What the levy means for the San Juan Island School District

By Maria Magana-Navarro

Journal intern

On Febr. 13, the San Juan Island School District will ask community voters to renew the capital projects and technology levy for four years.

To start things off simply, a levy for the school district is renewed every four years—this tax levy funds safety improvements and technology equipment and updates for the schools. A common question could be, shouldn’t the state fund public schools for maintenance? While it is true that the State of Washington funds public schools with basic education necessities, it does not provide the necessary funds for facility improvements and technology needs.

To students or those related to students who want them to have access to a good and safe education this renewed levy supports that notion. As time goes on, buildings wear down, need to be fixed, and things replaced. The high school is a great example of this. The sidings of the building have slipped and cracked, which needs repair. If left unattended, the sidings of the wall would be prone to water damage and even further damage, which would cost more money down the line. Repair is not solely for the sake of aesthetics, but to prevent further harm done to the building. Another example of this includes the gym floor in the elementary school. As the gym floors wear down students and community members are susceptible to tripping hazards.

In the words of Superintendent Fred Woods, the main purpose of the levy is, “preventative maintenance.” Preventing certain outcomes ensures the safety of students, teachers, and community members. Maintenance assures that our facilities continue to be safe and maintained for new generations of students and community members to come.

Additionally, funds aren’t solely needed for facility repairments, it’s also greatly needed in technology. In an ever-changing world such as ours, everything is modernized. You hold the world’s information in the palm of your hand. In addition, technology has paved its way into our schools and our learning. Chromebooks and laptops are the new textbooks, and even teachers are adapting technologies into their everyday careers. Projectors, screens, computers. Technology is a cornerstone in schools now and it’s ever-changing and adapting, and it’s not cheap by any means. Learning programs, subscriptions, online assignments, Google Classroom, grades, Chromebook repairs, etc. Pair that with a population of just under 800 students in the schools, plus teachers, funds are greatly needed for technology.

Thanks to the Schools District Board, that is all possible with this levy. According to Woods, “It’s a pretty even split… half of that goes to capital, half of it goes to technology.” In regards to the funds raised for the levy.

Previous levies approved by voters contributed to a new art room in the high school, new tennis courts, a new roof for the middle school, and among other various repairs, fixes, replacements, and improvements. The 2024 levy will continue to fund projects such as staying current with technological demands, repairing siding on the middle and high school buildings, replacing bleachers in the schools, replacing the elementary school gym floor and ceiling, replacing failing boilers, and many other improvements necessary.

Students, parents, teachers, and community members all have the right to know about the levy and how it works. “We want to be as open as we can. We don’t want to hide anything.” Added Woods.

Vote yes for the recurring school levy so students, teachers, and community members alike can all cohabit and learn together in a safe environment.

For more information regarding the 2024 levy visit the article below. Also, join the Facebook group for more information and updates.