Opinion

Election recommendations for tech levy and library levy | Mirror editorial

For the Feb. 9 all-mail special election, The Mirror recommends voting yes on the Federal Way School District technology levy.

A fundamental goal of education is to prepare students for the real world. Computers and technology are essential to everyday life, including the jobs of today and tomorrow. The Federal Way School District’s technology levy will keep students on track and competitive.

The school district depends on voter-approved levies and bonds to pay for basic education expenses not covered by the state. A levy pays for day-to-day operations of schools including teachers, textbooks, supplies and extra-curricular programs. A bond pays for the construction of new or remodeled school buildings.

If this replacement technology levy passes, your taxes will not increase. The tax rate for Federal Way residents will remain roughly the same.

The current tech levy, enacted in 2005, is set to expire at the end of the year. The current levy brings in $1.8 million a year and costs the average homeowner about $31 a year.

The replacement levy will move the district toward a student-to-computer ratio of 1:1. The full list of technology upgrades includes continuing the annual upgrade of 20 percent of the district’s oldest computers; an operating system upgrade (the district recently upgraded to Windows XP); portable electronic devices for students; new servers; wireless access; video projectors and document cameras; new technology for math and science classes; new software for grades and libraries; and additional technology staff.

This technology levy represents an investment in today’s students — and tomorrow’s leaders.

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Library tax levy (Prop. 1)

The King County Library System (KCLS) is asking voters to increase the levy rate to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or $250 for a home worth $500,000, in 2011. The current rate would cost $210 for the same home.

KCLS says the levy’s failure will lead to reduced services at its 44 libraries. Hardcore library enthusiasts should speak up with a yes vote. However, for the casual or non-library user, maybe this is one time to say no. The library district must adapt its operational model to current economic, social and educational trends. Libraries must focus on being more than just free Internet cafes, especially when most taxpayers already buy Internet service at home.

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