Arlington voters to consider $107.5M bond for second time

The money would go toward building a new Post Middle School and adding to Arlington High School.

ARLINGTON — Voters in the Arlington School District are being asked to reconsider a $107.5 million bond that would pay to build a new Post Middle School and expand Arlington High School, among other projects.

The request last went to voters in February. It needed 60 percent to pass, and came up short by about 4 percentage points. In June, the school board approved a second attempt for the Nov. 6 election.

If passed, the bond would be paid back over the next 21 years. The estimated tax rate is $1.66 per $1,000 assessed value, or $581 a year on a $350,000 home.

The largest piece of the request is $72.8 million for a new Post Middle School. The campus is outdated and not up to safety standards, according to district officials. The new school would be built on the same property as the current one.

Eight classrooms and a workshop also would be added at Arlington High School.

There would be safety and security improvements at buildings throughout the district. New cameras, electronic locks, updated entryways and fire sprinklers are on the list.

Other plans include: improvements to sports fields; replacing boiler and furnace equipment; new carpets; and repaving the bus parking area, adding a bus wash and installing better lighting.

The district also aims to purchase land for a fifth elementary school. Portables recently were added at local elementaries to reduce crowding.

Officials anticipate higher enrollment in the coming years, with hundreds of new houses recently completed or set to be built soon in Arlington.

In deciding to re-run the bond, the Arlington School Board cited deteriorating and outdated infrastructure, the need to provide improved programs and learning spaces, and the importance of student safety.

The district is set to pay off existing bond debt next year. There’s also a state-mandated decrease in the local school operations levy. If the new bond passes, officials say they still expect the overall tax rate for the Arlington School District to decrease.

A committee used phone surveys and focus groups to gather input on why the bond failed last time. Feedback showed that voters were frustrated by a steep increase in school taxes at the state level, and felt uncertain about taxes at the local level.

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

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