November 27, 2010 in Washington Voices

Vote ‘yes’ on CV schools construction bond

Damon Smith
 
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On Feb. 8 the Central Valley School District will present Bond No. 1 to the voters and ask for approval of this first of five bonds outlined in the 25-year Capital Facilities Plan. This $69.6 million bond calls for some long-needed upgrades, modernization, expansion and school construction. Now is the time.

The last time we passed a bond in this district it was 1998 to build two new high schools. We can’t wait any longer to implement the plan to maintain and improve our facilities. We can’t slide this bond off to a future date without impacting the rest of the long-range plan. Now is the time.

With voter support the district will be able to leverage $32.8 million of state matching funds so we get $102.4 million dollars worth of construction for the price for $69.6 million. The district has wisely prioritized facilities that are eligible for state matching funds to maximize the match. The plan identifies the top six priorities in the district on this first bond and recommends the right combination of expansion, modernization, upgrades, and new construction.

This bond also improves student safety and security with the installation of access-control and camera systems in every school. A district-wide emergency notification will also be installed to improve parent communication. Our students need these improvements. Now is the time.

With considerable citizen input, the school district has done a good job of developing a sound plan of attack. The district has encouraged community input and been very transparent in its assessment and prioritization of all 24 facilities in the district. The resulting long-range bond plan balances all the requirements and needs identified across the district by identifying the most urgent facility issues. We need to support the education of our kids and grandkids by implementing this set of solutions. Now is the time, in spite of challenging economic times. Medical Lake School District, Cheney School District, and Freeman School District have all passed bonds in the past year. Central Valley needs to pass this bond.

Central Valley School District has experienced a declining tax rate over most of the past 10 years. In 2004 the bond rate was $2.13. This proposed Bond No. 1 will increase the district’s tax rate by an estimated 65 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation beginning in 2012. The total bond tax rate will be $2.30. The tax rate will then remain flat at $2.30 with the passage of subsequent bond packages outlined in the plan. Now is the time … for today… and for the future.

Now is the time to get educated so we can all make an informed choice in February. More information is available on the district website, including several videos of the current facilities. This information will help you understand why we need to approve this bond.

Vote “yes” in February.

Damon Smith is the chairman of the “Vote Yes” campaign, a principal in DCI Engineers, and the Chairman of the Board of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.


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