Nearly 60 percent support bus levy

By Marci Larsen, Superintendent | Nov 28, 2012

With the holidays now upon us, it’s a time when we remember the things for which we are thankful. There are many things to be thankful about regarding our school system.

Students are continuing to improve academically, teachers and other staff members are working hard, and the community continues to show its support for the job that we are doing.

That community support was again demonstrated earlier this month when voters supported our Transportation Vehicle Fund Levy. As of this writing, the vote count stands at almost 60 percent of voters approving the proposal; a simple majority was needed for the measure to pass.

With the passage of the transportation levy, we now have the authority to collect a total of $3 million through local property taxes during 2013. That authority will then expire at the end of next year.

Our fleet of school buses was showing signs of age, so the money will be used to purchase about 30 new school buses during the next several years.

New school buses will be an important addition to the services we provide for the children in this community. While our older buses have been doing an excellent job over the years, the newer buses will be less expensive to maintain and will come equipped with new safety measures that are now standard on today’s state-of-the-art school buses.

The windshields on the newest buses are larger, for example, and they have better mirror systems, both of which make the buses safer to drive.

New buses also feature higher seat backs and extra padding to make them safer for the children inside, and current standards also require them to have stronger side panels and roofing systems, better emergency exits and electronic stability systems.

I live within the school district and pay property taxes, as do a large number of our employees, so we understand why raising property taxes may not always be a popular idea.

Consequently, whenever we go to the voters, one of our prime considerations is the impact our proposal will have on taxes.

One of the nice things about our recent ballot proposal was that even though the tax measure has passed, the overall tax rate will go down next year.

This happened because some of the bonds that voters approved in 2000 for the construction of Odyssey Elementary and a remodel of Mariner High School have now matured.

The total tax rate for school measures in the Mukilteo School District was $4.68 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2012 and will drop to an estimated $4.53 in 2013, even though it includes an additional 26.5 cents to pay for the school bus measure.

That’s a tax savings of about $60 for a home assessed at $400,000.

A school system is a community enterprise that depends on support from all citizens, even those who may not have children in schools. Your support for our recent tax measure is indicative of why Mukilteo schools continue to be successful. Thank you very much.

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