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Renton School District


News 2019-2020

Voters to decide on much-needed new elementary school; construction projects at nearly all schools

Renton School District voters will decide on an important ballot measure to support student learning on the November 5, 2019 ballot. Even with approval of the measure, tax-rates for district property owners will not increase.

Building for Excellence School Building Construction Bond will allow for important projects at nearly every school in the district including construction of a much-needed, additional elementary school in the fast-growing northeastern (Highlands/Sunset/Hazen High) area of the district. It will also provide additional science classrooms at high schools, renovations and upgrades to other schools such as roofs and boilers, safety and security, school playground and athletic fields, and much more. View a school-by-school list of projects.

Voters overwhelmingly approved this measure on the Feb. 12, 2019 ballot; but an additional 400 votes were needed to validate the measure. With the obvious support of voters, Renton School Board members are providing an opportunity for more voters to cast a ballot for the measure on Nov. 5, 2019.

What will the measure cost?

Renton School District tax rates

Because of improved assessed property value and the many additional families and businesses that have moved into the district, these measures will not increase tax rates, and district tax-rates will not increase. Renton School District tax-rates have been steadily declining over the past few years.

Even with approval of this measure, the combined total district tax-rate will drop to $3.50/per $1,000 of assessed value in 2020; that’s down from the current tax rate of $3.52, and well below the rate of nearly $5.00 in 2017.


District healthcare & insurance benefits will change in October to the new School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB)

A new state law takes effect on January 1, 2020, and all existing health, life, and disability plans through Renton School District will terminate effective December 31, 2019.

Starting in 2020, all Washington State school districts will receive benefits for their eligible employees through the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) program. These will replace the health and insurance benefits we currently provide to all of our staff. The first SEBB program open enrollment is October 1–November 15, 2019. Benefits begin January 1, 2020.

This change is due to a new state law that mandates starting on January 1, 2020, all Washington State K-12 school employees are to begin receiving health insurance and benefits through the statewide SEBB program which is part of the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA). SEBB was created to standardize benefit plans, rules, and costs throughout districts, ESDs and charter schools across the state.

Benefit Plans

Renton Schools offers benefits, including medical, life and AD&D, long-term disability, vision, and dental. Current voluntary benefits include short term disability, additional life insurance, and flexible spending plans. These benefits will also be offered through the SEBB. While vision, life, long-term disability and dental will be covered 100%, the monthly premium costs for SEBB medical plans will be based on the plan you choose and whether you enroll eligible family members.

For more information visit the district's SEBB wepage or contact Danese Thaidigsman, Benefits Coordinator, at 204-2372 or

Hands-on, high-level courses help students plan their future

Hazen High School senior Arnav Thareja is a 2019 National Merit semifinalist, a distinction that places him in the top 1% of the 1.5 million high school students who took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) National Merit Qualifying Test in the fall of 2018.

After high school, Arnav plans to study computer science and artificial intelligence at either Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, or University of Washington. His love for computer science comes from his family: his father is an information technology architect and developer. But classes and clubs offered at his high school also have helped shape what Arnav hopes to become in the future.

“Being able to study Advanced Placement (AP) computer science along with having a Robotics Club at Hazen High School has really helped spark my interest in computer science,” Arnav said. “Having these high-level, hands-on programs offered in school are important to a student’s development and in helping guide them to a successful future.”

Arnav will now compete with 16,000 other high school seniors nationwide for more than $33 million in scholarships offered next spring from the National Merit Scholarship Corp., colleges and universities, and corporate sponsors. Scholarship winners will be selected from the finalists after a review of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

teacher hugs student

August 29, 2019—Renton School Board last night approved a three-year agreement between the district and the Renton Education Association (REA—our teacher/certificated staff union). The agreement, which was ratified by more than 82% of certificated staff, is the culmination of months of hard work by a joint bargaining team of teachers and district staff to create a contract that honors the great work being done by our educators in classrooms across the district.

Highlights of the three-year agreement include:

  • 3 years of school calendars (which helps our families, staff, and community plan for breaks, teacher-training days, and more)
  • Additional 10.5% pay increase over the three-year period
  • Increased certificated staff voice and accountability
  • Stability in our workforce

“We’re delighted that we can come to such a great agreement with our wonderful teachers and educators,” said Board President Pam Teal. “This agreement honors their work to educate our 16,000 students, while also providing our families and communities with the stability of three years of school calendars.”

Renton School District tax rates

Moody’s Investors Service has announced an upgrade to Renton School District’s credit rating, up to Aa1, from Aa2 previously. The rating upgrade places the Renton School District as one of the nine highest rated school districts in Washington.

In its press release, Moody’s noted “remarkably strong economic growth, a diversifying tax base” and “the district’s position in the heart of the booming Seattle metro area” as key factors in its decision to upgrade. Moody’s also noted Renton’s “strong management team” and conservative approach to budgeting as critical to the financial stability of the district. 

A strong underlying credit rating generally translates into reduced borrowing costs for taxpayers.


Students enrolled in Renton High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) World School program continue to excel in the rigorous academic program. This school year, Renton High is celebrating high IB test scores and an increase in IB Diploma success rates, which requires excellence across all academic subjects. 

  • More than 130 Renton High students took IB exams this year, an increase over 2018
  • The highest proportion of students met all IB Diploma requirements
  • The average total points for students who received an IB Diploma was 29, greater than last year
  • Nine students scored 30 points or higher (the worldwide IB test score average is 31.5).

The challenging academic curriculum empowers students to be lifelong learners, interculturally aware, and have the skills to pursue future studies in colleges around the globe.

“Students who took our rigorous IB classes benefit from acquired endurance and discipline as they enter college,” said Renton High Principal Gia San Martin. “What a privilege to witness these dedicated young people transform from students to young scholars who advocate for sustainability and intercultural relations.”

Our schools are safer thanks to voter support of School Construction Bond measures

Thanks to continued voter support of School Construction Bond measures on the ballot, our schools are safer for students and will withstand an earthquake much better than many other schools across the state.

According to a new Washington state analysis by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) many older schools built before 1975, and those in less repair, may not hold up in an earthquake. Of the 222 school buildings assessed as part of the analysis, most would be unsafe to occupy after a powerful quake, about a quarter would not be able to be repaired, and 43% posed a “high” or “very high” risk for loss of life, according to DNR’s report.

The assessment, which did not include our schools, found that older buildings and those constructed from unreinforced masonry or rigid, under-reinforced concrete were most vulnerable. Engineers assessed each school’s construction and design, considering factors like a structure’s ability to bend before breaking.

Washington state does not require seismic upgrades, nor does the state dedicate funding for retrofits. School districts can only rebuild schools or make much-needed large-scale repairs and improvements when voters approve school construction bond measures. Renton Schools next School Construction Bond measure is on the Nov. 5, 2019 ballot (even with approval, tax-rates for Renton School District taxpayers will continue to decline: read more here).

Thanks to voters throughout Renton School District, our schools are safe, will last for decades, and help improve home values in communities throughout the district.

School supplies again offered to elementary, middle school students at school

Elementary and middle school families can again choose to pay a low, one-time fee for school supplies for next school year. The district implemented the program this school year as a way to reduce cost for families and make the school supply process more streamlined and economical. School supplies offered to students were selected based on input from teachers and school staff.

  • The district will purchase school supplies for elementary and middle school students, and provide replacements throughout the school year.
    • Families will continue to provide students with backpacks and lunchboxes, along with school planners at middle schools.
    • High school students continue to provide their own school supplies.
  • The program is voluntary: families can choose to continue to purchase their own school supplies.
  • Families will pay a low, one-time fee of $30 ($10 for families on free/reduced lunch) for a school years' worth of school supplies.

Families can pay by check/cash at their school at the start of the school year, or pay online anytime at

2019-2020 School Year Calendar

Renton Schools has calendar dates for the 2019-2020 school year. The calendar is not complete; but here are key dates for holidays and breaks.

Download a printable 2019-20 student calendar.

  • August 28 First day of school (except for kindergarten and preschool)
  • September 2 No School - Labor Day
  • September 3 - First day of school for kindergarten
  • September 4 - First day of school for preschool programs
  • October 11 - No School - Professional Teacher Day
  • November 8 - No School - Professional Teacher Day
  • November 11 No School - Veterans Day
  • November 28-29 No School – Thanksgiving Break
  • December 2 - No School - Professional Teacher Day
  • Dec. 23-Jan. 3 No School - Winter Break
  • January 20 No School - MLK Jr. Day
  • February 17-21 No School - Mid-Winter Break
  • March 16 - No School - Professional Teacher Day
  • April 6-10 No School - Spring Break
  • May 25 No School - Memorial Day
  • June 17 - Last day of School

News Archives (2018-2019)