To the Editor: Why NOW is the Right Time to Vote YES for Schools

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shoreline citizens have an enviable history of supporting schools. A quality school district equates to increased property values and a strong market for home sales. To retain Shoreline School District’s standing as among one of the top-rated school districts in the state, our school buildings must reflect the quality of education that students receive. Our current high school facilities are aging, outdated, and no longer provide for the learning needs of today’s students.

NOW is the time to act. Why?

  • We have already begun. The 2006 bond measure included $2.7 million that has already been spent on the high schools’ conceptual and schematic design work. It is time to put those plans and taxpayers’ money to work.
  • These projects can be completed without raising taxes for the average taxpayer. It is estimated that property taxes will remain stable for the next five years even with all school measures.
  • Lower construction costs mean long-term savings. Due to current economic conditions, the cost of construction is approximately one-third less than it was two years ago. Lynnwood High School started building in 2007 for $300/square foot. Bids for school buildings are currently running $100/square foot less. Building now rather than when costs go up would save an estimated $30 million.
  • The two projects will create much-needed jobs in the construction industry.
  • There is an estimated $35 million in state matching funds available for the two projects if we act now. After a District passes a bond measure for capital improvements, the exact match is formulated using projected enrollment. It is anticipated that the $35 million amount would decrease after 2010.
  • The current administration brought the School District from an inherited deficit of $2.7 million in August 2006 to having an unreserved General Fund balance of $4.4 million in August 2009, meeting the District and State policy of having 5% in reserves. By letter dated December 22, 2009, from the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the state released Shoreline School District from financial oversight by the state. The District’s strong financial condition has resulted in favorable bond ratings and lower costs in borrowing.
  • Running the bond election a second time will cost taxpayers an estimated $100,000 to $125,000.
Our students deserve the advantages of state of the art schools like those in surrounding districts. New high school buildings would boost property values not only for surrounding neighborhoods, but for every homeowner in Shoreline. Building now would not only be smart educationally; it would be smart financially.

Sheri Ashleman
Shoreline

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