LWSD Response to Paul Hall Letter

Dear Editor:
I would like to correct some misinformation in Paul Hall’s letter concerning the Lake Washington School District bond measure.

  • All projects on the measure, with the exception of replacing some of the district’s oldest portables at Explorer Community School, would result in additional classroom space for students. These projects will provide space for 3,000 students.
  • All three of the aging schools on the bond measure would be enlarged as well as rebuilt, bringing those substandard schools up to current codes and educational standards. Juanita High School, Kirk Elementary and Mead Elementary would all have more classrooms. Juanita, in particular, would serve 500 more students.
  • Past district bond measures for school modernization were passed in 1998 when the district’s enrollment was declining and in 2006 when enrollment was flat. Enrollment increases did not begin until several years later, when school project funding and planning was locked in. All projects promised in those measures were completed.
  • District studies for those projects that involved new buildings rather than renovations showed very similar costs for replacement buildings compared to renovation and in some cases, renovation would have cost more. That analysis for every school in the 2006 bond measure is available on the district website. Studies for the three projects in this measure are also available.
  • There is no underutilized space or options to house even more students. The space that has been found to house new students has been through adding portables, putting classes in spaces not meant to be classrooms, and a disruptive boundary change.

The bond measure is based on the recommendations of the district’s Long Term Facilities Planning Task Force. The focus of their recommendations was on providing additional space for students, including those projects that involved aging schools. That citizen-based group came to their own conclusions after close to a year of study. For more facts on the measure, go to www.lwsd.org/news/2016-Bond.
Kathryn Reith
Communications Director, Lake Washington School District