Community Members & Student Present Bond Package at Board Meeting
Two community members and a high school student, all representing Highline’s volunteer Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC), recommended the next school bond at the school board meeting this week.
The proposed $518,397,000 construction bond would pay to rebuild two high schools and a middle school—Evergreen, Tyee and Pacific—plus fund $17 million of critical capital needs and improvement projects across the district.
Next, the school board will consider placing the funding measure on November 2022 ballots.
Proposed Timeline for Construction
Voters must approve a bond by 60 percent for a measure to pass. If the proposed bond is placed on ballots and 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
Design Costs Funded by 2016 Bond
Architects from Bassetti Architects, Integrus Architecture and Hutteball & Oremus Architecture had the designs for all three schools on display at the board meeting.
CFAC student representative Jamylet Perez, from Big Picture High School, reminded the school board that the previous 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.
“By funding the design of these three schools in the 2016 bond, we will be able to advance their building timelines by two years and save on further cost escalation,” she said.
Community Co-chairs Talk About Costs & Savings
CFAC co-chairs Shane Stender and Omaha Sternberg were presenters, along with Perez. Other community members from the committee showed up at the board meeting to support the bond presentation and be recognized for their work on the committee this year.
Stender pointed out that the $518-million bond amount reflects inflation and cost escalation impacts to building costs, as experienced throughout the architectural and construction industries.
He said the recommended bond package includes more than $34 million in combined funding from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port of Seattle for noise mitigation, and from the state School Construction Assistance Program.
In addition, what the bond would otherwise cost is decreased by $10 million in savings from the 2016 bond and capital funds.
Bond Would Not Increase Current Tax Rate
Sternberg said that the proposed tax rate for a 2022 bond stays true to CFAC's goals to keep property tax rates stable for district taxpayers. The proposed bond would not increase the projected district tax rate and would provide room for a potential technology levy in 2024. 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.
Bond Would Fund Capital Needs & Improvements Districtwide
The list of critical capital needs and improvements proposed in the next bond includes, but is not limited to:
- Emergency repairs
- Replacing Transportation Building L
- Providing space for Highline Virtual Academy
- Roof restoration and remedial repairs
- Sylvester Middle School synthetic field
- Making exterior and Interior finish improvements (e.g. painting)
- Maritime High School - Highline School District contribution
After the presentation, Director Joe Van said that he had attended the April CFAC meeting when members discussed and decided on the bond package, after considering the cost and tax rate. The school board members plan to consider the proposed bond package at the next school board meetings.