by Vallerie Fisher
Seattle voters have another decision to make this year — and this one should be a no-brainer! Seattle Public Schools (SPS) has two critical levies on the ballot and as a South Seattle educator, I urge you to vote “YES” by Feb. 8.
These levies are voted on for renewal every three years — most recently in 2019. Seattle voters have supported these levies year after year because our students rely on this funding for everything from textbooks to after-school programs. These levies are an investment in our children’s future and well-being.
These levies are especially important in a time of COVID-19 and an increased need for technology in the classroom. This will provide funding for nurses, mental health professionals, family support workers, and counselors. It also provides the vast majority of the SPS technology budget. We need to pass these levies so that all students can stay healthy and have the technology they need to learn.
In addition to day-to-day operations, these levies provide critical resources toward building safety maintenance and improvements.
In southeast Seattle, Rising Star Elementary will get upgrades to windows and the playground, Graham Hill Elementary will receive funding for roof improvements, Emerson Elementary will get critical seismic improvements. I am also proud that students at Rainier Beach High School will get more than $17 million in improvements.
For a list of building improvements, see SPS’s Building, Technology, Academics & Athletics V (BTA V) Capital Levy Recommended Option Projects by Location document.
These building improvements are not covered by state funding. The levies are the primary source we rely on to keep our school infrastructure safe and up-to-date. As a union member, I am also proud that these improvements will create hundreds of good union jobs for people in our community.
Every Seattle student deserves a high-quality public education, regardless of what neighborhood you live in. As a community, our schools are the best way to change lives and give everyone a chance at success. Please join me in voting “YES” on Props. 1 and 2 by Tuesday, Feb. 8.
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Vallerie Fisher is K–12 director at MLK Labor Council and 37th Legislative District precinct committee officer (PCO).
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