Supporters have yet to face opposition to $219 million school bond
April 3, 2012
By Tom Corrigan
By now, most of the campaign work is done, said Lesley Austin, one of the two co-chairwomen of Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, the community organization promoting the Issaquah School District’s capital improvement levy on the April 17 ballot.
The VIS group organized so-called honk and waves at 13 locations throughout the district the morning and afternoon of April 2, Austin said. VIS slated a second such event for April 16, the day before ballots in the election are due back to King County.
Local voters also should be receiving a final mailing on the bond package from VIS sometime this week. Finally, Austin said the group will continue to put up more yard signs and replace any signs that have fallen or disappeared.
Deconstructing the bond
A four-part series about the Issaquah School District’s proposed $219 million bond.
Part 1 of 4: How the bond could impact schools
Part 2 of 4: The plan to rebuild schools
Part 3 of 4: The plan for renovation
Part 4 of 4: The plan to upgrade stadiums
At this point, no one involved with the campaign nor have any school officials reported finding any organized opposition to the levy issue. School Board President Chad Magendanz said he has been especially on the lookout for organized opposition and has not spotted any. No opponents have called into The Issaquah Press despite numerous articles on the bond issue.
The paper formally endorsed the bond in its March 28 issue.
All in all, the district is asking for the right to sell $219 million in bonds for capital improvements at every school in the district. The board-approved plan calls for the intermingled rebuilding and relocation of three schools — Clark Elementary, Issaquah Middle and Tiger Mountain Community High — at a price of $108.6 million. Sunny Hills Elementary School also would be rebuilt at a cost of $27.1 million. Officials and supporters repeatedly have pointed out these buildings are the oldest in the district.
Liberty High School also would be the recipient of some major reconstruction at a cost of $44.5 million, including $4.8 million for revamping the school’s athletic fields. Liberty would see an expanded commons, revamped classrooms and numerous other renovations.
Including the plans for Liberty’s field, officials hope to spend $18.3 million on athletic fields at the district’s three high schools as well as placing artificial turf at five middle schools. The dollar figure does not include improvements to fields at Issaquah Middle School, which would be completed after the school is relocated.
How much will it all cost property owners? Bond supporters are quick to point out that local property tax bills will fall even if the bond issue passes. That’s because an earlier bond package is about to be retired.
According to the district, the retirement of the earlier bond will drop the local tax rate from $4.85 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $4.05. Passage of the new bond would put the rate at $4.42.
Compared to present rates, for a person with a home valued at $500,000, even with the new bond, property taxes would drop by $215 annually, said Jake Kuper, district chief of finance and operations. He was quick to add that taxes would drop by an additional $215 if the new bond does not pass.
Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.