A bond measure on Renton’s ballot

The school district is vying for the same bond which failed in February

Renton School District is bringing back a previously failed bond measure to the November general election. Proposition No. 1, the $249.6 million Building for Excellence School Improvement Bond, if passed, will pay for a new elementary school in the Renton Highlands that’s been in the works since 2015.

The land is already being acquired for the school and will help the elementary schools in the northeast part of the district— Honey Dew, Sierra Heights, Kennydale, Hazelwood and Maplewood Heights— alleviate overcrowding. Those five schools make up 50 percent of the district’s elementary school students, according to the district. Hazen High School has added 12 more classrooms to accommodate more kids in the area, as more housing projects continue to pop up nearby.

The bond will also fund projects in 21 of 23 schools in the district, the Renton Stadium, district office, transportation center and warehouse center, as well as fund acquiring land for more schools. Here’s a list of each school and the improvements being made.

Back in February, the bond was set to replace $14 million worth of projects included an ongoing 2016 levy. Those projects have since been completed with the remainder of the 2016 levy, so the district added $14 million in new projects compared to the original bond, including $7.1 million in building and HVAC improvements.

The district estimates property tax rates to remain the same due to increasing property value — in 2020, 2021 and 2022 the rates are projected to be $3.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The bond failed in February after missing the validation mark of 18,578 votes. Of the voters who cast their ballot, almost 63 percent approved of the measure. The bond will require the same number of voters to reach validation in November.

“We had a large turnout of voters, even in the snowstorm,” District Spokesperson Randy Matheson said in February. “We want to honor that vote of confidence, so we’ll place something before voters, sometime soon.”

Renton School District Board of Directors had the decision between the November and February 2019 elections. The November ballot will be stacked with candidate races and measures, so voters can expect the school district measure to be on the back of the ballot.

At the June 26 Renton School Board meeting, board directors approved a resolution for the bond to be on the ballot in November.

“Let’s go build a new elementary school for our kids,” Director Pam Teal said at the meeting.

More information on the bond is available at the school district’s website, rentonschools.us/our- district/school- construction-bond-nov2019.

Election Day is Nov. 5.

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