Letter to the editor: It’s time to support our public schools

Editor:

Voters in the Edmonds School District will soon be receiving ballots with a Capital Levy proposal to maintain a steady, local education tax rate over the next six years. I hope you will join me with an enthusiastic “yes” vote!

We have all seen our southwest Snohomish County region continue to grow, even through the pandemic. Ensuring our school buildings and facilities are safe, maintained, and upgraded to meet the evolving needs of our communities must be a top priority. These levy funds are only available for capital improvements including addressing building capacity issues in response to overcrowding. They cannot be used for staff salaries.

Far beyond the vital function of education, this last year has underscored stronger than ever the roles our local public schools fill as a backbone for social development, athletics, and basic life necessities like daily nutrition and family support.

As many community members may be sending their students back to buildings, we need to set up our school facilities, our children and our communities for success. Please support the Edmonds School District’s 2021 Capital Levy this April to make long-term improvements to our public schools.

More detailed information is available at edmonds.wednet.edu.

Luke Distelhorst
Edmonds School District parent

19 Replies to “Letter to the editor: It’s time to support our public schools”

  1. The public school system in Edmonds hasn’t done very well throughout our collective tour through a pandemic. First, they stayed open longer than other school districts way back when the only information we had on COVID-19 was that it was likely to cause dreadful loss of life. Then, once it was clear that schools could be reopened safely (as many private schools in Washington state and around the country have done for quite some time) the Edmonds educators association fought hard to stay closed. In the middle of all this they embraced an explicitly racist ideology in the form of the “Black Lives Matter Month of Action,” being sure by this action to alienate roughly half of the families they serve.

    And now they want more money. No thanks. And Luke, I too look forward to voting you out.

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    1. Luke
      Where is there overcrowding? These were intended to be “special levies” for unique circumstances. Now they are just automatic we want more taxes.
      School Districts recently got massive increases in State funding due to State Supreme Court rulings regards State Constitutional mandate to fund basic education.
      ESD did a lousy job getting kids back in class and sports. School Board messed up big time eliminating school safety police officers because of the complaints of a small group of people.
      Why should they be trusted with more taxpayer money?

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  2. Two enthusiastic YES votes from us. Thank you Luke! Cannot ever imagine voting against our children.

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    1. Is voting for more money into the Edmonds School District a vote for or against the children?

      When private and charter schools do a better job for less why not allow more children this path of education instead of putting up road blocks and forcing them to remain in over crowded public schools where they under perform?

      I posted awhile back that there are over 600 people in the ESD making more than $100,000 and the vast majority are not teaching. They could not figure out how to implement effective in class education (or for that matter out of class) when so many others opened. Why is yet another round of more money going to fix anything?

      Offer an open use voucher set at half of the public spending number per student paid in 2019 and see the crowded classrooms problem vanish in three years. If parents choose to take their kids out of the public system the current public money being spent is cut in half. If they choose to stay in the public system then the money returns to the district and we continue to fund the full public cost. This would do far more to rise up children of color than another billion dumped into a system that has been failing them for generations.

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  3. Two more enthusiastic YES votes from us. Such an easy decision to make. Why would anyone who cares for the role of education in a community vote against this?

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  4. The Edmonds School district needs to sell some of there assets! When you look at 3.32 per thousand or 332.00 per hundred thousand
    With the average home in the district around 650 grand adds another 2150 to your taxes, or 180 per month . It’s not the cost of housing in Edmonds it’s the cost of TAXES AND LEVY’S.
    The better option is to sell Bonds.

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    1. Otto, when interest rates rise, seniors are going to be hit hard in this area with both high taxes and a huge loss in housing equity.

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  5. A recent flyer from the Edmonds School District (ESD) regarding the levy vote identified groups of students that have access to some in-person education opportunities. What is clear from this flyer is that all ESD students do not have 5 day in-person education classes available. Nor is there any indication when this will occur. The CDC has for several months stated that K-12 schools can hold in-person classes. Washington State Private, Religious, and Charter schools as well as Public Schools in other states have been conducting in-person classes. Clearly the ESD has failed ESD students in the face of Covis-19.

    A second flyer discusses costs and alleged benefits. Again, nothing regarding when in-person classes will be held for all ESD students.

    I have lived in Edmonds for over 45 years. For many, many years I supported and voted for ESD bonds and levies. After I looked into ESD student performance results I stopped. The WA Superintendent of Public Instruction has a web site that includes reports of school district students meeting standards. The current ESD report is: 63.1% ELA, 52.1% math and 44.3% science. All F letter grades. ESD is clearly failing its students.

    I have a suggestion. Rather than maintaining the status quo, I suggest that the ESD Board consider selling or leasing the schools that need improvements a Charter School organization. This will give EDS students school choice. One study has clearly shown that school choice leads to improved student test results. More needs to be done at the state level. Forward thinking states are providing student vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, education saving accounts as well as other methods of creating school choice. Washington State should take a leadership role in this endeavor.

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  6. I will probably be accused of digression, but here goes anyway. The day I see large corporations and rich people like Bill Gates and the Koch Brothers start demanding that their base rates of taxation be raised substantially so we can all have better educated children, better infrastructure and a more equitable society in general; I’ll vote yes for schools again. Until then, I think I pay enough already for the privilege of owning a home and will continue to vote no on more money for schools or just about any other proclaimed social good that the middle class always seems so obligated to pay for in this country. The average CEO of an American company makes 320% more money than the average line worker in the company. In the 50’s and 60’s that figure was around 21% more. The Republican mantra is that all taxes are bad, so I’m just being a good Republican here.

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  7. This levy is badly needed. No need to punish the kids of this city for political policies of the School Board. When you look at what they need this levy for many are badly needed repairs.

    There are better ways to address issues with the school board than taking it out on the kids of this city.

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    1. I beg to differ a little here Mr. Nelson. In my opinion we will be doing our kids a big favor by voting no on all this property taxation, so maybe someday, they too can afford a home in Edmonds without the necessity of inheriting it. We were able to buy my family home over 20 years ago but, thanks to rampant home price inflation and property tax proliferation, we wouldn’t even be able to consider buying it today.

      I have an idea. How about we not vote on this and just let all the folks in favor of higher taxes for the schools voluntarily agree to have their taxes raised by a Grand or so, and leave the rest of us as is. Just have ESD send out a letter saying, yes have the county tax me more or no don’t have the county tax me more and live within the funds provided by that. Maybe its time to think about having people with children in the public schools pay higher taxes than the people without children. Maybe it’s time for some sort of State wealth tax to pay for all our infrastructure needs, including funding of schools. I’m tired of this whole “don’t ever tax the rich” meme that came out of the Reagan era. So, I’m going to agree with the Republicans on this one; fight fire with fire; and vote NO.

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  8. In 2019 ESD put this info out, Bonds are for Building, Levy’s are for Learning, selling private bonds to pay for the projects durning this economically tough time allows a couple positive things, no rise in our taxes and the school district could move forward with capital building projects and the ESD can prepare for the learning elements that a levy could cover in a couple years when the community is asked again.

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  9. I’ve been an Edmonds parent for several years and have been forced to hire tutors and purchase significant educational material to supplement this school districts incredibly poor performance. While I have voted in the past to support the district my friends and family will vote NO this time.

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  10. I would encourage you to watch the youtube video of the community forum the ESD hosted on this topic:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjMiGdEO4vM

    As a parent of a student attending College Place Middle School 4 years ago, I can tell you that replacing that school is a reasonable thing to do. CPMS “whole school” replacement was included in the last, larger ESD capital levy that was voted down. This time, in this smaller levy, only the 20 year roof is being replaced at CPMS.

    I looked through the included projects. Replacing a boiler from the 1950’s is another example.

    I will be voting for the levy and applaud the ESD for reducing the asks to the true needs. Our tax fatigue is as real as these needs are.

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  11. Can anyone tell us how much per year will be added to the existing or is this a new item at .79 per 1000 in 2022.

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    1. Voting no. My kids are in private school and have had real live classes since Sept with superb remote learning before then. Always voted for each levy before but given ESD’s performance the last year they have to earn my trust again.

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  12. Funds from the State, new funds from the Federal level for capitol improvements in the virus bill and the new purposed infrastructure bill and now you want more funds from the taxpayers. Not knowing what the future will bring in the way of personal instruction we are voting NO.

    Raising property taxes on families who are struggling is hurting the very children the district claims to care about., many cannot afford the increase in rents and mortgage payments.

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