Letter to the editor: Levy will address aging, overcapacity school buildings

Dear Editor,

Now that kids are going back into in-person learning, it is time to bring attention to our aging and overcapacity school buildings. The Edmonds School District (serving over 20,000 students in Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, and Woodway) is asking voters to support our schools with the Capital Levy in the April 27 election. Let me tell you why it is critical for people to vote yes for the essential work planned in this levy, including:

  • Replacing two very old buildings and adding capacity to our over-crowded elementary schools,
  • Providing safety and security upgrades such as new fire alarms, sprinklers, and secured entry points, and
  • Doing preventive maintenance (to avoid costlier repairs down the road) such as roof repairs and HVAC system updates.

The district has a great track record for using capital levies and bonds responsibly – delivering promises on budget and on time. The state does not provide funds for school construction, with an expectation that districts will have to ask taxpayers to provide the needed support. While the tax rate has gone down since 2019, this levy would simply bring the tax rate back to just under 2019-levels and then keep it at that steady rate for six years.

The strength of our community is highly dependent on the quality of our schools. I strongly encourage voters to invest in our students and schools by voting yes and mailing their ballot by April 27.

Thank you!

Nancy Katims, Ph.D.
Edmonds School Board vice president
Edmonds resident since 1999

  1. The School districts own words from 2019,
    ” Bonds are for Buildings, Levy’s are for Learning” so please take a moment to explain the change.

  2. At 75 I feel I had a better education than what can be accomplished now.
    Being a baby boomer was a special time for attending public education. New schools were being built because there was optimism about the future and money could be spent on domestic concerns. That feeling had a lot to do with the relief that good triumphs over evil. What a gift to receive without knowing what kept things so interesting.
    There was a common ground even though there were children from many economic backgrounds, it did not matter.

    Over the years, public education has been required to take on many more tasks that cannot be handled by families… There is more isolation and the pathway to acquiring equitable education is more challenging to receive. There are more professionals trying to address the issues of childrens’ self worth. Children should understand that going to school is a positive and important process of how to learn all about the world we share.
    Grades are a process of evaluation and must be considered with regard to the students efforts and the methods of teaching. It means to learn new information and use it for being a more thoughtful and educated person. Life is a gift and education is the process/pathway for providing knowledge, whatever pathway you choose to explore. Children need their communities to understand how much more complicated living a normal life has become. It is not just schools, it is community and feeling safe, and feeling accepted.

  3. Vote NO! Send a message to the school board that the taxpayer well is dry! Our social security checks only go so far. When will teachers go back to full time classes 5 days a week teaching the 3 “R’S” not social justice.?? Buildings have been empty for over a year and i doubt they will ever been used for full time classes again. Consolidate the schools if the hybrid model of 2 days a week is the new norm, close some of the schools and cut the administrative overhead. NO More Taxes!

  4. Also of the very first wave of the baby boom generation; I can attest to the fact that schools built on the cheap were the name of the game for years in Dist. 15. The 1958 version of EHS being a prime example. It was junk when completed as was Woodway H.S. in the 70’s. Most of the other schools of that era were similar and many have been replaced or still need replacing or fixing up a bunch. There is no question that public schools are money pits and the expectations we have for them of taking care of all our social problems are unrealistic.

    It’s time to take some of the burden off the middle class homeowners for sustaining our schools and put it on wealthy corporations and wealthy people who are so often the prime benefactors of a well educated and socially well grounded populace. It’s also time for our schools to get back to the basics of teaching real life skills like civic responsibility and government (civics) and how our financial systems work to their advantage and, at times, disadvantage (economics). My two most valuable H.S. courses were typing (which included a lot of basic business) and boys home economics.

  5. Thank you Dr. Katims for this letter. I appreciate you detailing the specific needs for this levy and the critical impacts for the children attending schools in this district.

    Having well educated kids in our community is something that benefits everyone in the city, and is critical for the economic and social success of our city. A better educated workforce has been shown to allow cities to be more resilient in handling economic job field changes, can whether recessions better, and reduces the overall crime rates of a city.

    This levy is working to address some fundamental safety, preventative maintenance, and overcrowding issues with our schools. People should realize that a no vote on this levy would not only hurt the kids of this district, but themselves as well. If some of the basic preventative maintenance issues are not addressed now, as you noted, they will just end up being more costly later.

  6. When leaders in the public education system start supporting getting more kids into the private education system “for the kids” to help address over crowding and low performance issues then and only then will I be content to ride the “we need money” public education merry-go-round again. Until that time, no matter the merits of proposals, I am a no vote.

    The group went over the numbers last year when talking about the $600 million measure that failed. Private and charter schools are simply doing a better job at a lower cost. Plus the few charters that the states teachers unions have failed to shut down have a higher percentage of “needs” students.

    If we really want to help the kids then target half the current public money per child that moves from public to private to these kids destination. The other half being saved could be used for all these maintenance issues and improve the education of the students that choose to stay in the public system without need for additional taxes.

  7. Get the money from the trillions dollars Federal Infrastructure bills in Congress…there is a LOT of money in those bills for schools. Jayapal could use some of her clout and get the Edmonds school district some of that money!

    With the federal dollars, we do NOT need a local levy for structures!

  8. Mr. Williams makes a great point here assuming the federal programs are paid for by the higher taxing of corporations and extremely wealthy individuals. Otherwise you are just taking the funding out of another middle class pocket, where the well is rapidly drying up so to speak. You can’t tax the rich because they supposedly create all the jobs and you can’t tax the poor because they don’t have any money or things to tax. Those tents in the public park or broken down r/vs parked on the street aren’t worth much, but the value of our middle class homes; PRICELESS; to the tax man. It’s time for someone else to step up to the plate to take care of all of the children. Maybe the Reagan and Trump created bizillianaires, with their tax dodging foundations, should be required to pick up a little more of the tab for public education.

  9. I am pretty sure that you know that will never happen. We are not going to get money for our underfunded schools that we choose not to fund ourselves with Federal Infrastructure bills. We are not going to get the money from Bill Gates, and the issue would not be solved by voucher programs.

    All of those are issues to try to avoid taking responsibility for voting against the opportunities of the kids in the district to have the same level of education as nearby districts. Overcrowding is a problem, safety upgrades are essential, and roof and HVAC will just cost more later if we do not address them.

    For all of the no voters on this levy, If you do not want to adequately fund our schools, that is a pretty crappy choice I think, but at least be honest about your choices and take responsibility for denying those safety and overcrowding issues if you are going to go that route.

    1. No problem. I vote no, and give you permission to pick up your and my tab voluntarily, if it fails. FYI , I have produced 0 children for the community to have to educate. Haven’t cost you a dime since I graduated EHS in 1964; so happy to let you and Bill take over the funding you feel such a great need to shame me and people like me about. If it passes, I’ll pay. If not, so be it. Last I heard, this is still America and that’s how it works here. Still waiting for the rich folks to demand to pay their fair share too. Suspect you are right. That isn’t going to happen.

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