Renton desperately needs a fourth middle school to ease overcrowding | Letter to the editor
March 22, 2012 · Updated 1:53 PM
The Renton School District passed both Levies in the Feb. 12 election; however, the bond, which requires a 60 percent yes vote, received only 58.08 percent, falling short of approval by 335 votes out of 17,000. Because of that narrow margin and the significant value that passing the school bond will have on students in the district, the Renton School Board decided unanimously to go out seeking approval of the bond again, and I agree.
The bond accomplishes two essential components for the district. First, it provides the funding for the new middle school in the District. Why is this important? The average middle school in Washington state has 609 students per school. Renton’s three middle schools rank in the state as follows, McKnight third (1,150 kids, almost Double), Nelsen ninth (1,050) and Dimmitt 24th (890). If the bond is passed, it means a fourth middle school, which could open in four years allowing the school district the ability to lower the average number of children per school down to 891 in 2016 (this number includes adjusting for the anticipated growth). As you can see the fourth middle school really just helps the district hold the line.
Second, the bond provides capital for improvements, upgrades and modernizations to other schools and the renovation of the Lindbergh pool. These improvements will save the district money by lowering operating costs of these facilities. The Renton School Board understands the concerns of taxpayers, and balances those concerns with the essential needs of the district. This will help balance the concerns about school size for now. Your yes vote goes along way for the children of the Renton School District.
In closing, let’s clarify the actual cost of the bond. Renton residents in the Renton School District would see an increase of $3.85 per month on average if the bond is approved (defined as a home in Renton with average assessed value of $257,000, cost of bond is 18 cents per 1,000). Less than $4 per month for all of that seems like a great investment to me.
VOTE YES FOR THE RENTON SCHOOL BUILDING IMPROVEMENTS BOND on APRIL 17!
Newcastle resident and Chair of the Citizens for Renton Schools