The Washington School Board Wednesday morning will review four options for a new bond issue bond proposal to present to voters in the next year.
Administrators, the school board and a community focus group have been meeting to plan the district’s next move after voters rejected a $65 million bond issue, which included a 46-cent property tax increase this past April.
If Prop I had passed, the district planned to build a new elementary school, middle school and early childhood center, as well as renovate another building for an alternative education site, and make technology improvements districtwide.
The facilities focus group, made up of patrons, staff and business leaders, offered an initial recommendation of running a similar bond issue in the next six to nine months. That group recently met again and voted on four bond issue options.
Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer will present the options and voting results to the board Wednesday morning. The meeting will begin at 7:45 a.m. at the Locust Street administration building. This is the board’s regular monthly meeting, but it has been switched to a morning meeting this time.
The school board has not decided when it will go back to voters, but a decision is expected soon.
A reorganization plan for the upcoming school year has already been approved by the school board.
Bond Issue Options
The four options under consideration are as follows:
• Option 1 — The original proposal, a $65 million bond issue with a 46-cent property tax increase.
• Option 1B — The original proposal with slight modifications, an approximate $61 million bond issue with a 43-cent tax increase.
• Option 2 — The original proposal, minus construction of a new elementary building, a $47 million bond issue with a 35-cent tax increase. Washington Middle School would be converted into an elementary school temporarily under this scenario. The district would have to go back to voters sometime in the future to build an elementary building. This would happen when Washington High School grows to the point that it needs to assume the property and space of the temporary elementary building.
• Option 3 — The original proposal, minus construction of a new elementary building and early childhood center, a $42 million bond issue with a 33-cent tax increase. A future bond issue would be needed to complete these projects.
VanLeer said focus group participants were asked to vote for their top two. Before voting, the group was given data to gain a historical perspective regarding ballot initiatives of the past. Approval ratings, total votes and proposed project details were shared dating back to 1990.
VanLeer said tax increases are not generally well received in the community.
“The district has not passed a bond issue requiring an increase to the tax levy of more than 3.7 cents in the last 25 years,” she said.
Other Agenda Items
Other items on the agenda Wednesday are board committee assignments and upcoming meeting dates.
Reports will be given on the lease of modular trailers and Focus Group 2.
The board is expected to take action on a new financial disclosure policy and historic designation request from the city.