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Renton School District

Questions and Answers Building for Excellence Bond Measure Nov. 5 2019

On November 5, 2019, Renton School District is asking for voter approval for an important ballot measure:

"Building for Excellence" School Construction Bond measure

What is a School Construction Bond Measure?

School Construction Bond measures are the way school districts in Washington State fund new school construction and large building repairs and renovations. State law requires voters to approve these important local funding measures to allow local schools to be renovated, rebuild, or for needed large-scale maintenance work.

What projects are included in this School Construction Bond?

The 2019 School Construction Bond includes building a new, much-needed elementary school in the northeast (Highlands/Sunset) area of the district. It also includes constructing additional science classrooms at high schools to allow students to meet the increased graduation requirements; needed work at other schools and classrooms; Hazen High School's aging student/community swimming pool; school roofs, air systems, and flooring; field improvements, safety and security upgrades; as well as other school building improvement projects throughout the district.  See a school-by-school list of projects here.

How were the School Construction Bond projects chosen?

Projects for the 2019 School Construction Bond were chosen after a months-long study that included input from principals and school staff; an independent architectural and engineering review of all sites; and input from the district's planning, construction, and maintenance staff. The district then convened a committee of parents, community members, architects, and others to collect input on the proposed projects, and presented the list to school board members for consideration.

Why are we building an additional elementary school?

Elementary schools in the northeast section of the district (Highlands/Sunset) are already at capacity (some now have many more students than the school was original built for). Additionally, that area of Renton continues to grow at a rapid pace with families and businesses moving into the area for its regionally low housing costs, good schools and amenities, and quality of life. The City of Renton and the Renton Housing Authority have big plans to provide more market-rate, affordable housing throughout the area. This growth and other construction projects, coupled with the current high number of students in area schools, means the district must act now to provide more learning space for current students and those we know will move into the area in the next several years.

Will the proposed bond measure increase my tax rate?

No. In fact, even with approval of the measure, tax rates for Renton School District property owners are projected to decrease significantly.

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 continue to decline. 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 $3.38/per $1,000 of assessed value in 2020; that’s down from the current tax rate of $3.52, a savings of $56 per year in 2020 for the owner of a median-priced house of $400,000. Tax-rates will continue to decrease in 2021 and 2022: down from $3.38 to $2.95 (an additional savings of $172/per year for tax-payers).

What about senior citizens on a fixed income?

Senior citizens (age 62+) and disabled individuals with a total annual income of under $35,000 may be eligible for a residential property tax exemption. Visit the King County Assessor’s Office Web site for more information, or call them at 206-296-3920.

How do I vote?

All registered voters will receive their ballots in the mail beginning the week of Oct. 15, 2019. Ballots will not require a stamp and be returned/postmarked by Nov. 4, 2019, or to be dropped in a King County Elections drop box to be counted. (Visit the Elections Office website).

Renton School District citizens have a long history of strong support for their schools. With their votes, community members have shown that they trust Renton School District to maintain and upgrade school facilities. A consistent investment in local schools ensures that current students and future generations will graduate with a meaningful diploma that provide them many choices for their future.