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Everett Public Schools sets Capital Bond and Replacement Levy elections for February 13, 2018

The Everett School District is the fastest growing district in the county, spanning Everett, Mill Creek, areas of unincorporated Snohomish County. It will have 1,600 more students by 2016. Image courtesy of Everett Public Schools.
The Everett School District is the fastest growing district in the county, spanning Everett, Mill Creek, areas of unincorporated Snohomish County. It will have 1,600 more students by 2016. Image courtesy of Everett Public Schools.

From an Everett Public Schools News Release.

School board okays Bond projects to meet future readiness needs and Levy to replace expiring one

Future readiness is the “why” behind the district’s February 13, 2018 Capital Bond request, according to school board president Caroline Mason. “Bond funds are needed in three areas,” she said. “Growth readiness, career readiness and facilities readiness.”

About Growth Readiness

As Mason notes, “Everett Public Schools is the fastest growing district in the county. Snohomish County is the fastest growing county in the state. 1,600 more students will be here in 10 years. Students are now attending classes in 115 portables; more portable classrooms are on the way.”

Among other things,” she explains, “bond funds will pay to build a new high school, 36 new permanent classroom additions to schools around the district, and it will buy land for another elementary school needed in the future.”

About Career Readiness

Mason is particularly enthusiastic about the career readiness potential for students that is wrapped into the Capital Bond. “The Bond funds will transform sections of each high school into high tech vocational learning labs. Each existing traditional high school and the new high school will include these vocational learning spaces and a specialty program specific to that school. These career pathways will make it possible for our communities' children to choose whether to live and work in this region.

Mason cites a University of Washington research study pointing out the mismatch between new jobs opening here and local applicants seeking those jobs. “The Washington Round Table says its members prefer ‘Washington jobs for Washington kids.’ However, today, most local jobs and careers are filled by employees moving here from out of area.”

Through the career pathway programs at each high school, students can choose these high tech vocational pathways and get a heads up on certificates that could enable them to live and work in their home communities.”

Career Readiness programs planned at each high school

The district’s STEM – Career & Technical Education Director, Dana Riley Black, shared industry research and jobs projections used to establish the career pathways plans for each school. Riley Black and her team are working with local industry partners who will help guide the school programs and potentially incorporate students into internship and apprenticeship programs in the future.

The 2018 Capital Bond will rebuild Everett High’s vocational building into a high tech vocational learning and training center for medical and health careers. A key partner in the planning for the EHS career pathway is Providence Regional Medical Center. In 2015, the county had 13,706 jobs in the medical and health career category. By 2020, that number will jump to 35,100; by 2035, it will be 38,900.

Cascade High School will see its science building modernized and a 4,000 square foot addition focused on high tech vocational learning for aerospace and advanced manufacturing careers. Among other industry leaders, Riley Black is teaming with Aviation Technical Services to plan this project. As Riley Black notes, “This region is home to the largest aerospace industry cluster in the world. The industry supply chain produces aircraft, and drives innovation across clusters including advanced composite materials and aerospace biofuels. In 2016, our area held 43,900 jobs in this category, and the employment rate for jobs in these fields is 36 times the national average.”

Jackson High will see some classrooms transformed into information and communications technology learning and training labs. Riley Black points out, “The Central Puget Sound region has the highest concentration of information and communication technology jobs in the nation, supporting large industry companies and start-up culture. Industry types include software publishers, computer services, electronic and catalog shopping, communication equipment services, and looking to the future, cloud computing, big data and cybersecurity. Fluke Corporation is a key partner in our planning for Jackson’s career pathways. The employment rates here for these jobs are more than twice the national average.”

The district’s fourth traditional high school will include high tech learning and training spaces for careers tied to energy and sustainability. Again, Riley Black acknowledges the district’s planning partnership with organizations such as Public Utility District. “The new high school will give students a head start in high growth and high paying careers including agriculture, forestry, information and communication technology, life science and global health, manufacturing and transportation.”

The third category of the Capital Bond is facilities readiness. Mason explains the board’s commitment to protecting public investment in schools. “The bond will pay to modernize aging facilities, including heating, cooling and electrical systems. This will extend those schools' useful lives as community learning centers and further protect the community's investment in its schools.

Capital Bond projects and costs

  • New high school #4 will include high tech vocational learning areas focused on energy and sustainability career pathways: $216.8M
  • Cascade High science building modernization and 4,000 square foot addition will include high tech vocational learning areas for aerospace and advanced manufacturing career pathways: $20.2M
  • Everett High vocational building modernization will include high tech vocational learning areas for medical career pathways: $11M
  • Jackson High classroom retrofits will include high tech vocational learning areas for communications and information technology career pathways: $1.3M
  • 36 new permanent classrooms district-wide to reduce class sizes at Cedar Wood, Emerson, Jefferson, Mill Creek, Monroe, and View Ridge elementary schools. Parking lot expansions with safety features and access improvements at Emerson and Jefferson elementary schools: $38M
  • Land for a future elementary school #20: $5M
  • Everett High cafeteria building modernization -- to expand its size and extend the useful life of a central element of the school and community: $22.8M
  • Heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades at Penny Creek and Silver Lake elementary schools, Eisenhower and Evergreen middle schools and the maintenance facility: $6.5M
  • HVAC unit upgrades for 12 portable classrooms: $1M
  • Electrical system upgrades districtwide: $8M

About the Replacement Educational Programs & Operations Levy

Mason describes the Replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) as the framework upon which all educational programs in the district rely.

“The EP&O Levies make up the difference between what the state pays to operate schools and what the actual, local costs are. Costs not fully funded by the state include early learning, summer school, extended day programs, teaching materials and equipment, transportation, music, art, drama, athletics and extracurricular activities, special education, professional training for staff, competitive staff salaries, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs, gifted programs and ongoing facilities maintenance.

Mason adds, “The state Legislature made progress this summer in its efforts to fully fund basic education and meet the Supreme Court’s order to do so. But, as the Court ruled recently, the Legislature’s work is not done. The EP&O Levy funds ensure we are able to maintain programs that exist now. The EP&O funds are the infrastructure for building programs like career pathways. Working in tandem, the bond will transform sections of high schools into high tech vocational training areas, and the Levy will provide the funds to operate those new areas and the other educational programs our community expects for its children. ”

The February 13, 2018, EP&O Levy will replace the one expiring at the end of that year to cover the full costs of operating local schools.