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Everett Schools asking for $317m bond on August ballot

EVERETT — Voters are being asked whether to approve a $317 million, 20-year school bond to add classrooms and upgrade existing schools.
It also would pay for putting new science equipment in the district’s three main high schools to boost its career pathway programs.
The measure is on the August primary. Ballots are due Aug. 4.
The district’s tax rate would stay the same as 2020’s rate for the near-term future if this bond is approved, because the district’s bond repayment schedule is weighted to make the larger payments further out in the future as old bonds the district already is paying get finished up.
The school district developed the projects list in this bond before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, which is one criticism from an opposition “no” group asking voters to scrap this bond.
The opposition group says the district’s projections for enrollment might drop because of the pandemic, and the ability for the public to pay for bonds has changed because of economic uncertainty.
The biggest projects are to add 36 classrooms among the district’s  schools and to demolish and replace three elementary schools —  Lowell, Jackson and Madison — that last received major renovation in the early 1990s.
No additional schools will be built in this construction bond.
Both the pro and con committees seem to agree on one item from differing angles: More space is needed for students. District schools are overcrowded, with students in portables trailers. The “no” group wrote in the voters’ pamphlet that “enormous buildings” will be needed.
The district is not pursuing a fourth high school in this bond. It had sought building a new high school in three prior bonds. Instead, during 2017 and 2018, the district adjusted boundary lines for Cascade, Jackson and Everett high schools to fill them up more evenly and solve overcrowding issues in high schools in the south end of the district.

Tax rate
The school district’s portion for tax rates would stay stable at $4.87 per $1,000 in assessed property value through 2024 if this bond is approved, or go lower in 2021 if the bond is rejected.
For an average $400,000 home, $4.87 per $1,000 is $1,948 in school taxes a year.
The district says this bond would not create a tax increase because this 20-year bond’s payment schedule is not built to be “front-loaded,” but has payments gradually get larger later as old bonds expire. (The 2016 bond would be paid off by 2024, from a district chart breaking down the components of its tax rate.)
Voters last approved a capital bond in 2016. The 2016 capital bond paid to replace North Middle School and Woodside Elementary School, and also built the brand-new Tambark Creek elementary school in north Bothell.



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