December 8, 2012 in Washington Voices

EV schools might pursue another bond

Voters have turned back district’s last four attempts
By The Spokesman-Review

The East Valley School District has run four separate construction bonds since 2008, all without success. On Tuesday, the board of directors will decide if they will try for a fifth time in February.

The bond proposal would remodel East Farms, Continuous Curriculum School, Otis Orchards and Trentwood schools. There would be a 10 percent modernization at Trent School. At East Valley High School, they would add a 1,500-seat performing arts center and update and renovate the athletic facilities with new turf on the football field, lights for the athletic facilities, new locker rooms and a new field house or wrestling room.

If approved by voters Feb. 12, the project would cost taxpayers about $65 million – $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $202.50 for a $150,000 house. If approved, the district could receive about $34 million in state matching funds.

In order to pass, 60 percent of voters must approve the bond.

“The last three times we’ve tried to make a case with our community that our schools are in desperate need,” said Superintendent John Glenewinkel. “They still are. The reality of it is that the board has decided that our community and our kids deserve to have facilities that build upon the success of the learning that we’ve accomplished.”

At the K-8 schools, the modernization and remodel would include improved ventilation, temperature control and energy efficiency, improved lighting and power capacity, improved energy efficiency outside and infrastructure improvements for instructional technology. There would also be an expansion with additional gym space.

Glenewinkel said both Mountain View Middle School, which closed in 2011, and East Valley Middle School will be used to house students during much of the construction.

When East Valley put the last bond on the ballot, the district was in the middle of discussions about transitioning from elementary schools serving K-5 students to community schools serving K-8.

“People thought that that vote on the bond would be a referendum on K-8,” Glenewinkel said.

Since voters in early 2011 rejected that bond, the K-8 transition has continued, but Glenewinkel said the buildings still need repair and modernization.

“We hope that folks look at the progress we’ve made,” he said. “We hope that they look honestly at the condition of the facilities and we hope that they recognize that this is now as much an issue of pride and commitment to the culture of East Valley as it is anything else.”

The board will consider the resolution to put this construction bond on the ballot Tuesday during its regular meeting at 6 p.m. in the district office, 12325 E. Grace Ave.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email