Arlington board urges you to vote Feb. 11

  • Friday, January 24, 2020 1:30am
  • Opinion

By The Board of Directors

Arlington Public Schools continues to be recognized by the state auditor as one of the most-efficient school districts in the state, and we’re proud of that distinction. Our graduation rates are improving and are higher than many of our surrounding communities. We have worked hard to provide a comprehensive education for our students, and a positive and safe working environment for our staff.

But this all comes at a cost, and one that is not fully funded by the state. We, as directors, understand that some may see these taxes as a burden but believe it is our fiscal responsibility to fully fund our schools. We ask for your vote Feb. 11.

The directors are asking voters to consider three measures that will directly impact our community:

■ An Educational Programs and Operation Levy

■ A Capital Levy supporting multiple projects throughout the district

■ A Capital Bond supporting the replacement of Post Middle School

EP&O Levy

We are thankful that Arlington has historically supported our levies. In 2012 and 2016, the local levies passed with large majorities. Funds from this levy go to day-to-day costs not covered by any of the new state funding enacted in 2017. This levy funds over 10% of our teachers, nurses, para-educators, counselors and more who deliver an education for each child, every day. In addition, the levy funds a portion of special education, technology, teaching materials and extracurricular activities. Without it, the district would be forced to make large cuts in programs and staff that would adversely impact all of us. Whether you have students in our schools or not, educating our students improves the standard of living for everyone in the community.

Capital Levy

This four-year Capital Levy would fund the building, replacing, remodeling and facility improvements for our schools. This Capital Levy will fund needed improvements to security and safety, replacing 30-year-old carpet and gym floors, reconfigure drop-off and pick-up areas, heating/cooling improvements and more. With students already enrolled in our district, Arlington High School will add an additional 300 students by 2023. This levy will provide for an additional eight classrooms to provide for these students. AHS was built 19 years ago with this proposed addition in mind and now is the time to add the classrooms necessary to support our growing community.

Bond

We listened to our community when it came to giving you more choice about funding options, so we have moved the replacement of Post Middle School to a separate ballot measure.

Bonds require 60% voter approval to pass. In order to build a new Post Middle School, it is critical that you turn in your ballot. Construction costs have increased 20% over the past two years. Replacing Post will make a difference for thousands of children. Your vote will provide a building constructed with safe materials, up-to-date standards, heated halls, security, fire protection and a learning environment designed to meet our shared goals.

For more go to www.asd.wednet.edu/2020_levies_and_bond

There is no cost to vote, not even a stamp, just five minutes of your time will support a change. We strongly urge you to vote by Feb. 11.

Michael Ray, Jim Weiss, Judy Fay, Mary Levesque and Marc Rosson are directors for Arlington Public Schools, which runs a monthly column in this newspaper.

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