By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
Final tallies by Snohomish County Elections show Everett School District voters approved both the capital improvement and school construction bond and the replacement capital levy in the April 26, 2016, Special Election.
The Washington State Secretary of State certified the final results on Friday, May 6th.
Over 22,000 Everett School District votes were counted in the April 26th Special Election, which represents approximately 30% of registered voters.
Proposition 1, Capital Projects and Technology Levy, only needed a simple majority to pass, so the 65.13% “Yes” votes put the measure way over the mark.
Proposition 2, General Obligation Bonds for Capital Purposes, needed 60% approval to pass, so the 62.23% “Approved” votes also put this measure in the win column for the Everett School District.
What comes next
In an April 12th presentation to the Mill Creek City Council Everett Public Schools Director Caroline Mason said this year’s bond and levy packages took a lot of effort, “After the failed bond in 2014 tax rates did decline slightly, but it was extremely important to our board of directors to make sure that tax rates were reasonable. So we worked very hard to come up with meeting the most critical needs and what is best for our students, and balancing that against what we felt was fiscally responsible to our taxpayers.”
Property owners in the Everett School District won’t see their property tax rise until 2017. At that time an additional $0.68 per thousand dollars of assessed property value will be tacked onto this year’s $5.18 Everett School District tax rate. The resulting 2017 $5.86 tax rate is lower than tax rates in 2013 and 2014.
Everett School District property tax rates. Data courtesy of Everett School District.
Director Mason said that if the measures passed the bond funds would be available sooner than the levy funds. She said funds from the bonds are available just as soon as the bonds are sold, whereas the levy funds won’t start accumulating until spring of 2017.
Everett School District Facilities and Operations Director Mike Gunn told the Mill Creek City Council that the first priority for the bond funds would be to deal with enrollment growth in the south end.
Part of the plan is to build a new 73,000 square foot elementary school on land the Everett School District already owns, which is just south of Mill Creek on 180th Street SE.
Director Gunn said that construction of the new elementary school would begin within two years and would be complete 14 months after that.
Although there is a need for another high school in the south end of the Everett School District, voters didn’t approve the 2014 capital bond that would have paid for it.
High school enrollment growth will continue to be met by adding portable classrooms to existing campuses. 14 new portable classrooms will be paid for by bond funds.
Director Gunn said that the Woodside Elementary School and North Middle School renovations would soon follow the new elementary school construction.
A preliminary schedule showing all capital projects can be found at the end of this article.
Here is a list of the $149.7 million General Obligation Bonds for Capital Purposes projects:
- New elementary school Number 18 - $43.9M
- Land for a future elementary school Number 19 - $4.5M
- Woodside Elementary School renovation - $27.8M
- North Middle School renovation - $50.1M
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades for 8 schools - $9.9M
- New roof at Gateway Middle School - $2.0M
- Telephone and voicemail system replacement, district-wide - $4.0M
- Technology network infrastructure - $2.3M
- 14 portable classrooms for high school enrollment growth - $2.8M
- Everett High School field replacement - $1.5M
- Preserve and restore Everett High School exterior finish - $0.9M
The $89.6 million Capital Projects and Technology Levy includes the following projects:
- Safety and security upgrades - $8.6M
- Maintenance, fire alarms, painting, flooring, portable ramp replacements - $9.3M
- High school, middle school and elementary school computing devices - $28.9M
- WIFI, network equipment, data security, fiber optic, security cameras - $10.1M
- Upgrade of existing technology, science, technology, engineering & math labs - $12.4M
- Staff training, parent, student and teacher access systems, support - $2.8M
- Central technology upgrades, software licenses, classroom and technical support staff - $15.5M
- 10 portable classrooms to relieve overcrowding - $2.0M