February 1, 1998 in Nation/World

Officials Answer Readers’ Bond Issue Questions

Amy Scribner Staff writer
 

FOR THE RECORD: February 4, 1998:

Bond issue correction: Spokane District 81’s bond issue would fund three temporary administrative positions - two to supervise building renovations and one to oversee technology upgrades. A story in Sunday’s newspaper stated otherwise.

Spokane School District 81 will ask voters to approve a $74.5 million bond issue and its regular maintenance and operations levy on Tuesday.

The Spokesman-Review recently asked readers to send in questions about the bond.

Here are answers to some of the questions. The information comes from district planning and technology officials, and the Spokane County elections office.

Question: What does the district need to pass its bond issue?

Answer: More than 26,000 people must go to the polls and 60 percent must vote in favor of the proposal.

Q: Who is eligible to vote in this election?

A: District 81 spills outside city limits. Anyone living within district boundaries may vote, which includes some county residents, according to Spokane County Elections supervisor Tom Wilbur. Polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Q: What’s the financial impact of the bond issue?

A: The bond would raise taxes for the owner of a $100,000 home from $99 per year to $146. The debt would be paid off by 2009.

Q: What are the details on District 81’s maintenance and operations levy?

A: The two-year levy would renew a levy that expires in December and would raise $36.1 million in 1999 and $37.6 million the following year. It would pay for basic instructional programs, including teacher salaries and classroom materials.

The replacement levy would not increase tax rates. The new levy would cost $388 in 1999 and $386 in 2000 for the owner of a $100,000 home. The same homeowner is paying $388 a year for the current levy.

Q: Would any new administrative positions be added with the new money?

A: No new positions would be created with the bond money.

Q: Why tear down LC’s Hunter Fieldhouse to rebuild it somewhere else? Why would they consider such a thing when that gym is relatively new and in excellent shape?

A: “It is not in excellent shape,” said Ned Hammond, district planning director. “It’s a very poorly constructed facility.”

Over the past year, the district evaluated all its buildings, using state building condition codes. The LC field house, which would be torn down and replaced with two new gyms to the east of the school, was among the 5 percent of district facilities most in need of repair.

The field house was added to the school in 1964.

Q: If the bond issue doesn’t pass, what will happen to LC?

A: The district will continue using the building as long as it provides a safe environment for students, Hammond said. However, the district does not have a plan for what to do when the building is no longer viable.

Q: In reference to Browne Elementary, why would the district tear a historical building down?

A: Built in 1914, Browne suffers temperature control problems and water damage, said Principal Rodger Lake. Nine classrooms are held in portable trailers because the student body has grown by an average of 10 students per year in the last five years.

About $7 million, including bond money and state matching money, would go toward rebuilding the North Side school.

Planners would try to preserve the feel of the school by constructing a two-story brick building similar to the current one. The school would be built on the play field in front of the current school. Students would move into the new school at its completion, and the old one would be demolished.

Q: Why is there so much interest in preserving Lewis and Clark High, and no support for keeping Browne Elementary, which is almost as old?

A: Underneath LC’s 86-year-old facade lies a very sound structure, said Hammond, that is feasible to renovate. The district says it would actually be slightly cheaper to renovate than to build a new school.

Browne Elementary, however, was built on a slope that has led to severe water damage and flooding over the years. The elementary building has a crumbling foundation and is too small for 1998 populations.

District officials estimate they’ll save $1 million by constructing a new building rather than restoring the old one.

Q: I am aware that District 81 has a pile of computers donated that they don’t use. Why are they so picky about what they’ll accept?

A: “We accept donations quite often,” said district technology director Joe Austin. “What we do is try to determine the value of the equipment and whether the donation costs more to maintain than it’s actually worth.” Austin said sometimes donations of equipment cost more to repair and bring up to district standards than the value of the equipment.

“We would never want to discourage people from donating, but we do like to make sure the equipment is worth the work,” he said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Proposed Lewis and Clark remodel

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story:

OTHER BOND ISSUES

A number of Spokane County school districts are asking voters to approve bond issues and levies Tuesday. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Here are details on the districts and their requests:

Central Valley: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy. School bus levy of about $900,000 over two years to replace 15 buses.

Cheney: Regular two-year maintenance and operations levy. $2.1 million two-year capital levy for structural improvements to the district middle school and upgraded technology throughout the district.

Deer Park: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy.

East Valley: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy.

Freeman: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy. Technology levy of $915,000 over five years.

Liberty: $3.1 million bond issue. Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy.

Medical Lake: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy.

Nine Mile: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy.

Riverside: Four-year maintenance and operation levy. $2.6 million modernization and technology bond.

West Valley: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy. Technology levy of $1 million over two years.

This sidebar appeared with the story: OTHER BOND ISSUES A number of Spokane County school districts are asking voters to approve bond issues and levies Tuesday. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Here are details on the districts and their requests: Central Valley: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy. School bus levy of about $900,000 over two years to replace 15 buses. Cheney: Regular two-year maintenance and operations levy. $2.1 million two-year capital levy for structural improvements to the district middle school and upgraded technology throughout the district. Deer Park: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy. East Valley: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy. Freeman: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy. Technology levy of $915,000 over five years. Liberty: $3.1 million bond issue. Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy. Medical Lake: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy. Nine Mile: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy. Riverside: Four-year maintenance and operation levy. $2.6 million modernization and technology bond. West Valley: Regular two-year maintenance and operation levy. Technology levy of $1 million over two years.


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