Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 22 Election Night Results

Voters are rejecting the LWSD bond and County Transportation measure as of the April 22 Election Night count.  Final results will be posted on May 6.

With 32.66% of the ballots counted the LWSD Bond measure which needs 60% to pass has 50.88% in favor and 49.12% opposed.

The County Transportation measure has 30.97% of the ballots counted with 44.72% in favor and 55.28% opposed.

Reported By Bob Yoder


Anonymous said...

If you voted against the school bond, share your reason(s) why...

Anonymous said...

Quite sad that this bond may fail, especially given that the campaign against it appears to have been funded by a group of Republican tea-party members (feel free to Google contacts on the not-1.com website, and be sure to do a whois on the site owner as well). I am pissed as hell.

What to do now? I have two broad recommendations:
1. Dr. Traci Pierce has to step down. Whether you supported the bond measure or not (I supported it), with the failure of two bond measures it is clear she has failed to clearly explain the need for the bond and lost credibility among the public.
2. The school board has to grow a pair, focus on providing equitable education across the district, and stop trying to appease individual neighborhoods. Time for some painful shared sacrifice so everyone is in this together. Kids in North Redmond and Redmond Ridge quite literally will have no place to go to school, but the focus of anti-bond support appears to have been in neighborhoods for which overcrowding is not as significant an issue or which already have new or refurbished schools. Time for folks in those neighborhoods to feel some real pain, both in terms of their kids being able to go to a neighborhood school and in terms of their property values. How about massive school boundary shifts, portables, and creating space wherever possible. Reopen the downtown Redmond community center as overflow for Redmond El, and move half the population of Rockwell/Mann to that school. Use the freed-up space to house the overflow from North Redmond. Do the same thing in Kirkland. Fill in the Kirkland pool with concrete and convert it to classroom space. Sell an elementary school in an area that's not overcrowded, and use the proceeds to build a new school in an area that is. Whatever it takes.

Anonymous said...

I voted against, as did my public-school teacher wife. Why? LWSD has shown over the past 10-15 years that they are not using our funds efficiently, such as by tearing down existing schools right here in Redmond and building fancy new ones in their place that actually have less classroom space! ????

The Eastern WA school districts where I grew up are still using school buildings from the 1950s-1970s successfully, periodically remodeling them for far less than what LWSD claims that they need to properly educate children. And the students there have good test scores despite the 'ancient' buildings.

I'm living within my needs at home, my property taxes for my 1977-built dump of a rambler in Redmond are already close to $4K per year (meaning that the much nicer homes all around me are paying 2-3x that amount), and it's time that the LWSD learn to get by on what they have now. The amount of money they are already collecting from our wealthy area is just staggering.

Call me anti-education all you want, but my own daughter in public-school kindergarden is already reading at a third-grade level and my wife and I both participate in our local school activities and fund-raising events.

Anonymous said...

Both my husband and I voted against the bond. This is the first time we have voted against any school measure. Why? Not because we don't care about kids but because we do not agree with how the school district has been using the hundreds of millions we've already approved over the last 14 years. Both of our kids have attended Rockwell, RJH, and RHS ( our son is still at RHS as a junior) and we know how crowded the schools are. But this is not something that has come as a surprise. Or at least it should not have, if the school district's multi-year projections are accurate. So why did they build new schools or additions such as at RHS without adequate class room space? It boggles my mind that we can build an addition to a school and need portables a year later. How could we have spent hundreds of millions of dollars and end up in such a predicament? I am perfectly willing to vote for a plan that seems reasonable and shows me that the district is truly making an effort to be fiscally responsible. This bond measure did not.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said "I am perfectly willing to vote for a plan that seems reasonable and shows me that the district is truly making an effort to be fiscally responsible."

This seems pretty representative of the folks who are against the bond (do you guys all read from the same talking points?). But what does it mean? Your not in favor of renovating existing schools since that doesn't add space. Your not in favor of building additions to schools as that doesn't add enough space. Now you're not in favor of new schools because you think the district will just waste the money, or not build big enough schools to account for future projections (which, if the district did do, would likely be branded a waste of money).

I really don't have the slightest idea what you're in favor of, but I'll take a guess: you're in favor of cheap schools. Cinderblock, cheap design, low quality construction, save a penny wherever we can, invest the savings elsewhere or return it to the taxpayers. And that's OK, but if that's what you want, why not come out and say it.

Now you might argue that this is just an issue of the district being run inefficiently, that somehow with better planning we could build high quality schools at much lower cost. Well, if you've run the numbers-- looked at the cost of land, construction, building materials, building codes-- and figured out a way to do it with the same quality, but less expense, I think we would like to hear it. And if you have some evidence of corruption/graft, I think you should report it to the authorities. But if you have neither of these things; if all you have is a gut feeling that things shouldn't cost so much; I would encourage you to start thinking critically about why you feel that way and do some research to confirm or refute your beliefs with facts.

Paige Norman said...

I love the name-calling. Seriously, because we disagree, we're haters and republican's? Well, I guess if Republican is the worst you can throw at me, I'm pretty good.

I voted no and made it extremely clear through letters to the Redmond Reporter and through articles on my blog exactly why.

Now that the bond request has failed twice, let's quit calling names and pointing fingers.

How about coming up with REALISTIC solutions to the problems.

Bob Yoder said...

I am very pleased to see some fresh opinions as to why people voted against the bond. Several
here are parents and one is even a teacher. I've forwarded this post and comments to the school board, Traci Pierce, and Kathryn Reith (Commun. Director) so that they will read up and learn. I encourage you to keep writing your constructive comments...they are being read!

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh at some of the pro-bond comments above . . . so let me make a few suggestions of what LWSD can do differently:

Figure out how to be more flexible. Since enrollment numbers can vary widely over time in each neighborhood, how about figuring out how to deal with this in a better way than we are now. For example, maybe LWSD could lease out some empty office space in a centrally-located area (along Willows Rd, for example) and use that for a temporary school or classrooms. Maybe space could be leased from a church who doesn't use their Sunday-school rooms during the week.

Or, come up with an innovative, high-quality modular classroom system that can allow all campuses within the district to grow and shrink as necessary. I'm not talking about cheap wood-stick-built portables here (as they won't hold up esp. when moved more than once), but very high quality, purpose-built structures with steel framing and commercial-grade finishes. Sure this will be expensive, but it would be worth it over the long term and help to avoid the situation we are in now. If done successfully, this could provide a model for other districts nationwide.

We have a plethora of highly intelligent individuals in this area who can provide many more ideas - I just gave a couple to get the conversation started, and to demonstrate that I do realize we have a problem - one that simply throwing half or three-quarters of a billion dollars at won't necessary solve (based upon LWSD's recent track record, at any rate).

Anonymous said...

The school district sent a very mixed message for the latest bond measure: It screamed "WE HAVE OVERCROWDING! WE NEED MONEY TO BUILD NEW SCHOOLS" but then it asked voters for money to tear down and rebuild Juanita High School for $135 million - nearly a third of the total $404,000,000 bond! In a document posted on the lwsd.org website less than 2 weeks before the election (JHS-Mod-Repl-Study08.01.13.pdf), it indicated that the Juanita rebuild would cost only $85,000,000 leaving voters to wonder where the remaining $50 million would be spent.

It asked for $35,000,000 to build each new elementary school. These schools are so overpriced because the district insists on adding so many expensive features to each school. How much should a new elementary school cost? It seems like $15-20 million should be plenty for a great elementary building (based on some internet comparisons around the country - and the district already owns the land that the schools will be built on.) My kids attended the "old" schools and the "modernized/new" schools, and I'm not convinced that test scores or teaching/learning improves when schools are built with all these fancy features.

What about schools in Sammamish? They are all overcrowded! Mead, Smith and Alcott Elementaries were all built from the same architectural plans as Rockwell Elementary in Redmond and they all have over 600 students. Did the school board visit these schools? They might have noticed that these are four identical schools with identical overcrowding. Why is severe overcrowding at schools in Sammamish acceptable, but overcrowding at Rockwell is considered a crisis that deserves a new school in North Redmond to ease overcrowding? (Again, refer back to the mixed message, "We have overcrowding! We need money to build new schools," but overcrowding in Sammamish doesn't count!?!)

And then there was the cost... the district insisted the bonds would cost only $125/year. The Seattle Times correctly pointed out that the actual cost of the bonds would be as high as $385/year in 2021. Maybe voters don't like to be misled by distorted facts.

There weren't a lot of good reasons to vote for this bond - but I found a lot of reasons to reject it. It was costly and didn't build all that much space.

Bob Yoder said...

I voted for the bond and my wife voted against it. (Our daughter graduated in 2010). My wife brings up a very good point about better use of existing space in the schools. Redmond JH has several rooms full of computers that are now rarely used because students have netbooks. Why not convert (remodel) those computer rooms into classrooms? The district needs to reconsider their business model for building for growth. This one isn't working.

Anonymous said...

Why the LWSD Bond Did Not Pass . . .

Why did only 20% of parents vote? It’s time for the LWSD and its school board to address why Kirkland has more school buildings with fewer kids enrolled at the elementary, middle and high school levels, yet it continues to want to spend more money there. Many parents could not in good conscience vote to rebuild Juanita High and add a new STEM school to Kirkland when the Redmond and Sammamish students are being treated like second class-citizens. It is time to begin the planning and immediate spending on these kids.

Kirkland has 12 elementary schools averaging 400 enrolled students (Thoreau has only 280 students!) while Sammamish has only 5 elementary schools averaging 500 students and Redmond has only 10 elementary schools averaging 540 students (a 20% and 30% increase, respectively, over the Kirkland schools). I suspect Kirkland has smaller class sizes then the 30+ students in our overcrowded Sammamish and Redmond Elementary school classrooms. Kirkland has three small middle schools (with fewer than 600 enrolled students), Redmond Middle has 1,000 students, and Inglewood has over 1,100 students!. Kirkland has two high schools, each with fewer than 1,500 students.

Now ask how many Sammamish and Redmond kids are being educated in portables with poor ventilation and without running water or bathrooms? Evergreen Middle, Rockwell, Rosa Parks, Alcott, etc. – so many kids in so many portables! Why do the Redmond and Sammamish schools have to run two or three staggered lunches and recesses? Because there are too many students in these buildings. Where will all of these students go to middle and high school?

The majority of the 4,000 students that the district speaks of are already here, in Redmond and Sammamish – look at the pregnant moms, toddlers, preschoolers –and not a single available classroom in these areas. Take the Juanita rebuild and the new STEM school off the bond, add 5 new elementary, a middle and even consider a high school for all the kids who are going to be coming through the pipeline in Redmond and Sammamish – parents will stand behind the district and will vote YES!

Bob - please forward this to LWSD - yesterday's district newsletter revealed they are still not sure why the bond did not pass. Thanks for your help.