March 27, 2012
Controversial bond deserves a yes vote
W e wish the Issaquah School District had been more conservative in its request to fund the long list of items on the April 17 construction bond, but we get why it did so.
With another school bond ending its 20 years of tax collections, this is a good time to get a lot of catch-up work done on our school facilities, while still giving taxpayers a couple hundred dollars’ reduction in property taxes next year (an estimated $215 drop on a $500,000 assessed valuation home.)
Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, the group pushing a yes vote, say this is the biggest campaign it has ever mounted. It’s no wonder. With so many questions and a $219 million price tag, the proposed bond has raised a lot of eyebrows.
There are a lot of questions voters are asking, as we did. Do the middle schools really need artificial-turf fields? Does it really make sense to tear down Clark Elementary School? Does Tiger Mountain Community High School, population 80, really need to be relocated at a cost of $4 million? Isn’t $75,000 for clocks at Beaver Lake Middle School rather excessive? And so on.
First, recognize that the extensive repairs, remodels, permanent classroom additions for 500 students, rebuilds of the five oldest schools, stadium upgrades, safety and energy-saving additions is so extensive that it will take eight years to get it all done — although taxpayers will pay for the next 20 years.
Take into account that the district is still growing in student population and those students have to go somewhere, although new capacity is not the primary aim of this bond. Equality in school facilities will become closer to reality if these projects are completed. Consider that the slower economy makes it a great time to get the best construction bids.
For many voters, this bond request is a stretch. But just like the committee of volunteers who studied the issues and drafted the bond plan, we believe the facilities bond keeps our schools in tip-top shape and designed for changing educational needs.
Vote yes when your ballot arrives in the mail this week.