Building, improving Marysville schools benefits kids and community

During the April 26 special election, you have an opportunity to commit to a legacy of quality education for all Marysville and Tulalip students. By voting “yes” you will be a leader in helping build our community’s next breakthrough.

The time has never been more right. The stakes have never been higher. The price tag won’t come any cheaper.

For more than a year, a citizens advisory committee took a hard look at school building and infrastructure needs. Members gathered ideas through polls, community meetings, school tours and discussions with school administrators and elected board members, parents, teachers, business and civic leaders, community members and other stakeholders to assemble a bond package that would ensure the best return on investment for our community and children’s education.

The committee recommended placing a $230 million school bond measure on the ballot.

The measure would fund:

Replacement of four schools: Liberty Elementary (built 1951), Cascade Elementary (1955), Marysville Middle School (1960) and Marysville Pilchuck High School (1970). Marysville Pilchuck’s auditorium, gym and pool would be modernized and incorporated into the new school building, and new construction would be coordinated with the new cafeteria to be built with funds provided to the district from the state’s capital budget.

Construction of a new middle school on land already owned by the district in north Marysville. This would create options for revitalizing the Totem Middle School campus for other uses benefitting the Marysville and Tulalip communities.

Relocation of Totem Middle School to the Arts &Technology High School housed on the Quil Ceda campus in Tulalip, which in turn would move to Marysville Pilchuck High School and offer expanded opportunities for its students.

District-wide facility improvements. Each school would receive needed facility upgrades and improvements, including roof and gutter replacement, upgraded intercom, fire alarm system, or fresh coat of paint.

The bond measure needs a 60 percent supermajority of “yes” votes. If approved, the average annual bond rate would be an estimated $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed home value. This means a family with a house valued at $240,000 would contribute about $25 per month. Less than a dollar a day for a new revitalized community.

If the bond passes, the state would also provide a 40 percent match on qualifying projects — an additional $62.4 million. This means that taxes you are already paying to the state are going back into your local community. If it doesn’t pass, those funds will go elsewhere.

There are many other convincing reasons why it’s vital to vote “yes.”

Improved economy: With new and improved facilities, our community is not only supporting improved academic performance, but also a stronger local economy, and better and safer neighborhoods.

Marysville schools will provide economic opportunities for individuals, local businesses and the overall Marysville-Tulalip community.

Marysville’s public schools represent the Marysville and Tulalip communities’ progress toward sustainable development, economic efficiency and equity. Quality schools are key to a successful business community. Our schools make our community more economically competitive by spurring local entrepreneurship and attracting state, regional, national and global businesses.

One of the key indicators of a prosperous, welcoming community is the quality of its school system.

At the bond campaign kickoff in March, Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring relayed how often prospective corporate investors looking to build or relocate to the Marysville-Tulalip area ask about the quality of local schools. For their employees and families, it’s a significant question, and our answer says more about our community than you can imagine.

The positive economic benefits of passing the bond occur both during and after school construction. The added construction activity results in more immediate construction-related jobs, and stimulates secondary spending in local retail stores, restaurants and the service economy.

Safer and healthier neighborhoods: New Marysville schools will create additional neighborhood resources and foster better student behavior, improving neighborhood appearance and community health and safety.

The physical environment and architecture of Marysville school facilities plays a pivotal role in keeping students safe at school. Modernized school facilities with inviting environments keep students happier, healthier and less likely to engage in bad behavior. Studies show that today’s well-designed quality schools are linked to better student behavior and reduced vandalism, violence, class disruptions, racial incidents and other in-school activity detrimental to a safe learning environment.

The positive effects of new and modernized schools carry over into surrounding neighborhoods, too. School buildings serve neighborhoods and the community at-large, providing public meeting and performance space to help build a sense of community. Designated school grounds often double as public playgrounds, recreation areas and ball friends, creating a safer neighborhood environment while promoting healthier kids and families.

Academic performance: A “yes” vote for Marysville schools will provide more opportunities for students to achieve high academic performance.

Students — and of course, teachers and staff— spend a lot of time in school. When you provide a well-designed school that incorporates features to address the interaction between the social and physical aspects of the learning environment, student achievement and teacher effectiveness soar. Day lighting, improved acoustics to minimize distracting noise and flexible classroom spaces able to adapt for individual or team projects are just a few features more responsive to the needs of a 21st-century education that creates a healthier environment and enables students to reach their full potential.

Provided that the school bond measure passes, we have one more challenge for you. As a way to gauge your return on investment, we encourage you to monitor the district’s efforts to improve educational quality, manage finite resources and care for current and future schools. Stay informed about how our cost-conscious school district spends bond money and other funds well beyond the school bond campaign.

For more information on the bond measure, go to yesmarysvilleschools.org or contact Christen Dickerson at 202-643-0834 or email citizens4msvlschools@gmail.com.

Let’s vote to help the Marysville-Tulalip community build its next breakthrough in education, and give our children the 21st century jump they deserve.

Robert Dobler is a Marysville resident and manager of Gamut360 Holdings, LLC.

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