Everett board to discuss rejected bond measure

EVERETT — After coming close but not having enough votes earlier this month to pass a $259 million bond issue, the Everett School Board now plans to talk about what to do next.

A work session is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the district’s administration building at 3900 Broadway.

Pam LeSesne, school board president, said that board members will likely discuss whether some issues, such as school overcrowding, need to be emphasized more to voters.

“The need is there and the need won’t go away,” she said. Five elementary schools, Cedarwood, Silver Lake, Mill Creek, Woodside, and Emerson, are over capacity by 300 students, she said.

Parents of Cedarwood students, seeing all the development along Bothell-Everett Highway, may ask of the school district, “Oh my gosh, what are you going to do?” she said.

Students living outside the boundaries of Jackson High School and Heatherwood Middle School who ask for variances to attend those schools are turned down because there’s no room, LeSesne said.

A new high school, a new elementary school and a major upgrade to North Middle School were among the projects included in the $259 million bond issue.

Fifty-eight percent of voters approved the bond issue, but that was still short of the 60 percent required for approval.

The district’s operating levy did pass, with nearly 61 percent voting yes. Levies pass with a simple majority.

LeSesne said she sees both votes as an indication that the community supports its schools.

Although special elections rarely draw big voter response, even with mail-in elections, the countywide participation rate of 29 percent was lower than the 37 percent originally projected by county election officials. Every school district in the county except Index, Stanwood and Arlington, had money issues on the ballot.

At Wednesday’s work session, no official action can be taken. LeSesne said she hopes that anyone from the public interested in commenting on a future bond issue will turn out for the school board’s next regular meeting on Feb. 25.

The school district needs to have schools that are safe, modern and upgraded so students can continue to get a quality education, she said.

“I would hope people will come forward and tell us how do we get there if we don’t modernize,” she said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

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