April 24, 2019
Members of the community-led Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) are close to recommending a dollar amount for the next school construction bond.
After discussions on April 24, and a thumbs up/thumbs down vote, co-chairs Rose Clark and Aaron Garcia requested members meet again May 8 to finalize their recommendation to the school board on a bond amount and project budgets.
Community members are taking their time to see if they can design a school bond that achieves three key outcomes: the school board okays it, 60 percent or more of voters will approve it, AND it keeps a unspoken promise made to voters in 2016 when funds were included to design the next three schools.
Draft School Bond Proposed for Fall 2020
CFAC members are eyeing the 2020 presidential election for the next school bond vote by the Highline community.
They are trying to craft a school bond that includes enough money to rebuild two high schools and a middle school. These schools—Evergreen and Tyee high schools and Pacific Middle School—will already be designed with funds included in the 2016 school bond.
Evergreen and Tyee top the list of building needs. While all four existing middle schools are on the needs list for future replacement, more student capacity will be needed in the south end at Pacific.
The emerging bond would again include a project contingency fund and a critical needs fund. The critical needs budget would include funds to replace Transportation Building L (a former army barracks used by school bus drivers and other transportation staff) and improve the Sylvester Middle School kitchen.
The total price tag to rebuild two high schools and a middle school, including a contingency fund and a critical needs fund, would be approximately $456 million. This includes an inflation factor for future construction costs. Additional funding— from the state School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP) and FAA/Port of Seattle noise mitigation funds—decrease the bond amount needed to $418 million.
|DRAFT Priority Projects||Capacity||2023 Est. Cost|
|1. Evergreen High School||1200||$ 158,949,154|
|2. Tyee High School||1200||$ 158,949,154|
|3. Pacific Middle School||950||$ 100,136,683|
|+ Project Contingency (all)||--||$ 20,901,750|
|+ Critical Needs Fund||--||$ 16,701,538|
|TOTAL COSTS||$ 455,638,279|
|SCAP/FAA Funding||- $ 37,366,680|
|BOND FUNDS NEEDED||$ 418,271,599|
Goal: Keep Tax Rate Close to Flat for Future Bond Phases + Keep Promise to Build Next 3 Schools
An older bond will be paid off in 2020, leaving room in the tax rate to add a new bond that would begin payment in 2021. Highline has structured bond payments to leave room for future phases of bonds to be added in an ongoing cycle to continue replacing our aging buildings.
The goal of CFAC members is to recommend a bond amount that keeps the tax rate flat or close to flat to increase the likelihood of voter approval. The bond planning committee is composed of community members chosen by lottery or appointed by local government and non-profit organizations. Membership is balanced with representatives from across the district.
Several CFAC members were reluctant to set a bond amount more than $350 million—an amount that would keep the district tax rate flat. A larger number of members were reluctant to cut any one of the schools that are being designed, in order to fit under that amount, citing a desire to keep their promise to the community to build those schools next. Those members also said they felt that a slight increase in the tax rate (less than 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed value) would be embraced by most voters as a good investment in the community.
Evergreen Pool Committee Forms
In other discussions, CFAC members listened to guest speaker Nicole Nikola, manager of the Evergreen Aquatics Center. Nikola presented information about the investments that Evergreen Aquatics has made in the Evergreen Pool in recent years and its use by other swim teams in the district as well as offering swim lessons to low-income resident. She emphasized the importance of the Evergreen Pool to the community and noted the broad support that exists to retain the pool in its current location if at all possible during a rebuild of Evergreen High School. If it is not feasible to retain the existing pool building, due to site constraints, she requested the support and commitment of CFAC members and the district to find an equivalent solution. A handful of other Evergreen Pool stakeholders attended the CFAC meeting.
CFAC Co-chair Aaron Garcia said that CFAC members were starting from the position of retaining the pool in the construction of a new Evergreen High School if at all possible. Many details remain to be finalized, which could affect the pool's location, including the potential of either Evergreen or Tyee high school to be rebuilt on site rather than waiting longer to take turns using the Olympic Interim Site during construction.
CFAC Co-chair Aaron Garcia asked Nikola to spearhead a committee of stakeholders to gather more information and options for the future of the Evergreen Pool as a proactive back-up plan. Nikola agreed to organize and lead an Evergreen Pool committee.
CFAC members meet again on Wednesday, May 8, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. with the goal of finalizing a school bond recommendation to submit to the school board in June. They meet in the boardroom at the district central office, 15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW in Burien. The public is welcome to attend and listen to CFAC meetings.
CFAC School Tour