A message from the Tacoma Weekly editorial board:
In January of last year, we reported, “The graduation rate from Tacoma public schools has topped 89.3 percent – the highest since the state began officially tracking the statistic 15 years ago. The gain also marks the eighth straight year of increased graduation rates in the district.” Those are impressive accomplishments.
At the Weekly, we’ve witnessed and recorded the strides made by Tacoma Schools and our students. Yet we know the work is not done. Our current and future students deserve continued investment in necessary school updates and improvements that provide safe and welcoming learning environments. We urge Tacoma voters to vote Yes on Prop 1: Neighborhood School Improvements and Safety Upgrades.
Tacoma voters have repeatedly supported our schools, with nearly 50 percent of facilities recently updated or renovated. That’s impressive support, and we should finish the work. It’s an equity issue. All students – no matter their demographics, neighborhood or economic circumstances – should have the same quality environments for teaching and learning. With our votes, Tacoma can deliver on that promise. Prop 1 includes major upgrades or replacements to eight deteriorating neighborhood schools, with the average age of 69 years, as well as needed infrastructure, maintenance and Americans with Disabilities Act improvements in almost every neighborhood school.
It’s our job to maintain the significant investments we’ve made in Tacoma’s schools. Just as with our own homes and businesses, we all know that general, regular maintenance is required. Things break, wear out or just become obsolete. Let’s maintain those investments and provide Tacoma’s students roofs that shed rain, classrooms with controllable temperatures, maintained floors and walls, and safe play areas, playfields and athletic facilities.
Plus, we expect and demand that our schools and our students are safe and secure. Prop 1 meets that expectation by supporting Basic Life Safety, 911 emergency communications, controlled school entry and access systems, and fire alarm and sprinkler systems.
If the bond is approved, the owner of a $300,000 home would pay 27¢/$1,000 assessed value. That’s about $6.79 a month, $81.48 a year. Worth the expense? We sayso. Let’s maintain the assets we’ve built and ensure that every child has a safe and quality learning environment. It’s in the best interest of our investments, our kids, and Tacoma’s future.