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FAQs - Bond

What is a school bond?
A bond is for building. It provides immediate funds for long-term capital projects such as modernization of buildings, new school construction or acquisition of property. A bond is financed over a longer period of time, up to 20 years, like a mortgage. The district pays off its bonds in an average of 10-12 years. The bond requires a super majority to pass (60% + 1) and must meet validation requirements. 

Why does the district need a bond measure?
The bond helps the district maintain its schools and provide a safe environment for Northshore students to support learning. The bond measure provides safety and security upgrades at all schools. It provides for safer student drop off zones and improved traffic flow/parking at Skyview Middle, Canyon Creek Elementary and Inglemoor High schools. It also addresses enrollment growth by funding construction of a new K-5 school and a 30-classroom flexible use building on an existing school campus. It also supports the district’s long-term facilities plan by funding renovation of aging schools and replacing or updating building infrastructure such as HVAC, gutters, roofs and flooring. 

Why isn’t the tax rate for the Capital Projects Bond (Prop. 2) listed on the ballot?
King County does not require the tax rate on the ballot for a bond measure because districts can’t determine the exact rate until the bonds are sold. However, the bond amount cannot go beyond the total amount generated (in this case, $275 million) approved by the voters. We estimate the new Prop 2 tax rate to be $1.59 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The current tax rate is $1.78 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for our capital projects bond, so the new tax rate will be a decrease for property owners.

Districts sell bonds and pay them back over 20 years in order to get enough funding up front to pay for construction of new schools or major school additions. While bonds pay for buildings, levies pay for learning. Levies are collected every year over a four-year period to fund day-to-day educational needs not funded by the state government. However, the bond rate is more difficult to determine than a levy. Bonds are sold generally in two or three increments within a four year period. Actual rates are dependent on when the bonds are sold, in what amount, and what the interest rate is for each period of repayment. 

For property owners, the local tax rate for our capital projects bond will decrease. And all the money collected will stay in our school district to build schools and classrooms to ease overcrowding.

Visit the Financial Information webpage to see the tax rates for all three propositions.

What will my school get if the bond passes?
In the bond, every school will have safety and security upgrades, which might include 24/7 recording and deterrence systems; a verbal and visual building notification alarms for both staff and the district, working in conjunction with local law enforcement systems; interior and exterior door locking mechanisms; and staff training on safety and security. Construction of a new K-5 school and a flexible use building will provide enrollment growth relief at north end schools. As part of the district’s long-term facilities plan, some schools will receive building life cycle improvements such HVAC, gutters, roofs and flooring, and new outdoor instructional space/fields.

Why build a new elementary school and a flexible learning space?
Enrollment in the north end of the district is expected to continue growing rapidly in the future as hundreds of new homes are built. Constructing a new K-5 elementary school at the Maltby Road site, along with a 30-classroom flexible use building at Skyview Middle and Canyon Creek Elementary campus, would help the district accommodate that growth.

What does it take to pass a bond?
Unlike a levy, a bond requires a super majority and validation. A super majority is 60% plus one vote of the total votes cast. For a bond to pass the election must also be validated, meaning voter turn out must be equal to 40% of the voters who cast ballots in the last general election. That’s why it is so important to cast your vote in every election.

Why a new building at Canyon Creek/Skyview instead of a whole new school?
The 30-classroom flexible use facility increases capacity and continues Northshore’s tradition of fiscal responsibility and frugal use of public funds. The district will use the existing site, which means that no new land has to be purchased for building.

The project will also include improvements and renovations to both schools, which will expand their use and serve as an investment in our community resources. The bond does provide for a new school at the Maltby Road site, which is also property the district already owns.

Will my 1st-grader be in the same building as 8th-graders at the new Canyon Creek/Skyview building?
The building is designed for elementary students on one floor and middle school students on the other. If the two had to mix, they would be paired at a similar age and grade level. For example 5th- and 6th-grade students might be in classrooms on the same level. Take a look at the unique design that puts the building at ground level for both schools.

Will the new elementary school be in Maltby?

No, it will be located on land the district purchased in 2010 on Maltby Road at a cost of $6 million. The 31-acre parcel has 20 acres that can be developed based on wetlands, buffers and mitigation requirements. Those 20 acres can accommodate the K-5 school now, and a middle school in the coming years as recommended by the Capital Bond Planning Task Force.

If we build new schools can we eliminate portable classrooms?
Washington has seen explosive growth in the past decade and portable classrooms have been used throughout our state to meet large and steady increases in enrollment. According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, there are currently 6,011 classrooms housed in 4,910 portables in our state. Of those portables, 142 are here in Northshore, housing 165 classroom and program spaces. It costs about $50 million to build an elementary school, and the cost of building a secondary school is much higher. The new Maltby Road school will have 30 classrooms. If all of the 165 portable classrooms were at elementary schools (they are not) then we would need six new schools to replace all portables. The cost just for construction of six new schools would be $300 million, and that doesn’t even include land costs. The cost of replacing portables is one that no district can afford.

Will all students be able to attend their home schools?
The district will make every effort to make that happen and new construction will certainly help. However, we will have to contend with and adjust to population increases and growth patterns throughout our district.

Will there be new school boundaries?
Although we will make efforts to maintain current boundaries, when capacity is added the district has to examine population location, projected development and growth to determine the best course of action now and into the future.