Guest Commentary: Our Students, Our Community, Our Future

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The Centralia School District is running a levy in the April 27 election. The proposal is a two-year levy collecting approximately $1.50 per $1000 assessed value. If approved, the levy would be collected in 2022 and 2023. In addition to the local funds collected, the $1.50 allows the district to maximize the state Local Effort Assistance (LEA) levy equalization funds, totaling almost $2 million over the two years.

In the 2021-2022 school year, the levy would generate approximately $3.1 million ($2.4 million levy plus $700,000 LEA) and in the 2022-2023 school year approximately $5.6 million ($4.6 million levy plus $1 million LEA). We will not collect more than that total, even if appraised values change.

If property values go up, your rate will go down.

If approved, the levy funds will focus on two priority areas: enhanced learning outcomes for all students and programs and services that engage students with school in ways we know increase student success. Expenditure to increase learning outcomes for all students include intervention supports as well as opportunities for students that are excelling. It also includes technology and curriculum supports needed to personalize learning and provide rigorous materials and instruction.

Engaging students with services proven to increase student success includes athletics and activities; counseling supports; and music and performing arts. These two areas are our focus because they will increase outcomes for students. They are essential elements of highly effective schools and school districts.

Additional levy details are available on our levy webpage at https://www.centraliaschools.org/levies.

The levy decisions were made after thoughtful deliberation by the Centralia School Board and with recommendation from the district’s Budget Task Force. The Budget Task Force, composed of parents, community members and staff, has been influential and valuable in helping us address our needed financial improvements. We are thankful for their service and appreciative of their honest input and feedback.

The Task Force is continuing to meet and provide ongoing input. We know we have continued improvements to make as a district and we are committed to them. We are improving transparency, communication and, most importantly, programs and services for our students.

We are in the process of developing our District Strategic Plan to identify our priorities and focus our continual improvement efforts. We are inviting parents, staff and community members to be part of that process. The Strategic Plan will unite us and guide our work and our budget in the future. It will also hold us accountable to students and to you to achieve our goals.

We want to answer your questions and we want you to have the information you need to make an informed vote.

You are invited to email me directly at lgrant@centraliaschools.org. I am happy to talk with you. You can also submit a question on our levy webpage and we will respond within 24 hours.

While we have challenges and needed improvements as a district, we are committed to improving and to serving the needs of our students and our community.

Strong schools build strong communities.

Working together, we can and will create success for our students, our community and our future.

•••

Dr. Lisa Grant is the superintendent of the Centralia School District.

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