By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer
Last year, the Mukilteo School District turned down $1.6 million from the state to expand all-day kindergarten, one of 34 districts in the state to do so.
The reason: When school districts go from half-day to full-day kindergarten, it takes twice as many classrooms, spokesman Andy Muntz said at the time. “We simply do not have those classrooms.”
A new building set aside exclusively for kindergarten students is one of the major construction projects included in the school district’s proposed $119.15 million bond issue. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Feb. 11.
The early learning kindergarten center, costing an estimated $33.5 million, would have room for about 530 students. It would be the fifth school district in the state to have a school set aside specifically for kindergarten students, according to Nathan Olson, spokesman for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
If voters approve the bond issue, the early learning center could open as early as the fall of 2017 and would allow all district kindergartners to have full-day classes, Muntz said.
The other major building project proposed in the bond issue is a new elementary school at the Lake Stickney site. The school, built in the 1960s, “was so old it was no longer suitable for kids,” Muntz said. It was closed after Odyssey Elementary School opened in 2003. The new school, estimated to cost $33 million, could open by fall 2016, Muntz said.
If voters approve the bond issue, it would be the first time since 2000 that such a taxing request has been approved. Voters turned down a $97 million bond issue in 2006. In 2008, proposed bond issues failed twice, with the second vote failing by about 200 votes, Muntz said.
If approved, the bond issue would tax property at 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
Voters also will be asked to continue a maintenance and operations levy to pay for costs and programs not fully funded by the state. If approved, the tax rate would be $3.13 per $1,000 of property valuation and a capital projects levy of 31 cents per $1,000.
If both measures pass, the overall taxing rate for the school district would be $4.70 per $1,000, including debt service on old bonds of 59 cents per $1,000 in property valuation. The owner of a $300,000 home would pay $1,410 in school taxes.
Levies can be approved with a simple majority, bond issues require a 60 percent super majority to be approved.
The school district’s levy “is what’s filling in the gap in what the state provides us and what it costs to run a school system,” Muntz said, including student activities, elementary band programs, transportation, to help pay teacher salaries and for classrooms and library materials.
The Mukilteo School District has an enrollment of 14,917 students and an operating budget of $156.3 million.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; email@example.com.
What it would buy
The Mukilteo School District is asking voters to approve a $119.15 million bond issue. Some of the projects it would pay for include:
$33.5 million for a new elementary school on the site of the old Lake Stickney Elementary
$33.5 million for a kindergarten center on property adjacent to Fairmount Elementary
$10.7 million to rebuild the gym and pool building at Olympic View Middle School
$6 million for technology equipment for students
$4.6 million for new tracks and turf fields at Kamiak and Mariner high schools and Voyager and Harbour Pointe middle schools
$2 million for security upgrades
$2 million to build a district-wide wireless network
$1.5 million for updating science classrooms