Snoqualmie school board agrees to agree on some aspects of bond proposal

A unanimous vote to put a bond on the ballot isn't essential, but it would be nice, said Snoqualmie Valley School Board members Feb. 6. What's more important, they felt, was a unified front in pitching the bond to the community. Whether they could reach unanimity on either point was the unresolved question of the night.

"I don't know if this board is capable of a (split) vote and unanimous action," said board member Dan Popp.

The discussion was a follow-up from the Jan. 23 work session, recommended by Board President Geoff Doy. He had asked for "a conversation about what we do if we don’t get a unanimous response" when the board came to vote on a facilities bond. He emphasized the discussion would relate to any bond proposal, not just the current proposal. Option A, now under consideration, is a $216 million initiative for a sixth elementary, high school remodel and districtwide maintenance that had support from only three of the five board members at that work session.

At the Feb. 6 meeting, all board members expressed a wish for a unanimous vote, and some skepticism about it happening.

"It may very well come down to majority (split) vote, and unanimous action," said board member Marci Busby, who felt the bond is not right for the district and asked for revisions. "I would just hope that… when we do go to vote, we all feel positive about it."

Carolyn Simpson was also skeptical about unanimous action, saying that board members who opposed a bond proposal couldn't be forced into supporting its campaign. She felt that any opponents should be asked, if not to wholeheartedly support a bond campaign, at least to not work openly against it.

Doy felt strongly that all board members would need to agree to support a bond campaign, and that a split vote or less than unanimous campaign support represented "increasing levels of risk." However, he was also against the board "being held hostage" by members opposed to a bond.

"I don't think we were elected to do nothing," he said.

To facilitate future bond planning, Doy also proposed an unofficial agree/disagree vote from each board member on the specific needs of the district, categorized as: a sixth elementary school; another middle school; improving and replacing district infrastructure; improving/replacing the high school infrastructure; improving the high school's capabilities for program offerings; and keeping the freshman program separated from the main campus.

Board members agreed in general that the elementary and middle school were needed, but the category break-out for the other issues caused confusion, and Carolyn Simpson noted that the capacity of the high school should be a category in itself.

The session ended with plans to further discuss the needs, and look at bond planning, including how late into 2015 the board could put a bond on the ballot.


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