A bond to fund construction of four schools and make critical improvements districtwide was proposed to the Highline Public Schools Board at its May 28 meeting; the board will vote on June 4 whether to place the bond on the November 4, 2014 ballot.
The bond proposal includes rebuilding of Highline High School and replacement of Des Moines Elementary School, building of two new middle schools, and other renovations and improvements throughout the district.
“We appreciate the extent to which Highline staff, families, and community members have participated in shaping this bond proposal,” said School Board President Michael Spear.
The district hosted a series of community meetings in January and February, and hundreds of staff and community members participated in an online survey to provide input on the bond package.
New schools are necessary to accommodate growth in student population and address aging buildings. If approved in November, the bond would ease overcrowding in elementary schools, provide more classrooms to lower class sizes, and increase student safety by replacing aging buildings that do not meet current earthquake and fire code.
Projections show that the district can expect enrollment growth of more than 2,000 students over the next 8 to ten years.
The state of Washington is offering additional funding for smaller classes in grades K-3, starting with K-1 in 2014-2015. However, overcrowding in schools means that the district has no classrooms available for reduced K-3 class size.
In addition, Highline has many buildings that must be replaced or undergo major renovations.
All but one of the middle and high schools are over 50 years old.
“As the buildings age, repairs and maintenance are becoming more and more expensive, draining money away from the classroom. Aging infrastructure also prevents us from installing the educational technology that we know supports student learning,” said Duggan Harman, Chief of Staff and Finance.
Planning for the bond included professional analysis of building conditions, updates to enrollment projections, community input, and multiple board work sessions. After careful study of two options, the board is considering moving ahead with a $385 million bond measure.
The bond measure would:
- Rebuild Highline High School,
- Replace Des Moines Elementary School,
- Build a new middle school at the Manhattan site,
- Build a new middle school at the Glacier site,
- Make critical renovations at Tyee and Evergreen campuses,
- Provide technology improvements throughout the district,
- Make capital improvements to support arts education throughout the district, and
- Address additional critical needs throughout the district.
School construction and capital improvements are funded through voter-approved bonds. A bond measure must be approved by a 60 percent margin.
Here is how the cost to homeowners breaks down for the $385 million bond:
|Total Bond Measure Cost||$385.1 Million|
|Rate per thousand of Assessed Value||$1.12|
|Average Home Value||$201,900.00|
|Projected Cost Per Year||$226.92|
|Projected Cost Per Month (before property tax deduction on federal income tax)||$18.91|
Here’s a video released by the district to illustrate the problem:
For more details about the proposed bond, visit the Building for Tomorrow Today section on the district website.