Guest column: Help shape the future of Sequim schools

  • Wednesday, March 11, 2020 1:30am
  • Opinion

Let me start this article by congratulating Port Angeles School District on recently passing their capital projects levy! We look forward to watching the process.

On Feb. 20, Sequim School District re-opened the conversation on the state of our facilities. A crowd of 80 people shared their priorities for upgrading, modernizing and building new facilities. The conversation was rich and rewarding.

First, a little background before we move forward. The Sequim School District has not passed a bond issue since 1996. This measure built Sequim Middle School, the Sequim High School H Building, and the SHS cafeteria.

Since that time our community has supported the school with successful Education Programs & Operations (EP&O) levies consistently.

In 2017, the community supported a three-year capital projects levy that built our new food service facility on West Fir Street. It also demolished the Sequim Community School building and a few other smaller projects. The collection on this levy ends at the end of 2020. Our EP&O levy runs one year.

The Feb. 20 meeting focused on structural priorities. Some individuals advocated for new buildings while others supported smaller fixes before we ask for a fresh, new building. Individuals talked about upgrading our auditorium, moving band and choir to the main high school campus, looking into K-2/3-5 school building model, and improving our athletic facilities.

How to get involved

Let me be clear that the only way to accomplish any of these issues is with a ballot measure that involves taxing our patrons. At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, in the Sequim High School library, 601 N. Sequim Ave., we will be talking about taxation and the path to improved facilities.

We will be examining the issues that surround EP&O/capital projects levies and bond issues. We will talk specifically and in detail about what new and/or modernized facilities will cost us. Jon Gores from D.A. Davidson will be here to participate in the discussion.

Our facilities need more than a face-lift; they need an overhaul. That said, this cannot be done overnight or inexpensively. We must prioritize our immediate needs such as safety of children, necessities such as heat, adequate electricity for 21st century technology, septic and sever systems that work.

We also need a path to affordability, reasonableness and long-term sustainability. All of this can be achieved when we work together to build a consensus.

All are welcome to join us on Tuesday, March 24, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sequim High School library for the second step to provide the students of Sequim the facilities they deserve!

Dr. Rob Clark is superintendent for the Sequim School District.

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