Zachary Smith, Gig Harbor
It’s incredibly disappointing that critical upgrades to our schools are in jeopardy because of a few vocal citizens who won’t support investments in our community unless it benefits them directly. It’s even more disappointing that they’ve resorted to half-truths and outright falsehoods to promote their agenda.
In Washington, we depend on school bonds to make up shortcomings in state funds. A bond has not passed in the Peninsula School District in 15 years, and the district needs our money to update unsafe, aging schools. The bond tax increase will be offset by a levy tax decrease starting next year, so taxes will go down.
Of our 15 schools, many are outdated and in need of significant maintenance to roofs, HVAC systems, utilities, fire protection and security. Some schools have had days with no drinking water, no working restrooms or water available for fire sprinkler systems. Is this the environment we want for our kids? It is a critical time in our district, where we still have fantastic teachers and active parental involvement in our schools. But what is going to happen when good teachers leave in search of a better environment? Then, the involved families will leave soon after.
It is beneficial for our community to vote yes for our schools. Many studies show strong schools and strong communities go together. Strong schools maintain and increase property values, provide a strong sense of community and lower crime rates.
Keep Gig Harbor great – support our schools, support families! Voting no on the bond will not stop growth in Gig Harbor and will not change how schools are funded in Washington. It will only hurt our local community.
This is a transcript of a letter to the editor originally posted in the News Tribune on March 30th, 2018.
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