I am writing about the upcoming Everett School District Levy and Bond on the ballot for February 13th, 2018.
Here are some facts that are persuading me to vote a certain way on both of these measures:
1) We (taxpayers) just voted in 2016 for a bond that included an item to build a new elementary school to help relieve overcrowding at Woodside ES. Last I checked, not a shovel full of dirt has been turned yet for the new school.
2) The district has not thanked us for their administration building that they built a few years ago for themselves with $28 million - funds that we did not approve for that purpose. Unlike the elementary school, the new admin building was built in short order with little fanfare.
3) The district is now "asking" for $500+ million: $300 million for the bond, $200 million for the levy. That's a lot of dough. But still no guarantees on what the money will actually be spent on.
4) The Everett School District seems to be ignoring the McCleary Decision. Basic education is now supposed to be covered by the increased state property tax. Everett is still asking for $200+ million for a levy and is exceeding the $1.50 per $1000 assessed property value limit.
5) We taxpayers are slated to receive our next property tax bill on February 14th. This will be some sticker shock since it has the increased state tax for schools.
6) But we taxpayers are supposed to vote by February 13th - before we have a chance to open and gasp at our state property tax Valentine's Day card in the mail.
7) The Everett School District is singing kumbaya about how everything is just swell and that our taxes will be "stable" through 2022 - as in a stable rate. However no mention that the actual check we write will increase year after year because of our increasing property values. That's not my definition of stable.
8) While we are supposed to acquiesce and hand over 1/2 billion dollars February 13th, we will then face the prospect of the next "teacher contract negotiations" sham this spring. How's that for a thank you and a setup for a poor negotiating position before it even starts? And of course no fall start time has been specified since the district (administrators and teachers union) likes to keep us all in suspense up to a few days before the usual September school start date.
9) Very few citizens/taxpayers understand that the Everett School District teachers and administrators are in the top 2 or 3 (out of 295 school districts) in the state in compensation for their respective school positions. The top 10 paid Everett School District administrators (housed in the new non-voter-approved admin building on Broadway in Everett) collect more than $200,000 annually in pay, health benefits, and pension funding. The top 3 are at or above $250,000 annually. Doing good by doing well.
10) With Everett essentially having the highest paid teachers and the highest paid school administrators in the state, do they really think that we think it is fair as they sit down at the teachers union negotiation meetings and negotiate with our tax moneys while we (taxpayers) are not present?
11) Much of the bond ($216+ million) is said to be for a new high school in the southern most portion of the district. How is it fair to tax working families living in the north part of the district to pay for a shiny, new, state-of-the-art (probably overpriced) high school for the more affluent south part of the district? Shouldn't Everett School District administrators be out in front (due to inaction by the Mill Creek City Council and the City of Everett's legislators) on demanding that construction developers (in their rush to construct houses and apartments willy-nilly) to pay the true marginal costs of increased population in certain areas of the district? Not to mention the increased traffic we all have to sit through because of poor to no urban planning.
Please give the hard facts consideration. And vote accordingly.