REALTORS® are adding their endorsement to Proposition No. 1, a $398 million bond measure for the Lake Washington School District. The measure is intended to reduce overcrowding and enhance student learning environments in the fast-growing district.
As part its unanimous vote to support the proposition, members of the Seattle King County REALTORS® pledged assistance for a “get-out-the-vote” campaign for the April 26 election. The measure, which requires 60 percent approval to pass, would maintain the total tax rate at the 2015 level.
The request, if authorized, would fund construction of two elementary schools and one middle school in the state’s fourth largest district. The bonds would also help reduce the district’s reliance on portable classrooms and provide funds for special education space, compliance with Title IX and the Americans with Disability Act, and provide monies for other capital projects.
“Real estate professionals understand the importance of strong, high-performing schools,” stated Realtor Lynn Sanborn, who lives and works in Kirkland. “The district’s rapid growth is a testament to its attractiveness,” she believes, noting the quality of schools is a high priority for prospective homeowners. “In fact, it’s often the first thing buyers ask about,” added Sanborn, a managing broker at Windermere Real Estate | Yarrow Bay. She also noted savvy buyers know that quality schools will be a factor in the sales price when it’s time to sell.
In considering endorsement requests, Realtors looked beyond statements of need, according to Larry Christensen, a past president of Seattle King County REALTORS®. Track records on academics and fiscal matters are also reviewed, he reported.
Christensen, a resident of Kirkland and state-certified real estate instructor, said his Realtor colleagues are keenly interested in creating and maintaining top-notch schools. “We believe the citizen-based group that developed the bond measure recommendations balanced critical needs for positive learning outcomes with fiscal accountability. This funding request deserves our support.”
Sanborn, a member of SKCR’s board of directors and governmental affairs committee, said the Realtors believe a strong case has been made to address the district’s growing enrollment and aging facilities. “Students should not have to be housed in crowded, uncomfortable portables or in facilities that do not meet current building specifications.”
Citing district reports, Sanborn noted enrollment in the Lake Washington School District has increased by 3,240 students (equal to five elementary schools) during the past five years. In one year the district moved from sixth largest to fourth largest in the state, with current enrollment of nearly 28,000 students in 52 schools. To accommodate the growth the district is using 168 portables.
page two (News Release: Realtors endorse funding for Lake Wash. Schools) March 15, 2016
Despite the challenges of rapid growth and some sub-standard buildings, Realtors believe the district has been good stewards of taxpayer dollars. “We were also impressed with its Standard & Poor’s AA+ rating and status as one of only three districts in the state to earn that service’s highest rating.”
David Crowell, SKCR’s director of governmental and public affairs, said Realtors have been actively engaged in education policy and school financing issues for several years.
“The Lake Washington Citizens Levy Committee leaders are well organized and obviously recognized the importance of engaging our members in their campaign for critical funding,” Crowell reported.” They initiated contact with our association, submitted a formal application, attended a meeting with our committee members, and have been proactive in responding to our questions. We commend them for their passion and commitment to school children, and we are encouraging our members to support this campaign.”