Early school levy decisions welcome

August 22, 2013

By Administrator

We appreciate early decision making by the two school districts serving Sammamish families.

Issaquah School Board led the way by agreeing to its 2014 school levy and bond package on June 26. Lake Washington School district was not far behind, approving its voter request at the Aug. 6 school board meeting.

With the citizen research done and the needs identified, there was no reason to delay the school board votes. It’s a good thing to get the facts out there early, as voters will need the six months lead time to get their head around the numbers.

ISD’s proposal includes a request for a $193 million maintenance and operations levy, a one-year $1.7 million transportation levy and a four-year $51.9 million capital/technology levy. Numbers could vary slightly before being confirmed this fall, after state funding is better known.

LWSD’s request is larger, including a $755 million construction bond for five new schools and extensive remodeling at many others. The district will also ask for $41.6 million for two replacement levies for operations, facilities and technology.

Those numbers can be overwhelming. While voters in both districts do favor supporting their schools, the real question comes down to what it costs each homeowner and whether the price is worth the added cost to each household.

In Issaquah, the total package will add about $95 per year to the property tax bill on a home valued at $500,000.

In Lake Washington, the same home would see an increase of about $405 per year.

Taxpayers’ heads are already spinning with tax increases just approved for county parks, and the legislature proposing (though not approving) higher taxes and fees primarily for transportation needs — including road maintenance and transit services.

Stepping up to the support the needs of students and growing student populations is never an easy decision, but thanks to the early work of both school districts, volunteers on either side of the issue can get busy raising the necessary dollars to mount informational campaigns so decisions can be made with full knowledge come February.

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One Response to “Early school levy decisions welcome”

  1. Michael Sullivan on August 24th, 2013 11:05 pm

    THREE QUARTERS OF A BILLION DOLLARS? Are these schools made of gold? By contrast the highly criticized and opulent US Capitol Visitor Center that opened a few years ago seems downright reasonable at $600 million.

    Perusing the LWSD website I see that they want to build 2 new magnet schools. As someone who greatly benefited from a public education I recoil at this because quite frankly this is a perfect example of a luxury item that provides little tangible benefit over other alternatives. If you want kids to be successful as engineers, you put them in AP Calculus and AP Physics. Likewise with courses like AP Comparative Government or foreign languages if you want an international focus. You do not need an entire schools dedicated to specialties. This is not a college campus charging tuition that can afford to have separate schools with diverse specialties. This is high school. If students want to specialize, create a bridge program with local community colleges and let them take classes there. Even if LWSD paid for their tuition, that’d be a whole lot cheaper than building two brand new schools, staffing them, and maintaining them.

    Oh and I love how LWSD’s website has a special “Swimming Pool FAQ” section right on the navigation pane to the left. Nice to know this is in the forefront instead of facts like average class size, projected class sizes with and without the bond issue, etc etc.

    LWSD has a history of asking taxpayers for every single bell and whistle, getting turned down, and then presenting a more balanced and reasonable request the following year. The Feb 2010 bond comes to mind.

    I would highly encourage fellow LWSD taxpayers to send a message and say that this kind of reckless spending will not be tolerated. Vote this down and make them come back with a package that’s more reasonable in cost and requests. I will vote for the levies but there is no way on this Earth that I will vote for this bond issue.

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