Board says ‘yes’ to bond, levy language

  • Eric Berto<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 9:58am

The future is coming to Shoreline schools. That is, if voters approve $149.5 million in new bonds for improvements to the district’s facilities and technology.

The official language of the bond and a $78.75-million four-year replacement levy were approved recently by the Shoreline Board of Directors.

In order to raise the funds for both measures, property owners within the district will need to boost property tax rates an additional 75 cents to $4.82 per $1,000 of assessed value. This means that a person with a $300,000 home would pay $1,446 per year, which is $225 more per year than is being paid now.

Superintendent James Welsh said that it has been 12 years since the district has sought a bond. After the passage of the last bond, the district made a commitment that it would make the money last at least a decade, a promise it fulfilled.

The new bond issue, which would provide a laptop for every student within the district in grades five through 12 as well as allow for upgrades to some schools’ facilities, would be paid off within four years. This would allow the district to bring the technology aspect back to voters in an attempt to keep the district on the cutting edge of technology, Welsh said.

“Because of the nature of technology, we would need to go back and refresh it,” he said. “We would go and every four years, the community would get a chance to vote to continue the technology issue.”

This also serves as an accountability measure to the public, Welsh said.

Upgrades to the district’s facilities account for more than half of the bond’s funds. Security and safety are the main concerns at the buildings said Paul Plumis, the district’s director of maintenance and operations.

Seismic upgrades, updates to sprinkler systems and installation of fencing and security fences account for the bulk of the $87 million set aside for capital improvements.

New synthetic turf would be installed at Einstein and Kellogg middle schools, Shorecrest and Shorewood high schools and Shoreline Stadium. Also the stadium track would be upgraded to an all-weather surface.

Fencing would be necessary in order to protect the new fields, Plumis said.

“The fences are primarily for the secondary schools where we’re putting in turf,” he said. “Primarily, they would preclude vehicular traffic from coming onto the field(s) and tearing (them) up.”

The bond and levy will be put before voters in a special election set for Feb. 7. It must pass by a 60-percent supermajority and at least 40 percent of voters who voted in the November elections must vote in order for the results to be valid.

The levy that will appear on the ballot replaces one set to expire in 2006. It would account for 20 percent of the district’s operating budget.

According to a written release from the district, levy dollars help fund basic education programs, including salaries for teachers and instructional materials and supplies. Funds will also be used to support extra-curricular student activities and special education, gifted, remedial and vocational education programs.

Welsh said that the district has had success with bonds and levies in the past and he expects the same for the February votes.

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