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January 26, 1998

Opinion

Some things are the same, some are different

  On Feb. 3, voters can renew their commitment to quality education for Northshore students. We hope you will vote YES on the three measures. These are not ADDITIONAL taxes; they replace taxes expiring in 1998. Some things are the same and some are different.
  
   What is the same?
   1) The ballot has three, just as in past elections--maintenance and operations levy, capital projects bond, and technology levy.
   2) The local tax rate for all three will remain the same: $5.98 per $1,000 of assessed value.
  
   What is different?
   1) If approved, the three measures will last four years instead of two.
   2) The school district guarantees no increase in the tax rate for four years and saves the district the cost of an election in 2000.
  
   We are proud that community members partnered with school representatives to determine the amount and coverage of each measure. These teams worked for more than a year to study school finances and needs. Their focus was always on improved student achievement and student safety.
  
   Please consider these items as you vote.
   Testing: On the 1996 CTBS tests (1997 comparisons aren't available yet), Northshore 4th-graders ranked 1st in the state among large school districts. Our 8th-graders ranked 2nd in the same category, and 11th-graders ranked 3rd. On the new state assessment tests, preliminary comparisons in districts with more than 15,000 students ranked Northshore 1st in reading, tied for 1st in math, and ranked 2nd in writing. All school districts have more work to do to meet the new standards, but Northshore has a strong foundation on which to build.
  
   Basic Education: The state does not fully fund basic education by our community's definition. The M&O levy meets 19% of the school district's general budget. Enrollments continue to grow at about 2% (400-500 pupils) annually.
  
   Bond Rating: Northshore is one of only nine Washington districts receiving an "Aa3" bond rating from Moody's Investor Service in New York. This coveted rating is based on a comprehensive examination of financial position, management and debt position. The rating enables Northshore to sell bonds at lower interest rates.
  
   Preparing for Success: Northshore is preparing our students for responsible citizenship, productive employment and post-secondary education. A variety of programs meet their varying needs and include technology tools to enhance the core curriculum.
  
   Your Investment: Strong school districts help maintain your property values. Northshore is one of the top in the state, averaging 75 queries a month from around the world. A growing district contributes to our local economy. School partnerships with business, government and citizens mean a vibrant community. Vote YES for schools Feb. 3. Maintain educational excellence.
   Fred and Cheryl de Boer, Co-chairs,
   Citizens for Northshore Schools