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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Voters will decide school measures

The Spokane County Elections Office is mailing ballots today for the Feb. 12 special election.

Depending on where you live, you might see a school bond or levy, or levies to pay for law enforcement or emergency medical services.

East Valley School District

A new performing arts center, athletic facility and building renovations are some of the items East Valley School District hopes for with a bond proposal that seeks $65 million over 25 years.

The district passed its last bond in 1996. This marks the district’s fifth attempt to pass a bond since 2008. Bonds require a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

Renovations are needed at the majority of the district’s buildings to bring them up to current construction and health standards, Superintendent John Glenewinkel said.

School officials hope to improve student learning throughout the district by outfitting existing buildings with new technology and communication infrastructure to handle wireless Internet. They’d also like to replace heating and ventilation systems.

“Our buildings take forever to heat or cool. There’s a lag time when you turn the heat on and when the building gets warm enough, there’s a lag time when you turn it off,” Glenewinkel said.

Security is also a priority in this year’s bond. With the funds, Glenewinkel would like to install security cameras and purchase new doors with better security options.

The proposed performing arts center and field house, an indoor sports facility, would be built at the high school with available use for the entire district.

The field house would replace sports facilities already at the school, and will have space for locker and workout rooms. The arts center would accommodate arts programs including choral, orchestra, band and drama. In the past, gyms and cafeterias have been the performance homes for these groups.

The district anticipates it will need to buy additional land for building upgrades and expansion. Otis Orchards Elementary will need to be upgraded to meet environmental standards because it sits in the high susceptibility zone, according to the Spokane Aquifer Joint Board.

If the bond is approved, homeowners can expect to pay about $1.35 per $1,000 assessed value, or $202.50 for a $150,000 house annually, for 25 years.

Orchard Prairie

Orchard Prairie School District’s proposed levy of $105,000 would maintain the same level of voters taxes approved in 2011.

If approved, homeowners would continue to pay $1.35 per $1,000, or $202.50 for a $150,000 house, for two years. As before, the funds will pay for field trips to Mobius, a performance by the Spokane Symphony and Spokane Falls Community College’s planetarium, Superintendent Duane Reidenbach said.

The levy also keeps a teacher’s assistant employed by the district.

“The main thing, we’re not asking for any more money, we’re asking for the same amount,” Reidenbach said. “Our board would prefer to run (a two-year levy) and see how the economy is like.”

Since the district lacks a middle and high school, the funds also compensate other districts like Mead and West Valley for taking in Orchard Prairie’s eighth- through 12th-grade students.