By Jake Gregg of the Peninsula Gateway
The Peninsula Gateway spoke with interim Superintendent Art Jarvis about the latest bond request and why the district believes it is needed. His answers have been edited for length and clarity.
We ask you to vote yes on the Peninsula School District bond to provide current and future students with the facilities they need to learn and excel. When we were in school (graduates of the classes of 2001-2010), we saw the beginnings of the significant challenges facing facilities today. We studied in portables. We studied in aging science classrooms, or worse, off of carts. We saw the effects of leaky roofs.
By Lance Hester, Gig Harbor
Our students deserve safety and equal accessibility. I was a member of the Facilities Planning Committee, a large team that evaluated our schools. Facing the reality of school shootings, like Sandy Hook, I counted 26 unsecured entry points at Peninsula High School. I later learned Gig Harbor has 36!
By Deb Krishnadasan, Gig Harbor
The measure of our community is the investment we make in our children. Great schools make great communities, and great communities make great schools. Judging by the overwhelming and bipartisan support that Stand Up for Peninsula Schools has received while campaigning for the school bond, our community is strong and our schools will soon be safer and more secure, when this measure passes.
By Marsha Williams, Wauna
Don Snowden's cartoon of April 12 has me scratching my head. Is he saying that he's confused by the bond proposal, or by the naysayers who are trying to obfuscate the issue? Hopefully the latter.
By Thelma L. Channon, Senior Global Real Estate Advisor, Realogics Sotheby's International Realty
High quality schools are a huge driver of where people want to live, more so than ever today. And it’s a proven fact that there is a direct correlation between the quality of local schools and maintaining our home values.
BY LISA M. ANDERSON, Gig Harbor
Most of us work hard, give back and do what we can to make the world a better place. Yet sometimes our efforts feel futile. But today, we can do something to benefit our community and bring lasting change. We can vote to pass the Peninsula school bond to address the unsafe, overcrowded, outdated conditions at our schools.
by T. A. Haight
What is the better way? I see red and white signs advising people to vote no on Peninsula School District’s upcoming bond, with the tagline “There is a Better Way.” The reality is our schools are overcrowded, have leaking roofs, dying HVAC systems, and classes held in portables that were meant to be temporary. Many buildings do not meet current safety codes, and cannot be properly secured in a school-shooting situation.
By Steve Whittier, Gig Harbor
Peninsula School District voters simply must pass the school bond, for safe, uncrowded schools for future generations. The thought of a capital bond failure scares me, how local teachers and students will be negatively impacted.
By Jenny Hampton, Gig Harbor
Peninsula school facilities are in an alarming state of disrepair. They are woefully antiquated and increasingly unsafe. The district is operating on borrowed time.
Judy Burcar, Gig Harbor
My family has deep roots in the Peninsula School District. I graduated from Peninsula High in 1959 and raised two sons who graduated in 1988 and 1991.
Susan Paganelli, Gig Harbor
Like it or not, a measure such as Peninsula School District’s proposed bond needs a 60 percent super majority to pass. What does this mean?
Jennifer Butler, Gig Harbor
The Peninsula School District is taking an accountable and transparent approach to the replacement school bond. By law, 100 percent of the proposed bond funding will go toward the planning, construction and opening of safe, updated classrooms. The district has over a decade of clean audits from the state, and school bond projects are some of the most highly regulated processes in the state. Bond spending will be subject to annual independent audits, and the bond process will be subject to a citizen oversight committee.
Andy Boynton, Gig Harbor
Lately, I’ve seen a bunch of signs around town opposing the Peninsula School District’s capital bond, which will come before voters on April 24. I was struck by the sign’s tagline: “There Is a Better Way.”
The better way, evidently, is a $50 million levy, which sounds remarkably like the one the district put on the ballot five years ago, when labor and material costs were lower and the problems facing our schools were less acute.
By Terry Lee, Former Pierce County Councilmember (R) and Derek Young, Current Pierce County Councilmember (D)
The Peninsula School District has not passed a school bond since 2003, and the district’s 15 schools are unsafe and overcrowded. This is a critical point in our community’s future: voters should join us in bipartisan support for April’s Capital Facilities bond, and make an investment in Peninsula schools.
By Karissa Sams, Gig Harbor
As you talk to people who have grown up in Gig Harbor, or are recent transplants, the word "community" is frequently mentioned.
Shawn Jensen, Key Peninsula
Taxes—the very word provokes strong feelings. Frustration, aggravation and even helplessness rear up against the apparent onslaught of new taxes, fees and charges that government agencies from the state on down to the county, city and local public services impose on us to drain more and more hard-earned dollars out of the family budget.
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.
Phyllis Brandt, Gig Harbor
“This community has high-quality schools.” As a high school and middle school counselor for 22 years in the Peninsula School District, I often heard this opinion from parents of students whom I registered upon entering our schools.
Kristin Undem, Gig Harbor
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.