By Marsha Williams, Gig Harbor
Did you see the hundreds of names of supporters of the school bond in last week’s Peninsula Gateway?
Those folks know that their yes vote is not just for properly housing our students but is an investment in a strong and proud community, own community.
By Peter Nash, Gig Harbor
The group opposing the Peninsula school bond, Responsible Taxation of Citizens (RTC), ignores basic economics in their proposed “Better Way.”
They claim no overcrowding exists because they ignore state definitions and don’t differentiate portables from permanent buildings. In fact, we have two schools worth of kids in temporary structures.
RTC argues new schools aren’t needed yet propose a levy to build a new school and re-build another.
By Mark Burcar, Gig Harbor
As a Peninsula School District graduate, I received an excellent education that allowed me to pursue my dream of flying and become a pilot for a major airline. As careers like aviation, engineering and other skilled professions become more competitive, our kids must have a strong foundation of skills that begin in elementary school.
By Robert J. Martin, M.D.-retired and Jan Martin, Gig Harbor
We need to do better for our kids! We, you and I, elected a school board to represent us and make difficult decisions to keep the Peninsula School District healthy and viable.
The board is telling us we have an overcrowding crisis and need two new elementary schools, plus Artondale and Evergreen are past repair and need replacement. The board has assured us the bond will not increase our tax rate and is the best way to fund these capital needs.
A levy would increase our tax rate and would not make money immediately available for construction and therefore is not a good choice. When we were deciding where to live 42 years ago, schools were a very important factor.
By Justin Stiefel, Gig Harbor
Bonds are the most fiscally responsible funding mechanism for school construction. They result in the lowest property tax rate per $1,000 for property owners.
If the Peninsula school bond passes, a $400,000 home would be taxed $320 for the entire year. As home values rise the rate goes down, protecting those on fixed incomes now and into the future.
There is some pushback from the darkest corners of the community using innuendo to criticize the school board, creating the impression of malfeasance and misuse of school funds. When asked for proof they produce none.
By Shawn Jensen, Guest Columnist - Key Peninsula News
SCHOOL CAPITAL BOND
On Feb. 12, we will be asked to approve a Peninsula Schools capital bond measure focused on the most pressing need—overcrowding—in a district that has not built a new elementary school since 1992.
You may be asking, why the shift in focus from the 2018 bond proposal? The simple answer is local school districts are responsible for constructing local facilities to meet the instructional needs of local citizens. Over nearly 16 years Peninsula School District (PSD) voters have rejected five capital measures for facilities. Because of those failures, current 2018 to 2019 elementary enrollment in the district is currently 690 students beyond the capacity of the existing 148 permanent classrooms.
By Patricia Scott, Home
When I first moved to the Key Peninsula as the principal of Peninsula High School in 1997, I was impressed by the area’s beauty, but I soon came to be more impressed by the people of this community. We have come together over and over again to resolve local issues and problems.
The upcoming school bond addresses an education crisis in our community, and I implore our neighbors to come together again to pass this bond. It is no longer a conversation about “prettier” versus “more functional.” One or two portables may have been inconvenient, but one-third of classrooms in portables, professionals trying to teach students in hallways and closets, and overcrowded central areas means our facilities are more stressful, less effective environments for children and teachers.
By Bob Anderson, Gig Harbor
I want to apologize to my grandchildren for not getting involved in the bond campaign last April. Frankly, I expected it to pass. I come from a generation when there was strong support for education and schools.
I was unaware the Peninsula School District contends with a small political action committee that makes a game of opposing every measure the school board places on the ballot, always insisting their own ideas are better and should be adopted instead.
Fifteen years have passed since the last bond was approved. The need is greater every year.
By Ann Fessler, Gig Harbor
The Peninsula School District must pass its school bond. When I see that Sumner is taxed at $2.80 and then realize that, if it passes, Peninsula School District’s tax rate will be $.79, I see red. Yes, I am livid. Peninsula Schools are so superior to other school districts, but it hasn’t passed a levy since 2003 because a few citizens campaign against the school bond. They simply object to paying for schools, and it’s not that they can’t afford to pay the tax. As I look on the Peninsula School District Compass that we all recently received in the mail, I see that every single one of our elementary schools is over capacity, one is 46 percent over capacity!
By Andy Boynton, Gig Harbor
Of course, passing the Peninsula school bond will benefit school-age children in our community. But this is an issue that goes beyond kids. It’s also a matter of civic pride.
We know that Gig Harbor is a special place to live, work and raise a family and has a cherished history. This is especially true for people who’ve lived here a long time, perhaps their whole lives, and wouldn’t think of living anywhere else.
Our schools have been an important part of that history, whether it’s on Fox Island, on the Key or in the Harbor.
A Staff Report from the Key Peninsula News:
Art Jarvis argued the case for the Peninsula School District’s second ask for a major capital funding bond in less than a year.
Peninsula School District Interim Superintendent Art Jarvis, Ph.D., addressed a standing room only crowd at Blend Wine Shop in Key Center Jan. 3 to describe and defend the school capital bond issue to be put to voters Feb. 12.
By George and Cathy Young, Gig Harbor
My wife and I moved our young family to Gig Harbor in 1985 for the natural beauty and the tremendous community. My children and grandchildren have all attended the Peninsula schools. Our community has experienced wonderful growth; however, it has negatively impacted our school system. We haven’t built a new elementary school in 26 years. Our overcrowded, aging and deteriorating schools do not reflect well on the image of Gig Harbor. One-third of our elementary classrooms are in portables, enough to fill two large new schools. The teachers and staff are going over and above what should be required to provide a quality education, with some even teaching in closets, kitchens and other makeshift spaces.
By Lindsay Mas, Gig Harbor
Kids in the Peninsula School District, from the Key Peninsula to Fox Island and everywhere in between, need our help. This is the time to act. This is the time to cut through disengagement, misinformation, and myths — to educate yourself on the truth about our schools from credible sources.
By Lisa Anderson, Gig Harbor
It’s disheartening to see red signs all over Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula that are blatantly false. Property owners, please don’t fall for their tactics.
The truth? The Peninsula Schools District’s current bond is expiring this year. The proposed bond will replace the previous expiring bond next year, and our local school tax rate will actually decrease by 3 cents from the 2018 rate. Simply put, if you vote yes, the local school tax rate will still go down.
By Linda Velluti, Gig Harbor
Children belong in safe, quality environments, and that includes their schools.
I have no children, but the value of education is deeply rooted in my family history. I taught third and fourth grades in a poor district where the classrooms were overcrowded and in need of repair.
Connor Pavlik-Brindl, Student, Discovery Elementary
My name is Connor Pavlik-Brindl, and I am a fourth-grade student at Discovery Elementary.
On Feb. 12, 2019, our community will be voting again on a Capital Projects Bond. This is my second year in a portable. Have you ever taken a test in a portable? I have. The walls are very thin in the portables, and you can usually hear other teachers teaching. It can be very distracting if we are trying to take a test or just learn.
Chuck West, Lakebay
I love Evergreen Elementary School. It’s our little jewel in the south end. But it’s bursting at the seams. Built to house 182, we already have 246 students, or 35 percent over capacity. That’s 14 classrooms, six of which are in portables.
Meghan Conant, PTA President, Evergreen Elementary
Whatever stage of life you find yourself - regardless of whether you have school age children, are newlywed, a retiree or anywhere in between––we all benefit from great schools. Past generations built schools for children who are now grown up, and we should support our future generations by building schools for them.
Art Jarvis Ph.D., Interim Superintendent, Peninsula School District.
The Voice of Experience
I am the interim superintendent of the Peninsula School District. Over these past three months, it has been my honor to join this community and learn much more about the schools, parents and community at large.
My history includes over 50 years in the education business and over 30 years as superintendent. I offer that fact as the background for my next observation—this is a very special place. The beauty of this peninsula region would be impossible to miss, but the quality of the schools and school district might be less known to some.
By George Robison, Gig Harbor
Re: “Superintendent says Peninsula schools are now out of space,” (TNT, 12/12).
Thank you for publishing the explanation of the February Peninsula School District bond issue from Superintendent Art Jarvis.
I am 87 and it has been a long time since my children were in school, but I have great grandchildren who deserve and need a good education, brought to them by teachers with adequate facilities to lead our youth into the future.