Community members from Highline’s volunteer school bond advisory committee overwhelmingly voted to recommend an updated fall 2022 bond package at their March 30 Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) meeting.
The proposed $518-million construction bond would pay to rebuild Evergreen, Tyee and Pacific schools, plus a number of critical needs projects across the district, including a new synthetic field at Sylvester Middle School. Estimated school replacement and critical needs project costs are included below.
Proposal Proceeds to School Board
CFAC members will present their recommendation to the school board at the May 18 board meeting. The school board will then consider placing the funding measure on November 2022 ballots. The vote will likely be made in June or July. The last day to file a resolution in King County for the November General Election is August 2.
Proposed Timeline for 3 New Schools
Voters must approve the bond by 60 percent for the measure to pass. If the bond is approved in November 2022, here is the estimated timeline:
- Proposed new Evergreen High School—open in fall 2025
- Proposed new Tyee High School—open in fall 2025
- Proposed new Pacific Middle School—open in fall 2027
The 2016 bond is paying for nearly all the design work for Evergreen and Tyee high schools, plus the initial design work for Pacific Middle School. This saves a year in the typical construction timeline for the two high schools.
Didn’t CFAC Already Recommend a Bond Package?
In 2019, CFAC members recommended a similar bond package to the school board, intended for fall 2020. Then the pandemic hit, schools went remote that fall and the district pivoted to pass a two-year technology levy that equipped all students and teachers with remote learning tools and connections, plus provided much needed support for the district’s growing digital needs.
In the three years that have passed since the 2019 recommendation for a $418-million bond, inflation and cost escalation have impacted building costs significantly in a chain reaction experienced throughout the architectural and construction industries.
District Tax Rate to Remain Stable
One of CFAC's goals is to keep property tax rates stable for district taxpayers. The proposed bond would not increase the projected district tax rate, due to increasing local property values, retiring bonds and expiring taxes,
If property values continue to increase, the district only collects up to the total amount of a funding measure—not more. If property values go up more than projected, the tax percentage rate goes down per $1,000 of value.
CFAC Meeting Discussion
CFAC members expressed disappointment that time, pandemic impacts and economic conditions have increased the costs for the Evergreen-Tyee-Pacific bond package from $418 to $518 million compared to three years ago. After discussion, 18 out of 19 members voted to recommend the package as presented. CFAC members noted that choosing to wait to rebuild these aging schools will not decrease the costs and stated that Highline students across the district deserve new, modern learning facilities.
Board member Joe Van attended the meeting to listen. The meeting was held at the district central office, with CFAC members and district support staff there in person, plus a handful of members, staff, an interpreter and a presenter participating via Zoom.
Next Steps for CFAC Members:
Tour Highline High School and Glacier Middle School in April.
Present the updated bond recommendation to the school board at the May 18 board meeting.
Continue work on prioritizing the 10 remaining older school sites during next year's CFAC session.
Assist at community meetings this fall to help provide bond information if the school board places a bond on the ballot.
Proposed 2022 School Bond Costs
Here is the cost model for the proposed 2022 school bond as presented at the March 30 CFAC meeting.
|New Evergreen High School||
|New Tyee High School||1200||2023||$189,709,065|
|New Pacific Middle School||950||2025||$142,718,735|
|Critical Needs Fund||---||---||$ 17,000,000|
|Total Project Costs||$562,757,308|
|Bond 2016 Funding||($ 10,133,076)|
|SCAP* & Port/FAA Funding||($ 34,227,232)|
|Bond Funding Needed||$518,397,000|
*School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP) - state funding
Here is the list of smaller projects identified as part of a $17-million budget for critical needs included in the proposed bond:
Critical Needs Projects
|Replenish the Capital Fund for Emergency Repairs||$ 4,900,000|
|Transportation Building L Replacement||$ 2,914,407|
|Remodel a Site for Virtual Academy||$ 3,000,000|
|Maritime High School - District Contribution||$ 2,400,000|
|Roof Restoration and Remedial Repairs||$ 1,600,000|
|Sylvester Middle School Synthetic Field and 8’ Fencing||$ 1,200,000|
|Painting (Exterior and Interior)||$ 1,000,000|