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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion

David Condon and Ben Stuckart: School, library measures will benefit Spokane for generations

By David Condon and Ben Stuckart

Spokane voters have a unique opportunity this Nov. 6 on two measures that will have generational impacts on our community. When Spokane Public Schools reached out to the city in 2016 looking for space to build new facilities, we soon realized that our mutual long-range interests were aligned with the values that make Spokane a city of choice.

“Synergy” is often over-used when describing such relationships – the sum being greater than the parts – but in this case of three separate public entities coming together to provide effective and efficient use of resources, it is fitting.

The city of Spokane, Spokane Public Library and Spokane Public Schools each had a need for improving quality and delivery of services. The city of Spokane had several large parcels of undeveloped and underutilized land. Spokane Public Library was about to embark on modernizing existing neighborhood branches and building three new branches in underserved areas. Finally, Spokane Public Schools was seeking land to build three new middle schools, and modernize three existing middle schools built in the late 1950s.

With the state funding more of the cost of local public education beginning next year, the current local tax rate will be dropping significantly – enough that all of the above can be done while still reducing the local property tax rate by an estimated $1.20 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The benefits that this opportunity presents can only be compared to Expo ’74 in the history of our city. Every neighborhood in Spokane will see benefits – whether it is lower class sizes in public schools due to sixth-graders now moving to new middle schools, a new or modernized public library branch providing services closer to citizens, or far better use of vacant public lands, landscaped and maintained for multiuse by all citizens.

As mayor and City Council president, we have to weigh the cost and benefit of limited public resources. Along with the City Council, we work to make delivery of public services more efficient and effective to all of our constituents. We must also envision a Spokane that we will be handing to the next generation. We now have a clear path for that vision and we ask for your support of the public schools and public library measures.

David Condon is mayor of Spokane.

Ben Stuckart is president of the Spokane City Council.

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