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Please vote yes for Kent schools | Letters

  • Friday, January 21, 2022 5:30am
  • Opinion

Please vote yes for Kent schools

“Successfully Preparing All Students for Their Futures” is what the Kent School District does, every day. The community role in that effort is to support preparing the future of our children by providing the resources necessary to achieve this goal daily.

An important way to do this is immediately before each one of us and is easy. Vote yes on the Kent School District Educational Programs and Operations Levy renewal on the Feb. 8 ballot you have now received in the mail from King County or will receive in the next few days.

The Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) renewal ballot measure covers 2023-2024. It is no increase in the levy rate of the existing, expiring in 2022, EP&O levy, leaving the rate at $1.88 per $1,000 assessed property valuation and raising $76.25 million in annual KSD operating funds.

That rate is “flat” in the EP&O renewal ballot measure and is among the lowest rate of the South King County school districts and northern Pierce County, including the Tacoma School District. The EP&O directly funds 130 classroom teachers, 17 school nurses (the state funds 4 nurse positions), funds a large percentage of the KSD school safety staff, and innovative course selection to support high tech jobs for our KSD students.

It also funds nearly all of the performing arts programs and extracurricular activities and athletics programs. Many of us with or without students in the KSD certainly enjoy the arts, activities and athletic programs KSD provides its students every year. Performing arts, school-based activities and athletic programs would essentially be eliminated without the EP&O levy renewed and in place for 2023-2024.

KSD’s fiscal challenges of the past are well known and well discussed. Currently, through prudent management and oversight of the KSD School Board, KSD’s credit and bond rating was elevated to an Aa3 by Moody’s rating agency. In February 2021, Moody stated: “Management has demonstrated its ability to address challenging financial situations and delivered strong results.”

By voting yes, you are supporting the high-quality instruction and capacity to provide that instruction from the KSD teaching staff; support from quality nurse certified and classified staff; school safety and staff; high tech job readiness course offerings and programs; performing arts, activities, athletics and a host of other extra-curricular experiences that enrich our children’s lives and all our lives. All without asking for an increase in the tax burden on the residents of the Kent School District.

The Educational Programs and Operations Levy is a “straight” renewal of the expiring levy and comprises 16% of KSD operations budget not provided by state and federal funds. It requires no more of us than a yes vote on our returned ballots.

“Successfully Preparing All Students for Their Futures” is not KSD’s goal alone. It is the goal for all of us who call KSD’s service area our home. Vote on Feb. 8 and vote yes on the Kent School District Educational Programs and Operations Levy renewal. Our children and youth are counting on us to do so. So is the successful future for those of us that call the Kent School District our home. Learn more at http://citizensforkentschools.org.

Satwinder Kaur and Mike Heinisch

Co-Chairs, Citizens for Kent Schools


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