Thursday, November 7, 2013

Inching closer . . .

As of this evening there are 10,529 ballots that have been counted with 68.51% of them being Yes votes.  We also know that there are 15,019 total ballots returned thus far so there are potentially about 4,500 more ballots to be counted.  Given the trend since election night of small increases in the Yes vote from count-to-count, I am feeling much more confidant in the final outcome.  We are inching closer to that time when we can officially say we did it.

Following the first count I have received many congratulations from people in our system and community as well as others in the education community.  I am appreciative of them, but this result is something that our community accomplished.  Congratulations and thanks need to be directed at those on the VOTE Committee that orchestrated community outreach and challenged voters to become educated before making this critical decision.  To city staff, the mayor, and council members who embraced the vision and saw the possibilities to support their short and long term goals for the city.  To the Chamber and local business community for their endorsement and advocacy shown in multiple ways.  To the realtors for their contributions to educating voters on the importance of this measure to their home values and the health of the community.  To Sound Alliance and the trade unions for their financial contributions to the VOTE campaign and for their active engagement in getting the word out.  To the hundreds of parent and community volunteers who were a visible presence in the community and to our teachers and classified staff who joined them at store fronts, in neighborhoods, and on street corners over a multiple week period.

It took this kind of collaborative effort to achieve this stunning result.  The coalition that formed will provide our system with a solid foundation as we move forward to bring the vision of this bond measure to a reality for our young people, staff, and community.  There is one more group I want to acknowledge before closing and that is our School Board and please forgive me if I have missed another.  Below is an excerpt from an email I sent them on Wednesday morning.

I want to thank you for your leadership in putting this measure before the community that many, if not most, thought was dead on arrival.  That was a difficult decision that few in the community can identify with and one that I commend you for taking.  Instead of a typical “Tahoma add-on bond”, we created a vision that began to resonate in the community, one that resulted in many new partnerships that will continue to grow into the future . . . Please know and accept that though it isn’t often stated and most often unrecognized by community members, we would not be the destination school system we are without your leadership and commitment.  I know and appreciate that.

Our Board made the difficult decision to ask our community to support this bond measure that was far above anything ever asked for in our system.  They did this after many hours of learning, exploring options, asking clarifying questions, and requesting additional information.  It was a courageous decision that now becomes a focus of our continuing learning journey.

At next Tuesday evening's Board meeting we will be recognizing some of those that provided leadership for this effort.  Please consider joining us and giving voice to your appreciation.

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