This February, I urge voters to support the ballot renewals of both the Educational Program and Operations (EP&O) levy and the Technology levy. To emphasize, these are renewals of educational levies already in place which provide critical funds to our schools’ everyday operating expenses, and standard technology learning tools budget. These are not new or incremental taxes. WA State only provides a portion of the base operating dollars for our schools. The State leaves it to the local school district to ask their community to cover the rest, which in our district is a full 22% of base costs. Metaphorically, the state funding covers 4 days of a school week, but our local levies fund the 5th day. Every student and every teacher would be negatively impacted if these particular base funds evaporate. These locally-levied funds cover everything from utility expenses to remedial reading to teacher-retaining salaries.
Our community cannot afford to backslide on basic educational funds. We should never lose our brightest educators over regionally-commensurate pay concerns, or find that we have to cut school hours. As a parent, I am grateful that my own children have moved on successfully to college thanks to a Bainbridge community truly committed to superior education. As a finance professional, I value these education levies because maintaining excellent school performance supports our home values. As national economic studies illustrate, and as our local realtors can attest, property values are highly correlated with school quality. Let’s Vote Yes to Renew these critical educational levies for basic operational and technology funds!