Lake Washington SD floating second bond in two months

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jlangelerKING5

KING5.com

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 10:43 PM

REDMOND -- Kirsten McArdle's Rockwell Elementary would not see a dime of the bond being proposed by the Lake Washington School District.  But if it does not pass, she said it would be "scary".

"While I would love to have a new building, right now I'm more worried about the kids," said McArdle, "We keep getting more."

Next Tuesday, voters will decide whether to pass a $404 million bond, Proposition 1, which would build three new elementary schools, a middle school, expand Lake Washington H.S. plus rebuild and expand Juanita High.

Lake Washington is the second fastest growing school district in Washington, adding 1,607 students in two years.

The district says it has no more room.  McArdle's school is two-hundred students over capacity, forcing class to be taught in hallways, divided classrooms and portable buildings.

The three new elementary schools would alleviate some of the pressure on Rockwell, McArdle said.

"We really have run out of options," she continued, "Every space we have in this school is being used."

Back in February, Lake Washington floated another, larger bond that failed to get a super-majority required to pass.

Even though this measure is about half the cost, critics say it's still too expensive and wasteful.

"The school district has not demonstrated to anybody that they want to maximize affordability," said Mike Nykreim with the Affordable Schools Coalition, "They just want to spend as they have in the recent past."

Nykreim questions why Juanita High might be rebuilt for $135 million, rather than remodeled which he contends would be far cheaper. 

"We're so severely overspending on that school it drains from the rest of the system," he said.

Nykreim also disputes the district's claim taxpayers would only see their costs increase 25 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value.

Meanwhile, McArdle dreads the thought of what might happen if the bond fails again.

"Then we will find out what to do next, and I don't know what that is," she said, "That's honestly terrifying."

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