From a Citizens for Everett Public Schools News Release.
Preparing students for in-demand careers, relieving overcrowding and reliance on portables, and maintaining older schools are among reasons group supports both measures, all at a lower local school tax rate.
Citizens for Everett Public Schools’ mission is supporting students with good schools and high quality classroom instruction. On December 7, 2017, the committee announced its campaign to support both a capital bond and replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) on the February 13th special election.
These two measures are possible at a lower local school rate than property owners have paid since 2013.
The 2018 capital bond is a continuation of the district’s long-range capital plan, and prioritizes the most important projects with the greatest impact. The $330.6 million bond establishes a high-tech vocational program at each high school to prepare students for in-demand careers. The bond builds more permanent classroom space to relieve school overcrowding and reduce class sizes, and maintains older facilities to protect our investments in schools.
The specialty STEM programs at each high school are designed to prepare students for high demand careers that exist in our area. Research shows a significant shortage of skilled workers for many major industries in our region. By providing assess to high-tech vocational learning opportunities, the career pathways programs give students the skills and knowledge they need to advance into good jobs following high school or college.
“These two measures improve our students’ ability to live and work in the local community,” said Cassie Franklin, parent and Everett mayor-elect.
“They have a positive impact on our city and neighborhoods. Good schools help build a stronger community, which improve our quality of life, help keep crime down, and increase the value of our homes. I am proud to have my daughter attend Everett Public Schools.”
Maintaining older facilities to extend their useful life is also a priority for the district. Many HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) systems need replacement or repair, electrical systems need updating, and Everett High’s cafeteria building is due for modernization. Projects like these protect our investments in schools and save on costs if we take care of them now.
Growth throughout the district is another reason why the bond is needed.
“We have seen a tremendous increase in the number of students in our district, and this growth is predicted to continue for the next decade,” explained John Lovick, Mill Creek resident and state representative.
“Too many of our schools are overcrowded, and portable classrooms are not the answer. We need permanent solutions. This bond will build a new high school and permanent classroom space throughout the district.”
Also on the ballot is an Education Programs and Operations levy, which replaces a four-year levy expiring at the end of 2018. The levy provides important funding for school operations.
While the legislature has made progress, many programs are still not fully funded by the state. The renewal of these levies is for the district to continue providing a high quality education and meet operational needs.
The list of honorary co-chairs for the citizens committee spans a cross section of well-known public names, business owners, parents, and community members.