Opinion

Numbers don’t add up for Lake Washington School District | Guest column

Steven Swedenburg is a Kirkland resident. - Contributed photo
Steven Swedenburg is a Kirkland resident.
— image credit: Contributed photo

This guest column is written in response to last week’s guest column by Jill Stoddart.

First of all I am not anti-school just anti-waste and mismanagement.

I am all for financially sound investments in facilities and personnel that is prudent.

If you really believe “it’s for the children,” then why bury them in debt unnecessarily?

The Lake Washington School District is spending two to three times the cost for similar buildings compared to the Monroe School District.

Stay on point, be adult enough to not attack someone asking for clarification of the facts.

And, seriously, just where did you get the one-room schoolhouse with a wood stove?

This is the best you have to offer?

The $404 million bond must be paid with tax dollars, the number of 25 cents per $1,000 assessed value is incorrect.

For example, assume 5 percent interest on a $404 million bond over 20 years. The interest payments will be $20 million the first year and $10 million the following 19 years. This comes to $210 million to service a $404 million bond.

This interest rate cannot be serviced at anything less than $8 million a year over 20 years, that would be $210 million. That does not include the loan, just the debt service. AAA bonds are 3.75 percent but the Lake Washington School District gets 5 percent.

You cannot get there at 25 cents per $1,000 assessed value. The math does not work.

Also note that the Juanita High School rebuild loses our pool. The pool that is supposed to cost $40 million to replace.

The Newcastle YMCA, completed three years ago, built two 25-meter pools with a total of six lap lanes for under $16 million. And oh, by the way, it includes 32,000 square feet of gyms, locker rooms, showers, work out facilities and meeting rooms - all equal to the size of an average elementary school.

The fact that the $755 million bond went down to defeat twice is very telling, the school district board simply cut $335 million from the original bond with every intention to bring the $335 million back in two to four years, there was no attempt at savings, budget planning or bond modifications for efficiency.

The projected expenditure of $135 million for 243,000 square feet places the cost at $547 per square foot.

Premier office space in Bellevue is commonly under $50 per square foot.

This does not include the cost of the STEM building at $35 million or the Juanita Pool replacement.

Just what is going on here?

Kirkland City Council and Redmond City Council members are on record questioning the expenditures and the numbers.

Just the facts.

Steven Swedenburg co-wrote the no position in the 2013 general election voters pamphlet and is a Kirkland resident.

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