Madison Elementary is one of the schools that would be torn down and replaced. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Madison Elementary is one of the schools that would be torn down and replaced. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Everett and Edmonds schools put big-ticket bonds on ballots

Combined, the bonds total nearly $1 billion and would replace three aging schools in each district.

EVERETT — Both the Edmonds and Everett school districts will ask voters in upcoming special elections to support big-ticket bond measures.

Everett school leaders are going forward with a bond measure after failing to pass one for $330 million in 2018.

The school board voted unanimously during Tuesday night’s meeting to put a $317 million bond on the ballot for April’s special election.

Unlike the 2018 proposal, this bond will not pay for a new high school to address overcrowding, instead funding districtwide renovations for existing schools with millions going toward upgrades at Everett and Cascade high schools.

The 25-person bond committee, formed last fall, deemed that spending $220 million on a new high school was too expensive. New boundary lines have temporarily alleviated class sizes and bond money would be better spent on all areas of the district, the proposal said.

School Board Director Pam LeSesnesaid while she supports the bond measure, the district still needs to plan for a new high school in the next five to 10 years.

“In some regards, we’re kicking the can down the road,” she said.

In addition to structural renovations, each high school would also offer courses for specific vocational training called career pathways. New subjects would be aerospace for Cascade, health care for Everett and technology for Jackson.

The committee passed on a new high school so bond money could go to all grade levels.

Instead of retrofitting older elementary schools, Madison, Jackson and Lowell elementaries would be torn down and replaced, each with a two-story building.

Christine Vo, a fifth-grade teacher at Madison Elementary, served on the commission. At the meeting Tuesday, she said security was the group’s top priority.

The three elementaries were all built before significant seismic codes were required, district planning and facilities director Darcy Walker said in an email.

There’s also money for 36 new elementary classrooms and security upgrades for nearly every school.

In the Edmonds School District, district leaders unanimously voted Tuesday to put a $600 million bond measure and $96 million levy on the ballot in February.

“The bond not only gives us the opportunity to build safer schools, it also allows us to design facilities to better support learning for all students and staff,” board President Diana White said in a news release.

If passed, the bond would pay for a new middle school where Alderwood Middle used to be, an elementary near Lynnwood High and an alternative learning center near the district’s administrative office in Lynnwood.

“The goal is to get [the learning center] into a more centralized location within the district,” Edmonds schools’ spokeswoman Harmony Weinberg said.

There’s also money for rebuilding Lynnwood’s College Place Middle School and Beverly and Oak Heights elementaries.

The technology and capital levy would span four years and allow the district to continue providing Chromebooks for students, improve internet access for students at home and upgrade display and audio systems in classrooms.

Bond measures need 60% of the vote to pass. The technology levy needs a simple majority.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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