Alisha Benson and Lance Beck: Kids Worth Every Penny of Investment
By Alisha Benson, CEO, Greater Spokane Inc. and Lance Beck, President & CEO, Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce
*Published on January 31, 2024 by The Spokesman Review
You may know us from our day jobs as regional Chamber of Commerce and economic development leaders. What you may not know is that both of our families benefit from our regional school systems. As parents and representatives of the business community, we come to you, our community, with a request: Please vote yes for schools in February.
Our organizations have a long history of support for our schools and our school bonds and levies. We remain supportive because we know that the decisions we make now have lasting effects.
Voting to support our schools embodies a forward-thinking perspective. Similar to long-term investments that may not yield immediate returns, committing resources to education demands a focus on the future. Just as contributing to a retirement account sets the stage for a secure future, investing in today’s youth holds the potential for immeasurable benefits to our community.
We were disappointed in an article published in The Spokesman-Review this week heralding the total amount of all bonds and levies on the ballot this February. Although initially dismayed by the shortsighted take on school funding requests, we have since taken a different perspective. Yes, voters have an opportunity to vote for the school and library funding requests in their own particular voting districts. Yes, the collective sum of those funding requests is quite large, but here is where the author missed the mark: the collective sum is one of the greatest opportunities for community investment we have had in years.
We challenge The Spokesman, and our fellow voters, to look at the impact of those requests and not just the cost. Envision the substantial direct and indirect benefits to our economy, arising from local construction projects that involve hiring regional construction, engineering and architecture firms, consequently providing employment opportunities for local tradespeople. Delve into the comprehensive ramifications of each job that has already been funded by levies within every school district across our county. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to evaluating the economic impact.
Our organizations are standing alongside schools because we know that the long-term future of our business community depends on the ability of our schools to provide an excellent education for students. Our business community tells us every day that they need talent who can excel in the technical pieces of their jobs while possessing skills that allow them to adapt, learn new things, innovate and imagine within the workplace.
Like you, we know that school is about more than academics. Our schools provide programs that teach teamwork and perseverance, spark lifelong passions, and provide opportunities for crucial social and emotional learning. Programs such as music, drama, sports and debate provide connections and help students grow into the leaders and collaborators our communities need.
These are activities paid for by levies. And so are many other vital school programs, positions and services – such as nurses, counselors, behavior specialists, intervention programs, special education services and tech support. Levies also help schools keep class sizes small and offer Advanced Placement courses. Levies make it possible for schools to support and educate kids as whole people.
We need “whole people” in our workplaces now, more than ever.
After reading our support for levies above, you may wonder what the other school funding mechanism, school bonds, have to do with the workplace of tomorrow.
The explanation is simple. School construction funding is a unique challenge in Washington state where we value local control for education. While this approach preserves our strong, independent spirit, it also requires local responsibility for funding capital projects. A double-edged sword. Furthermore, the investment addresses the pressing need to update obsolete facilities, fostering a forward-thinking educational atmosphere. By supporting these bonds, we prioritize the future of education in our community and lay the foundation for sustainable, state-of-the-art facilities.
So, the question is not just, “Will you vote yes for a school bond?” The question is much bigger. The question is:
“What kind of community do you want to live in?”
Our business community depends on this being the kind of community that invests in kids. Because those kids are our next artists, nurses, teachers, mechanics, manufacturers, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, contractors, restaurateurs and elected officials.
The kids we invest in today will run this community in a few short decades. Let’s give them the tools they need to take our community into the future.
Vote yes for schools in February.
Alisha Benson is CEO of Greater Spokane Inc. Lance Beck is president and CEO of Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.
To learn more about school bonds and levies, visit EducationGrowsEconomies.com
*Advertisements paid for by The Alliance for a Competitive Economy of Greater Spokane Incorporated. Contributors: STCU, ALSC Architects, Energy System Engineers LLC, Lydig Construction
The Spokane Valley Chamber’s 2024 Board Chair, Brooke Baker Spink, on why Voting Yes for the upcoming School Bonds and Levies is so critical:
“By choosing to Vote ‘Yes,’ we are not just making a decision but embracing a powerful commitment. This is a testament to our belief in a legacy that extends beyond today, shaping generations to come with knowledge, inspiration, and endless possibilities.”
The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and Greater Spokane Incorporated support Voting Yes for our schools this February.
Matt Albright, 2022 Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce Board Chair, shares why he is Voting Yes for School Levies:
“Supporting Central Valley Props 1 & 2 is not just an investment in the bricks and mortar of our schools; it’s a statement of our values as a community.
As a father of four, all who have or who are attending school in Central Valley, and someone who cares deeply about our local economy, I believe these propositions are crucial for providing our kids with a safe, high-quality education and keeping our community competitive and thriving.”
The Valley Chamber and Greater Spokane Incorporated support Voting Yes for our schools this February.
The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce says…
As we stand at a pivotal moment for the future of our region, the prosperity of our economy and the quality of our education system are inextricably linked.
* It’s time to make a decisive choice for progress and the Spokane Valley Chamber fully supports the propositions presented by our four Greater Spokane Valley school districts.
Strengthening the Workforce
* Investing in our public schools through bonds and levies is an investment in our future workforce.
* A well-educated workforce is essential for attracting and retaining businesses in our region, fostering an environment ripe for economic growth and innovation.
Enhancing Quality of Life
* Quality education contributes significantly to our community’s overall well-being and quality of life.
* Better schools lead to more educated citizens, which correlates with lower crime rates, better health outcomes, and a more engaged community.
Long-term Economic Benefits
* The funds from these bonds and levies will improve school facilities, update technology, and provide resources necessary for 21st-century learning.
* This creates a ripple effect: better schools enhance property values and attract more families and businesses to our area, bolstering the local economy.
????️Your vote matters.
Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI) is proud to support Marty Dickinson, Chief Marketing Officer at STCU, in her call to action for the vote on levies in our region. Marty’s dedication to public K-12 education mirrors GSI’s own commitment to fostering a thriving community. Investing in education is investing in our collective future, paving the way for success in various sectors and addressing challenges upstream. Read Marty’s insightful words and join GSI in voting “yes” for school bonds and levies this February. Together, let’s shape a brighter tomorrow for Greater Spokane!
Lance Beck, President and CEO o Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) is pleased to announce their support for the proposed Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy and Capital Improvements Levy by the Central Valley School District.
The Chamber has long supported the public schools serving the Spokane Valley and surrounding area. The Chamber has established a goal of supporting the schools in their strategic plans. The Chamber believes that supporting education also supports the expansion of economic development in our community. For business to prosper, we need an educated workforce.
If we allow our schools to suffer from the less-than-needed level of funding from the state, we all will suffer the long-term effects, not only as businesses, but as a community.
The Chamber applauds the efforts of the school board and administration to deal with the financial difficulties of the past several years. They have managed their budget responsibly while also advocating with the state to find long-term solutions to the current budget crisis they and other districts are facing across the State of Washington.
Even with all the budget cutting and demonstrated fiscal prudence, there is a point at which reductions in spending can no longer be continued without causing serious damage to the quality of education.
It is time for voters in the district to approve the requested Replacement of the Educational Programs and Operations Levy and the Capital Improvements Levy. The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce encourages members stand in support and encourage a YES vote in February.
Barry Baker, Baker Construction CEO (Greater Spokane Valley Chamber Past Chairman)
My wife and I have 6 Children. 5 of those went through the Central Valley School system. All had varying skill sets and abilities
Without exception they received a great education from teachers, school staff, and coaches who taught them, challenged them, supported them, and celebrated with them their successes and consoled them in their failures.
Our family is grateful for the education, sports, clubs, opportunities, and activities that helped our children learn and grow. We are lucky that our children have chosen to stay in our area, some into our family business, and work alongside the great team we have at Baker Construction & Development.
Throughout the Central Valley School District, a good education encompasses classroom study, music, sports, and all the activities that make a school a community and helps teach our children to be team players and contributing members of our workforce and community.
Central Valley has always exhibited the same set of values that I feel are important. They have always proven to me that they watch our dollars and spend them wisely.
My family and I can say without hesitation that we fully support Central Valley schools and are voting YES TWICE on the levy when the ballot arrives!
Greg Repetti, MultiCare Valley Hospital President (Greater Spokane Valley Chamber Past Chairman)
Great societies are judged by how we educate our kids and how we care for our sick. As a healthcare executive, I couldn’t agree more. Healthcare represents 20% of our country’s GDP, and I would like to see 20% of students, or more, entering careers in healthcare. That doesn’t just mean becoming a doctor or a nurse. There are so many ways to work in healthcare. That is why I am proud that my hospital partners with Central Valley School District to provide opportunities for elementary and middle school students to learn from our staff monthly in their classrooms and to experience career days onsite with our highly trained employees. CVSD is an innovative district, educating and preparing students for careers in innovative fields. I support the CVSD levy on the February ballot to ensure the continuation of valuable programs like ours where students can not only imagine, but practice their futures.
Denny York, Commercial Property Specialist, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson, Parent of two CVSD past students (Greater Spokane Valley Chamber Past Chairman)
Great schools means great/strong/caring communities. Please get out and vote in February.
Geo Engineers Senior Principal Bruce Williams
I fully support passage of the Central Valley School District levy in February. This levy will benefit and prepare students by providing advanced technology in the classrooms. The levy will also fund smaller class sizes and systems to focus on both struggling and advanced students, which will provide students with better access to teachers, nurses and counselors. Programs funded by this levy such as music, sports, and STEM camps help provide a well-rounded education for students, better preparing them for careers after school. Finally, the levy provides further security measures to ensure our students are safe.
Schools are the cornerstones of our community. As a business owner, I recognize the critical importance of quality teachers and schools in our region. Commitment to our schools, which includes passing levies, is a long-term investment in our students and community, as a well-educated populace provides opportunities for all. Excellent schools and teachers, such as those in CVSD, represent the number one reason for new businesses to relocate our region, allowing us to have a diverse, sustainable, and vibrant economy. Our students deserve opportunities to continue to receive an excellent education and this levy will provide funding to build and maintain programs to enhance their learning. CVSD has proven to be an excellent steward of our public dollars to advance educational opportunities for our students.
Education is the best investment we can make for our region. Please join me in investing in our students and vote YES for the CVSD levy in February.
Matt Albright, CVSD Parent and Local Health Care Executive
As a 15-year citizen of Liberty Lake and father of four children who have, currently are, and will attend school in the Central Valley School District, I strongly support these levies and hope you will too.
Our family spent 20 years in the active duty United States Air Force before we retired and made Liberty Lake our permanent home and one of the biggest reasons why we chose this community was because of its high performing education system.
Since we moved here, I can say that CVSD has not let us down. Our kids have all received incredible educations and they have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of their experience from their teachers to sports to clubs to school events.
We have also noticed that every year CVSD continues to build on their pursuit towards even greater excellence in education. Our community supporting this levy is an important part of their ability to continue in that pursuit.
As a local health care executive and someone that volunteers a significant amount of their personal time on local, regional, and state councils that work on ways to motivate the next generation to pursue health care careers, I know how important a successful and thriving school district is not only to the families that live in it, but also for the businesses that are currently located there or have a desire to move in.
By supporting these levies, CVSD will be able to continue to meet the needs of our growing community. For the sake of our children and the future success of our community, I hope you will join me and vote YES TWICE in February to approve this levy.
Lindsay Miller, CVSD Parent
Central Valley School District has been so great for our boys! From additional support to help our son stay on track with his reading to keeping our other son engaged in math by giving him additional challenges when he went beyond his grade level. The teachers, counselors and staff have been so engaged with us and we are so blessed to live in this district! We are voting YES TWICE on February 13th to help sustain and support this awesome school district.
My husband and I are VOTING YES because we understand the value of a CVSD education. We were raised in the Spokane Valley and are graduates of the Central Valley school system. He is a successful health care leader and I am a successful business owner today because we had a strong educational foundation. Our district is one of the best in the state! And as such, they have thoughtfully prepared for the future growth of our district. They have diligently managed our taxpaying dollars from previous bonds and levies to meet the prior facility and education needs of our district. I TRUST THEM FULLY to do it again with these levy dollars and the plans to meet these current and critical needs for our district. I am PROUD to say I am VOTING YES and PROUD to say my sons will both be third generation graduates of CVSD!
Central Valley Education Association President Wally Watson
The Central Valley Education Association encourages community members to continue their investment in our students and public schools by voting YES TWICE on the February 13th school levies. The replacement EPO levy and Capital Improvements Levy allows Central Valley students the additional support they need, including safety and support personnel, updated technology, and school security. Central Valley has been the regional leader in financial stewardship, and with your support, will bring our students the best educational experience possible.
Marty Dickinson, CVSD Former Parent & STCU Chief Marketing Officer
I am VOTING YES because I trust and support the thoughtful planning that CVSD has done to solve for a rapidly growing district. CVSD has delivered on every promise and they have been good stewards with our taxpaying dollars. Now is a critical time for our district, community and students.
In these times of many funding challenges facing our public schools it is critically important we as citizens speak with our vote of YES to ensure access to a quality education for ALL students.
As a parent of three CVSD graduates I know firsthand the need for comprehensive class offerings, academic, special needs and extra curricular programs, and highly skilled educators.
CVSD is and continues to be a transparent and trusted partner, using our levy funds to invest in ALL our students readiness to graduate and become contributing citizens of our communities. Please join me in VOTING YES come February 13, 2024.
is PROUD to stand behind and beside the Central Valley Citizens for Education and their work to support the passing of the levies to meet our growing needs in our Central Valley School District. As a local business, we understand that communities are known by the schools they keep. It is up to us to support local education. It is up to us to know and understand that better schools means increased home values. Increased home values lead to positive economic growth, which in turn leads to positive outcomes for local business owners. We ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! It isn’t just about families with children in schools. It is about building stronger communities and leaving legacies. The time is now. BrandVenture Consulting SUPPORTS THE LEVY! Won’t you??
Parent of 3 CVSD Graduates & Numerica Sr. Vice President
As a proud parent of three CVSD graduates who attended all of their school years in the district, I am voting YES for CVSD!
I strongly believe that a community is known by the schools it keeps and keeping our schools strong will drive a strong local economy.
Education is so important to our students’ futures. Even though my kids have graduated, I believe it is important to make sure that today’s students have access to a well-rounded education; one that includes access for ALL to the great character-building activities that a full educational experience offers.
CVSD has worked hard to be fiscally responsible while making sure that ALL students have an opportunity to succeed. They need our support to ensure that the necessary funding is available to meet a variety of underfunded needs that these two levies will cover. Our teachers, administrators, staff, and coaches deserve our support so that they can continue to invest in and bring out the best in our students.
Please join me in voting YES on both CVSD Levies by February 13! Students from across CVSD will benefit from our continued investment in them. Let’s vote for our kids, our schools, our community! They are our future!
Schools need to be safe, functional, and be able to handle the increasing number of students and the programs necessary to support them. The Central Valley School District has shown they are responsible and accountable with the citizenâ€™s tax dollars. Central Valley School District is doing their part, now it is time for us to do our part and VOTE YES on February 13, 2024.
Please join the Nootenboom family in voting yes on February 13, 2024. Having had my children attend CVSD for more than 15 years, I am proud of the opportunities each of them have been afforded. From extra and co-curricular programs, course offerings and special education, my children have had the highest quality education. The staff at all levels have positively impacted my children for a lifetime. This levy will effect kids in 2025 and beyond!! Please VOTE YES!
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