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2014-1023-school-levy

This School Board has given final okay to ask voters to approve an $87.9-million bond issue to pay for reconstruction and renovation of Anacortes High School. This may well be the most expensive publicly-financed undertaking in Anacortes history.

The 20-year bond issue, which has been planned for months, won final approval Thursday evening to put the request on the ballot for February 10, 2015. In addition to the bond issue, the school district expects $1.9-million in state matching funds.

During discussion prior to the vote, one person, Doug Thurber, said, “You’re doing too much…It’s too much money for now.” He suggested doing the improvements in increments.

Board President Jeannette Papadakis told a reporter, “Students will get a much better learning environment where they’re not sacrificing in terms of failing facilities. There are so many safety issues there and in these times it’s so different from decades ago.” She said the existing classrooms, especially science classrooms, are not designed for learning today and learning tomorrow.

Ultimate public approval of the bond issue would allow the school district to:

  • Acquire, construct and equip an addition to Anacortes High School to replace approximately 60% of the existing High School (cost: $57-million);
  • Renovate the remaining portion of Anacortes High School, including Brodniak Hall, music rooms and the existing gymnasium (cost: $22-million);
  • Upgrade Rice Field, including turf, bleachers, lights, practice fields, concession areas and restrooms (cost: $10-million);
  • Replace roofs at Fidalgo and Mount Erie Elementary Schools and undertake safety improvements at District schools, including modifications to elementary school entryways (cost $1.2-million).

How much would the new tax levy cost property owners to pay off the proposed 20-year bonds? The levy to pay off the bonds would amount to about 58-cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation and bring the the total school levy to $3.28 per $1,000.

Two earlier votes failed to win the required 60-percent approval vote. One in 2007 was for $60-million, with $51-million earmarked for the high school. Another bond request in 2008 for an even higher amount, $63-million, also failed.

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