A community-led plan for a school construction bond will go before voters on Nov. 8, 2016, Highline Public Schools announced Thursday morning, July 21.
The proposed bond would fund repair or replace deteriorating schools, ease overcrowding, and make safety improvements at all Highline schools.
The School Board passed the resolution at its Wednesday night (July 20) meeting to place the bond measure on the ballot.
The proposed $299 million bond measure contains all the projects recommended in Phase 1 of the plan developed by the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC), a 39-member, community-led committee.
CFAC is composed of Highline residents, staff, and students. CFAC committee members spent the past year intensely studying the district’s facility needs and creating a long-range facilities plan and bond proposal.
The committee was chaired by former Burien City Councilmember Rose Clark, SeaTac resident Danielle Houle, and Health Sciences & Human Services High School student Larissa Hueta-Merlo.
“This was truly a community-driven process. It was important to us to recommend a plan that the community can pay for and support,” said Clark.
Committee members studied enrollment projections, building capacity, building conditions, financial constraints, related legislation, additional funding available, construction costs and other factors. The committee then developed a priority list of problems to be solved and defined a solution for each.
“The committee dug into the data and developed a plan that will meet the capital facilities needs across our district, based on all the data,” said Houle.
If approved, the bond would:
- Fund security improvements at all schools in the district.
- Rebuild Highline High School, preserving as much of the façade as structurally and financially feasible.
- Begin design of new Evergreen and Tyee campuses.
- Build new school on the district-owned Zenith site to house Des Moines Elementary students, with room for growing enrollment.
- Build a new middle school on the district-owned Glacier site.
- Replenish the capital fund, which will be depleted in 2017-18. This fund covers critical needs and emergency repairs.
Make required improvements to the Olympic site, so it can be used to house students during the HHS construction and future school construction projects.
“We have deteriorating buildings that must be replaced or repaired in order to provide safe, modern facilities for students that meet today’s learning standards. We also need to build new schools to make room for a growing student population, and voter-approved bonds are our only method to do that,” said School Board President Michael Spear. “The Board truly appreciates the work and the recommendation by the Committee and the time it took to develop.”
Why run the bond in November? The district listed three reasons:
- Higher than average voter turnout is expected, due to the presidential election, so more community members will participate in the decision.
- Sharing the ballot with other measures reduces the costs the district must pay the county for the election.
- With construction costs rising, the sooner construction begins the less expensive it will be.
To learn more about CFAC, please visit highlineschools.org/CFAC.