Auburn schools need the best; support levies

On Feb. 11, the Auburn School District has two very important replacement levies that the community will vote on.

The first is the educational program and operations levy. This levy makes up 10 percent of the district budget and it funds positions the state doesn’t fully fund. For example, it covers all athletics and activities and transportation to these events; special education programs and transportation; college and career readiness activities; and staffing not funded by the state.

Did you know that in the ASD we have 13 school nurses and the state only funds 2.8? Additionally, we have three school resource officers and the state funds zero, nine school safety officers and the state funds 3.3.

Voting yes and passing the replacement levy, will ensure that our students and staff are safe, our students with special needs continue to receive the high quality education they have been receiving, that athletics can continue with no charge to students to play sports and that college and career readiness activities will continue to be funded. This will give all students the access to academics, athletics and post-secondary career guidance they deserve.

Some people may ask, didn’t the state add more funding? The answer is yes, but it still isn’t enough to fully fund our schools, and the levy is critical.

Additionally, the district has a technology replacement levy on the ballot. The 2014 levy provided 1:1 technology for students in grades 2-12, expanded the wireless network and other infrastructure upgrades and improved instructional technology. The replacement levy will continue these efforts and expand 1:1 technology K-12, provide for additional computer science instruction and more.

Auburn has caught up with surrounding districts in this area, and if this is not passed, our students will fall behind. Passing the technology levy is critical to keeping Auburn’s kids connected and to prepare them for their futures.

This is not a new tax. The district will collect no more than $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in each of the levy years, and the overall school tax rate will remain stable. The Auburn School District does a great job being fiscally responsible and does a great job with tax dollars.

Being a teacher for 30 years, the last 20 years in the ASD, I know how important the levies are to the day-to-day instruction in the classroom and to our students. We need technology in the hands of every student, with rigorous instruction from teachers in this area. We need to keep our campuses, students and staff safe with our safety and resource officers. We need kind and knowledgeable nurses and health techs in each our schools. We need school psychologists for our students with special needs, and we need athletics at no cost so that all students who desire can participate.

I urge you to please vote yes on Feb. 11 to pass both levies.

– Elaine Hogg, president, Auburn Education Association