All about the April 24th bond

All about the April 24th bond

Kate Lohrey

Think about the first time you walked into Peninsula…

You probably see mismatched purple and green walls, holes in the ceilings, and lots of outdated classrooms. If you went through the school, you might find a handful of different alarm systems, at least 6 different types of door locks, more than a dozen holes that have been taped over, and several cracks on the floor in each hallway. All of these issues with the structure of the buildings contribute to the need for a bond. The upcoming April 24th bond is for a $220 million budget increase for the Peninsula School District gathered through taxes on the community over a long span of time.

Last year, Peninsula School Districts Facilities Committee (a group of people from around the town who come together to represent the Gig Harbor community) determined the need for bond to be passed. In previous years they have put out a levy. Bonds are for building money whereas levies are for updating learning. The committee has found that modern methods of teaching and learning is not being supported by our buildings due to lack of space, overcrowding, outdated resources, and other such things. Superintendent Rob Manahan gave a great analogy to understand how our schools are functioning currently. He states “Our schools and the education our kids are receiving can be related to a seatbelt. For a long time people used lap belts. They kept the kids in the seat and moderately safe but we now know that a seatbelt with a shoulder strap is much better. ” In a way, the bond would add that much needed shoulder strap.

There are four main areas that would improve across the district if the bond passes:

  1. Safety/security updates: sprinkler systems, buzz-in systems, updated fire alarms
  2. Learning environment: better equipment, modern lab spaces, help inspire learning
  3. Overcrowding: smaller class sizes, new elementary addition
  4. Facilities: rebuild and/or modernize classrooms and school buildings, upgrade HVAC systems, roofing restructure, updated equipment

Now, about Peninsula High School itself Manahan states “around $45 million dollars will go directly to rebuilding Peninsula… specifically the 400, 500, 600, and 700 halls will be rebuilt… at the very least new carpeting, modern equipment, and safety/security upgrades”. That’s a massive improvement! Not only would the building improve, the quality of education would go up as well. Currently, students are receiving a high quality education. Graduation rates are up from past years, students are scoring higher on state tests, and kids are doing better across the board. But, if the schools continued to deteriorate it would greatly affect the quality of education students receive. Think about a high quality teacher looking for a job and being offered one here where they have to teach in an overcrowded classroom with dated equipment or one say over in Tacoma where the classrooms are newer and the equipment is modern. Which one do you suppose they will choose? If the quality of our buildings increase, the quality of our education will follow.

A lot of graduating seniors are old enough to vote but are unsure why they should. Manahan has a message directly for them, he states “It’s about what you believe in regards to the importance of education for a community, our society, for our nation”. Just because it won’t directly impact you, think about the future students of the district, your brothers, sisters, cousins, and the community. They don’t deserve to go to school in a building that is literally crumbling around them. It’s a shame kids now have to go to school in these buildings, but it would be a bigger shame if that didn’t change.

The topic of the bond is a big one so if you still have questions you can talk to any administration member at a PSD school or you can visit the district website under “April 24, 2018 Bond”. You can also email and someone will be able to help. For a more personal look at the bond, grab a copy of the March 2018 “Compass” publication or one of the many bond information pamphlets around the school.