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LETTER: Both Ellsworth School District referendums must pass

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I urge Ellsworth District Community members to vote “Yes” on Tuesday, February 18, to pass both the Facilities Referendum and Operating Referendum for the following reasons:

  1. Dramatically improved safety and security of our school children
  2. Increased flexibility with and access to quality resources
  3. Long-term community health and development

First, when asked two years ago by the Pierce County Herald why I sought to serve on the school board, my answer was as follows:

It is the responsibility of community members to ensure the infrastructure is in place for its children to live within a society that is safe, has a strong education foundation and offers opportunities to engage its residents at all levels.   Ellsworth enjoys a rich history of community involvement, as evidenced by the many life-long residents who are hyper-active community leaders from all sectors – business, church, civic and volunteer.  As a resident, step-parent and business owner within this community, I take serious the obligation of being active in effecting positive change to ensure the health and well-being of our children.

This is my second year as a board member.  I am honored to serve with my fellow board members in partnership with our superintendent, Barry Cain, and within a district comprised of talented, engaged and personally-invested teachers.  There have been numerous changes imposed on our system over the past couple years; yet, even within the messiness, I’ve observed nothing but dedication and resilience exhibited at every level.  That is leadership.  That is partnership.  That is community.

Speaking of community, it is critical to understand that the process taken to develop the plan which birthed these two referendum questions was entirely community-based and driven.  Parents, teachers, community and business leaders, invested many, many hours to research and identify issues, select the professional team and guide the process every step of the way.  It began with developing the 5-year Strategic Plan (~100 participants), followed by the AdHoc Facilities Committee (25 participants) assessment, which informed the professional architectural and construction management team. 

Finally, the health of a community is defined by the health of its children.  Because we are a large, rural district, our community spans many miles of country roads.  We are still a community.  The campus design will optimize collaboration among physical and professional resources.  Children with special needs will have access to more resources, teachers and activities. Teachers will have increased opportunities to co-create and collaborate within a true Professional Learning Community, providing back-up support and ready-access to shared resources. Parents with children attending elementary, middle school and/or high school, will enjoy having close proximity to competing activities.

As such, there is no question in my mind that the passing of both of these referendums is what precisely what our community needs – at this time – to meet the increased challenges and ever-changing dynamics of delivering quality education to our children … imparting knowledge that is relevant and memorable and within a healthy, safe, collaborative environment. 

Join me Tuesday, February 18, and vote “Yes” to both referendums.  Thank you.

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