Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Lake Washington School District Seeks Input on Possible Bond Plan

LWSD proposes 2016 and 2018 Bond
Plan would implement Task Force recommendations over time

Redmond, Wash. – At its December 7 meeting, the Lake Washington School District Board of Directors received an initial draft report on potential funding measures that would enable the district to build new schools and address aging schools. Dr. Traci Pierce, superintendent, presented a draft short-term and long-term funding plan. A Bond Advisory Committee, composed of city, business, community, parent, and staff representatives, provided input on the draft funding plan. The funding plan would implement the project recommendations of the Long-Term Facilities Task Force. That 63-member representative group spent almost a year looking into the district’s facility needs.
                The Task Force recommendations include a list of specific construction projects needed for the district through 2029-30. They also recommended strategies for efficient and cost-effective facility designs. The draft funding plan implements the construction projects over time. A 2016 bond measure would fund the most immediate needs. Subsequent bond measures in 2018, 2022 and 2026 would fund the longer-term needs. The bond measures would not increase tax rates. They would maintain the 2015 tax rate and keep it steady over the next 15 years.
                Each measure would have projects to increase classroom space and reduce the reliance on portable classrooms. Additional projects would leverage use of existing facilities and expand choice school/program options. Cost-effective design principles would be implemented.
                The district has launched a survey for community members to provide feedback on the draft funding plan. Take the survey online here: LWSD funding plan survey.
The 2016 bond measure is anticipated to be on the ballot in April if approved. It would include construction projects in every learning community, the area served by each of the four comprehensive high schools. It would fund three new schools in the Redmond Learning Community -- two elementary and one middle school. It would also remodel or replace and enlarge the following schools: Juanita High School and Kirk Elementary School in Kirkland and Mead Elementary School in Sammamish. It would replace Explorer Community School with new modular buildings. It would also refurbish the Old Redmond Schoolhouse for use as a preschool center.
Further community input would be sought before each of the three subsequent bond measures. Those measures would run in 2018, 2022 and 2026, concurrently with the district’s replacement levies. The Educational Programs & Operations Levy as well as the Capital Projects Levy must be renewed every four years.
Those future ballot measures would seek funding to build three additional elementary schools and two choice high schools. Projects to remodel or replace and enlarge schools would include Kamiakin Middle School, Alcott Elementary School, Evergreen Middle School, and Smith Elementary School.

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