I am writing to encourage Kirkland residents to vote YES to the LWSD bond up for vote on April 26. The new bond helps to relieve overcrowding, while keeping our tax rate flat.
The Lake Washington School District has grown from 6th to 4th largest district in the state this year alone, averaging over 600 additional students per year. To put that in perspective, that is more than an entire elementary school worth of kids every year for the past 7 years without the classroom space they need for instruction. Please make space for our kids. The district already relies on numerous portables, and by fall of next year more than 4,000 students will be in 168 portable classrooms. Hallways, labs, lunchrooms, bathrooms, and hallways are all stressed by the addition of this many students.
To address these challenges and maintain a high quality education, the Lake Washington School District created a volunteer citizen based task force of 63 participants to provide input into a comprehensive 15 year plan that is both responsible and fiscally disciplined. This plan addresses the most immediate overcrowding issues, incorporates growth projections into the long term plan, and strives to ensure your tax dollars go as far as possible by suggesting cost-effective design principles recommended by industry experts.
Best of all, our tax rate stays the same. By paying off other bonds and levies, including the 2011 capital levy, the plan can be delivered by keeping the tax rate the current rate. In addition, this plan is also eligible for state matching funds to allow our investment to go further.
Passage of the April 2016 bond measure will address Kirkland’s most urgent overcrowding needs and will allow LWSD to:
- Rebuild and enlarge Juanita High School (keeping the existing pool and field house)
- Rebuild and enlarge Kirk Elementary School
- Build two new elementary schools
- Build one new middle school
- Rebuild and enlarge Mead Elementary School
- Remodel Old Redmond School House for preschool
- Replace portables at Explorer Community School
- Provide needed special education program space
This is a smart, well-thought out plan that allows Kirkland residents to invest in kids all while keeping our tax rate at the current level. Please join me in voting YES on April 26 to reduce overcrowding without increasing our tax rate.