Approve school improvement and safety upgrades in Tacoma and Puyallup

By Ron Swarner on February 12, 2013

Today, citizens of Tacoma and Puyallup will vote on $500 and $279.6 million school bonds, respectively, which seeks to renovate crumbling schools. Taxpayers would pay for the improvements with property taxes - about $58 a year for the 31-year payback in Tacoma and roughly $14.42 a month for every $200,000 of assessed value in Puyallup. If passed, the Tacoma School District will renovate 14 worn-out schools. In Puyallup, the money will be used to move kids out of portables, give them access to technology and expand or repair 11 schools.

The litany of problems facing our children and teachers every day is unbelievable: Leaky roofs, malfunctioning air conditioning, crumbling walls, wires hanging from the ceiling, poor lighting, classrooms that are too small, rats running through the ceiling and horrendous restrooms.

How do kids learn? How do teachers teach? It's been proven in study after study that poor conditions like these lead to kids underperforming academically, high absenteeism and a higher dropout rate.

It seems like a no-brainer. The repairs and improvements would create jobs and bolster the local economy and it's so obviously the responsible thing to do. Better schools will only raise property values, which will benefit even those homeowners who chose not to deal with dirty diapers. There are so many reasons why the two city capital improvement bond issues are a good idea. It's one of those rare opportunities where everyone can win - most importantly the children who so desperately need to make education a priority.

Voters have until 8 p.m. today to return their ballots to county drop boxes, or mailed ballots must have today's postmark.

Say yes to the future of our children and our cities.

LINK: Tacoma School District Prop 1 FAQ

LINK: Puyallup School District Bond Information