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Why I am voting yes for LWSD bond | Letter
For the past 14 years, I’ve been involved in Lake Washington public schools as a parent volunteer, PTSA officer and more recently as a board member with the Lake Washington PTSA Council. Throughout this time I’ve seen firsthand the remarkable work our schools, teachers, and families do every day to ensure our kids receive a world-class education. Both of my sons graduated from Redmond High School and are currently at university -- one attends the University of Washington Bothell and the other attends Lancaster University in Lancaster, England.
Excellent schools require a commitment and an investment by all of us – commitments of time, energy, effort, and yes, resources. The Lake Washington School District has a successful track record as responsible stewards of those resources. Over the years, I have seen that responsible stewardship in all of my conversations with school district administration and at all of the school board meetings I have attended. And that is why, without hesitation, I am voting yes by April 22 for the bond measure for Lake Washington schools.
Currently, 20 of our 27 elementary schools are closed to variances. That means that they are at or beyond capacity. Our student population is still growing at a record pace. While we are gratified that this growth is the best vote of confidence we could ask for from our community, the reality is we cannot keep pace with our current rate of growth. Lake Washington is expected to grow by 4,000 students in the next eight years – that means we need to build one new building per year to keep pace. In fact, our schools face a 180 classroom shortfall if we do nothing.
Moreover, at this critical juncture, doing nothing also means our schools will face dramatic changes in how we serve our students. Without passage of the bond, our district will be forced to consider these options:
• Reducing or eliminating all-day kindergarten
• Double-shifting elementary, middle schools, and high schools
• District-wide re-drawing of boundaries - shift neighborhoods to different schools
• More portable classrooms at more schools
• Changes in how district programs are served – reduce or eliminate before and after-school activities
Lake Washington is a top-ranked district with nationally ranked schools. As a PTSA representative, I have taken calls from parents in Maryland and California asking me which schools are the best in our district. I have always responded that all of our schools are excellent. Even though I no longer have children attending school in the district, I will be voting yes to ensure that not only do we keep all of our schools at that same level, we also provide our students with ample classroom and building space so that they can continue to learn and thrive. That’s why I encourage you to vote yes for Lake Washington schools by mailing in your ballot by April 22.
Shelley Flores, Lake Washington PTSA Council