The Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors endorses Tahoma School District’s levy measures on the Feb. 13 election ballot.
The two replacement levy measures, one for educational programs and operations and the other for classroom technology, are collected over four years and will maintain current programs and services to students. The third levy measure runs two years and pays for 15 school buses that are necessary in order to modernize, maintain and possibly expand the district’s fleet.
The board of directors agrees with fifth district state legislators, who sent a letter to the school district that expresses support for the replacement Educational Programs and Operations levy. The legislators said the district is acting appropriately and in concert with the new state education funding plan. The legislators wrote; “We believe that your proposed levy deserves support.”
Because state funding covers only a small share of what it costs to provide classroom technology, our board supports the replacement technology levy. Technology plays an essential role in education, as it does in business.
Students must have adequate classroom technology as they prepare for future education and careers.
The bus levy is needed to allow the district to keep pace with growth and to ensure that its fleet is safe and reliable. State funding is available to replace existing buses but not to buy additional vehicles. There has not been a bus levy since 2002 and it is time to retire buses purchased 20-25 years ago.
The possibility of adding a few more buses to the fleet allows flexibility as the district deals with the demands of a growing community.
Combined, the cost of these levies is less than what local taxpayers are currently assessed. State education taxes will go up as part of the legislature’s plan but it appears that the combined local and state education property tax will be less than it is now.
The Chamber was actively involved in the Bond Oversight Committee, a committee made up of community stakeholders and leaders developed to ensure prudent and responsible spending of the 2013 bond funds. It is the Chamber’s position that the district was fiscally responsible in the spending of tax dollars wisely during its recent construction projects, and actually provided the community a return on its investment much higher than anticipated. We trust the district to continue to be a good steward of our tax dollars and energetically support all three levy measures.
Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
Amanda Gross, President
Brett Habenicht, President Elect
Grifan Cayce, Vice President
Jeff Snelling, Treasurer
Tanya Neilsen, Past President