By Pam LeSesne
Everett Public Schools welcome a wonderfully diverse melting pot of students. We are responsible for shaping, molding, developing and nurturing, until fully formed, students who will use their skills and talents in creative ways to perform in our global marketplace.
On the ballot you just received is the opportunity to vote for two issues which will affect the quality of education our children receive. All of our students arrive at the front door of Everett Public Schools with different abilities and needs. We have one chance to give our students a quality education. They deserve your support for these measures.
The levy provides stabilizing funding for books, classroom material, programs to ensure that graduation rates increase, challenging and rigorous classes and for competitive salaries for our highly qualified teachers and staff. It represents 23 percent of the district’s annual general operating fund. These funds are needed since the state does not fully fund all of the quality educational programs that the Everett Public Schools provide.
The bond will be used to fund improvements for our physical needs. Everett Public Schools are on a 40-year cycle for major modernization. Funds are needed to improve schools needing modernization for science programs, for those buildings suffering from just plain old age and for new school buildings to accommodate our growing population. If you drive south on 35th Avenue and Bothell-Everett Highway near the district boundary line at 180th, one can see new homes and apartment buildings growing in leaps and bounds. New neighborhood schools will be necessary where we see the largest growth occurring. Also, in order to protect our children, added security and safety improvements are necessary, as shown by recent national events. This bond will be used for these upgrades as well.
Much has been said about past Bond money being diverted to build our new Community Resource Center. The district did not repurpose any past bond funds to build the CRC. The CRC was built with funds past school boards have been saving for more than 20 years. These funds came from land sales, rentals and a state program that rewards districts with extra construction money to do special projects. Allegations that funds were redirected are incorrect and are based on opinions and conjecture. The district has built all of the projects voters approved in bond proposals over the last 40 years.
A great community has businesses which thrive and attracts workers with families from all over the world and all walks of life. Great schools influence those families’ decision to select our community. Everett Public Schools is a great school district because we invest in our students, teachers and staff and especially our schools. I ask you to vote “yes” on both measures so that we can continue to develop students who will lead and shape the future.
Pam LeSesne is president of the Everett Public Schools Board of Directors.