Board sends capital levy proposal to voters
At their December 9 meeting, the Sedro-Woolley School Board unanimously approved a resolution placing an annual $2.5 million capital levy spread out over six years on the February 11, 2020 ballot for voter consideration.
“The proposal we are asking district voters to approve is critical as enrollment continues to increase and our buildings continue to age,” said Board President Christina Jepperson. “Approval of the capital levy will provide our students and staff with improved facilities and spaces that will continue to support our mission by giving our students the very best learning experience possible well into the future.”
According to enrollment-projection experts at Teater-Crocker, district enrollment over the next five years is expected to grow by more than 250 students.
The capital levy will allow the school district to fund maintenance and repair projects districtwide to enhance school safety and technology.
The district will collect $2.5 million per year for six years. This will cost taxpayers 64¢ per $1,000 in increased property taxes in 2021, 64¢ per $1,000 in increased property taxes in 2022, 61¢ per $1,000 in increased property taxes in 2023, 59¢ per $1,000 in increased property taxes in 2024, 57¢ per $1,000 in increased property taxes in 2025 and 55¢ per $1,000 in increased property taxes in 2026.
The board made its decision based on a study completed by the Facilities Committee, consisting of a wide range of community members, during the past year. The committee thoroughly reviewed each facility’s building condition report, which ranks the facility’s structure, systems and safety components, as well as demographic studies projecting future enrollment growth.
The committee also heard reports and recommendations from school district and city representatives.
“This committee was very thoughtful and forward-thinking in their review and recommendation,” said Superintendent Phil Brockman. “I look forward to sharing this information with the community in the coming months and engaging in a conversation about the future of our school district.”
The board also conducted three community-wide surveys asking for input on a variety of options. The final survey, which narrowed down options popular with the community, showed strong support for the capital levy option. There was also strong support for a bond to replace Evergreen Elementary School. However, board members decided fixing pressing maintenance needs over the next six years had more overall support from the community.
“We really want to show our community that we listened,” Jepperson said. “We want them to know that we are keeping the best interests of the students in mind in this decision. We know we need to eventually replace Evergreen and Clear Lake elementary schools. But there’s only so much money our local taxpayers can afford. This will save us substantial money in interest and fix major maintenance issues districtwide. We’re hoping if we can show the community that we continue to be good stewards of their money, they will trust us to also replace those schools in the future.”