When the Washington State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision was announced in 2012, many assumed that this would provide a quick fix for our public schools, in part alleviating funding issues commonplace in our education system today. That decision helped, but locally and statewide, we still have much work to do.
The Everett School District has worked hard to help our students achieve strong academic success; they are now performing well above the state average at every grade level and on nearly every subject. With over 18,000 students in our district, this would not have been possible without a strong public education system. Parents, students and the community alike share in their success. But again, there is more that can be and needs to be done.
We cannot move ahead with adequate facilities to support our students and their need for 21st century skills. Support of the bond measure is pivotal.
Improvements to our education systems begin with making sure districts have the resources they need to provide a quality education for our children. New partnerships with early learning providers and higher education benefit the graduates who are both ready to enter the workforce or continue with post-secondary education.
Recent studies and conversations with professional-location consultants have shown that a strong educational environment is one of the top five reasons a business would want to locate in a particular location, creating new jobs in our community. Further, management of these businesses recognize that their employees desire to live in a community where their children are well supported and can achieve academic success. Simply said, you can’t have a strong community and a stable economy without great schools.
Everett School District leadership, working closely with the City, Everett Community College, Washington State University and a recently announced partnership with the corporate community, has become a recognized leader in the development of K-12 STEM programs. These programs will equip our student graduates to compete as they directly enter the workforce or move on to post-secondary education before joining the workforce.
A quality education is essential to our 21st century economy, to open the door of opportunity to the middle class. We must make sure we keep that door open for present and future generations of Everett schoolchildren.
This success is a direct result of strong community support. The bond and levy that is now in front of us is the result of significant community investment, including the business community’s involvement over the past two years. The bond and levy are possible without raising the overall tax rate over time. I ask that you keep these things in mind when you fill out your ballot.
Please return your ballot by next Tuesday, and please vote yes on both the Bond and Operations Levies.
Mayor Ray Stephanson