Thursday, March 6, 2014

What are the ramifications if the $404 Million bond fails?

During the last school board meeting...

School Board President Jackie Pendergrass asked what the price of the $404 million bond would cost the average taxpayer the first year, and staff came up with $10/month or "two coffees per month" according to Pendergrass.  Superintendent Traci Pierce ran down the following list of options staff would have at their disposal if the $404 million bond failed to pass:

1.  Reduce or eliminate all day kindigarden
2.  Double shifting (which would raise transportation and utility costs)
3.  Add portables wherever possible at $300,000/portable.  (The district is adding the equivalent population of one elementary school every year for the next four years).
4.  Year round school
5.  Construction costs of future schools would go up.
6.  Variances would not become an option. 

Reported by Bob Yoder


Anonymous said...

I think double-shifting at the high schools would be a great idea. Having teenagers out of bed by 6AM (or earlier) so they can be at school by 7:20 AM was always difficult for my kids and for a lot of their friends.

Letting some kids start school at noon and having the school day extend to 6:30 PM - or offering some night classes or online classes would be a great scheduling option for many of the students!

Having the high school buildings empty by 2PM every day is such a waste. I'd rather pay to heat the buildings for an extra few hours than build extra school space so that everyone can be in class at the same time. (There wouldn't be added transportation costs since almost no one rides the school bus - everyone drives or gets dropped off.)

I'm sure many teachers would be willing to switch to the later schedules too.

I really don't see double-shifting as a negative consequence if the bond measure fails, but as an overdue innovation that would be a benefit regardless of the outcome of the election.

Anonymous said...

My children previously attended a school with a year round calendar and we loved it!

Anonymous said...

I would love to know what I can help to get the word out. In my area and surrounding ones, we saw 1, just 1 sign for the last bond, and many for "no." Seemed to me that community education was a huge miss with this last bond.

Paige Norman said...

Year-round school and double-shifting schools are both excellent ideas. Neither one will harm the children or the teachers.

Again, I encourage everyone to voice their opinions to the School Board and Dr. Pierce.

Anonymous said...

I find it sadly unsurprising that those who are most strident in opposition to funding any new schools tend to be from areas that don't need a new school and aren't experiencing the same level of overcrowding as those in North Redmond and Redmond Ridge.

Anonymous said...

I don't think people are against NEW schools for NEW growth. I think people are opposed to tearing down entire schools that are just 40 years old and build completely new ones.

You don't see Microsoft or UW tearing down "old" buildings just because they no longer fit the business model. They replace the roof, windows, flooring, move walls etc... at a much lower costs.

I do not support this school board's vision of "modernization" and will not vote for a bond that does.

Susan Wilkins said...

The proposed $404,000,000 bond measure is a HUGE amount of money. It just seems like a small amount when compared to the previous $755M bond measure. To suggest that it will cost taxpayers only $10/month or a couple cups of coffee to pay off is utterly ridiculous. Our school board rushed this bond measure and didn't bother to check their math. Their calculations are wrong! The bonds will cost nearly 4 times as much as the district states!

Intuitively, $404,000,000 paid back over 20 years will cost $20.2 million per year just to pay for the principal. With 4.25% interest, taxpayers will need to pay back about $30 million per year, about the same amount as the Capital Projects Levy that just passed or $.91/thousand in assessed value. So paying off $404 million will cost the owner of a $500,000 house about $450 per year or $40 per month, not $10/month.

Sammamish residents are the biggest losers with this bond measure. They get nothing! No additional elementary classroom space, no new eastside ICS choice school (as was promised), and no new middle or high school space.

At the Lake Washington School District work session on February 24, Board President Jackie Pendergrass explained the rationale for no new classroom space on the Sammamish Plateau by stating, "We have dealt with their (Sammamish's) growth for a lot of years and they have the newer schools." Apparently, Sammamish will have to wait 4 years before they might get some funding for classroom construction.

Even though all 5 elementary schools in Sammamish are full or overcrowded, and Smith Elementary and Mead Elementary are both acutely overcrowded with 601 and 630 students respectively, (almost as overcrowded as Rockwell Elementary), there will be no new elementary space added in Sammamish. Inglewood Middle School is packed with 1125 students, but they will not get any new classroom space to ease overcrowding. Sammamish is adding lots of new housing units. Older residents are moving out and new families with children are moving in. Sammamish already has a school overcrowding problem that will only get worse each year, but they will get no new classroom space - although they will be required to pay $40/month for the bonds for the next 20 years.

Sammamish residents should be furious. They were never warned that the district would propose a bond measure that would cut them out of the construction funding completely. (Note that the Agenda for the March 3, 2014 school board meeting that was distributed on Friday, Feb 28 only stated that there would be two possible bond measures proposed at the March 3rd school board meeting. The text of the two bond measures wasn't published on the website until 1:39 pm on March 3 - giving Sammamish residents just 5 hours and 21 minutes to read the resolutions before the start of the school board meeting.) The school board should be ashamed of their sneaky, deceptive tactics.

The $404,000,000 bond measure will appear on the April 22, 2014 ballot, and most constituents were never given the opportunity to read the resolution - or to comment on it - before it was approved and sent to King County Elections.

Jill Krzewina Stoddart said...

Jill Krzewina Stoddart Lori, developers, whether for single-family homes or multi-family units, do not get assessed the true cost of adding school capacity. If you look at where LWSD is urgently needing capacity, it is not (yet) in Redmond Town Center where the new apartments are located. Rockwell, Einstein, Rosa Park, and Redmond Middle School are already maxed out on permanent class space as well as portables, yet all these areas have new developments going in. It's not just new developments that are causing the school-aged population to increase, it is also the existing housing stock that is drawing families, as they see how successful our schools are, and want that for their children. I live in North Redmond, and everyone I see moving either has school-aged children, or are young couples/families wanting to buy in our schools. As someone who made this exact same purchase decision when we relocated from out-of-state, I can guarantee you I would immediately cross-off LWSD from my housing search if this school district has to take measures such as all-year round schools, double-shift, etc. to deal with the overcrowding. Why would I invest in neighborhoods that aren't investing in their schools when ALL of the surrounding cities are?? I encourage voters who are opposed to paying more taxes to make their economic decisions looking at the full picture: are you *really* better off by paying $120/year less taxes if your local property values appreciate at a lower rate than Northshore, Bellevue or Issaquah school districts? On an average $500k house, if your property appreciates at 0.1% less than the neighboring communities, then you've lost $500 of value in one year