Monday, October 13, 2014

School Board to repurpose modernization funds for more classrooms

Classrooms needed to house growing enrollment
Redmond, Wash. – As the fastest-growing district in King County over the last two school years, Lake Washington School District is facing a need for classrooms to house its growing enrollment, which has increased close to 2,000 students over the last three years to 26,708. At the same time, the district completed all projects funded by the 2006 bond measure on time and under budget. It also received state construction assistance funds for those projects.  Read More >>

The district’s Board of Directors has proposed redirecting the remaining funds for additional projects. Projects include adding classroom space to meet the immediate needs of increased enrollment as well as planning for future construction projects such as new schools. More specifically, projects include purchase and installation of portable classrooms; adding permanent classroom space at Redmond Elementary School; modifying building interiors; remodeling, upgrading and equipping classrooms as necessary; acquiring land; and bond planning and pre-design. The district previously announced a plan to add 69 classrooms, which are included in the projects to be funded with these repurposed monies.
The 2006 bond measure authorized the issuance of $436 million of general obligation bonds. The bonds were used for Phase II of the district’s modernization program, which modernized 11 schools. In addition, one new school, Carson Elementary, was built. The district sold just over $423 million of the bonds over the next six years to complete the projects. The district estimates that even though not all of the bonds authorized were sold, it will still have approximately $12 million of unspent bond funds remaining.
In addition, the district anticipated receiving $23 million of state construction assistance funds for these projects. State funds are received after the projects are funded and completed. The district actually received $33 million in such funds. Three million of the funds were designated to pay interest on bonds that were issued in provide immediate funding for projects from the 2011 six-year Capital Projects Levy. (The levy funds are collected over six years: these bonds allowed the projects to be done before all the funding was collected.)
To use the unspent bond funds and unallocated state construction assistance funding on projects other than the already completed 2006 bond projects, the Board held a public hearing at its October 6 meeting. It must also adopt a resolution modifying the original bond resolution. The resolution has been placed on the October 20 agenda.
Public comments on this redirection of funds are invited by the Board of Directors. Comments can be emailed to before the October 20 meeting.


Anonymous said...

The announcement that the school board would hold a public hearing at the Oct 6th school board meeting to repurpose surplus bond funds was sent out in email on the Friday afternoon before the meeting and was buried in the agenda and nearly impossible to find. The public hearing announcement was never published in any newspaper or conspicuously on the lwsd website.

At the Monday board meeting, the board opened the hearing and then closed the hearing. No one made comments because no one knew about the hearing.

The board is still inviting comments, except they can't consider the comments because the hearing was CLOSED on Monday night. (They could have kept the hearing open until a specified date, but they didn't.)

This school board should know better. If they want the public to be involved, they have to announce their plans and meetings and hearings in advance and put information where people can find it.

Bob Yoder said...

Your comments are right on. (I only wish you had put your name under them.) I too was surprised no one got up to speak about this resolution to repurpose the bonds. I didn't see anything about the Hearing in the Redmond Reporter or on the website other than what was on the agenda for that night.