Opinion

Solve school crowding with your vote

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since 2007 and 2008, when Snoqualmie Valley School District came tantalizingly close to passing bonds—one $209 million, the other $189 million—that would have built a second high school.

Those votes failed, but the students kept coming—and the high school, despite small fixes and additions, hasn’t gotten much bigger.

It’s clear now, looking at the Snoqualmie Valley School District’s saga at the polls, that the Valley just wasn’t ready for a second high school in those years—and probably still isn’t today, when voters are faced with a new choice, an alternative to a new Mount Si High School.

New construction plans, which swap space at Snoqualmie Middle School for a new ninth grade academy, are really the latest and probably the district’s best chance to get some breathing room at Mount Si.

The 2010 bond does not build a second high school. What it does do is build a new middle school on land the district already owns on Snoqualmie Ridge. It also provides a blanket of needed fixes at schools around the district. The $56 million measure will cost the typical homeowner about $14 per month.

The timing is right. Looking ahead, construction costs aren’t going to get any lower than they are now.

Failure at the polls will lead to a crunch at middle school levels, the very grades that provide a crucial foundation for success at high school. In the meantime, there will be a commensurate educational shakedown, thanks to loss of one of the Valley’s three middle schools.

Administrators and teachers that we spoke to about the bond and what it means for Valley education are cautiously optimistic about passage. Perhaps rightly so—Si View Metro Parks passed its $6 million construction bond last year with 62 percent approval. Lessons have been learned from earlier challenges at the polls. We know exactly where the new school will go, and have a bond amount that is roughly a quarter of the cost of a full-size new high school.

Ultimately, voters must decide whether a solution to overcrowding in the district’s upper and middle grades—plus the potential for greater academic success by ninth graders and middle schoolers—is worth roughly a half a tank’s worth of gas in property taxes each month. We at the Record believe it is, and ask Snoqualmie Valley School District residents to vote “yes” and help achieve the 60 percent supermajority needed to replace Snoqualmie Middle School.

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