By SUZANNE SMITH, Federal Way School Board
This is an exciting and important time in our country.
Presidential primaries and delegate counts dominate many conversations as well as the nightly news. Locally, Federal Way’s future form of government is a hotly debated issue as well.
However, I’d like to ask voters to make sure they turn over their ballot this Tuesday to vote on a measure that potentially will have as much impact on our community, and our country’s future, as the bigger and better known contests.
I would like to point out that voters do not have to pick a presidential candidate or sign the “oath of voter” to vote for the EP&O levy and other local measures.
The ballot language is: Ballot Measures — These votes will be counted, even if you do not select a political party.
A “yes” vote for Federal Way Public Schools’ educational programs and operations levy is your opportunity to renew your investment in our schools, our community and our country’s future.
What is the educational program and operations levy? How much is at stake? Like most school districts in Washington state, Federal Way depends on the local levy for nearly 30 percent of its day-to-day operations. The district depends on these local levy dollars to fund the day-to-day operation of our schools.
The EP&O levy enables the district to pay for educational programs and services, including teaching staff not included in state allocations, additional and expanded instructional programs, textbook purchases, athletics and activities, technology and security staff and additional transportation.
You may have heard about the issues of inadequate state and federal education funding. Yet, Federal Way Public Schools has been able to make impressive strides in educating all children. That’s because of our local voters and the levy dollars they dedicate to our schools. The EP&O levy, when combined with bonds and the technology levy, will not raise your taxes. Please remember that the bond voters passed last May pays for construction and improvement for buildings. The EP&O levy helps pay for the day-to-day operating cost of running our schools.
The renewal EP&O levy bridges the difference between the funding provided by the state and the educational needs of our students. It is an essential component in our schools’ success, and that of our students. If you think the success of our students is not your concern, remember that our community and country will thrive — or not — depending on the preparation of our students for a technologically demanding economic climate. The fate of our planet may well ride on the decisions and discoveries of the young people we are educating today. These children are our future and it is our responsibility to prepare them for their future.
What could be more exciting or important? Please vote “yes” for schools on Tuesday, Feb. 19.