Letter | Against the upcoming LWSD Levy

Dear Editor: The LWSD is running a levy in February to raise $65.4 million more than they need to house their growing student population.  There is plenty of extra space in existing Kirkland schools to house this growth.  The district says it will consider using that space by rearranging attendance boundaries and bus schedules if the levy fails.  They admit they already have enough money to provide more high school classrooms in Redmond and Sammamish.  It’s unspent money we entrusted to them for modernizing 30 of our schools.  So far they have torn  down and replaced 21 of those schools instead of modernizing them.  They intend to continue this practice for the remaining 8 schools.  The district will consider using some of the unspent money to alleviate the housing shortage instead if the levy fails.  The rest of the money would still be available for modernization of those 8 schools. Bundled in the levy for more HS classrooms is a new small specialized school on the east side to house 6th graders with high school seniors in a controversial 6-12 grade grouping.  It would be designed for a STEM program already available in existing schools spread throughout the district.  Although it would require the bulk of the levy money, it would only use a relatively small portion of it to provide more classrooms. The major portion of the money would be used for roads, utilities and other major site development costs together with core facilities such as gym, cafeteria, admin, resource centers, common areas, and lot of other non-classroom space.  The district could wait until increased enrollment justifies the expense of building a more useful small 9-12 high school instead of a small 6-12 specialized school if the levy fails. Bond issues are normally used to finance major expenditures for new facilities but the district has decided to gamble on a levy instead because it offers better odds for success in an off year election.  A bond issue requires validation with a minimum number of votes.  A levy doesn’t require validation so it can’t be defeated by people not voting.  A bond issue requires a 60% super majority.  A levy will pass with a simple majority. The LWSD  levy committee will work aggressively to get out the yes vote. Unless enough people who oppose this proposal actually cast a NO vote, the district could proceed with their questionable building program by default. Paul Hall