Opinion

Realtors urge yes vote on school bond | Campaign 2012

Members of Seattle KingCounty Realtors (SKCR) have joined other supporters of the Auburn High School Modernization and Reconstruction Bond in promoting yes votes on the measure.

The $110 million funding request, which failed to get the required 60-percent supermajority approval earlier this year, is on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

SKCR endorsed the bond measure by unanimous vote at a recent meeting of the group's Governmental & Public Affairs Committee and following a presentation by Kelly McDonald, treasurer of Auburn Citizens for Schools.

David Crowell, SKCR's director of governmental and public affairs, said Realtors were mindful of several factors during deliberations.

Realtors recognized the aging facility is in disrepair, past its serviceable life and no longer cost-effective to operate and maintain, Crowell noted in a letter to Auburn School District Superintendent Dr. Kip Herren.

SKCR members also agreed the estimated savings of $250,000 annually in utility and maintenance costs that would be achieved with a reconstructed building could be better spent in support of classroom learning.

"Students at Auburn High deserve a safe, healthy and modern learning environment," Crowell said. Also, he said, with construction and borrowing costs at record low levels, SKCR members concurred now is an ideal time to proceed with the much-needed reconstruction.

Windermere Realtor Nancy Colson, a resident of Auburn since childhood and a graduate of Auburn High School, is an enthusiastic supporter of the measure.

"As an alumna, I am excited at the prospect of creating a new Auburn High School for a new generation of students to learn, grow, build memories and create their future in a fresh environment with 21st century equipment and electronics," she said. "It's a new world out there and we want them prepared for it."

Crowell noted a recent study published in the Journal of Urban Affairs that found quality schools are a key predictor of community satisfaction. The authors concluded good schools offer amenities to the entire community and have the additional indirect benefit of promoting positive relationships among neighborhood residents.

"Good schools are the first thing home buyers ask us about," said Auburn resident Roni Strupat, SKCR's vice president of Governmental and Public Affairs and a broker at RE/MAX Performance Plus. "Quality schools are critical for preserving the value of family homes, economic vitality and job creation. Most important, they are crucial to the success of children whose families our Realtors serve."

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