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Seattle Times Endorses School Bonds

The editorial board of the Seattle Times supports Mercer Island School District's construction bond issue worth $196 million. Sixty percent of voters over the mandated threshold must approve the local property tax hike to pay for it over the next 25 years

The Seattle Times Editorial Board urged voters on Mercer Island, as well as those living in the Issaquah and Renton school districts, to support the school bond requests to rebuild aging school facilities.

The is asking voters to approve $196 million in bonds, while the Renton School District is asking for a $96 million bond and Issaquah, $219 million.

The endorsement, which explains that building now amidst rock-bottom interest rates and well-vetted capital improvement plans are a good value, sympathizes with local voters who have been hit hard by the recession and are now being asked to increase taxes on themselves. 

The bonds must receive 60 percent approval and at least 40 percent of voters from the last general election must vote. On Mercer Island, at least 3,971 votes must be cast for the election to be valid.

The offered in March.

According to the Seattle Times, "some voters are likely feeling pinched by funding requests coming from other areas of government in addition to schools. Prioritizing is the proper approach. Schools should be at the top of the priority list."

"We've raised the bar for student achievement. Students learn better in safe, modernized schools with well-equipped classrooms." Read the full endorsement here.

Jerry Gropp Architect AIA April 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Mercer Island is not Seattle- that's the simple answer. Born in Seattle, I've lived half my life in each of these two very different places. Anyhow, tearing down ALL of our existing fairly recently redone schools means we move the starting line way back of what we really need to do- IMPROVE our schools . This unwise agenda is totally counterproductive and makes no sense whatsoever. J-
Sam Hickman April 12, 2012 at 11:34 PM
What makes no sense whatsoever would be remodeling 55 year old schools yet another time, merely kicking the can down the road. Adding classrooms would trigger expansion of libraries, gyms, lunchrooms, hallways and restrooms, and costly post-Nisqually seismic upgrades throughout. Bellevue and Lake Washington SDs don't remodel 50 year old schools due to the cost; they rebuild and we should, too. Those districts have built stellar 21st century facilities to support 21st century learning and we should, too. It would be a colossal waste of taxpayer money to remodel 55 year old buildings yet again to produce sub-standard facilities full of design compromises, with no fix for parking and traffic. Our forebears left us excellent facilities on which to build an excellent school system and now it's our turn.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA April 13, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Sam Hickman makes a good case for his side of the argument- that we should tear down all our schools and start over. However his PatchProfile tells me- and the rest of us- nothing about him and where he's coming from, where he works, etc... I'd like to know a bit more about him. Jerry
Sam Hickman April 13, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Jerry Gropp asks where I'm coming from. I've lived on Mercer Island seven years and have 3 kids in our schools in 2nd, 5th and 7th grades. I'm in the schools or on campus nearly every school day. The work funded by the bond measure would likely not directly benefit my kids; they would attend schools under reconstruction but not attend the completed schools, but I believe our property values would benefit if our district retains its preeminent reputation. First rate facilities are part of having first rate schools. As an architect, Mr. Gropp, have you taken an interest or studied any of the 21st century schools that have been built in Bellevue or the Lake Washington School District? Have you recently been inside one of our schools in session? How would you say they compare? Have you perused the dozen or so economic analyses performed by architects and engineers for LWSD, posted online, that examine the "rebuild or remodel" question? LWSD rebuilds schools, not remodeles them, because the cost is simply too high to remodel. I would be interested in your opinion of that analysis.
Sam Hickman April 13, 2012 at 06:29 AM
To continue... My academic training was in physics, math and engineering and my professional career is in management consulting after working at Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and several startups. My wife has a PhD in genetics and is currently a teacher. Our family is bi- and tri-lingual, musical, artistic, athletic, and academically focused, like many families here. We have a keen interest in keeping MISD at the top of its game and I have studied and believe the work of the school board and the citizen's committee should be supported. That's where I'm coming from.
William Osborne April 13, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Yes, but did you read the comments from the Seattle Times readers, OVERWHELMING AGAINST THE BONDS!
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA April 13, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Mercer Island's diverse dichotomy has always been one of its great attractions for me. Thanks Sam for letting us know "where you're coming from". Jerry
Kendall Watson April 13, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Hear, hear. Sam, it's a pleasure knowing you & always good to run into you in real life & on Mercer Island Patch. Thanks so much for sharing some insights into your background!
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA April 15, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Actually Editor Kendall- I think it would be a good idea if all PatchCommenters had a Profile on file that would help us reading their Comments understand and/or respond to their viewpoints. J-

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