Voters will decide in February’s special election whether to approve a bond measure that would generate $675 million for the Bellevue School District to rebuild three schools and the education service center, expand two more schools and upgrade security at several others.
Eight other King County school districts — Auburn, Enumclaw, Issaquah, Kent, Riverview, Tahoma, Tukwila and Vashon Island — also have levy or bond measures on the Feb. 11 special election ballot.
In Bellevue, funds from the 20-year capital bond, the largest in district history, would pay to replace Big Picture School, International School and Jing Mei Elementary and build additions at Newport and Interlake high schools. If the bond passes, those construction projects would be completed within six to eight years, according to Melissa deVita, deputy superintendent for finance and operations.
The three schools that would be rebuilt were originally constructed in the 1960s, according to the school district, and haven’t had any recent major renovations.
Eight schools would build new security vestibules, a secure area where visitors go to check in, and safety bollards would be built in front of entrances at 19 schools. Those schools haven’t had security upgrades since the early 2000s, deVita said.
“The world has changed since then,” she said. “We need to make sure we get some best practices for safety and security.”
If approved, the tax rate for the Bellevue School District, including other levies and bonds, would total $2.46 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is an increase of 3 cents from the current rate. The owner of a home valued at $850,000, for example, would pay $2,091 in Bellevue School District taxes, an increase of $26 from the current amount.
There has been no formal opposition to the measure. The district’s $450 million bond was passed by 72% of voters in 2014. Money generated through the bond went toward building Bennett, Enatai, Wilburton, Clyde Hill, Stevenson and Puesta del Sol elementary schools and Highland Middle School.
A bond requires 60% voter approval with a minimum turnout of 40% or more to pass.
The Auburn School District has a measure on the ballot for a four-year educational program and operations levy totaling $173 million and a technology replacement levy that would collect $5.83 million each year for six years.
Kent’s proposed educational programs and operations levy would collect $145 million over two years and Vashon Island’s capital projects levy would collect $1.5 million each year over four years.
Riverview has a measure on the ballot for a $125 million bond.
Tahoma’s proposed educational programs and operations levy would collect between $16 million to $21 million each year, and its technology levy would collect between $3.9 million and $4.3 million each year.
Tukwila has an educational programs and operations levy that would generate between $7.85 million and $9.15 million each year for four years, and technology and capital projects levy that would generate $3.35 million each year for four years.