A revised school construction bond – valued about $9 million less than the one proposed in November – to repair or replace deteriorating schools and ease overcrowding will go before voters on the Feb. 10, 2015 ballot.
After seeking community input following the November election, the school board voted Wednesday night (Dec. 17) to place the new bond measure on the February ballot.
The November bond measure fell just short of the 60 percent approval required for passage. The February bond retains the major projects in the November measure, with modifications based on community input.
“The need to replace aging buildings and to ease overcrowding grows more urgent as our enrollment continues to increase,” said School Board President Michael Spear. “At 59.3 percent approval, a strong majority supported the bond measure in November. After seeking community input we believe this is the right decision to make for all of our students.”
More than 4,100 Highline residents participated in a Telephone Town Hall meeting regarding the bond, hosted by Superintendent Susan Enfield and School Board Member Bernie Dorsey.
In addition, over 1,000 people took an online survey. Results from the survey showed strong support of the bond measure. Read more about survey results.
Input gathered from the community helped the school board make the decision to place the bond measure on the ballot. If approved, the bond would:
- Rebuild Highline High School
- Build three new schools on properties already owned by the district
- An elementary school at the Zenith site (16th Place S. & S. 240th St., Des Moines)
- A new middle school at the Manhattan site (440 S. 186th St., Burien)
- A new middle school at the Glacier site (2450 S. 142nd Street, SeaTac)
- Make critical renovations at Tyee and Evergreen campuses
- Provide technology improvements throughout the district
- Make capital improvements to support arts education throughout the district
- Address additional critical needs throughout the district
The total amount of the February bond proposal is $376.0 million, about $9 million less than the package proposed in November. Savings come from eliminating interim sites for the new middle schools and beginning construction on the elementary school a year earlier.
The tax rate was reduced to $1.09 per $1000 in assessed home value.
“It is our responsibility to provide safe, modern schools for all students and space for all our community’s children in the future,” said Spear. “We understand this is a big investment we’re asking from our community. The strong support in the November election shows faith in Highline’s track record of responsible fiscal stewardship, which we pledge to uphold with passage of our next bond.
All 14 schools built as a result of the 2002 and 2006 bonds were completed on budget and (with the exception of a three-day delay on one project) on time.
The district obtained $140 million in matching funds, cutting local taxpayer costs and funding construction of three schools beyond those funded by bonds.
The bonds were refinanced multiple times, saving taxpayers nearly $10 million on bond repayment.
The bond measure will run alongside renewal of an Educational Programs & Operations Levy on the February ballot.
The bond, which funds capital needs, is completely separate from the levy, which funds direct services to students and operation of schools. The two funds cannot be mixed or interchanged.
To learn more about the bond and levy online.