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New Snoqualmie middle school bond is smart solution
Registered voters will receive ballots this week, seeking approval of a replacement middle school bond proposition. This is the same bond proposition that fell just one vote short of approval in February.
Thankfully, a second high school was not approved by voters three or four years ago, since that much capacity has not been needed. (Previously, the rate of growth of our student population was growing at 6 to 7 percent for a couple years, but that rate has since slowed to a more steady growth of around 2 percent each year.) However, slower growth has not meant that overcrowding at Mount Si High School went away. It is a problem that remains to be solved.
After extensive research and discussion around a wide range of ideas, the school board has unanimously approved the solution to annex Snoqualmie Middle School (SMS) as part of nearby MSHS’s campus, in fall 2013. The school board has also unanimously approved, now twice, a bond proposition to replace SMS so that three middle schools remain on-line.
Some may not realize that all three Snoqualmie Valley middle schools recently scored high in student learning achievement, based on the state’s Achievement Index. If the bond fails, the district will need to revert back to two middle schools serving all 6-8th graders with much larger populations that will continue to grow. While some may say two middle schools ‘will work,’ it would come at the cost of student learning effectiveness. Opportunities would be fewer for students in all facets of a middle school: seats in the band, student leadership roles, roster spots and ultimately, access to teachers when needed. I believe smaller, more balanced school environments also help to strengthen teacher-student relationships.
Despite these challenging economic times, our school district has stood steadfast among the most frugal districts in the state. It could be argued that this is a terrible time to ask for more taxation. There is probably never a “good” time to run bonds, however, this solution to annex SMS as part of the high school and build a replacement middle school provides the most economical compromise yet. It’s a smart, long-term solution that will support all middle and high school Valley students for decades to come.
Please join me in approving this bond, and give students the support and schools they need.