This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.
For supporters of public schools in Tacoma and Puyallup, this is not a day for complacency.
Both school districts have critically urgent construction bonds on Tuesday’s ballot. Tacoma is trying to replace or renovate 14 worn-out schools, half dating to the 1920s or earlier. Puyallup is trying to expand or repair 11 schools, and move students out of its 220 portables, to easeovercrowding and handle rapidly rising enrollments.
Each measure would also pay for improvements across the district.
These bonds – $500 million for Tacoma, $279.6 million for Puyallup – are of utmost importance to public education in the two districts.
Tacoma voters, for example, haven’t approved school bonds since 2001.
A district with so many antiquated schools just can’t do its job without regular reinvestment.
A story in Thursday’s Seattle Times should correct any misconceptions that Puyallup or Tacoma are on a spending binge. It contrasted Seattle’s $695 million school funding plan with the Tacoma and Puyallup versions:
Measures on Tuesday’s ballot in Seattle and Tacoma would each fund dozens of construction projects over the next decade, with both districts focusing on rebuilding old elementary schools.
But while Tacoma officials are requesting about $30 million for each of the eight elementaries in their proposal, Seattle is seeking about $42 million apiece for the six it wants to build.
Compared with Seattle, Puyallup and Tacoma have relatively modest expectations. Consider building size.
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