Decision day for $1.7B in school bond and levy measures

Ballot proposals would pay to build new schools, improve old ones and buy better technology.

EVERETT — Voters on Tuesday will decide the fate of nearly $1.7 billion worth of school construction in Snohomish County.

Seven school districts are seeking approval of bonds, capital levies or both in the special election. Three districts also are asking voters to renew or supplement existing property tax levies to pay for academic programs and staffing not funded by the state.

Ballots can be placed postage-free in one of the county’s designated drop boxes until 8 p.m. Tuesday. Mailed ballots do not need a stamp, either, but they must be postmarked no later than Feb. 11 to be counted.

• The Edmonds School District is pushing the largest proposal, a $600 million bond and a four-year $96 million technology and capital levy.

If approved, the bond would build a new middle school and a new elementary school, replace three other schools and construct an alternative learning center. The district could continue providing Chromebooks to students and be able to make other technology upgrades in classrooms if the capital levy passes.

In the Snohomish School District, a $470 million bond would cover the cost of replacing six elementary schools and renovating another, upgrading security equipment on every campus and minimizing the number of portable classrooms.

Mukilteo’s $240 million bond would pay for additions to Challenger, Horizon and Discovery elementary schools and Mariner High School, and for additions to and partial replacement of Mukilteo and Serene Lake elementaries and Explorer Middle School.

In Arlington, there is a $71.5 million bond to pay for tearing down Post Middle School and replacing it with a new campus, and a separate four-year, $25 million capital levy to pay for campus safety improvements and additional classrooms at Arlington High School. The district is also seeking approval of a new four-year educational programs and operations levy.

• In Marysville, a proposed six-year, $120 million capital levy would pay for rebuilding Liberty and Cascade elementary schools.

• In Monroe, voters are being asked to pass a new six-year, $12.3 million technology levy to fund classroom computers, software upgrades and digital training for students.

• The Lakewood and Stanwood-Camano school districts each seek passage of new four-year levies for educational programs and operations

• And Darrington voters are being asked to pass a two-year supplemental levy.

Bonds and levies are paid for with assessments on local property taxes. The rules for passing them are different. Under state law, passage of bonds requires 60% support, while a simple majority is enough to enact a capital levy.

As of Monday morning, 22% of all ballots had been returned, according to the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office.

It is not too late to participate. State law allows individuals to register and vote on Election Day. It can be done between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. in the county auditor’s office or the Lynnwood library at 19200 44th Ave. West.

Call the county elections office at 425-388-3444 for more information.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

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