14,000+ reasons to vote for levy, bond | Letter

Jan 29, 2014

Editor, The Beacon:

Voting for the Mukilteo School District levy and the bond not only supports the learning of the 14,000+ current students in the district, but also the 1,000 or so new students who enter our schools each year.

Both are also helpful in supporting staff in their efforts to assist our community’s kids in becoming knowledgeable and effective citizens.

The levy proposal will simply renew the existing source of funding that provides about 20 percent of the money needed for everyday functions, including teachers, paraeducators, classroom and library materials, school sports, extracurricular activities, and special-needs student services.

The bond will support construction of a new elementary school, which has been long needed with the existing number of students, and even more so in the years ahead as the student population continues to grow.

It will also provide for the construction of a new early-learning center for kindergarteners, which will help reduce some of the overload at other elementary schools, and allow for state-funded full-day kindergarten.

The district was not able to accept state money for this last year, as there is not sufficient room at elementary schools to do so at this time. Many other smaller capital projects will also be funded by the bond.

In the interest of full disclosure of my biases, I have been involved with district schools since the early ‘90s, as two of our kids entered elementary school here.

I’ve been a classroom helper in grades K-3, a lunch buddy for 20 years until the program had to be canceled due to funding shortfalls, a member of a school Site Council and a district Curriculum Committee, then 12 years as an elected School Board member.

In the last year, I’ve been working in the district as a substitute paraeducator, primarily in general education classrooms in a one-on-one role with elementary-age boys with behavioral issues and/or learning disabilities.

I have seen directly what the difficulties are in a typical classroom with high numbers (24-28) of students, many of whom are English-language learners, have problems with learning due to lack of home support or high mobility and changing schools frequently, or are unable to focus on or keep up with the instruction.

Picture yourself with 25 kids of varying abilities, typically distractible, and having to meet ever-increasing standards of performance and maintain order while trying to meet each child’s needs.

Without the financial support of district citizens, our kids will continue to struggle as class sizes increase, facilities deteriorate, and there isn’t adequate support for kids to achieve the success we wish for them.

Remember, your yes votes are an investment in your own kids’ futures, and the future of our communities, who will be led by the kids in school now and in the future.

Geoff Short,

Mukilteo

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