Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: Peninsula School District playgrounds should be available year-round

Posted on November 8th, 2023 By: Kathy Arroyo

Current residents of the Peninsula School District,

By now most of you have either paid or are about to pay your current property tax bill. Hopefully you looked carefully at the rise in taxes. Housing has especially increased in value these past few years. Our tax bills reflect new and higher amounts we all pay.

45% of our own bill is destined to public schools, both locally and state funding that gets distributed all over Washington.

The Peninsula School District passed a very large $50,000,000 bond issue several years ago to cover costs of repairing or replacing schools and building a much needed elementary school.

Swift Kater Water Elementary in the Harbor Hill area of Gig Harbor is one of them. Many families were attracted to the community we all call home. They are most welcomed but there was a big need for an additonal elementary school. The housing lots are small; families would like to make use of a nearby playground.

There are 365 days in the year. The school calendar is 180 days of teaching plus a few extra for whatever…that leaves just about another 180 days where the playground is locked tght …. that includes all weekends and all school holidays and all summer long! Is there a real need to protect the school buildings and lock playground gates?

As we drove through Tacoma, University Place and Lakewood this past summer we noticed that school playgrounds were open to all. We raised our kids in another state and our grandchildren stll live there. The school grounds are always open. Neighborhood children are never locked out from the public school playgrounds. Have we lost our rights to use what we all fund?

We all support lots of public entities through our taxes for roads, libraries, fire department and so on.

Reading the last Peninsula School District budget, we calculate that they spend about $852,496.05 per day in total costs for a school calendar of 180 days …. AND the Swift Water Elementary playground was all locked up this summer .… can we get a refund for the other 180 days?

Ms. Kathy Arroyo

Gig Harbor

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