It’s been nearly 12 years since voters approved a school bond in the Puyallup School District.
To help alleviate overcrowding and support enrollment growth in the eighth largest district in the state, the Puyallup School Board agreed to place a $292 million school bond measure on the Nov. 3 ballot.
With the last three bonds failing by not gaining the required 60 percent “yes” vote, a group of parents and community members have created the Citizens Committee for Education Puyallup to rally support — and more importantly “yes” votes come Nov. 3.
Maddie Names, co-chair of the Citizens Committee, says while the hefty price tag has incited hesitation and questions, voting in favor of it means an estimated property tax increase of $5 for the average home in Puyallup. The tax increase is 2 cents more per $1,000 of assessed property value.
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“It’s a small price for what we get in exchange,” Names said of the tax increase. “It maintains our strong community. When your community has the best possible schools, it brings in strong community support for the future. Home values are maintained when we have great schools, and since most people set their roots where they grow up, we want our future community leaders to have the most ideal educational environment.”
With it being so long since a bond was passed in the district, the school board is looking at options should the bond fail yet again.
“These are not things our board wants our kids to go through, but it’s a consequence of what happens when a bond isn’t passed in 12 years,” Names said.
The school board is looking at either a double shifting, shared school scenario where students would attend from 5:30 a.m. to noon, and then 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., or a variation. Another possible solution would be year-round school, with three weeks on and three weeks off.
“These kinds of decisions come with a heavy price for the typical family,” Names said. “Waking up early, moving schedules, figuring out different daycare, juggling work routines, and the possibility of no extracurricular activities is not something our school district and the school board want our families to deal with, but may be the reality of our future.”
Names and the rest of the Citizens Committee have been hard at work conducting phone and social media campaigns and more in an effort to pass this year’s bond measure.
The last bond missed the required super majority vote by 114 votes, according to Names.
As a parent in the district, Names knows firsthand just how important this bond is not just for the targeted elementary age students and parents, but for the entire district and community.
“I don’t believe in just my own kids,” she said. “It’s important for future generations of students. It’s the first step to build upon the success of the school district.”
With ballots estimated to arrive in mailboxes on Friday (Oct. 16), the Citizens Committee will host a booth at the Farmer’s Market in Pioneer Park Saturday (Oct. 17) to encourage citizens to turn in their ballots. The booth will be run by volunteers with free games and cotton candy.
“We are strongly encouraging everyone to turn in their ballots, and vote ‘yes’ for our kids and community,” Names said.
The group has also established a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/VoteYesPuyallup, to keep the community up to date on the bond measure.