LWSD bond and levies will be on February ballot

The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) is asking for voter approval on a bond and two levies for the February 2018 ballot.

The voters are being asked to approve of a bond that would be for $299 million and is the second of four planned bond measures that will fund school construction projects through the 2029-2030 school year.

Funding from this bond would go toward creating an addition at Lake Washington High School, building a new elementary school in the Lake Washington Learning Community, remodel or replacement and enlargement of Kamiakin Middle School, a choice high school in the Redmond or Eastlake area, the remodel or replacement and enlargement of Alcott Elementary School and the creation of special education spaces.

These improvements were recommended by a citizen-led community task force.

According to LWSD documents, this is the 10th year in a row of enrollment growth in the district, making it the third largest school district in the state at nearly 30,000 students.

Between 2010 and 2017, LWSD has grown an average of 700 students per year.

The number of students enrolled in 2008 was around 24,000.

The two levies would be renewals of previous ones that require approval every four years.

The cost of the bond would be $1.31 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Two levies are also being proposed for the ballot, one of which would fund educational programs and operations and the other would fund capital projects.

The educational programs levy, if approved, would actually decrease from its current rate of $1.26 down to $1.03 per $1,000 of property value, while the capital projects levy would remain at 59 cents.

In total, residents would see a tax burden decrease from $3.16 to $2.93 if the bond and two levies are approved.

Funding from the capital projects levy would fund facilities and technology needs, including heating and ventilation systems, roofing, athletic field improvements, portables and safety measures. It would also fund security, staff and student computer needs, software, security cameras and more.

The educational programs and operations levy funds staff, programs, operations and courses not funded by the state.

It pays for special education, highly capable and English learner programs. It also pays for substitute teachers, nurses, health room staff and security, according to LWSD.

It will also fund a seven-period day for high school students to help meet the state-required 24-credit graduation requirement. It also helps pay for Head Start and Ready Start programs, as well as special education preschool.

The bond and capital projects levy will remain the same.

In 2016, voters approved the first installment of the four-part bond measure plan.

This raised nearly $400 million, which added space for 3,000 new students.

It was also used to rebuild and enlarge Juanita High School, Kirk Elementary and Mead Elementary. It also funded new schools in Redmond Ridge and north Redmond.

The Old Redmond Schoolhouse was refurbished for preschool and Explorer portables were replaced with modular classrooms.

If approved, the February bond will add space for an additional 2,100 students.

Following this bond ask, the task force that made the initial bond recommendations will reconvene to discuss the next bonds that will be proposed in 2022 and 2026.

For more information, visit www.lwsd.org/about-us/2018-bond-and-levies.