LWSD to place capital projects levy on April 23 ballot

Levy will address immediate capacity needs and district-wide safety measures.

At its Dec. 3 meeting, Lake Washington School District’s (LWSD) board of directors passed Resolution No. 2259 to place a capital projects levy on the April 23, 2019 ballot.

This measure, if passed, authorizes a six-year levy totaling $120 million or an average of $20 million per year for six years.

According to a district press release, levy funds would pay for projects to address rapid enrollment growth and student safety and security. Proposed projects include: classroom additions at Lake Washington High School, including auxiliary gyms and commons; classroom additions at Carson, Franklin, Rose Hill and Twain elementary schools, including expansion of core facilities where feasible; and support for student safety by adding exterior security cameras at elementary schools and creating entry modifications for security at Eastlake, Redmond and Lake Washington high schools (Juanita High School’s entry modifications will be added during the current construction project).

LWSD’s official Oct. 1 student enrollment was 29,987 students, the release states. This is 417 more students than last year’s Oct. 1 count. For the last 10 years, from 2008-18, the district’s enrollment grew by about 620 students each year. That is the size of a large elementary school. A total of 6,218 more students are in LWSD schools today than 10 years ago, representing 26 percent growth.

According to the release, the district needs additional schools and classrooms to meet growing enrollment needs. In 2016, voters passed the first of four planned bond measures that will fund school construction projects needed through the 2029-30 school year. These projects were recommended by a citizen-based community task force. The second of four planned bond measures went to voters in 2018. That bond did not receive the necessary 60 percent “yes” vote to pass. This levy will help address the immediate critical capacity needs of the district. LWSD will continue to look at solutions to address aging facilities and ongoing capacity needs.

The tax rate for construction will be maintained at the estimated 2019 rate of $1.16 per $1,000 assessed valuation (AV) through the combination of prior bonds and the six-year capital projects levy, the release states. The overall tax rate per $1,000 of AV, including this measure and previously approved bond and levy measures is estimated to remain at the 2019 rate of $2.60.