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Snohomish school bond asks to replace 6 schools

SNOHOMISH — It is a big wish list for school construction and safety, and the district has prepared to ask its 30,000 residents if they share the wish to improve schools.  
Mail-in ballots were sent last Thursday, and are due Feb. 11.
Voters will consider a $470 million bond that will rebuild more than half of the school district’s elementary schools, replace portables with building-space and enhance safety elements in every building.
Glacier Peak is one site that would have reduced reliance on portable space, if the bond passes.
The district has three high schools, two middle schools, 10 elementary schools, a preschool, an alternative learning program for students, and a cooperative program for home-school families. It serves 9,600 students and employs more than 1,000 people, more than half of them teachers. The school district is spread across 128 square miles.
Rebuilds are planned for Cascade View, Cathcart, Dutch Hill, Seattle Hill and Totem Falls elementary schools. Central Primary Center and Emerson Elementary would be combined into one new K-6 facility, on the Emerson site. That transformation includes educational enhancements for early learners, making Central Primary into an early learning center.
Superintendent Kent Kultgen said the Central Primary construction would “consolidate early learning services into one building,” housing existing educational programs such as Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and other developmental preschool options. He said those programs are currently split among the schools, but putting it under one roof will allow the programming to focus resources and improve communication.  
The project list for the bond came from a recommendation of the Citizen Facility Advisory Committee in a lengthy process to assess what was needed in school buildings. The committee came to the conclusion that given the state of some buildings and the growing population, upgrades were needed.
“This has been a very long process to identify the needs of the district,” Kultgen said.
Safety enhancements include digital access control that gives the district more information on who is entering and leaving, and at what time. The digital entry would replace “keys for getting into the building. It’ll be cards or fobs,” Kultgen said.
Safety and security changes are planned for every school in the district, Kultgen said.
“We just encourage folks to get informed,” Kultgen said.  
If approved, the tax rate for the Snohomish School District’s $470 million capital bond would be $0.98 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, according to the district.

Links for more information:
Links to various elements on the bond:
A list of capital projects and timelines for completion:
Frequently asked questions:

Community meetings:
The district is hosting another community meeting about the bond: It will be 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Glacier Peak High School in the commons (7401 144th Place SE in Snohomish). The district’s other scheduled meeting was held Wednesday, Jan. 23.




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