CFAC: By the Community, For the Community...
Thirty-five committed Highline residents are continuing a legacy of community service and involvement in long-term school bond planning. And now they are back to meeting in person… mostly!
Following tours of eight aging schools in January and February, the members of the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) met Wednesday, February 23, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Two-thirds of the members met in person at the Central Office boardroom, with another third of the committee members linked in via Zoom.
Ellie Daneshnia, executive director of Highline’s Capital Planning & Construction department, helped present building condition information. Daneshnia thanked the committee members for sharing their time, ideas and recommendations with her and other district staff.
“It means a lot to our school district—students, families and staff—and particularly to me, to have this partnership with our community and do this work of planning for the future together.”
—Ellie Daneshnia, Executive Director, Capital Planning & Construction
As part of the meeting, CFAC members:
1. Received updates on current capital projects & 2001 bond refinancing
- Most 2016 bond projects are complete, with a few punch list items remaining at Highline High School. The safety and security upgrade projects are waiting for some final equipment to arrive that was delayed by the pandemic supply chain issues.
The district was able to refinance two series of older bonds from 2001, which will save taxpayers $1.2 million. An additional two series of those older bonds is expected to be refinanced in September to save an additional $2.9 million. (Bonds can be refinanced every 10 years.)
2. Received district enrollment projections
The demographer has adjusted how he does enrollment projections to take into account the effects of the pandemic.
Projected enrollment for 2022-23 reflects a decline of almost 2,000 students from five years ago, which impacts operating fund levels. The decline is spread across almost all Highline schools, not concentrated in just one area of our district.
The medium projected enrollment for the next 10 years is expected to decline from 17,147 in 2021-22 down to 16,182 by 2027-28, then rise a little to 16,419 by 2030-31. Every year the demographer adjusts the projections based on more information and unexpected impacts, like the pandemic.
Private school enrollment is also declining in the Highline area.
Charter school enrollment is steadily increasing in the Highline area.
Birth rate has slowed in King County; Highline’s share is down from 6.0 to 4.9 percent in 2021.
Fewer housing units are projected for Highline's boundaries between 2020-30.
Future enrollment projections were provided for every school.
Districtwide projections historically vary from actual numbers between 1 to 3 percent, but can be a little less accurate for a specific grade within a school.
3. Learned about the process of building a cost model to prepare for a potential November 2022 school bond.
The process of estimating construction costs for a 2022 bond differs from how it worked in 2016. This time the design process was jump started with the 2016 bond paying for early design work for new Evergreen, Tyee and Pacific schools, so there is more detailed information to predict costs, compared to picking a general number and designing the schools to fit those budgets.
On the other hand, the initial cost information CFAC used to recommend a bond package in 2019 was based on a 2020 bond, so the delay of two years during the pandemic means construction costs have escalated, and it will cost more to build Evergreen, Tyee and Pacific schools. A new cost model will be finalized and presented at the next CFAC meeting on March 30.
4. Heard a summary of the committee’s tours of eight of the 10 aging schools, and reviewed data and photos from the tours.
5. Met in small groups to discuss how to prioritize Highline’s 10 oldest schools for future construction bonds over the next 15 or more years.
Members talked about the building conditions at each site, the numbers of students impacted at each site, and other considerations including the potential for consolidating some alternative schools or programs in one replacement project. The schools are listed below in alphabetical order:
- Beverly Park Elementary School (Glendale site)
- Big Picture School (Manhattan site)
- Cascade Middle School
- Chinook Middle School
- CHOICE Academy (Woodside site)
- Hilltop Elementary School
- New Start High School (Salmon Creek site)
- Seahurst Elementary School
- Sylvester Middle School
- Valley View Early Learning Center
6. Requested information they need to recommend a construction priority list.
Members asked for more time and additional information to help them recommend a priority order list. They asked for more information on the idea of building one new consolidated campus with some shared infrastructure to house several alternative programs.
7. Asked for additional tours of older schools before the next meeting for those who could not attend the previous tours, and tours of the new Highline High School and Glacier Middle School.
More Information and Next Meeting
Half of CFAC members are selected by an annual lottery open to all residents, and half are appointed by community organizations, schools and district partners.
The next CFAC meeting is Wednesday, March 30, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. This is a working committee meeting, but the public is welcome to attend and listen.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to request copies of meeting materials.