December 15, 2012 in Washington Voices

EV plans vote on bond

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Voters in the East Valley School District will be asked to approve a $65 million school bond in February.

The school board unanimously voted to put the bond on the ballot during its meeting Tuesday.

“Our kids deserve this,” said board member Mitch Jensen. He said he recently visited some Spokane high schools and was impressed with what that district has done at those schools.

“Now is the time to do this,” he said, noting Spokane Public Schools was able to save money thanks to lower construction costs during a recession.

If approved, the project would cost taxpayers $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $202.50 for a $150,000 house annually. The district expects to receive about $34 million in state matching funds for the project.

The funds would remodel East Farms, Otis Orchards and Trentwood schools and the Continuous Curriculum School. 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.

While construction is under way, the district plans to house students in both East Valley Middle School and Mountain View Middle School, which closed in 2011.

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

District voters have rejected four school bonds since 2008. The last bond was rejected overwhelmingly in spring 2011 with more than 60 percent of voters saying no.

“The last three times we’ve tried to make a case with our community that our schools are in desperate need,” Superintendent John Glenewinkel said last week. “They still are. They 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.”

The board approved some tweaks to the resolution’s language during the meeting Tuesday. There were no public comments made about the bond.

Voters should receive their ballots in January. To be counted, ballots must be turned in or postmarked by Feb. 12.

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


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