Kent Photo Survey
Kent Photo Survey
Kent Photo Survey
Kent Photo Survey
Kent Photo Survey
Kent Photo Survey
Kent Photo Survey
Kent Photo Survey

Frequently Asked Questions About the Special Election

  1. When is the election?

  2. Why do we need a bond?

  3. What is a school bond?

  4. What is the difference between a bond and a levy?

  5. How do I participate?

  6. How do I register?

  7. How did the District arrive at this list of projects? Who was involved?

  8. How did the District arrive at these costs estimates?

  9. I thought we already had money set aside for a new school in Covington. What happened?

  10. Where can I get more information?


1. When is the election?

April 26, 2016, is Election Day. This is a mail-in election and ballots begin arriving in homes on April 6. Ballots can be completed and mailed at any time, but must be postmarked by April 26. (Note: Overseas and Service Ballots are mailed on March 25.) Completed ballots may also be dropped off at any King County 24-hour election drop box up to 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Go to http://kingcounty.gov/depts/elections.aspx to find more information.


2. Why do we need a bond?

State and federal funding does not cover costs associated with renovation or replacement of school facilities. Significant changes in state student class size requirements necessitate additional classroom space. This bond funds two new elementary schools and 20 new classrooms across the District.

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3. What is a school bond?

School Bonds pay for facility construction, renovation, and improvements to long lasting infrastructure. School districts cannot use bond dollars for teacher salaries or classroom operations. Bond dollars help preserve funds budgeted for instruction. For example: if a roof fails at a school, the cost of replacement can exceed $1 million. Without bond dollars, a district must use operating funds to pay for the roof.

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4. What is the difference between a bond and a levy?

Much like a home mortgage, school bonds are long-term (usually 20 year) financial instruments that can be bought and sold, raising necessary funds for facility construction, renovation, and improvements to long lasting infrastructure. A vote for a bond measure allows the District to issue and sell bonds at a fixed interest rate. When a bond measure is passed, taxpayers are in effect, guaranteeing the bond holder they will be paid back at the agreed upon rate.

Levies are shorter term (2-6 years) taxes that are applied directly to pay for the District's maintenance and operational costs. Levies can also be used to purchase specific types of durable equipment. Over time, levy funds have allowed District's to offer additional needed programs and supplemental pay for teachers that is above the state's basic pay scale. This allows Districts to remain competitive in teacher and staff recruitment.

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5. How do I participate?

By law, school districts cannot participate in political campaigns for candidates or bond measures. School districts may authorize elections, pay applicable costs for elections, and provide fact-based information about the rationale for new facilities and improvements, the costs, and impacts. School districts may also encourage everyone to register to vote and to vote in elections. Local groups and individuals lead support or opposition campaigns independent of the school district. School employees may participate in a political campaign for or against a candidate or ballot measure, but must do so on their personal time and without the use of school district resources.

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6. How do I register?

You may register to vote by mail, online, and in person in a variety of locations in King County. Log on at http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/elections/how-to-vote/register-to-vote.aspx for more details. The deadline for mail-in registration to participate in the April 26, 2016, election is Monday, March 28. The deadline for in-person registration is Monday, April 18.

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7. How did the District arrive at this list of projects? Who was involved?

In 2012, the District convened a group of 46 citizens and employees recommended by principals and/or appointed by school board members to represent the various regions and schools located within KSD. The Citizens Bond Review Committee (CBRC) met regularly over a period of 18 months reviewing and prioritizing requests submitted by each school for capital improvements. In 2015, the group reconvened to review and approve an updated list which was presented to the school board. In late 2015 and early 2016, the school board considered five different versions of possible bond projects taken from the updated CBRC recommendations. They settled on the most expansive list of projects that could be built and still maintain current tax rates.

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8. How did the District arrive at these costs estimates?

The District contracts with a professional cost estimation company that works with the architects and construction regulatory agencies and specializes in large scale construction. Those estimates are provided to the school board. The school board also adds a 4.6 % project contingency set-aside in case unanticipated increases are seen in raw materials, building and siting costs, and/or design changes are necessitated during the design, siting, construction/renovation stages of the various projects. Unused contingency funds can be reallocated to other capital projects with board approval.

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9. I thought we already had money set aside for a new school in Covington. What happened?

In 2006, the voters passed a bond measure to build a replacement school for Panther Lake Elementary, an additional elementary, and other capital projects. At that time, a new school was estimated to cost approximately $25M and the new school would be funded with a combination of bond funds, state assistance, and impact fees. New Panther Lake was built and the school board set aside $16M for the second new school, prioritized the need, and listed the possible sites in order as: 1. Kent valley region, 2. South/central region and 3. Covington.

In 2008, the District received interest from a potential buyer for the current Covington Elementary School site. The estimated proceeds from that sale plus the $16M set-aside and impact fees were then sufficient to build a new school. Shortly thereafter, however, the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression took hold in all markets - international, national, and local. The sale of the property fell through and plans for a new school in Covington were put on hold.

The $16M set aside and the plan for a future bond campaign took another turn in 2012 when shortly after the Sandy Hook tragedy, student safety needs at the elementary schools became a higher priority. The school board voted to reallocate the set-aside funds for needed capital upgrades including significant school safety resources focusing on elementary schools. The funds were then used for safety enhancement projects such as classroom doors at Crestwood, video surveillance resources, access control systems, intruder locks in elementary, middle, and high schools, new fences and gates, and specialized electronic sensors to improve response times by law enforcement.

The school board was well aware that current construction costs for a new elementary had risen to over $43M and a new bond would be necessary to build a new school in Covington with or without the original $16M set-aside. The school board also recognized that due to class size reduction mandates, an additional school was now necessary in both Covington and the Kent valley as well as numerous additional classrooms across the District. This increased need is the rationale and main focus for the 2016 bond.

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10. Where can I get more information?

Beginning the first week of March, the District will provide posters, fliers, mailers, and other presentation materials to each school that will have both a District and school-specific projects of the bond measure. A KSD Bond-specific website will also be activated later this month.

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Citizens for Kent Schools - PO Box 6304, Kent, WA 98064-6304 - info@citizensforkentschools.org
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