Please support all three LWSD ballot measures | Letter to the editor

Olympia continues to debate how to amply fund basic education.

But Lake Washington School District voters can take decisive action to support our children. The three LWSD ballot measures are critical to funding educational programs, maintaining infrastructure and reducing overcrowding, all at a reduced tax rate.

Proposition 1, the replacement EP&O Levy (educational programs and operations), pays for programs not funded by the state. Ms. Susan Wilkins’ letter to the editor failed to address what’s unfair and inequitable about lack of funding for educational programs. If this measure fails, our children lose badly needed instructional, health and extracurricular services – all the things critical to making school a safe, comprehensive life-learning experience.

The EP&O Levy will provide campus security and summer learning, as well as coaches, athletic trainers, athletic directors and activity advisors. None of these things, however, are covered by the state’s funding model. For classroom and health needs, the levy covers nurses and health room staff; teacher substitutes; and teachers in special education, Safey Net, highly capable and English Language Learners, PE, music, libraries, and early learning (Head Start, Ready Start and Special Education). Moreover, it provides additional professional learning days.

With passage of the EP&O Levy, high school students will be able to pursue their passion and still graduate on time. The district plans to implement a seven-period day to support all students in meeting the state-required graduation schedule of 24 credits in four years.

With passage of Proposition 1, children will be able to do STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) plus a full schedule of fine arts, physical fitness and occupational studies, and not sacrifice their passions in order to meet graduation requirements. This will increase LWSD’s competitiveness among school districts and offer our children a superior education.

What breaks my heart about reduced funding for educational programs is that we lose exceptional, qualified teachers. I ran into an elementary teacher who taught my sons.

She started her career teaching my oldest son in Kindergarten, who will graduate from college this year. She was an exceptional person, a gifted teacher who managed her classroom with a firm and knowledgeable hand. She loved her students and brought out their best.

She had to leave her calling as a teacher for more compensation. Sadly, thousands of students will never have the opportunity to learn from her, to excel under her tutelege and years of experience and leadership.

Once lost, this talent can never be reclaimed.

LWSD has a comprehensive quality of life and education vision for all students. The vision takes into account all abilities, aptitudes and passions inside and outside the classroom and still meets the graduation requirements and schedule. The four-year levies give LWSD and teachers four secure years of planned funding with budgeting and implementation. All this with a reduced tax rate.

I’m voting “yes” for my youngest son’s classmates, who will graduate in two years. I’m voting “yes” for all the elementary and preschool children who live on our street.

Please give all our children the best start to their young lives. Please vote “yes” for all three ballot measures.

Susan Baird-Joshi,

Kirkland

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