Editor, the VOICE
The coming levies on February 13th will benefit the students in the Tahoma School District more than you can imagine. This writing assesses Prop. 2 and 3, the ones that have affected me directly. The new buses and technology that will contribute to kids getting to school safely, and once they are at school they will be able to use tech with no problems, unlike the current situation. I know this for a fact, as I am a current eighth grader at Summit Trail Middle School.
First of all, the bus levy will purchase new buses to help combat the current problems. Last year, as a student at Cedar River, we had a longer bus ride to school. Throughout the school year we would frequently get substitute buses, as ours would break regularly. One time, in the middle of the winter rainy season we had a bus dilemma. After being picked up at the bus stop, we were all cold and just wanted to get to school, however, not even halfway to school the bus started to stink. It wasn’t a regular smell and everyone was offering their opinion on what it was. The bus driver thought someone was eating on the bus (against the rules) but when we looked around to see who it was, someone noticed the floor. A sticky liquid had spilled all the way from the heater to the front of the bus. The bus driver thought at first that someone had poured syrup on the floor, but it was hot coolant. The bus was leaking all over the inside, and we were forced to pull over. We had to stop on the side of a busy road – Maple Valley Black Diamond Road. We squished through the mud and lined up, and waited for a new bus to come. We were finally picked up by another route, and needless to say, we were very late to school. That is just one situation that happened to me, but this is happening every day, thanks to our insufficient transportation. It all seems fine until you are the one standing on the side of the road, in the cold, because the “dependable” bus had serious problems.
To fast forward, my bus this year has its own problems. We had a loaner bus to start the school year, because we were supposed to be getting a new bus. It was getting checked for safety and function. Yet, already twice this year, we have had to use other buses, because ours had even more problems – overlooked in the check. But that isn’t the issue; our new bus is not the problem. Vehicles are never perfect. The problem is the substitute buses we are supplied with. Currently, our bus is in the shop, and it has been for a few days. We are stuck on an old bus – and anyone who has ever been on one can tell you they are much smaller, much smaller indeed. 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are forced to sit three to a seat, because there is simply no room. Three eighth graders in a seat, with huge backpacks, instruments, and various sports equipment is not fun. No one has enough room, and anytime the bus turns the person on the edge has to brace themselves with another seat or they will fall out, into the aisle. This problem isn’t even a comfort problem it is a safety problem. My bus driver back in elementary school had a rule that 5th graders could only sit two people per seat, as more than that is not safe. Kids can fall into an aisle, and in event of an earthquake there would not be enough room for all the students to take cover. Too bad aisle kid, you might get hit by a flying piece of debris, but that’s fine – your community doesn’t want to pay for a new, bigger bus.
Second of all, technology is a huge problem in our schools today. Anyone who lives in a developed community today knows that technology is an essential part of life today. For work, entertainment, and for school. To begin, we have computers in almost every class that requires them. That much is true. But do the computers work? No. In class every day, you have to check and see if your computer will turn on before you go back to your seat. They routinely fail when needed; they die from the battery not charging when being used, or simply do not turn on. Oh, and the best part – when the computer freezes, and all of your work you have been working on for the whole period? Gone. In Stretch this quarter, most classes are working on coding. Coding requires a working computer. Multiple times I have been working on a project for a half an hour out of the forty-five-minute period, and my computer freezes. Also, I don’t even use the same computer each time; I get different ones because the others don’t charge. All my work is invalid, because it doesn’t save when the computer freezes – it sits there and you cannot access it. The only way to keep working on the computer is to power it off manually, and that deletes all of your work. Can you imagine how disappointing that is? In another class, Language Arts, we type all of our work on computers. We were reaching a hard deadline for our essays, and the computers wouldn’t work. We borrowed computers from the science classes, but when they needed them that wasn’t an option. We were on the edge of getting points taken off for late work on our final assessment, solely due to technology failing when we needed it the most.
The tax dollars added will not impact families in a drastic way, it will just be a little more to help our students have the best school experience possible. The school program educates our future, and if you don’t do anything you can now, then later in life when our graduates are running the businesses and city of Maple Valley it just might backfire. We want the city of Maple Valley to run smoothly, and in order for that to happen, once our students are running it, we must provide for them at the start, by giving them the high-quality education that Tahoma is known for.
In conclusion, the coming levies are essential for students in our school to succeed. Adequate buses must be added to accommodate our kids, as the current situation is clearly not working. Technology must be replaced, to allow student’s access to all the tools and programs crucial to learning and flourishing. Please vote yes on February 13th, and encourage your friends and neighbors to vote yes as well. Every vote counts. Vote yes to creating a better future that comes from the start – your fundamental education.