The first story is a round-up of Eastside capital bonds on the ballot Tuesday.
Mercer Island wants to renovate ALL its schools - 3 elementaries, 1 middle and upgrades at their only high school. Interestingly, opponents think they should build a new elementary to end the overcrowding at the elementaries. Their bond is for $193.3M.
Issaquah is asking for $219.1M and has no opposition.
Renton is trying again to pass a $97M for a new middle school. They almost passed it in Feb. but it only received 58% of the vote rather than the needed 60%. That election also saw all the operations levies on the ballot pass.
Now you may have noticed that the Eastside elections are for bonds but Seattle Schools cannot chance a bond with such a high dollar ask. They are asking for the money via a capital levy. That is one reason why the projects on the preliminary list will take longer than if we had a bond (and received all the money up-front).
The second article is an editorial today by the Times board noting the large (and looming) line-up of levies/bonds for Seattle voters.
Now on Wednesday the editorial board said this on the issue of the Eastside bond measures:
Rebuilding aging schools supports learning every bit as much as buying textbooks or hiring a new teacher.
Extremely low interest rates make now an optimal time for school construction.
That are good points and ones that you would hope would resinate with voters.
They also say:
Some voters are likely feeling pinched by funding requests coming from other areas of government in addition to schools. Prioritizing is the proper approach. Schools should be at the top of the priority list.
So that throws down the gauntlet for voters - do your homework (and that includes the math).
So today's editorial points out that the first levy election coming up for Seattle is for Seattle libraries. Those do help educate children and provide needed computer access to low-income folks.
Then there is the King County levy to replace the really run-down Youth Services Center. It's a nine-year levy that would cost the average homeowner $25 a year. Those youth do receive some education at the Youth Center.
Then Mayor McGinn wants a levy on the ballot for the seawall. Not educational but safety first, no?
The editorial then gets to Seattle Schools:
Not too far in the distance, probably next February, looms Seattle Public Schools levies for building and operations. The B-word, $1 billion, has been mentioned as the potential price.
Voters should pay close attention because the result can be ballot overload.
Between now and 2016, there are about 14 levies and bonds to appear on various ballots. Luckily, BEX IV comes earlier in that line-up rather than say, Parks, which comes later.
Now parents can try to help sell BEX IV by telling neighbors and friends about the dire state of their own building and/or the crowding. This is something that most people could see and believe with their own eyes.
BUT we also have the visual memory of the district closing schools in the not-so-distant past. And, the district is even proposing closing a school, Roxhill, and scattering their students (with most going to Arbor Heights). So will they close Roxhill only to open it in several years?
So readers, you're savvy consumers - how would you sell BEX IV?
Also, quick and unscientific poll - which amount would you vote for? $540M, $700M or $890M?