Wednesday, January 13, 2016

UPDATED: Superintendent Traci Pierce quotes funding schedule for building more schools -- my opinion

Superintendent Traci Pierce laid out the funding schedule for building, more schools at last night's city council study session.

$398,000,000 Bond measure will be put on the ballot on April 26, 2016.  
$288,000,000 proposed Bond measure in 2018
$278,000,000 proposed Bond measure in 2022.
$207,000,000 proposed Bond measure in 2026. 
EP&O (Educational Program and Operations) Levy/Capital Project Levy measure on 2018. 
EP&O Levy/Capital Project Levy on 2022.
EP&O Levy/Capital Project Levy on 2026.

It's obviously going to take a lot of community backing to"catch up" from the previous bond failures. The good news is all the above bond measures will maintain the present 2015 tax rate. Board Director Chris Carlson said the tax rate can be maintained because "the l998 bond will be ending and the 2016 bond will replace it."  Pierce went on to say that "growth" and "assessed valuations" will maintain the present tax rate over time. Councilmembers Carson and Myers had good follow-up questions on the matter.

In my opinion, these Bonds are needed or the serious over-crowding that exists today will be severe tomorrow and our children with suffer. Accordin/g to Pierce, the District has grown an average of 625 students/yr for the past five years -- that's equivalent of one elementary school per year.  In five years the District anticipates it will move up from the 4th largest District in the State to the 2nd largest.  The District grew 1,114 students last year -- equivalent to 34 classrooms.  By the beginning of next year 168 portables will have been installed -- the equivalent of 7 elementary schools.  This year and next the State will be funding "all day kindergarten" putting even more pressure on space. (Presently 70% of the students go to kindergarten all day)
According to Pierce, six schools are scheduled to be "remodeled OR replaced and enlarged" between 2016 and 2026.  (Juanita HS, Kirkland El, Mead El, Kamiakin MS, Evergreen MS, Alcott El). Pierce didn't identify which of them would be remodeled and which would be replaced and enlarged. Why didn't she?  Of note, Pierce never once used the term "modernization" which in the past had been a confusing catch phrase for "tearing down, replacing and enlarging." Transparency is slowly improving.

Pierce said her Task Force made "recommendations around well built, cost effective building designs that don't compromise quality."  What are these cost effective, practical and functional designs?  She gave no details and in my opinion many voters want to know before opening their wallets.

Bob Yoder



Kathryn Reith said...

Bob, we will have more information posted on the district website shortly. In the meantime, the proposed $288 bond measure is actually scheduled for 2018. A 2022 bond measure would be $278 million and 2026 measure is slated for $207 million. These measures would complete the projects recommended by the Long Term Facilities Task Force through 2030. With regard to replace and enlarge, the district will commission a study regarding the best plan for each school before any decisions are made concerning whether a remodel or replacement building makes the most economic sense. Those reports will be shared with the public. The cost-effective designs will incorporate specific design principles the Task Force recommended, which are contained in their report. In addition, the district will convene an expert advisory group to review design and construction of funded projects, as recommended by the Task Force.

Bob Yoder said...

Thank you Ms. Reith.

Andy Raffman said...

I think this is the report you're looking for Bob:

Bob Yoder said...

Thanks, Andy. I looked at the Report but couldn't find the info on redesign I just contacted Ms. Reith to fill me in....