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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Regional Citizens for Education committees: After heroic year, kids deserve levy support

For kids in school, the pandemic has turned life and learning upside down. And yet, with support from families, teachers, and school and community programs, they have persevered. Kitchen tables became science labs. Math teachers became video stars. First-graders learned to mute themselves.

Online classes, hybrid schedules and hard-working teachers and parents have kept many students afloat – at least academically. Now, as voters with the opportunity to replace expiring school levies, we have a chance to provide our students with brighter days ahead. School is about more than academics. Our students have missed a lot over the past year, including the in-person programs that teach teamwork and perseverance, spark lifelong passions, and provide opportunities for crucial social and emotional learning. Programs such as music, drama, sports and debate provide connection and help students grow into the leaders and collaborators our communities need.

These are activities paid for by levies. So are many other vital school programs, positions and services – such as nurses, counselors and behavior specialists, intervention programs, special education services and tech support. Levies also help schools keep class sizes small and offer Advanced Placement courses. Levies make it possible for schools to support and educate kids as whole people.

As the volunteer leaders of diverse groups of parents, business owners and community members representing 13 school districts and communities in the Spokane region, we ask you to vote yes for school levies by Feb. 9. Specifically, communities throughout our region are voting on replacement levies – not new taxes – to extend crucial local funding through 2024.

Your yes vote will help make sure opportunities like music and sports will continue to be available for students who have already missed so much. But the fact is, levy dollars are crucial to our districts’ budgets, even during the pandemic. Counselors, school social workers and technology operators continue to support families through meal distribution, mental health challenges, technology hurdles and more. Nurses and custodians are critical to creating safe and healthy environments as more students return to buildings.

We have seen school districts in our region use levy money thoughtfully and responsibly, stretching funds where they can while remaining accountable to their communities.

A yes vote reflects an ongoing commitment to education that our students need and deserve. It also reflects an investment in our region’s shared future. Schools form the backbone of our communities’ spirit, but also of our economy. As we look toward recovery from the pandemic, a strong education system will help our region attract and keep businesses. An educated, talented and well-rounded workforce will help create jobs and help local companies excel.

Our kids are our future. They deserve every chance to thrive – and our region needs thriving young people. Please vote yes for levies, for kids and for all of us.

Written by the chairs and co-chairs of the Regional Citizens for Education Committees:

Meagan Garrett and Lindsay Miller, co-chairs, Central Valley

Kris Jeske and Tim Kestell, co-chairs, Spokane Public Schools

Toby Broemmeling and Don Eggert, co-chairs, Cheney

Sara Breen, chair, Mead

Matt Almond, chair, Nine Mile Falls

Alexis Alexander, chair, Medical Lake

Brandon Comella, chair, West Valley

David Sprecher, chair, Reardan–Edwall

Elizabeth Moug, chair, Riverside

Freeman Levy Committee

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