students’ needs. Our priorities will remain in student programs and services for academic achievement and quality learning. The mission of the Granite Falls School District is to inspire and facilitate a passion for life-long learning and the pursuit of excellence in every student, every day, every classroom. The children attending the schools in our community need the support of our taxes, so the schools can be funded in a variety of necessary ways.
The school board kept the levy amount the same so the out-of-pocket expense for you will be approximately the same amount that you currently pay. Please keep in mind this is not a new tax; it is a replacement of a tax that expires this December.
After much consideration and deliberation over student needs, we placed two propositions on the ballot. The two levies are the School Programs and Operation Levy and the Technology and School Improvement Levy. These measures provide funds for textbooks, classroom supplies, library books, computers and upkeep for our schools.
Think of it this way: “Levies are for learning”. By supporting the school levy, you are supporting the basic, daily learning needs of our community’s children.
The state legislators have a direct impact on school budgets. In 2001, Washington state voters approved Initiative 728 to provide funds to local school districts to help reduce class size. That funding was about $1 million, but the I-728 funding is now eliminated. All too frequently, the legislative session will include mandates to school districts with no known funding source. That means the district must find a way to pay for programs or services the state requires, but does not allocate any funding for the new program or service.
Overall, the state funds approximately 70 percent of the district’s operating budget. The federal government pays another 7 percent. Consequently, the levies pay for 23 percent of the district’s daily operating budget.
The Granite Falls School District Board has carefully studied the balance between cost to taxpayers and the benefit these resources will provide our children. By replacing an expiring levy that funds about 23 percent of the school’s daily operations, we help fill the gap between what our kids need to further their education after high school, or compete for good jobs or update Granite Falls’ aging technology systems. Your yes votes will go a long way toward supporting the education of this community’s children.
My fellow school board members and I have thoroughly considered and reviewed the proposals and deemed them as the bare minimum needed to keep moving our schools forward. We strive to ensure these requests are reasonable, responsible and reflect our top commitment in serving “Every Student, Every Day, Every Classroom” in the district.
The Granite Falls School Board is committed to serving the students in our community. Please invest in the needs of our community’s youth.
Rick Short is President of the Granite Falls School District School Board.

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