The final results for the King County special election are in, with the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) Capital Projects Levy passing with a 60.75 percent yes vote and 39.25 percent no vote.
The final vote count was certified Feb. 23, and LWSD director of communications Kathryn Reith said they are “absolutely grateful” for the community’s support of the $65.4 million vote-by-mail levy, which required a simple majority of 50 percent plus one yes vote to pass.
“I’m grateful for this strong show of support for our schools,” said superintendent Chip Kimball. “Despite a very tough economy, our community is willing to pay for the needed expansion of space to accommodate our growing student population. Our community’s support for education is critical to our ability to prepare students for the future. It is this support that makes the Lake Washington community a great place to live, work, learn, and play.”
According to the King County Elections website, a total of 35,889 ballots were counted — 21,786 in favor, 14,076 against. There are 98,987 registered voters in the county as of Jan. 28, making for a 36.26 percent turnout. The results can be viewed on the King County elections website at www.kingcounty.gov/elections.
Like Kimball, Matt Loschen is overjoyed with the results. As a member of the Lake Washington Citizens Levy Committee he has worked to raise awareness and garner support for the levy since it was proposed by the LWSD school board last fall. Throughout the campaign, Loschen worked with students from Redmond High School (RHS) who would have been directly affected if the levy did not pass. He said the students’ main concern was the possibility of the school double shifting with half of the students going to school in the morning and half in the afternoon, adding that this would have devastated both academics and extracurricular activities.
“Everyone was breathing a sigh of relief,” he said about their reactions to the levy results. “(Double shifting) was a real threat. I’m glad we took care of that. We also recognize there’s a lot of work a head of us.”
The six-year levy will allow LWSD to build additional classrooms at Redmond and Eastlake high schools and build a new secondary choice school that will focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Reith said now that it looks like the measure will pass, the district’s facilities will start working on the preliminary plans for these projects because construction must be complete by fall 2012.
The district also has to plan the academic program and curriculum for the new STEM school, Reith said. As for its location, she said they are looking at a piece of land the district already owns next to Louisa May Alcott Elementary School in Redmond. Before construction can begin, though, the district must go through the permitting process and be approved by King County.