To the Editor:
The special levy election on Valentine’s Day is a no-brainer.
Until the state of Washington fulfills its obligation to fully fund K-12 education, the Bainbridge Island School District needs support from local taxpayers. We must continue helping fund our schools. It is our responsibility for now. And it is imperative.
The Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy provides about 22 percent of the school district’s general fund. It touches every facet of the day-to-day operation of the schools – from teachers, librarians, secretaries, custodians and bus drivers to electricity and water; from curriculum materials, instructional supplies, special needs programs and help for struggling learners to student activities, such as sports, clubs, band and drama.
And then there’s the Technology Levy. Curiously, the state requires students to meet proficiency standards for technology but does not allocate dedicated funding for technology. Monies from this levy are the only consistent, dedicated source of tech funding in the school district.
What’s the big deal with technology? Everything. It is an essential component of K-12 education. Learning standards in the 21st century call for students to use technology to collaborate, think critically, create and communicate. Higher education and jobs increasingly require technological skills.
This Tech Levy will fund the replacement of aging equipment; online subscriptions to support teaching and learning; continuation of crucial communications tools including telephones, emergency notification systems and the district’s website; and necessary improvements to network and wireless systems.
The two levies do not represent new taxes; they renew the current levies, which expire in 2017. The new levies will be in effect for four years, starting in 2018. They will keep our schools – and our kids – on track.
It’s a no-brainer, right?!