Upcoming school levy to fund important, prioritized projects | Letters

This fall I had the opportunity to chair the San Juan Island School District Capital Facilities Levy Committee. As the election date is rapidly approaching this Feb. 9, I wanted to take a moment to share with the community the process by which the final facilities improvement recommendation was made.

First, I think it is important to note the committee of 10 members represented a good cross section of our community and included professionals and retirees, parents of students in our district, as well as several community members who had no direct involvement with our school district on a daily basis. The process began with an extensive list of “potential” projects suggested by the faculty and staff of each of our three schools.

We vetted that list with the principals of each school to ensure we understood the scope and scale of the suggested project. Then as a group we toured each facility to directly inspect the areas associated with each proposal.

During these inspections, we were able to capitalize on the professional experience of our committee members which in many cases resulted with a revised or improved suggested plan of action and associated reduction in potential costs. Not all projects made the final list.

In fact, in order to prioritize the list, projects were classified as either mandatory to resolve a potential health and safety issue, required as failure to plan for the expenditure in this cycle would result in the risk of a much larger expenditure downstream, or finally educationally significant because the expenditure would directly enhance the district’s ability to provide a quality and relevant education to our children.

I can speak for the committee when I say we finalized our list feeling very confident that we had kept only those projects that met this key prioritization test. As a result, I strongly encourage you to support this important election and make your “Yes” vote count on Feb. 9.

All of the documents associated with the proposed capital projects are available for you to view on the levy website.

Joel Arnold

Friday Harbor