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Letters for Feb. 6, 2024

Provide what they need to grow and thrive, vote yes

As an SPS teacher and parent I am urging our community to vote YES for kids in our upcoming bond and levy. Our students are finally recovering from the years of pandemic sacrifices: they’re regaining skills, building face to face friendships, joining teams and bands and drama clubs again. They’re finally allowed to be normal kids again! But I have been here long enough to remember when financial crunches removed libraries and music, when rooms became so packed with students that hallways became supply storage. Forcing our kids to endure that now, to say goodbye to the extracurriculars, to give up the amazing learning that smaller class sizes allow, to not even be able to check out a book for fun at school, it’s just unthinkable. We owe it to our kids to support them now.

This is not a new tax, it’s a continuation. It ensures that our schools get the regular maintenance they need to function. It gives our district local control to provide what we value and need in Spokane. These transparent plans are based on smart budgeting, the same kind of fiscal responsibility we want our kids to model. These measures would allow our community to keep uplifting not just our youth’s academics, but their health, their friendships, their curiosity, their joy and creativity. We know our students are real people, not just data points. Vote YES to provide them with the things they need to grow and thrive.

Kellie Crawford

Spokane

Our students deserve our support

I am writing in support of the Spokane Public Schools Bond and Levy which are on the Feb. 13 ballot. I would like to encourage everyone to vote yes for these measures.

As a parent of an SPS student, I have been impressed with the decisions and the vision within this school district. The levy funds help provide so many beneficial services to our kids. These include wonderful nurses, amazing librarians, up to date technology and numerous after-school activities. I cannot imagine our community without these additions.

The bond is another important piece of our students’ education. If you have been inside schools like Adams Elementary, you would understand the need for these buildings to be updated/replaced. They are well beyond their lifespans and desperately need some modernization. The bond also provides safety and technology updates for all our schools. In today’s world, this is so greatly needed.

If the tax burden has you concerned, I implore you to think about the indirect financial burdens we will bear if we do not fund these measures. SPS has been fiscally responsible by proposing a stable tax bill. Please support our students and community by voting yes for the Spokane Public Schools bond and levy.

Karen Branin

Spokane

We must find a better way to teach our children

Ah, perspective. Despite having no children, my wife and I have always voted for student- and library-related levies, believing education is an essential element of any society.

But now that we’re retired, it’s starting to hurt. It’s not our fault our home’s value has more than doubled since we bought it, but our property taxes don’t care. This year, the hike was greater than the increase in our Social Security (our one income source that isn’t fixed). Whatever money the feds are giving us is going right to Spokane County, plus a little extra. (And no, we don’t qualify for the exemption).

So, reluctantly, and for the first time ever, we are voting against a school proposition, and will probably continue to do so. If Proposition 1 passes – as it should – it will be without our support. We just can’t afford it anymore.

And when you look at what Proposition 1 pays for, you have to wonder why it should even be up for a vote. How much do we as a society care about education, if we make our educators beg every few years to fund “class size, advanced courses, special education, nurses, counselors, technology support, safety staff, music, athletics and extracurricular activities?” Shouldn’t nearly all these things be considered essential to a good education?

We’ve seen all around us what happens when these school bonds fail: layoffs, classes ended and class sizes increased to unreasonable capacity. We must find a better way to teach our children.

Michael McGarr

Spokane

Vote ‘yes’ for our community

I am writing this letter in support of Spokane Public Schools replacement levy and bond. Our district has worked hard to only request essential funding that is needed to continue the programs that benefit all schools and renovate the buildings that absolutely require it. In doing so they are keeping taxes consistent, predictable and essentially the same as voters’ current tax bills.

The levy funds 14% of the annual budget and over 15 programs including additional teachers, counselors, librarians and smaller class sizes that are not funded by the state. The bond funds essential safety and security upgrades that are also not covered by the state. I have been inside the recently renovated schools, and they foster a learning environment that is not only safe, but also promotes an environment that creates future contributing citizens and leaders. I have no doubt that an investment in our students will pay off in the short and long term as they graduate and become part of our community as adults. SPS had a record graduation rate of over 90% in 2023.

Spokane Public Schools, with 55 schools and nearly 29,000 students, needs us to invest in them. Please vote yes for your students, your teachers and your community on Feb. 13.

Jinny Piskel

Spokane

Education is vital for the future of Spokane

As a graduate of Spokane Public Schools and parent of children attending SPS, I am happy to say that Spokane’s tradition of promoting strong schools is something I am very proud of. Spokane’s deep-rooted history of supporting the bond and levy process is what ensures students attend safe schools with a multitude of learning opportunities and activities that would not be available without our collective community support.

A “yes” vote for the bond will help provide continued safety enhancements, facility updates and repairs and replacements of aging schools that children attend every day. Voting “yes” on the levy will help to insure children receive continued exposure to art, clubs, music, drama, sports activities, services, lower class sizes, special education, technology, and other essential programs. Passing both the bond and levy on the Feb. 13 ballot will prove that the path forward for our children and community remains vital to the citizens of Spokane. Vote “yes” for both the bond and levy on Feb. 13.

Tim Kestell

Spokane

Vote wisely on this year’s bonds and levies

The recent opinion article by Morgen Flowers-Washington (“State should fund all public schools equally – including charter schools,” Feb. 2), was a real eye -opener. I don’t have children in public schools, but I attended SPS schools. I am always skeptical of school levies and bonds. Especially after the debacle that SPS created by not following the voters’ wishes regarding Joe Albi stadium and its eventual location. I, like many, am on a fixed income. Raising my property taxes hurts. A lot.

On that same opinion page, Rich Zywiak wrote a letter to the editor (“A different take on the bond and levy votes”). He notes several deficiencies in Spokane Public Schools. He writes that many students are graduating without meeting state standards. Yet we keep funding them at increasing property rates. Are we getting our money’s worth? It appears maybe not.

Charter schools are turning out to be a viable option. According to Flowers-Washington, her school focuses on a global perspective and “skills to thrive in an interconnected world.” I have to agree that a large portion of my property taxes should go to charter schools. More choices should be available for parents and students to receive the best education possible. The world is clearly more complicated than when I graduated high school. We need to prepare the next generations to succeed.

Our community needs to consider more funding for charter schools and more options for educational choices. Please vote wisely on this year’s bonds and levies.

Beverly Gibb

Spokane

Fleeting great ideas from CMR

I read in a recent edition that Rep. McMorris Rodgers was advocating for the fire victims from this summer … a great idea. Many of our friends have taken a big hit from the fierce conflagration.

McMorris Rogers is often seen in advocacy positions encouraging better health care for veterans. Once again, a terrific idea. Veterans are on the front lines of our defense.

The congresswoman also voted for trillions of dollars of tax cuts for the wealthiest in our country. That means less income and bigger deficits. There are lots of really good ideas and ways to spend our tax money. If we limit income from the wealthy, and you are advocating for things to be done, then the money is going to have to come from us … the rest of the gang who pay our taxes regularly.

Recently, I read that the congresswoman thinks we’re spending too much on health care. And yet, I remember that she voted against the bill that allowed the government to negotiate Medicare drug prices … which will save trillions over years. (She was given $50,000 by drug companies that year.) My head swivels at the lack of judgment.

There are so many things that we want as citizens. Simply, it takes money. Be willing, as a lawmaker, to face that, be honest, and give the help you are advocating for, and find a way to pay for it.

Bruce Embrey

Spokane

Conservatives upset about the new progressive council

In regard to the Spokesman’s article of Jan. 29, “Conservatives feel iced out by more progressive City Council,” conservatives only have themselves to blame. Four percent, or 2,058 votes, separated the two mayoral candidates. We now as a city can count ourselves in the ranks of other progressive liberal run cities such as Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LA and Denver. Less than half – 70,729 of 146,000 —of registered voters cast a vote for mayor. Will the new council give any space to the only two remaining conservative members? Time will tell. If Spokane conservatives want more say in the running of the city, they need to get off the couch and put their ballot in the mailbox next time.

Bill Skaer

Spokane



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