Lakewood School District cautiously optimistic about levy election results

LAKEWOOD — With both of the Lakewood School District's levies in the April 17 special election passing as of that evening's reported results, district Superintendent Dr. Dennis Haddock expressed cautious optimism about the fates of funding for school programs and operations, as well as capital projects and technology.

"Unless a ton of ballots are left to be counted, I suspect the current results are unlikely to be turned upside down," Haddock said, noting that both of the school district's measures require only simple majorities to pass. "Still, I don't want to be too brash, so we'll continue to watch the results very carefully."

As of 8:01 p.m. on April 17, the Snohomish County Elections Office had reported that 1,363 "yes" votes, or 56.46 percent of the votes counted by that point, were cast for the replacement school programs and operations levy, and 1,276 "yes" votes, or 52.97 percent of the votes counted by that point, were cast for the capital projects and technology levy.

Regardless of the eventual outcome, Haddock expressed his gratitude to the community for their support of Lakewood schools, especially since he estimated that 23 percent of the district's general fund will come from the replacement levy.

"We'll always be looking for ways to economize without compromising quality instruction," Haddock said. "But for the first time in three years of state and federal budget cuts, we're now able to avoid staff reductions and maintain our existing class sizes."

Haddock looks forward to finally making textbook replacements that had already been deferred, as well as continuing co- and extra-curricular programs while still having money for day-to-day maintenance and operations. He likewise emphasized the need to address obsolete portable buildings, and to reroof parts of the stadium and the middle school's library and central campus.

"They don't even make parts anymore for some of our heating and ventilation systems," said Haddock, who also eagerly anticipates the arrival of interactive whiteboards to serve as a classroom teaching tool. "We're also excited to engage the community for their input on our preliminary plans for a potential bond in 2014, to modernize the high school. We'll be having those discussions within the next 18 months."

Haddock is relieved that the state Legislature did not deliver significant adverse cuts to education, which he believes was possibly a result of the recent state Supreme Court ruling on education funding.

"We're hoping this means we can regain lost ground and refocus on why we're here, which is to work with our kids," Haddock said. "It wouldn't have been a good scene if it had gone down the other path."

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