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Everett’s $330m school bond would build high school

EVERETT — Voters are being asked by the Everett School District to approve a $330 million bond — its biggest ask yet — and to continue an education funding levy.
Ballots are due Tuesday, Feb. 13.
Almost two-thirds of the bond’s cost is to build a new $216 million fourth comprehensive high school near Bothell to accommodate more than 1,500 students and, more importantly, relieve south end enrollment growth. This high school would open in 2022.
Another project would add 38 more classrooms district-wide to both reduce class sizes and to relocate students out of portable trailers and back into buildings.
The 20-year bond would vary in rates for the life of the bond; the four-year levy would cost an average of $2.10 year. The levy would run from 2019 to 2022.
The state’s tax rate increased by 82 cents for education to try to fully fund education under the McCleary decision.
The average Everett homeowner with a $260,800 home paid $1,533.50 in state and local school district taxes in 2017. The same homeowner saw property values increase and their $291,000 home will be billed about $1,856 in combined state and local school district taxes.
According to the school district, if both the new bond and levy are approved, the combined state and local* tax rate is projected to be $5.86 per each $1,000 of property value and stabilize around that rate through 2022 if the measures pass. It accomplished this through staggering bond payment schedules.
Other projects in the construction bond include adding STEM and vocational training at each high school, buying land for a 20th elementary school and also refurbishing the Everett High’s cafeteria for $23 million.
The district is trying to build more schools because it believes it has to: By 2026, the district estimates it will have 1,600 more students, or almost a 9 percent growth.
The STEM training centers would focus on the medical field at Everett High, information tech at Jackson and aerospace at Cascade.
The levy would require a simple 50 percent majority to pass; the bond would require a 60 percent supermajority.
A past 2016 capital bond paid for projects including a proposed two-story, $34 million elementary school which would have 26 classrooms to house up to 550 students. The new school, the 18th in the district, is in the south end of the district.
The 2016 bond also paid for projects such as rebuilding North Middle School and Woodside Elementary School, plus front entrance safety and security
projects at schools including Hawthorne and Silver Firs elementary schools. A more secure front entrance at Cedar Wood Elementary is being prepared for this year.
Construction at North Middle will begin later this year to be ready in 2019; Woodside will be completed during the 2019-20 school year.
The fourth high school was packaged in the 2014 bond request but held off of the smaller 2016 bond package. During that time, as construction costs regionally escalated, the project went from $89 million in 2014 to $150 million in 2016.
In 2014, the district put forward a $259 million bond package — twice. In special elections in February and April, the district had more than 50 percent of the vote but failed to get the supermajority required to pass.




* - CORRECTION:
The state and local taxes combined would amount to $5.86 per $1,000 in assessed property value. In an oversight, the prior version of this story stated that this rate is only for the local taxes. The Tribune regrets the error.

 

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