Issaquah School District bond issue is now in the hands of voters
April 10, 2012
By Tom Corrigan
As of April 9, an estimated 43,000 voters had returned ballots that will help decide six issues on the ballot of the April 17 special election, said Kim Van Ekstrom, chief communications officer for the King County elections department.
The questions include a $219 million capital improvement bond issue put forth by the Issaquah School District. The 43,000 ballots represent all ballots returned in elections throughout the county, not just from the Issaquah School District. The county has not counted ballots for individual election questions, Van Ekstrom said.
In all, Van Ekstrom said the county sent out 236,000 ballots to voters throughout King County. Officials expect about 80,000, or 34 percent, to be returned.
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
The Issaquah school issue needs to win the approval of a supermajority of 60 percent of those who vote in order to pass. Bond backers say based on the number of registered voters expected to cast ballots, the bond issue will need about 14,000 “yes” votes in order to win approval. Bond supporters are quick to point out that even with passage of the bond, local homeowners will pay less in property taxes to the schools than they do presently because a previous bond issue is set to expire this year.
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 will drop by $215 annually said Jake Kuper, district chief of finance and operations. He was quick to add taxes would drop by an additional $215 if the new bond does not pass.
As approved by the Issaquah School Board, bond sale passage would finance 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 have pointed out the 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. Including the plans for Liberty’s field, school 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, not including fields at the relocated Issaquah Middle School.
Returned ballots must be post- marked by April 17 in order to be counted in the election, according to Van Ekstrom. Ballots also may be dropped off in person by 8 p.m. April 17 at any one of six ballot box locations. There is a drop-off box at Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.
Elsewhere in the school district, there are drop off boxes in Renton and Bellevue. Go to the county elections website at www.kingcounty.gov/elections and follow the appropriate links for the complete list and addresses.
The first results from the election should be online on the elections website at 8:15 p.m. the day of the election, according to Van Ekstrom. Providing there are additional votes, updated numbers will be posted each day following the election at 4:30 p.m. Election results are scheduled to be certified April 27.
Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.