As posted in the Mercer Island Reporter on October 9, 2013:
Mercer Island is a special place. It’s why we all chose to live here and raise our families here. It’s also why we are all seeking to serve on the City Council — to make sure it stays special. But what really makes our city unique is our excellent schools.
It is for this reason that we have joined together to endorse the new school bond that will be on the ballot in February 2014. Mercer Island has great schools, but they are severely overcrowded and projections show that the district will continue this strong enrollment for the foreseeable future.
This year, more than 700 students are in 34 portable classrooms. In fact, over 400 elementary children are in portables — that’s an entire school! Our overcrowded schools are impacting student’s education: common areas are crowded and over-scheduled; lunch times are compressed; play space is constricted by portables, and parking and traffic are very congested.
The 2014 school bond will add more capacity at all grade levels. The bond will build a new elementary school and expand the middle and high schools — every school will benefit by getting more space. In developing the bond, the School Board listened to community feedback and acted. The cost is half the previous bond; it’s focused on fixing overcrowding with no swimming pool or stadium improvements; and it maintains the investments that have been made in our schools.
Candidates for public office often don’t agree on many things. But when it comes to securing the future success of Mercer Island schools, finding common ground is easy. We all believe the school bond is the best solution and urge you to vote yes.
Rich Erwin, Dan Grausz, Kevin Scheid, Tana Senn, Benson Wong