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Mill Creek Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

By Dr. Ian Saltzman
Superintendent of Everett Public Schools 

Our Schools | Schools are the heart of our community

 
Series: Coronavirus | Story 128

Last updated 7/13/2020 at 10:22am



It is hard to imagine a year ago this month, I became Superintendent of Everett Public Schools. At that time, I knew there were challenges with overcrowding and equitable access to learning spaces in our schools. I was ready for the challenge and filled with hope and optimism for the 2019-20 school year and the opportunities it would offer our students.

Fast forward six months later when school buildings were ordered to close due to COVID-19. It quickly became clear that schools are the heart of our community. Schools provide so much more than classroom instruction. Our students and families rely on us to provide many other vital services including academic supports, health therapies, mental health and behavioral supports, access to nutritious food and so much more.

During school building closure, we served over 200,000 meals to children in our community. The voter-supported 2016 technology levy made it possible to provide more than 3,000 devices and hundreds of hotspots to students. Access to this technology allowed teachers and students to adapt quickly to a new, remote learning environment.

Another big change we made as a result of COVID-19 was to postpone our April 28 capital bond to comply with social distancing guidance from the governor. However, the need to build more schools, enhance safety, improve STEM opportunities, and add space for students remains. It is our duty and responsibility to afford all students access to 21st-century learning facilities and programs so they graduate future-ready. Our school board is committed to this goal and the unchanged $317.4 million bond will appear on the Aug. 4, 2020, ballot.

Although school districts are funded through state, local, and federal dollars, the state provides limited funding for major school construction projects. Everett Public Schools relies on local, voter-approved bonds to pay for construction, maintenance, and renovations to schools and classrooms.

Every school at every level in our district will benefit if this bond passes. The community created this bond package, spending eight months investigating the needs in the district, the costs of projects, and balancing the projects throughout the district at all grade levels while being mindful of tax implications.

The 2020 capital projects bond prepares our students for the future by increasing safety and security, providing facilities and tools for STEM and career pathways, increasing space to learn, adding classrooms, and repairing aging systems in our schools like HVAC, roofing, and flooring.

View the entire list of projects included in the bond proposal at http://www.everettsd.org and see which ones impact your local school. The great news is all $317.4 million worth of projects can be completed with an overall decrease in your school district tax rate.

These are challenging times, and I am so thankful to our families, staff, and community who have rallied together to support our students. I am incredibly proud of our children, who have shown extraordinary resilience and courage, finishing out the school year strong in the face of unprecedented circumstances.

Thank you for the support you continue to provide our students and our schools. Be safe and well and please remember to vote in August.

 

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