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More growth means more kids for the LWSD to serve | Letter
I take some small pleasure from the fact that the Lake Washington School District bond was not successful, but only small.
As I have previously stated, I realize that LWSD faces ever increasing costs just like we the taxpayers do but unlike the Lake Washington School Board we the taxpayers cannot float a bond issue to bail ourselves out.
That being said, this would be the appropriate time for the board to review those costs that are absolutely necessary to run the schools and rethink their priorities when it comes to existing school upgrades.
It would seem obvious by now that we the taxpayers are getting squeezed from every direction by rising taxes, food and fuel costs, etc. And, we are trying to say we are having a hard time making ends meet ourselves.
The board spirals out huge new enrollment requirements for the future, and I will address this issue to our City Council as well as the board members of King County. The idea of high density in Kirkland is what I believe to be one of the main factors behind the overcrowding issue.
The city has given carte blanche to developers and builders to tear down single family homes and build two, three or more in the same space, and it appears, they are selling them like hotcakes.
Google is currently building a new addition that will accommodate 1,000 new employees. A ready market for new home buyers and an additional 1,000 to 2,000 more school children could be added to this overstressed school district as it stands now. Now the board may counter with the logic that all these new homes will bring in additional tax revenue which will go to running the schools. But if they can't make ends meet now they won't be able to even with revenue from the new homes. No, the system is broken and more homes won't fix the problem.
In addition, the city has approved a housing development at the South Kirkland Transit Center that will add an untold amount of new students to an already strained system.
Back to the Google expansion for a moment. I would ask the Council members to drive southbound from downtown Kirkland on 106th to the South Kirkland Transit Center and then back downtown during rush hour. After you've recovered from that trip, then drive from 520 north on Lake Washington Boulevard to downtown Kirkland during that same rush hour. Now, factor in another 500 to 1,000 cars leaving Google at rush hour. That should be enough to make any sane person lose it for sure.
Eventually, Kirkland will not be the garden spot it thinks it is, and that's a shame. The city, as well as the school board, really need to think about these thing because they are going to be the ones responsible for the mess they are creating.
Now, just in case you think I don't know what I'm talking about, it would be appropriate to mention that I was a city councilman in Illinois for eight years. And during those years, I was witness to every department head, school board, fire, police, city works, you name it, always asking to raise their next annual budget even though they had surpluses from the previous year. Yes, everyone always wanted money and I'm happy to say a few brave souls on our council knew how to say "request denied" and miraculously they all survived with their goals intact.
Hopefully the school board will make an effort to be physically responsible, figure out innovative ways to satisfy current and future needs and do so without trying to change the percentage of voters necessary to pass their referendum.
D. Schor, Kirkland