First-time voter goes for school bond First-time voter goes for school bond

Leila Swier turned 18 March 31. She registered to vote a few weeks later and mailed her first ballot shortly after.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Friday, May 30, 2008 2:44pm
  • News
Lindbergh senior Leila Swier knows first-hand the needs at her school. She’s voted “yes” on a $150 million school-bond issue.

Lindbergh senior Leila Swier knows first-hand the needs at her school. She’s voted “yes” on a $150 million school-bond issue.

Leila Swier turned 18 March 31. She registered to vote a few weeks later and mailed her first ballot shortly after.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Swier says. “I was pretty excited to exercise my right to vote, even if it was just a mail-in.”

The mail-in ballot was for a $150 million construction bond to benefit the Renton School District. Ballots in the all mail-in election must be postmarked by May 20.

Swier’s vote?

“I said yes,” she says. “I mean, of course, I’m still a student, so I think all that money will definitely benefit (schools).”

Swier is a senior at Lindbergh High School. She knows how needy schools are.

“I guess other people don’t really realize what it’s like inside – the lack of things,” she says.

Lindbergh’s gym has new seats, which make assemblies comfortable, but Swier says the sound system is so bad that it’s nearly impossible to hear anyone on the microphone.

A new sound system for Lindbergh’s gym is one of the many proposed upgrades to be funded by the bond. Also proposed at Lindbergh: a roof replacement, a new reader board and scoreboards, upgrades to the track and field, upgrades to corridor acoustics, the kitchen, windows, parking and site access and the gym, including a stage floor, accordion wall and stage curtain.

Lindbergh’s proposed upgrades are just a sampling of the improvements to be funded by the construction bond if it’s approved by voters May 20. The bond requires a 60-percent supermajority to pass. It fell just 78 votes short of that requirement during a March 11 election.

District spokesperson Randy Matheson is feeling good about the bond’s chances the second time around.

“We’re pressing the message with our staff and our parents — we’re really counting on them to vote,” he says. “We’re getting a really good response from citizens.”

Matheson has been helping man a phone bank with the citizen’s committee four nights a week.

Ballots have been mailed, and Matheson says about 5,000 have been returned. He says that’s about a third of the 15,000 ballots the district generally receives in elections. About 52,000 people within Renton School District boundaries are registered to vote.

“We’re getting votes — hopefully they’re positive,” Matheson says.

If approved, the bond would be collected over 20 years. It would fund needed construction throughout the district. In addition to the work at Lindbergh, that construction includes a new wing of 10 classrooms at Hazen High School; a new early childhood center; a new secondary learning center; upgrades at Dimmitt and Nelsen Middle schools; safety and security measures at some elementary schools and a rehaul of Renton Memorial Stadium.

The bond, like the two levies passed by voters in the March 11 election, will not raise tax rates. Property taxes will remain about $3.44 for every $1,000 of assessed value. That’s possible because of Renton’s growing tax base.

Lindbergh’s Swier is excited about the proposals. She’s planning on writing a story about the bond for Lindbergh’s newspaper.

She says she’s encouraging all those seniors 18 or older to cast a ballot.

“Everyone I talk to,” she says. “I’m stoked, you know.”

May 20 election

• The May 20 election is all mail-in. Ballots have been mailed. There will not be poll voting. Eligible voters who have not received their ballots should contact King County Elections at 206-296-VOTE (8683) or www.kingcounty.gov/vote.aspx. Postage is now 42 cents.

• The two levies on the March 11 ballot passed. The first, a four-year Education Maintenance and Operations (M & O) Replacement Levy to pay for general costs, was passed by just over 62 percent of voters. The second, a six-year, $33 million School Technology Levy to replace and refurbish technology, was passed by just over 60 percent of voters. Both required only a 50-percent simple majority.

Leila Swier turned 18 March 31. She registered to vote a few weeks later and mailed her first ballot shortly after.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Swier says. “I was pretty excited to exercise my right to vote, even if it was just a mail-in.”

The mail-in ballot was for a $150 million construction bond to benefit the Renton School District. Ballots in the all mail-in election must be postmarked by May 20.

Swier’s vote?

“I said yes,” she says. “I mean, of course, I’m still a student, so I think all that money will definitely benefit (schools).”

Swier is a senior at Lindbergh High School. She knows how needy schools are.

“I guess other people don’t really realize what it’s like inside – the lack of things,” she says.

Lindbergh’s gym has new seats, which make assemblies comfortable, but Swier says the sound system is so bad that it’s nearly impossible to hear anyone on the microphone.

A new sound system for Lindbergh’s gym is one of the many proposed upgrades to be funded by the bond. Also proposed at Lindbergh: a roof replacement, a new reader board and scoreboards, upgrades to the track and field, upgrades to corridor acoustics, the kitchen, windows, parking and site access and the gym, including a stage floor, accordion wall and stage curtain.

Lindbergh’s proposed upgrades are just a sampling of the improvements to be funded by the construction bond if it’s approved by voters May 20. The bond requires a 60-percent supermajority to pass. It fell just 78 votes short of that requirement during a March 11 election.

District spokesperson Randy Matheson is feeling good about the bond’s chances the second time around.

“We’re pressing the message with our staff and our parents — we’re really counting on them to vote,” he says. “We’re getting a really good response from citizens.”

Matheson has been helping man a phone bank with the citizen’s committee four nights a week.

Ballots have been mailed, and Matheson says about 5,000 have been returned. He says that’s about a third of the 15,000 ballots the district generally receives in elections. About 52,000 people within Renton School District boundaries are registered to vote.

“We’re getting votes — hopefully they’re positive,” Matheson says.

If approved, the bond would be collected over 20 years. It would fund needed construction throughout the district. In addition to the work at Lindbergh, that construction includes a new wing of 10 classrooms at Hazen High School; a new early childhood center; a new secondary learning center; upgrades at Dimmitt and Nelsen Middle schools; safety and security measures at some elementary schools and a rehaul of Renton Memorial Stadium.

The bond, like the two levies passed by voters in the March 11 election, will not raise tax rates. Property taxes will remain about $3.44 for every $1,000 of assessed value. That’s possible because of Renton’s growing tax base.

Lindbergh’s Swier is excited about the proposals. She’s planning on writing a story about the bond for Lindbergh’s newspaper.

She says she’s encouraging all those seniors 18 or older to cast a ballot.

“Everyone I talk to,” she says. “I’m stoked, you know.”

May 20 election

• The May 20 election is all mail-in. Ballots have been mailed. There will not be poll voting. Eligible voters who have not received their ballots should contact King County Elections at 206-296-VOTE (8683) or www.kingcounty.gov/vote.aspx. Postage is now 42 cents.

• The two levies on the March 11 ballot passed. The first, a four-year Education Maintenance and Operations (M & O) Replacement Levy to pay for general costs, was passed by just over 62 percent of voters. The second, a six-year, $33 million School Technology Levy to replace and refurbish technology, was passed by just over 60 percent of voters. Both required only a 50-percent simple majority.


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