Improving schools will do much to attract businesses, residents

In Keith Livingston’s Dec. 1 article, he stated, among other things, “The city operates at a perception disadvantage;” and “This is a diamond in the rough opportunity.”

Our family moved to Federal Way in 2016. As our realtor drove us west on 320th Street, we suggested not going further after seeing Decatur High School. We thought it was an industrial building and were not interested in purchasing a home in an industrial area. When it was made clear that it is a high school, we were rather dismayed at its condition, again thinking that if the condition of the school spoke to the type of neighborhood, we would not be interested. Since then, we did purchase a home west of Decatur High and have been told by many people what a wonderful school it is, but remembering our first impression, we would not be surprised if companies would not select Federal Way for their base because they would surmise that the terrible condition of the school reflects the less-desirable tone of the community.

When the community recently passed a bond for schools, we were very surprised that Decatur was not on the list for improvements. It is such a visible structure on 320th and, as I noted, paints a very negative picture of Federal Way schools. I have been made aware that it desperately needs interior improvements, but something relatively simple such as painting the rusty units on the roof would at least present a better street view. I am a retired educator, so I know how far bond money has to stretch, and from the articles in the paper I know improvements are badly needed district wide; however, the city of Federal Way, as it strives to attract businesses and residents who are trying to find a place to move outside Seattle, would be wise to make an effort to improve such a visible school as Decatur.

Federal Way is a clean, green city with so many things to offer. We are truly happy that we chose to move here. We have found we rarely have to leave the city to meet our needs. We are sure that many families and businesses would find relocation to Federal Way as positive an experience as we have and hope they can look past some of the flaws to see the potential.

Linell Arbuckle, Federal Way

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