The school construction bond on the ballot this February would create new and improved schools in Bethel, but it would also pay for enhanced security districtwide. Though we strive to stay as up-to-date as possible, there is always a line that can’t be crossed due to funding, no matter how necessary the security upgrade is.
The district has always been diligent about the safety and security of our students and staff. After the Sandy Hook massacre, we were one of the first in the state to install cameras that require visitors to show ID before entering the building.
We are also now partnering with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department on a new school mapping program that streamlines communication during school emergencies.
Last summer we focused on a number of districtwide security upgrades, including new view holes for our 201 portable classrooms as well as new locks for our classroom doors. But with no bond passed in Bethel since 2006, the sad fact is that we have school buildings that are not as secure as they could be, and some schools need renovations that are too expensive for our limited maintenance funds.
“There are a number of things that need to be done,” said Superintendent Tom Seigel. “Frankly, it requires a bond in order to be able to spend the money that’s required for some of those changes.”
If a bond is approved in February, the district can focus on a number of safety and security upgrades, including seismic upgrades to four of our buildings that aren’t up to current code.
“We’ve only passed four bonds since 1980 and we’re at the point where you have to look at our buildings and one of the requirements we need to address is seismic upgrading, and the only way to be able to afford it is to pass a bond,” said Seigel.
Election Day is February 12. More information about the bond is available here.