On Feb. 11, voters throughout Snohomish County will consider ballot measures that have been proposed by their local school districts. If we hope to have a strong and thriving economy, we as voters must support those measures with a “yes” vote.
Economic Alliance Snohomish County exists to market the region, attract new investment, diversify the economy, improve our quality of place, respond to employer needs and connect regional leaders. These are lofty and important goals that are necessary for the continued economic health of our community. But this cannot be done without providing a platform for local industry sectors to speak with a unified voice on key issues such as developing and attracting tomorrow’s talent and solidifying our position in global advanced manufacturing and aerospace leadership.
At the core of a healthy community is a thriving school system. All of our efforts on behalf of local business and industry would be made tremendously more difficult but for the fact that we, Snohomish County, benefit from school systems that are doing excellent work to educate our children, preparing them to become the highly educated and technically-trained workforce mandated by the sophisticated systems and technology utilized by modern business and industry.
Some of the ballot measures up for vote are seeking the approval of levies that provide as much as 25 percent of the school district’s operating revenue. These aren’t new taxes. They replace existing levies that are set to expire at the end of 2014.
If those levies are allowed to expire, the result will be catastrophic for our schools and would do great harm to the long-term health of our local economy. These levies provide money for programs and activities that are not funded by the state. They pay for such things as teacher assistants, professional development for teachers, all school sports and extracurricular activities, services for special-needs students and competitive salaries allowing school districts to attract and keep the most talented teachers and education professionals.
Many of our local districts are also asking voters to approve school bonds to construct a variety of school facilities and to make security and technology improvements. These proposals are also critical. If we hope to have a strong and growing economy in Snohomish County, we must invest in educational facilities that give our children a place to learn that is safe, well-maintained, and adequate for the task of teaching and learning.
Our schools are a vitally important part of our community. Economic Alliance Snohomish County urges every voter to support our schools by voting yes on February 11.
Troy McClelland, President and CEO
Chris Knapp, Board Chair
Rick Cooper, Past Board Chair
Economic Alliance Snohomish County