Opinion

Marysville schools — earning your trust

During the summer that I turned 10, I learned the value of a dollar. I stayed home with my grandparents while my parents went on vacation. The local drugstore, complete with soda fountain and cherry cokes, had a tiny motorized car that I just had to have. My grandmother offered me the two dollars I needed if I agreed to repay it with money that I earned. She refused to take the money from my parents when they returned. Instead I learned the value of a dollar by picking blackberries and selling them door to door. And I learned that I wanted to invest my hard earned dollars in things that last.

Marysville School District has worked hard to earn community trust. Four years ago the community approved a levy and bond by the narrowest of margins — just a few votes. Marysville has kept those construction promises and worked hard to demonstrate good stewardship.

Promises Made, Promises Kept: All of the building projects promised in the 2006 bond issue are completed or nearing completion. Grove and Getchell were built on schedule (actually one year early) and under budget. The citizen oversight committee and facilities team has done an exceptional job of stretching tax dollars to go farther than promised. Savings on these projects have reduced the cost of the 2010 bond request by $3 million.

Good Stewardship: The Marysville Secondary Campus provided new schools for A&T, Heritage and 10th St. schools at no added property tax. This innovative project used mitigation fees on new homes and modular construction to move nearly 700 students out of aging portables or leased space. The state of Washington is now moving to adopt this idea state-wide.

Good Instruction: The dedication and hard work of Marysville teachers is paying off. The focus on training staff resulted in a 14 percent increase in sixth-grade reading and more first- graders than ever reading on level. Math teachers meet regularly to learn together how best to use the new math books. One parent wrote: “… my son has learned more than he’s ever learned … because of the hands-on, concrete learning experiences.” High School writing scores are at an all time high. Yes, there is still much to do but Marysville teachers are making a difference.

Levy is for Learning: The 2010 levy is not a new tax. It replaces the 2006 levy which is expiring. The levy is being renewed at the same rate advertised in 2006 - $3.15 / $1,000 of assessed value. The levy provides “educational support” — 20 percent of everything we do each day to educate students. In addition, the levy pays for nearly 50 percent of utilities and 96 percent of sports/activities.

Bonds are for Building: Marysville has nine schools approaching 60 years old. This bond addresses that need by starting now with three of the oldest schools that are expensive to maintain and no longer provide sound educational classrooms. This bond also makes emergency repairs at the M-P pool and similar health/safety repairs at our other aging schools.

Stretching Tax Dollars: Marysville reduced the cost of this bond (less than the 2006 bond) by reusing the two-story Grove elementary plans; utilizing modular construction; and focusing on quality construction at low cost. We want cost-effective buildings that will stand the test of time. The 2010 bond projects save $14 million when compared to average prices statewide. The cost of MMS, for example, is estimated at 73 percent of the cost of other new middle schools in Washington.

Invest in Marysville: Now is the time to do this important work. Construction prices are down 20 percent. We can build new schools now for 2,000 students at bargain prices. These projects will create 100 local jobs that will put money back into our community, provide three new schools and improve classroom quality. And we improve our property values by investing in newer schools and sound education.

Lower Taxes: Voters can vote yes on the bond and levy and still see lower taxes. Although the levy goes up by a small amount, the 1990 bond payments expire and the 2010 bond was kept small enough to insure lower taxes. The district is asking for less tax money in 2010-2014 than was collected in 2009. The owner of a $300,000 home should see a savings of about $48 per year.

Vote Yes: Please mark your ballots yes for the bond and levy and turn them in by Feb. 9. Marysville Schools are moving forward and need your support and investment. We will be good stewards, keep our promises, and do our utmost to keep earning your trust.

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