$695 Million Seattle Bond Measure Narrowly Loses

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Ten days after Seattle voters went to the polls, local election officials last week were prepared to announce that absentee-ballot results were enough to narrowly turn back a $695 million school-bond issue.

Final unofficial results showed that the bond measure was approved by 58.4 percent of the voters, just shy of the 60 percent necessary for passage.

The lengthy interim between voting on Sept. 15 and last week's final tally forced the Seattle school board to place an identical bond measure on the city's November ballot.

Prior to the absentee votes, the measure held a slim 60.3 percent approval rate.

School district officials said last week that they were encouraged about the prospects for passage in November.

"This is a good margin regardless,'' said Randy Carmical, a spokesman for the district. "Any politician would be pleased with 59 percent.''

Organizers of the bond campaign acknowledged that they may have started their effort too late to win over enough voters, adding that with a larger volunteer corps and more familiarity with the issue, the measure should win the necessary number of votes in November.

Widespread Deficiencies

In proposing one of the nation's largest school-district bond issues, Seattle officials claimed that the funds are necessary to shore up widespread deficiencies in school facilities.

Bond proponents claimed that for more than two decades before 1984, when the district's last bond issue won approval, the school's construction program was inactive. Tight budgets in the years since have hampered new construction, according to district officials.

District administrators said more than one-third of the system's schools are more than 60 years old and many more have significant heating, electrical, and ventilation problems. Many classrooms are so old they can not accommodate cutting-edge technology and equipment, they noted.

Beyond the educational upgrades, supporters of the referendum, which faced little organized opposition, pointed to at least 1,000 new construction jobs that would result annually from the massive building program, which would be spread over seven years.

The bond measure, which would cause residential property taxes to rise by $.50 per $1,000 of valuation, is envisioned as the first step in a strategy recommended by a local task force aimed at rebuilding or renovating 52 buildings, about half of the 45,000-student district's total.

Officials said that the final step would require a similar bond measure in about 10 years.

School officials said the defeat of the measure could delay some parts of the master plan, but aside from the potential for increases in interest rates, the time between defeat in September and the hoped-for approval in November should not be a hindrance.

Vol. 12, Issue 04

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented

Sponsor Insights

Vocabulary Development for Striving Readers

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >