Press Editorial

October 11, 2011

By Staff

Complex school bond will challenge voters

The Issaquah School Board has postponed the vote for a school bond from February until April, at the request of the campaign committee. It was the right decision. It will take every minute from now until April to convince voters that this $219 million bond should be approved — or not.

Heading the list of controversies will be the $82 million to rebuild Clark Elementary and Issaquah Middle schools so the two student populations can then switch places. At the same time, Tiger Mountain Community High School, home to about 100 students, will also be relocated — another $3.9 million.

Then, there is the $13.1 million for the reconstruction and improvements of the football stadiums at Skyline, Liberty and Issaquah high schools. Voters will have to decide if more and covered bleacher seats are a priority.

The district is recommending a change to artificial-turf fields and rubberized running tracks at the five middle schools, at $1.3 million per school. Girls won’t be left out — two softball fields will also get artificial turf, two for under $1 million.

Sunny Hills Elementary School will get a rebuild for $27 million while Apollo and Issaquah Valley elementary schools will each get about $7-8 million for their remodels. Of course, the schools will then be energy efficient, so some savings are in store down the road. The rebuilds/remodels will also add capacity for about 500 students, spread out among four schools.

The school board did decrease the superintendent’s recommended bond by 3.7 percent, but only time will tell whether that is enough.

The five school board members struggled for months with the decision of what to ask of voters on this bond. Now it’s up to the voters to struggle with an even tougher question — are these the right priorities for our district and can property owners afford it?

Time will tell.

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One Response to “Press Editorial”

  1. Art McEntire on October 13th, 2011 1:06 pm

    I agree that this School District Bond is complex. There are items that I would support and items I would not support. An all or nothing bond issue like this tells the community that the School Board thinks they can run them over and that they will let them. They think they can scare the community into voting for it so that the things the community wants will get done BUT at the expense of doing things that the community may not want.

    This is not a proper choice. Why not separate this bond into 2 or 3 bonds? One for building reconstruction, one for sports field improvements, and one for renovating buildings? This would allow the different items to be supported or not. The ISB also should provide a cogent explanation of why these things are needed at this time of economic trouble.

    As currently presented, I am inclined to vote no.

    Art McEntire

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