February 22, 2019―Renton School District’s bond and levy measures on the Feb. 12 ballot received overwhelming voter support. A great majority of voters approved the two measures on the ballot to support teachers and staff and provide students with a high-quality education.
Measure 1: School Construction Bond received 17,103 votes. Voters overwhelmingly supported the measure with 62.64% Yes votes. However, the measure needed 1,475 additional ballots (a total of 18,578) to validate and did not pass. Renton School Board will decide what to do next to place this important measure back before voters.
Building for Excellence School Construction Bond Measure: One of two important measures on the Feb. 12, 2019 ballot, along with the Education and Operations Replacement Levy
What the Bond will pay for, and why it matters:
Voters throughout Renton School District will vote on two important measures on February 12, 2019. The Building for Excellence School Construction Bond measure will allow the construction of an additional, much-needed elementary school in the fast-growing northeast (Highlands/Sunset/Hazen High) area of the district. Also included in the measure is construction of additional high school science classrooms; and upgrades at schools, including roofs, plumbing, mechanical, heating and ventilation systems, safety and security, and much more.
District voters have for decades overwhelmingly approved bond measures to rebuild, renovate and improve schools across the district.
Why another elementary school is needed
A new elementary school in the northeast (Highlands/Sunset/Hazen High) area of the district will accommodate students now and in the future. Current elementary schools in that area are at or above capacity, and there are plans by the City of Renton to construct hundreds of new housing units over the next few years. The increase in new housing is a welcomed improvement for our local economy, as families move into the area for good schools, city amenities and quality of life. It also means more students enrolling in our schools.
Student enrollment in the district has increased by more than 2,200 students in the past 10 years as families move into the area for first-rate schools, affordable housing and quality of life. Our elementary school populations have grown as families have children, and new families move into the district. Thanks to voter support, the district opened an additional middle school (Risdon Middle School) in 2016, reducing overcrowding at McKnight Middle School by half. Voters also approved construction of a new 28,000 square-feet/12 classroom new at Hazen High in 2012, providing additional space at our most populated high school. Lindbergh and Renton High have capacity to accommodate students now and well into the future.
The building of an additional elementary school in the northeast section of the district will accommodate the large number of current kindergarten through 5th-grade students in that area (nearly 50% of all elementary students in the district attend one of the five elementary schools in that area). We need room in elementary schools in that area of the district now, and to be ready for many new families who will move into the new housing.
As part of that planning, a committee of community members, staff, city/civic economic developers and planners, and others, recently completed work to create the list of needed school construction projects and school renovations and major repairs. Renton School Board members used that plan and, working with others, created the Building for Excellence School Construction Bond measure to place before voters on Feb. 12, 2019.
Additional Elementary School (in fast-growing northeast area of district)
Land Acquisition (to be prepared for future school needs)
Additional Learning Spaces
Add/Renovate High School Science Classrooms
Roofs – Repair/New
Electrical – Upgrade System Components
Plumbing – Upgrade System Components
Mechanical Heating & Ventilation – Upgrade System Components
Upgrade Classroom/School Floors, Walls, Paint, Ceiling Tiles, more
Hazen High School/Community Pool
Elementary & Middle School Playfields
Parking Lot and Sidewalks
Field Turf & Track at Renton Stadium and Hazen and Lindbergh High Schools
SAFETY AND SECURITY
School Entry Point Access Control
Fire Alarms and Smoke Detectors
Security System Improvement
Video Camera Improvements
Boilers/School Climate Systems
Parking Lot & Controls
WORK COMPLETED AND TAX-RATES CONTINUE TO DECREASE
Because of the many additional families and businesses that have moved into the district, and improvements in assessed property values, these measures will not increase tax-rates, and district tax-rates will continue to decrease. District tax-rates have steadily declined over the past few years.
Even with approval of both measures, the combined total district tax-rate will drop to $3.52/per $1,000 of assessed value; that’s down from the current tax rate of $4.61/per $1,000 of assessed value (that means a savings of $412 per year for the owner of a median-priced house of $378,000).