Renton school bond pass rate increases to 60.55 percent

April 19, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. April 19, 2012

The approval rating for a $97 million school bond in the Renton School District continued to increase today as unofficial election results continue to trickle in. The bond reached a 60. 55 pass rate with 10,246 voters in favor of the measure, with 6,676 residents voting against it.

The results will be finalized April 27.

Voters in the Renton district cast ballots for the second time this year April 17 that would finance a new middle school in Newcastle and facility improvements to Lindbergh High School’s pool, among other projects.

The bond needs a 60 percent yes vote and a minimum turnout of 10,582 people. More than 22,200 ballots were cast in the election.

The bond originally came up two points shy of the 60 percent needed to pass in the Feb. 14 special election.

Read more

Controversial bond deserves a yes vote

April 5, 2012

We wish the Issaquah School District had been more conservative in its request to fund the long list of items on the April 17 construction bond, but we get why it was not.

With another school bond ending its 20 years of tax collections, this is a good time to get a lot of catch-up work done on our school facilities, while still giving taxpayers a couple hundred dollars’ reduction in property taxes next year (an estimated $215 drop on a $500,000 assessed valuation home.)

Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, the group pushing a yes vote, say this is the biggest campaign it has ever mounted. It’s no wonder. With so many questions and a $219 million price tag, the proposed bond has raised a lot of eyebrows.

There are a lot of questions voters are asking, as we did. Do the middle schools really need artificial-turf fields? Does it really make sense to tear down Clark Elementary School? Does Tiger Mountain Community High School, population 80, really need to be relocated at a cost of $4 million? Isn’t $75,000 for clocks at Beaver Lake Middle School rather excessive? And so on.

First, recognize that the extensive repairs, remodels, permanent classroom additions for 500 students, rebuilds of the five oldest schools, stadium upgrades, safety and energy-saving additions is so extensive that it will take eight years to get it all done — although taxpayers will pay for the next 20 years.

Equality in school facilities will come closer to reality if these projects are completed. Consider that the slower economy makes it a great time to get the best construction bids.

For many voters, this bond request is a stretch. But just like the committee of volunteers who studied the issues and drafted the bond plan, we believe the facilities bond keeps Issaquah schools in tip-top shape and designed for changing educational needs.

Vote yes.

Renton bond back before voters in April 17 special election

April 5, 2012

Measure would provide funding for a Newcastle middle school

The Renton School Board voted Feb. 29 to rerun a $97 million building improvement bond that would fund a new middle school in Newcastle among other projects.

The bond, which originally came up two points shy of the 60 percent needed to pass in the Feb. 14 special election, will run again April 17.

Citizens for Renton Schools Chair John Galluzzo said a major setback to gathering enough support for the bond the first time was not giving residents a clear picture of what the bond would mean to them financially.

The election was about 335 votes short of the ballots needed to approve the bond, he said.

“We are confident that once we explain in further detail and do a better job of what that cost will be that people will jump at it,” he said.

The bond measure’s proposed bond collection rate would be an increase of about 18 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value, or about $46 per year for the average homeowner, according to district officials. That rate includes funding from all past voter-approved bond measures plus the new bond measure.

The proposed rate for those living in the district would increase to $5.39 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2013, up from $5.21 per $1,000 per assessed value in 2012.

Read more

$219 million Issaquah bond could revamp Liberty, Apollo schools

April 5, 2012

For Liberty High School, passage of the April 17 Issaquah School District $219 million bond would mean completion of the reconstruction and modernization plan now under way thanks to a 2006 voter-approved bond.

At the same time, Apollo and other elementary schools in the district would receive sizable space additions, making room for 120 additional students at each building. Apollo and other schools would benefit from some much-needed maintenance, according to the principals of the schools.

Outside of schools being rebuilt or transplanted, Liberty, Apollo and Issaquah Valley Elementary are the three individual school facilities that would receive the most attention in terms of dollar value should the district win passage of its current bond proposal.

Read more

King County mails ballots for April 17 election

March 28, 2012

NEW — 3:25 p.m. March 28, 2012

Ballots should start to appear in Issaquah and Renton school district voters’ mailboxes in the days ahead.

The Issaquah electorate faces a choice on a $219 million school construction bond in the April 17 election. (The school district stretches from Preston to Newcastle, and from Sammamish to Renton.)

Voters in the Renton district will cast ballots for the second time this year on a $97 million school construction bond that would finance a new middle school in Newcastle, among other projects.

Issaquah School District officials opted not to pay to include a voters’ pamphlet alongside ballots.

Read more

School renovations at Apollo, Liberty a priority for $219 million bond

March 23, 2012

Susan Mundell, Apollo Elementary School principal, checks some deterioration on a two-unit portable classroom dating from 1995, the oldest of three on the school grounds. By Greg Farrar

For Liberty High School, passage of the April 17 Issaquah School District bond would mean completion of the reconstruction and modernization plan now under way thanks to a 2006 voter-approved bond.

At the same time, Apollo and Issaquah Valley elementary schools would receive sizable space additions, making room for 120 additional students at each building. Both schools would benefit from some much-needed maintenance, according to the principals of each school.

Outside of schools being rebuilt or transplanted, Liberty, Apollo and Issaquah Valley are the three individual school facilities that would receive the most attention in terms of dollar value should the district win passage of its current bond proposal.

Read more

Voter registration still available for upcoming ISD, RSD school bonds

March 20, 2012

NEW — 11:35 a.m. March 20, 2012

Issaquah School District and Renton School District voters face a choice about a $219 million school construction bond and $97 million building improvement bond, respectively, in special elections next month.

Qualified residents can register to vote in person at King County Elections in Renton or a registration annex at the King County Administration Building in Seattle. The deadline for first-time voters to register in person is April 9.

In order to register as a Washington voter, a person must be a U.S. citizen, a Washington resident, at least 18 by Election Day and not under the authority of the state Department of Corrections.

Read more

$219 million bond calls for Liberty High School improvements

March 8, 2012

NEW — 4:30 p.m. March 8, 2012

Voting by mail in the weeks leading up to April 17, roughly 58,000 registered voters in the Issaquah School District will have the chance to decide whether the schools can sell $219 million in bonds to pay for major renovation and maintenance projects throughout the district.

The capital improvement plan presented by district officials includes a wide variety of projects, including replacing several schools, and installing new roofs and carpet at other facilities. The plan was created by a long process that started in early 2011 with meetings of a bond feasibility and development committee. That group made recommendations to Superintendent Steve Rasmussen and the package eventually had to earn the approval of the school board.

Read more

Renton School District voters defeat middle school bond

March 2, 2012

Operations, technology levies are supported

A Renton School District bond that would have provided funding for a new middle school in Newcastle came up 2 percent short of the votes needed to pass, but residents did support the district’s maintenance and operations and technology levies.

The Renton School Board  examined whether the district should run the bond again in an upcoming election this year, district spokesman Randy Matheson said.

It will be back on the ballot April 17.

“While there is great need for another middle school, board members are interested in hearing if there is consensus among parents and citizens about running the bond measure again so quickly, and if the community is willing to assist in the shortened campaign to communicate the measure,” he said.

The district’s building improvements bond required a 60 percent yes vote and a minimum turnout of 10,582 people. About 30 percent of registered voters cast their vote — or about 16,900 ballots — in the Feb. 14 election.

About 9,900 voters approved the bond, while about 7,160 rejected it.

The $97 million bond would have funded the new middle school at the former Hazelwood Elementary School site, now home to the Renton Academy.

Read more

$97 million bond calls for middle school

December 1, 2011

Boundaries for Renton School District wouldn’t be redrawn until after election

The Renton School District will put three measures before voters Feb. 14 — including a $97 million building improvement bond that might have big implications for where students from Newcastle attend middle school.

The bond would fund a new middle school in Newcastle at the former Hazelwood Elementary School site, now home to the Renton Academy. The academy provides alternative education services for students in the district. It will be moved to a new location if the bond passes, according to district spokesman Randy Matheson.

“We can do something with that property, and roughly an 800-student middle school is what we’re thinking right now,” he said. “Right now, McKnight Middle School has over 1,200 kids. Nelsen Middle School has over 1,100 kids. Dimmitt Middle School has over 1,000 kids. There’s a lot of teen spirit going on in those buildings.”

Matheson said middle schools in the district should ideally support between 800 and 900 students. Adding a middle school would benefit student ratios in each of the four schools if the bond measure passes, he said.

The Renton Academy facility would be torn down and a new building would be built in its place. The facility could be a traditional middle school or a magnet school to focus on a specialized curriculum, such a math or science.

Read more

Next Page »