Community Facilities Task Force recommends two options for 2018 bond consideration
Renovation plans prioritize classroom, infrastructure and safety needs
Tuesday, Dec. 19, Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors accepted for further community input two bond package options prepared by the Community Facilities Task Force. These options will be discussed with the community over the next three months before the school board makes a final decision in May on which bond package option is placed on the November 2018 ballot.
Option 1 - $65.6M Bond Package (Replacement Bond - no bond tax rate increase)
• Renovations of Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School
• Select school infrastructure projects such as roofing, HVAC and school safety improvements
• $65.6M Local cost (eligible for $52.6M State Match which will all be applied to the school renovation projects)
• Tax Rate: approximately $1.23/$1,000 tax rate (Replacement Bond - maintains current bond tax rate)
Option 2 - $73.9M Bond Package (15 cent bond tax rate increase)
• Same renovations of Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School as presented in Option 1
• Approximately $8.3M of additional school infrastructure projects
• $73.9M Local cost (eligible for $52.6M State Match which will all be applied to the school renovation projects)
• Tax Rate: approximately $1.38/$1,000 tax rate (15 cent increase above current bond tax rate)
The two options include renovations of Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School. Both packages also address select school infrastructure needs across the district such as roofing, HVAC and school safety improvements. The primary difference between Option 1 and Option 2 recommended by the Task Force is Option 2 includes additional school infrastructure upgrades identified by engineer reports and stakeholder input, including parents, staff, students and community members.
Option 1 ($65.6M Bond Package) represents a no bond tax rate increase, replacing the current tax rate of approximately $1.23 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Option 2 ($73.9M Bond Package) adds approximately 15 cents to the existing bond tax rate and includes an additional $8.3M in school-based infrastructure upgrades across six of the district’s campuses. Both options apply all of the $52.6M eligible state match dollars to the school renovation projects identified to fully fund the improvements at Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School.
About the Community Facilities Task Force
The 18-member Community Facilities Task Force was established in the fall of 2016 with a charge to prioritize educational, safety and facility preservation needs through the development of a Long-Range Facilities Master Plan. Local businessman Paul Schneidmiller serves as the Task Force chair. The Task Force met 14 times over the past 16 months, commissioned 13 studies, engaged in various interactions with staff, students, parents and community professionals and conducted multiple school visits. This work led to the formation of two options for discussion with the community for further input.
“We are committed to developing a practical plan for community consideration which focuses on renovation rather than replacing schools. In addition, we prioritized educational needs first,” said Schneidmiller. “The Task Force has keyed in on the November 2018 election because it coincides with the last remaining payment of all existing bond debt.”
Next Steps: The School Board and Community Facilities Task Force will return to the community over the next three months to seek input on the two options. A survey will be posted on the district webpage in January. Several community presentations, school tours and public meetings are also planned. The Task Force will recommend one of the two options to the School Board in April. The school board will make a final decision in May as to which bond option will be placed on the November 2018 ballot.
Information: Communications Director Mark Higgins: firstname.lastname@example.org / 509.526.6716.