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Bond cost set, now it’s public’s turn | Valley school growth plan
Voters, sharpen your pencils. The Snoqualmie Valley School District needs your answer to a $216 million question: Is the proposed bond the right bond for the district?
A proposed bond now being considered by the board would:
• Build a sixth elementary school, and possibly a centralized preschool on Snoqualmie Ridge;
• Remodel most of Mount Si High School to a 2,100-student capacity; and
• Fund more than $20 million in maintenance projects, including roof replacements at North Bend, Snoqualmie and Fall City Elementaries and part of MSHS, new boilers at SES and MSHS, and a new expanded septic system at FCE.
It would also cost $215,535,000, for an estimated levy rate of $2.24 per $1,000 of assessed value. The amount is within the district’s reach, says district director of business services, Ryan Stokes, citing financial advisor D.A. Davidson’s assessment.
“We don’t reach our debt capacity with this,” Stokes said.
The sale of the bonds would not happen all at once, but could be spread out over several years of the eight-year remodel.
Now, voters also have to decide whether it’s in their debt capacity. Combined with the district’s existing debt service and current levies for operations and technology, the new tax rate is estimated to be $6.52 to $6.60 per thousand—not the highest school levy rate in King County, but in the top five.
According to the proposal-vetting timeline, the district planned to seek public input on the bond through a series of meetings in the coming week, but the meetings will actually be scheduled over the next few weeks, to ensure participation. Voters will be asked about this bond’s chances for success, and the school board will use that input to fine-tune the proposal.
The next stop on the timeline, was Nov. 21 a decision point. This date will likely amove to December, when the board will try to answer the question, is the proposed bond the right bond? If the answer is yes, the district will then embark on a major voter education and information campaign, leading up to the April 22 ballot.
It’s not clear what will happen if the answer is no, however. All three levels of students, elementary, middle and high, are projected to have significant capacity needs in the near future, according to enrollment projections from demographer Les Kendrick. By 2018, when the proposed bond would have a sixth elementary school built and phase 1 of the high school done, enrollment is estimated to be over 3,150 elementary, 1,640 middle school and 1,960 high school students.
By Thursday of this week, the district should have information available on when the public meetings will be scheduled. Check the school district website, www.svsd410.org, for the latest information.