Now we work to keep promises to voters | Mukilteo schools

By Marci Larsen, Superintendent | Mar 05, 2014

The voters have spoken, and we are thrilled with what they had to say. We had two school measures on the Feb. 11 ballot. Both passed by comfortable margins.

The renewal of our Educational Maintenance and Operations levy was supported by 66.84 percent of those who submitted ballots, yet needed only a simple majority to pass.

That overwhelming support means that for the next four years we can continue to collect through local property taxes a level of funding that represents nearly a quarter of our total operating revenues.

That money will be used to provide staff members with competitive salaries and pay for new curriculum, classroom supplies, sports programs, elementary music programs and much more.

The other ballot measure was a construction bond proposal that required a 60-percent supermajority for approval. That also was supported by the community, with 63.88 percent of voters casting their ballots in favor of the proposal.

With that voter approval, we now have the authority to borrow $119.15 million from the municipal bond market.

That money will then be used to build two new school buildings: a new elementary school that will be built on property we already own south of Lake Stickney and a new early-learning kindergarten center that will be built off Beverly Park Road next to Fairmount Elementary.

With those projects, we hope to have adequate classroom space in our rapidly growing elementary schools and we will be able to give kindergarten students the opportunity to have all-day classes.

The money from the bonds also will be used for many other improvements, such as the modernization of the gym building at Olympic View Middle School, the construction of a training safety room at the Kamiak High School athletic fields, safer athletic fields at four secondary schools, and an improved security system and a wireless network in all schools.

While parents, students and staff members are understandably excited for these projects to get underway, I hope they have some patience. These improvements can’t happen overnight.

Before a hammer can hit a nail, there will be many months of work getting permits, meeting with committees, and creating the design itself.

So, the overcrowded conditions won’t magically disappear because the bond passed. In fact, the situation will probably get worse before it gets better.

The new elementary is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016 and the early-learning center in the fall of 2017.

The first project to get underway will actually be one of the least noticed within the package of construction projects.

A building on the Explorer Middle School campus that we call House I will be expanded in order to create space for those who now work at the site where the new elementary school will be built.

During the years ahead, we will provide a great deal of information about the new construction and the improvements that will result from the approval of the bond proposal last month.

Please keep an eye on our website and on various publications that we will make available so that you can watch for yourself how we will keep the promises that we made to the voters in our community.

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