Commentary: Join me in voting yes to support schools

Edmonds School Board President Deborah Kilgore

Voters in the Edmonds School District will soon receive a ballot in your mailbox, and I am asking you to join me in voting yes in support of the school capital levy. The levy will provide much-needed funding for safety upgrades, maintenance and operation of our schools, and building additional capacity to meet present and future population growth.

Before the pandemic closure in March 2020, it would have been hard to imagine what our communities would look like without public schools. Now, we have an idea. Children, families and community members rely on Edmonds School District not only for the high-quality education we provide, but also for healthy meals, fitness and health, safe neighborhoods, community building, entertainment, jobs, economic development, emotional support, and much more.

As a School Board Director, I take the job of stewarding our tax money seriously and I know the importance of keeping our schools well maintained. Half our school buildings are more than 50 years old and require careful and continual maintenance to extend their useful lives. Imagine, for instance, if we were unable to replace a roof in a timely fashion. Of course, there would be expensive consequences and ultimately, the entire building would fall into disrepair and become a blight to the neighborhood. Investing in the upkeep of our school buildings is the cost-effective and right thing to do.

As a parent, I know how important it is for schools to be safe and welcoming for students. Many of our schools need safety upgrades like new fire alarm systems and secured entries. Some of our older schools require expensive replacement of boilers that came with schools when they were new 60 years ago! As your children and my own return to their school buildings, I want to know that they are safe, protected from the elements, and breathing clean air while they learn.

As a longtime resident in the area, I know how important it is for our school district to keep up with population growth. All that new housing construction you see means more families and children. Currently, there are 44 portable buildings used in elementary schools throughout the District, and schools remain over-crowded. The levy will include funding to complete Spruce Elementary and replace Oak Heights Elementary, important steps toward alleviating overcrowding.

Please join me in voting yes for the capital levy. For more information about the levy, please visit https://www.edmonds.wednet.edu/cms/One.aspx?portalId=306754&pageId=33453360.

— By Deborah Kilgore, President, Edmonds School Board

  1. This levy is badly needed for our kids. Fixing old roofs and decades old boilers is something that our students pretty desperately need.

    The progress of our district already lags behind nearby districts, and deteriorating schools which could limit available classrooms, will only make it worse.

    I think the hard thing will be separating voters alarm and dismay from the Edmonds school board decisions to put trendy political decisions ahead of the safety of the students. Apart from a badly needed levy that is absolutely needed for the students of this district.

    A number of voters have declared that they intend to vote no based on the decision to pull school resource officers out of schools. However, that was definitely not the decision of the students (although it should have been), and it is unfair that they not only didn’t have a say in decisions that affected their life and safety, but they also could be punished for a decision that they were never allowed to even have a major voice in.

    I would like to see voters pass this badly needed levy, but I would also like to see changes made that would require student voters on major decisions in the future. Especially when it affects their life and safety.

    1. Evan- absolutely, we need the levy. Some people are misinformed about how school district budgets work and why the capital improvements are not being made with existing funds and for sure some of our neighbors have tangled this issue up in their hearts with the district’s decision to end the relationship with the SROs. But please know that student voices were invited and heard loudly and clearly by the school board during the public forums related to the SRO program. Whether policymakers weigh the student input it a different story, but let’s help people untangle these issues in their hearts AND their minds and keep laser focused on why this levy is badly needed.

      Students should continue to be included in the public discourse, as they currently already are, but until they are 18 and start getting ballots, they are not the target audience right now. We need the taxpayers to get educated about this issue and why it’s needed and why it’s not possible to make these updates using the current budget.

  2. I have not had children in school for a long time but the best
    thing I can do for them and the future of our community is to
    vote YES on this ballot.

    Edmonds wants to be proud of our schools, vote YES.
    Vi Walls

  3. All of this assumes that taxpayers have the income to support a levy…many lost jobs during the pandemic…this is NOT a good time for a Levy….vote NO!!

  4. ‘Educating”voters about the levy implies ignorance of those voting no. “Tax fatigue” means tax burdened. “Affordable housing” means re zoning and higher density housing with taxes, fees and costs of living in Edmonds not included anywhere. Maybe it is time for politicians to recognize words have meanings and weasel words are not at all useful. Want money for the levy? Don’t insult the ones who will eventual vote on the matter. Address their concerns, but don’ call it education. The tax burden for property owners is very high. Most people aren’t’ just tired of writing checks. They are stretched to the max.

  5. Both my wife and I consider our schools and students to be very important issues . This Special Election ballot tells us that the current and past bonds we passed have been spent already. The school budget
    that we already pay for yearly also does not cover the needs of the school buildings.
    However, I need to again repeat myself yet another time about the needs of ALL the cities that the school district comprises. For the past 12 years or so, residents in this district have voted for massive Lynnwood projects. The new Lynnwood high school is an example. Lots and lots of money because we do care about education.
    It is past time to start upgrading the schools in our district fairly. Stop ignoring the needs of schools outside the Lynnwood city limit.
    Where does all the money from a year of no school classes go? Teachers should be on unemployment benefits. No classes…so the district should still have at least half the money appropriated already . No school bus runs…no athletics…should be tons of savings from that.
    I will be voting no on this upgrade to Lynnwood middle schools…. the boilers can be fixed with federal money. I fully expect our elected representatives to be able to acquire the funds for the second phase of improvement projects that ran out of money after being voted to be improved in past bonds.
    But, if our reps fail to get money appropriated, and spend a day helping to show a dire need with absolutely no other way.
    and, put it on the news… I would think again on the need to vote yes on this matter.

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