Schools need yes votes

There's an election fast approaching that is critical to seven of the eight school districts in Thurston County.

Ballots for the Feb. 9 special election are in the mail. Now it’s up to voters to lend their support to the public schools in their communities.

The levies in North Thurston, Tumwater, Griffin, Tenino, Rochester and Rainier are maintenance and operation levies. Money raised from these measures provides about 15 percent of the school districts’ general fund budget. The levies help pay for many school programs and services, including paraeducators, computers and music classes.

The Olympia School District will place a construction and technology levy before the voters. A major chunk of the $25.5 million levy will be directed to Capital High School roof repairs. The project is necessary to strengthen the high school roof and bring it up to city building codes in the wake of the partial collapse of the roof during 2008’s Christmas break snow storm.

The repairs to the roof funded by an approved levy are critical to the long-term safety of the students and staff at the high school.

All of the levies take on a special importance in light of the state budget crisis that threatens to pare back state funding for public schools.

In times such as these, South Sound school districts need the support of their communities to weather the financial storm and ensure that students receive a well-rounded education in safe and properly equipped school environments.

Take the time to understand the levy measures in your school district. The ballots must be postmarked or received by the county Elections Office by Feb. 9.

It’s the responsibility of all eligible voters, whether they have children in the public school system or not, to vote in the Feb. 9 special election. Do the right thing for the students. Vote yes.