6 of 7 Snohomish County school bonds, levies win voter support

  • By Kari Bray Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, February 9, 2016 10:06pm
  • Local News

LAKE STEVENS — Voters are leaning toward approving a $116 million bond measure to build a new elementary school and preschool, add new buildings at Lake Stevens High School and work on repairs and security across the district.

The bond was the largest request made by a Snohomish County school district in Tuesday’s special election. Seven local districts put levy or bond measures in front of voters. As of 8 p.m. Tuesday evening, most of those measure were passing.

In Lake Stevens, 61.5 percent of voters were in favor of the bond, according to initial results. It requires at least 60 percent of the vote to pass.

The 20-year bond is expected to cost homeowners about $1.21 per $1,000 assessed property value, or about $303 a year on a $250,000 home. Construction would start this year on a new elementary and preschool, and plans would be drawn up for new buildings on the high school campus. Every Lake Stevens school would get safety upgrades and some would get infrastructure improvements.

The Sultan School District also was seeking a bond for new construction. Early results show 56.6 percent of voters rejecting the $47.7 million request. The 25-year bond would have jumped tax rates from 27 cents per $1,000 assessed property value to $2.40 per $1,000, an increase from about $68 to about $600 a year on a $250,000 home. At least 60 percent voter approval would be needed to pass the measure.

The school district hoped to use the money to: expand the welding shop and build eight new classrooms at Sultan High School; add a new gymnasium and performing arts center; upgrade security; overhaul the track and synthetic-turf field; build a new district office, technology center and bus maintenance area; update Sultan Middle School; and replace roofs at the middle and elementary schools.

Five other Snohomish County school districts are asking for renewed levies for operations or technology. If approved by a simple majority in each district, the new levies would take effect after existing levies expire at the end of this year.

The Edmonds School District requested a $59 million four-year levy for technology improvements and upgrades to buildings and sports fields. Voters were 61.9 percent in favor of the proposal Tuesday evening. More than $32 million would be used for student Chromebooks, replacing school computer labs and teacher laptops, and upgrading cameras and sound systems. Roughly $26 million would go toward new roofs on 10 buildings, redoing some sports fields at Edmonds-Woodway and Lynnwood high schools, and removing old construction debris buried at Cedar Valley Elementary School. The levy is expected to cost property owners between 56 and 59 cents per $1,000 assessed value, or up to $148 on a $250,000 home.

The voters in Mukilteo also were supporting a levy for building improvements, with 62.1 percent saying yes. The $20-million, six-year request is meant to create a rainy day fund for the district to deal with unexpected projects such as repairing roofs and pavements or patching up plumbing and electrical problems. Homeowners would continue paying 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value if the levy is renewed, which amounts to about $63 on a $250,000 home.

The Arlington School District asked for a $57 million four-year levy that would cost property owners $3.56 per $1,000 assessed property value, roughly $890 on a $250,000 home. So far, voters are 59.6 percent in favor of the measure. Arlington levy dollars go toward courses, supplies and salaries. Among the programs the existing levy supports are STEM projects at Post Middle School, manufacturing and construction classes at Arlington High School and the school resource officer.

In the Stanwood-Camano School District, 65.7 percent of voters were saying yes to a $51.3 million four-year levy renewal. The district has used its current levy for all-day kindergarten, special education and school meals. Renewing it would cost voters an estimated $2.28 per $1,000 assessed value, or about $570 on a $250,000 home.

The Lakewood School District, which serves students in parts of Marysville, Arlington and Stanwood, put two four-year levies on the ballot. One is for operations and other is for technology and maintenance. Early results show 53 percent of voters in favor of both the operations and technology levies. The operations levy is a $26.6 million request that would cost $3.18 per $1,000 assessed property value in its first year, or about $795 on a $250,000 home. That’s the same as the current operations levy rate. The technology levy would bring in $2.85 million over four years for upgrading equipment, software, networks, security and training. It would cost between 34 and 35 cents per $1,000 property value, or up to $88 on a $250,000 home.

Herald reporters Sharon Salyer and Amy Nile contributed to this report.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

Bond results as of 8 p.m. Tuesday

(Require at least 60 percent approval)

Lake Stevens — Yes: 61.5% No:38.5%

Sultan — Yes: 43.4% No: 56.6%

Levy results as of 8 p.m. Tuesday

Arlington — Yes: 59.6% No: 40.4%

Edmonds — Yes: 61.9% No: 38.1%

Lakewood operations — Yes: 53% No: 47%

Lakewood capital and technology — Yes: 53.1% No: 46.9%

Mukilteo — Yes: 62.1% No: 37.9%

Stanwood-Camano — Yes: 65.7% No: 34.3%

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