A community-led plan for a school construction bond will go before voters on Nov. 8, 2016, Highline Public Schools announced Thursday morning, July 21.

The proposed bond would fund repair or replace deteriorating schools, ease overcrowding, and make safety improvements at all Highline schools.

The School Board passed the resolution at its Wednesday night (July 20) meeting to place the bond measure on the ballot.

The proposed $299 million bond measure contains all the projects recommended in Phase 1 of the plan developed by the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC), a 39-member, community-led committee.

CFAC is composed of Highline residents, staff, and students. CFAC committee members spent the past year intensely studying the district’s facility needs and creating a long-range facilities plan and bond proposal.

The committee was chaired by former Burien City Councilmember Rose Clark, SeaTac resident Danielle Houle, and Health Sciences & Human Services High School student Larissa Hueta-Merlo.

“This was truly a community-driven process. It was important to us to recommend a plan that the community can pay for and support,” said Clark.

Committee members studied enrollment projections, building capacity, building conditions, financial constraints, related legislation, additional funding available, construction costs and other factors. The committee then developed a priority list of problems to be solved and defined a solution for each.

“The committee dug into the data and developed a plan that will meet the capital facilities needs across our district, based on all the data,” said Houle.

If approved, the bond would:

  • Fund security improvements at all schools in the district.
  • Rebuild Highline High School, preserving as much of the façade as structurally and financially feasible.
  • Begin design of new Evergreen and Tyee campuses.
  • Build new school on the district-owned Zenith site to house Des Moines Elementary students, with room for growing enrollment.
  • Build a new middle school on the district-owned Glacier site.
  • Replenish the capital fund, which will be depleted in 2017-18. This fund covers critical needs and emergency repairs.
    Make required improvements to the Olympic site, so it can be used to house students during the HHS construction and future school construction projects.

“We have deteriorating buildings that must be replaced or repaired in order to provide safe, modern facilities for students that meet today’s learning standards. We also need to build new schools to make room for a growing student population, and voter-approved bonds are our only method to do that,” said School Board President Michael Spear. “The Board truly appreciates the work and the recommendation by the Committee and the time it took to develop.”

Why run the bond in November? The district listed three reasons:

  1. Higher than average voter turnout is expected, due to the presidential election, so more community members will participate in the decision.
  2. Sharing the ballot with other measures reduces the costs the district must pay the county for the election.
  3. With construction costs rising, the sooner construction begins the less expensive it will be.

To learn more about CFAC, please visit highlineschools.org/CFAC.]]>

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5 replies on “School Board votes to place community-led Bond Measure on Nov. 8 ballot”

  1. Thank you to the 40-plus Highline citizens who waded through the mountain of Highline school facility needs to craft a bond package that was adopted by the HSD School Board last night.
    Bond details were not presented last night other than the total $299 million package. Highline communications needs to provide more bond specifics so people have the opportunity to make informed votes. What is the breakdown of project costs and the timelines for building? What is the additional tax per $1,000 of home value for homeowners over the life of the bond? The district needs to publish a link to the Highline Schools website with bond costs, school schematics, financial data, etc. within the many district posts sent out to Highline families.
    HSD Representative Joe Van asked last night whether $20 million allocated for district schools repairs over the life of the bond would be enough to maintain our many old schools until they can be rebuilt. As an Evergreen Service Area resident, I am concerned with the many pressing facility needs in five schools over 50 years old just in our service area right now:
    -There are insufficient science labs at Evergreen for all students to take two years of lab sciences the WA State mandates to graduate. Two of the three small high schools at Evergreen have NO science lab classrooms. (The Tyee Campus has not a single science lab classroom!) Build or renovate.
    -One of the buildings at Cascade Middle School has smelled like poop inside for years. Fix the sewage line.
    -Vermin are still getting inside Evergreen urinating and pooping in the classrooms. The district must get serious about this most disgusting health hazard! Students have been good sports over the years with the issue, but enough is enough!
    -The Seattle Times wrote a series about school drinking water concerns recently in our region’s older schools. It is recommended children should not drink water from fountain fixtures and pipes in schools built before 1986 due to unsafe concentrations on lead. Schools not rebuilt in this bond must be provided bottled drinking water for students and staff. Those schools include Evergreen H.S., Cascade M.S., Beverly Park El., Southern Heights El. (all in the Evergreen Service area), Sylvester M.S., Chinook M.S. and Pacific M.S. In fact, students and staff should be provided bottled drinking water at those schools starting now!
    For those of us who live in areas like the Evergreen and Tyee Service Areas where none of our neighborhood schools will be modernized in this bond, we want to vote for a bond and tax ourselves knowing our neighborhood schools will be maintained and provide a safe and healthy environment kids spend much of their day. Many would appreciate an accurate accounting of all of our older school facility financial needs and bond funding to match.
    I hope we can begin the process of rebuilding are most woeful school buildings, and Highline citizens need an informative, open, interactive and transparent process for this baby to pass!

  2. I would like to see a link that displays real time each and every dollar spent and where it goes if approved. Use bond money to make the link a reality. Real time. Every dollar….Thanks

  3. In April 2016, the Issaquah School District had a bond vote. The district did a great job explaining what the bond was specifically for and how it would be spent. I would like to see Highline School District take a similarly responsible approach.
    I especially liked the flier they distributed, which summed up the situation quickly and clearly:

    1. Scott, I agree. Thanks for sharing those great examples– comprehensive but brief and easy to follow/digest (the data orientation and infographics are key). I think when HSD distributed flyers by mail last time, there was some significant backlash related to costs for printing, postage, and design services (and also to less-than-impressive/helpful content). But these are terrific examples– maybe flyers like this could be made available as downloadable PDFs and links pushed out via emails, social media, posts to this blog, etc?

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