Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Seattle Public Schools Levies Offer Significant Improvements to Greater Lake City Neighborhood Schools

Note: The following post was guest-written by a member of our community.

If passed, the Olympic Hills Elementary building will be replaced and expanded

Seattle voters recently received ballots in the mail for the renewal of two property-tax levies. The levies, which are the only measures on the ballot, will help bridge state funding gaps and support facility improvements for Seattle Public Schools

These levies, if passed, would have a significant impact on the Lake City neighborhood because they would fund two new, expanded replacement school buildings on the sites of Olympic Hills Elementary and Pinehurst Elementary.

They would also provide for earthquake safety improvements for Jane Addams, Rogers Elementary, and Sacajawea Elementary buildings.
Click map for larger

Proposition 1: a $551.9 million Operations Levy, will provide funding for approximately 27 percent of Seattle Public School’s operating budget over the next three years. The school levy will help fund teachers’ salaries, textbooks, transportation, a sixth period for high school, security and special-education programs, among other day-to-day costs not fully funded by the State.

Proposition 2: the $694.9 million Capital Levy (BEX IV), will provide necessary funding to maintain, improve and expand school buildings. In 2007, voters approved the BEX III capital levy that improved district buildings, infrastructure and classroom technology. Every project in BEX III came in on time and within the budget. The renewal of the BEX Capital Levy will replace or renovate school buildings, many of which are more than 50 years old. Additionally, the levy will provide funding for new schools and school expansions in response to increased enrollment in recent years. Within the past year, enrollment has increased by about 1,400 students and an additional 7,000 students are anticipated over the next decade.

The BEX IV Capital Levy will also continue to provide earthquake retrofits for 37 schools that do not meet updated safety standards.

Further, BEX IV will build additional lunchrooms, new science labs and improved outdoor athletic facilities. All schools are slated to receive technology upgrades that include wireless internet access and improve accounting systems

Both propositions are renewals of existing levies. If approved, these levies would cost the owner of a $400,000 home $13 a month over what the homeowner pays on the expiring levies

Below is more specific information about projects the levies will fund across the district:
  • Bagley Elementary: Modernize and build a classroom-core facility addition by 2020.
  • Fairmount Park Elementary: Modernize building with necessary upgrades, add classrooms and a lunchroom by 2014.
  • Jane Addams K-8: Move K-8 school to a new location to open by 2017; open building as a middle school by 2017.
  • Lincoln High School building: Modernize and open as a new high school by 2019.
  • Loyal Heights Elementary: Modernize and build addition by 2018.
  • NOVA High School @Mann: Modernize and build addition for NOVA by 2014.
  • Meany Middle School: Reconfigure for a comprehensive central region middle school by 2017.
  • Northeast Seattle elementary school: To meet growing capacity, add K-5 school on Thornton Creek site by 2016 or equivalent additional seating capacity at another location.
  • Olympic Hills: Replace existing building with a new/expanded facility by 2017.
  • Queen Anne Elementary: Build classroom and gym addition to the building by 2019.
  • Schmitz Park Elementary: Replace existing Genesee Hill building with a new/expanded facility on the Genesee Hill site; relocate Schmitz Park staff and students to the new facility by 2015 and repurpose the Schmitz Park building for elementary seats
  • Wilson Pacific: Replace building with a new elementary and a new middle school for additional capacity by 2017.
  • Wing Luke Elementary: Replace existing building with a new/expanded facility by 2020.
  • World School program: Relocated to a remodeled TT Minor by 2016.

Additional projects in the BEX IV plan include:

  • Maintaining and enhancing technology: Install wireless networks in every school and make needed hardware upgrades in the classroom; upgrade parent and student portals, improve academic/business systems; enhance student file storage; automate processes; improve legal compliance; renovate aged network; enhance disaster recovery.
  • Earthquake safety improvements: Seismic upgrades to 37 schools, improving safety for students and staff in case of an earthquake – Adams Elementary, Jane Addams K-8, Aki Kurose Middle School, Alki Elementary, Beacon Hill International Elementary, Catharine Blaine K-8, Broadview- Thomson K-8, Dearborn Park Elementary, Eckstein Middle School, Franklin High School, Gatewood Elementary, Graham Hill Elementary, Ingraham High School, Kimball Elementary, Lafayette Elementary, Leschi Elementary, Lowell Elementary, Maple Elementary, McClure Middle School, McGilvra Elementary, Mercer Middle School, Mountlake Elementary, Muir Elementary, North Beach Elementary, Northgate Elementary, Orca Elementary (Whitworth building), Rainier Beach High School, Rogers Elementary, Roxhill Elementary, Sacajawea Elementary, Sand Point Elementary, Thornton Creek School (Decatur building), View Ridge Elementary, Washington Middle School, Wedgwood Elementary and Whitman Middle School.
  • School safety and security: Install integrated security camera systems at 10 middle school buildings – Aki Kurose, Eckstein, Jane Addams, Madison, McClure, Meany, Mercer, Washington, Whitman and Wilson Pacific; and at nine high schools – Ballard, Cleveland, Franklin, Garfield, NOVA (Mann building), Rainier Beach, South Lake, West Seattle and World School.
  • Lunchroom and common areas: Add new lunchrooms at Green Lake Elementary and McGilvra Elementary.
  • Science labs: Build new science labs at Aki Kurose, Mercer, McClure and Eckstein middle schools.
  • Roof work: Replace or repair roofing at Gatewood Elementary, Laurelhurst Elementary, Eckstein Middle School, Franklin High School and Whitman Middle School.
  • Field and track improvements: Install new or replacement athletic fields and tracks at five schools; Eckstein Middle School, Ballard High School (track only), Cleveland High School, View Ridge Elementary (field only), and Thornton Creek School (field only).
  • Interim downtown school: Funding for planning and support of an interim site, with funding for a permanent site dependent upon external partner funding.

Planning for the BEX IV Capital Levy began in January 2012 and has included participation by the School Board, the Facilities and Capacity Advisory Committee (FACMAC), the Classroom and Business Technology Advisory Committee (CABTAC), the BEX Oversight Committee, and feedback from individual citizens. Two sets of three regional community engagement meetings (a total of six meetings) were held in April and September 2012.

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