LETTER | Should voters prioritize the ARC vs. schools? Can we realistically do both?

The Lake Washington School District Long-Term Facilities Planning Task Force recently published their draft recommendations.  I credit them for thinking through a variety of solutions that would limit the need to present a significant bond/levy ask to voters.  Nevertheless, it appears likely that some form of tax increase will need to be presented to voters to address aging facilities and increased student enrollment.  (you can review the draft materials at: http://lwsd-facilitiesplanning.publicmeeting.info/)
For me, this raises the question of how many tax increases voters will be willing to tolerate, and specifically if committing ourselves to pay potentially $375 per year (on a $500K house) for the ARC, in perpetuity and increasing in step with property value increases, will make it much more difficult for the school district to ask Kirkland voters* to fund another tax increase for needed school growth and repairs/remodels/construction.

In an ideal scenario, both Prop 1 and a school funding measure would be on the ballot at the same time, so voters could appropriately prioritize their decision making.

My vote “no” on the ARC will in part be a statement of prioritization that an aquatics center is optional whereas addressing school growth (in fiscally responsible fashion) is much higher on my priority list.

I personally think it would be a discredit to Kirkland if we had a new pool complex, but had students in portables and parents dealing with boundary changes because there was no further tolerance for tax increases to fund school facilities after the ARC is approved.

As always, I write this with respect for opposing viewpoints and hope to learn others’ viewpoints through the comments.


Pat Wilburn

* School levies/bonds are voted on by the entire LWSD geography, versus the ARC/MPD as a ballot measure to be funded only by Kirkland property owners.