The Arlington School District may be heading back to local voters with a scaled down version of their bond that residents voted down in February and November.

The $107.5 million bond proposal failed in February with 55.89 percent of voters in favor and again in November with 52.03 percent of voters in favor.

School bond measures require 60 percent approval to pass in Washington state.

The district’s Facility Advisory Committee was scheduled to present a revised bond measure with $96 million in projects to the Arlington School District board of directors on Dec. 10 (which was after the North County Outlook went to press), and if board members approve, the proposal will be on the Feb. 12, 2019 ballot.

No new projects were added and some projects like the Arlington High School bus shelter were removed.

The biggest parts of the bond removed were the athletic improvements and field drainage improvements.

The focus of the bond remains the same as the previous bond measures.

"The primary projects would be the complete rebuild of Post Middle School and adding eight classrooms and a technology and arts workshop to Arlington High School,” said Brian Lewis, executive director of operations for the Arlington School District.

Because of security concerns and seismic preparedness issues "the focus of the committee remains replacing Post Middle School,” said Lewis.

A complete replacement costs only marginally more than a renovation, said Lewis, because so much about the current middle school would have to change.

"Any improvement that we make would trigger having to get the school up to code,” said Lewis.

A new Post Middle School would also help teachers and students, he said.

"The classrooms don't do what we need them to do from an instructional standpoint,” he said.

The district can receive about $11.4 million in state matching funds if they construct Post Middle School and new classrooms at Arlington High School.

The safety and security improvements for all schools remain as part of the bond. Those projects include installing vestibules, cameras and interior classroom door locks in all schools.

Lewis said that the district’s 2018 opinion poll showed a high priority for student safety.

"The majority of respondents support improved safety and security and our work with the safety and security forum continued to show that," he said. 

Some miscellaneous projects remain as part of the bond as well.

"There are smaller projects that are part of the bond, such as heating and ventilation systems at Weston High School or Kent Prairie Elementary,” said Lewis.

The median home value in Arlington is around $350,000, said Lewis, which meant an average of $1,638 per home was collected by the local school district in 2018.

Because of the district’s expiring bond debt, even if the bond passes that payment amount is estimated to be about $1,022 in 2020. 

This is also partially due to Washington state collecting more for education, but overall the amount local homeowners pay for schools is estimated to be less in 2020 than it was in 2017.

Lewis said that the school district did plan for another bond measure during their last budget.

"The return on an approval would provide so much value to the school district that it is worth the cost and work on our part,” he said.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.