Residents attend one of several safety and security forums hosted by Arlington Public Schools. (Arlington Times)

Residents attend one of several safety and security forums hosted by Arlington Public Schools. (Arlington Times)

Arlington School Board OKs leaner bond proposal for February

The requested amount has been decreased from $107.5 million to $96 million.

By Douglas Buell / The Arlington Times

ARLINGTON — The Arlington School Board on Monday approved running a construction and security bond measure in a February special election for a third try with voters. This time, it’s a leaner package with a lower price tag.

The requested amount has been decreased from $107.5 million to $96 million, district spokesman Gary Sabol said.

Based on a committee recommendation, the new proposal will focus on improving safety and security at all schools, building an improved Post Middle School and adding eight classrooms to a crowded Arlington High School.

The total local schools tax rate would be one-third less than the tax rate paid in 2018, Sabol said.

Public surveys placed a high priority on school safety and security.

The surveys also revealed concerns about property taxes. In addition to the rebuild of Post and added classrooms at the high school, the revised bond proposal funds improved classroom door locks, safety additions at entrances and security cameras at all Arlington schools.

The February and November 2018 bond proposals, both of which received majority approval but did not reach the 60 percent supermajority required, included improvements to athletic facilities and the district’s transportation center, and drainage for elementary play fields. Those have been excluded to bring down the cost.

The district will still be eligible for state matching of $11.5 million, and may those funds might be used to pay for projects removed from the bond, Sabol said.

Superintendent Chrys Sweeting said feedback indicated there were “some factors that worked against the passage of the bond, including uncertainly about taxes, school funding and certain projects. The needs presented in the February and November bond package still exist.”

This story originally appeared in The Arlington Times, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.

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