Please vote yes for Kent Schools | Letters

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Please vote yes for Kent Schools

“Successfully preparing all students for their future” is what the Kent School District does, every day. The role of the community in this effort is to support the preparation of our children’s future by providing the resources necessary to achieve this goal on a daily basis.

An important way to do this is immediately in front of each of us and is easy. Vote yes for Kent School District Educational Programs and Operations Tax Renewal on the Feb. 8 ballot you have now received in the mail from King County or will receive in the coming days.

The Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) tax renewal measure covers 2023-2024. There is no increase to the existing EP&O tax levy rate, expiring in 2022, leaving the rate at $1.88 per $1,000 of property valuation and generating $76.25 million in KSD annual operating funds.

This rate is “fixed” as far as the EP&O renewal ballot is concerned and is among the lowest rates in school districts in South King County and northern Pierce County, including the Tacoma School District. The EP&O directly funds 130 teachers, 17 school nurses (the state funds 4 nurse positions), funds a large percentage of KSD school security personnel, and innovative course selection to support high-tech jobs for our KSD students.

It also funds nearly all performing arts programs and after-school and athletics programs. Many of us, with or without students, certainly enjoy the arts, activities, and athletics programs that KSD offers its students each year. Performing arts, school activities and sports programs would essentially be eliminated without the EP&O tax being renewed and put in place to 2023-2024.

The tax challenges of KSD’s past are well known and well discussed. Currently, through careful management and oversight by the KSD School Board, KSD’s credit and bond rating has been upgraded to Aa3 by rating agency Moody’s. In February 2021, Moody’s said, “Management has demonstrated its ability to navigate challenging financial situations and delivered strong results.

By voting yes, you support the high quality teaching and ability to provide that teaching by the teaching staff at KSD; the support of a quality certified and classified nursing staff; school security and staff; offers and programs of courses and preparation for employment in high technology; performing arts, activities, athletics and a host of other extracurricular experiences that enrich the lives of our children and all of our lives. All without asking for an increase in the tax burden of Kent School District residents.

The Educational Programs and Operations Tax is a “direct” renewal of the expiring tax and includes 16% of KSD’s operating budget not provided by state and federal funds. It asks for nothing more than a yes on our returned ballots.

“Successfully preparing all students for their future” is not KSD’s only goal. This is the goal for all of us who call the KSD service area our home. Vote February 8 and vote yes for the Kent School District Educational Programs and Operations Tax Renewal. Our children and youth are counting on us to do so. The same goes for the prosperous future of those of us who call Kent School District home. Learn more at http://citizensforkentschools.org.

Satwinder Kaur and Mike Heinisch

Co-Chairs, Citizens for Kent Schools

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