The Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors unanimously voted to approve a resolution placing a $65.6M replacement bond proposal on the November 6, 2018 General Election ballot. This recommendation keeps bond tax rates the same as current rates. Walla Walla Public Schools pays off all of its existing bond debt in December and this proposal replaces the current tax rate, maintaining one of the lowest school bond tax rates in the county at $1.23/$1,000. - PHOTO: Community Facilities Task Force.
Replacement Bond Information: http://www.wwps.org/2018bond
"The community spoke loud and clear,” said School Board President Derek Sarley. “They’re ready to address these critical facility needs if the district gives them a solid package that keeps a lid on taxes. That’s what we’ve done."
The Community Facilities Task Force has been studying district facilities needs since 2016. The committee decided to recommend the no tax rate increase option to the school board after receiving data from a statistically reliable phone survey and through other community feedback mechanisms. More than 60 engagements were conducted during the Community Engagement Phase including patron tours, an open house event, advisory lunches, presentations and one-on-one meetings.
Voters will be asked to decide on a $65.6M bond measure to renovate Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School and Lincoln High School. The bond would also fund other district-wide health, safety, educational and infrastructure improvements. The school renovation projects are eligible for an estimated $52.6M in State Match funds. All State Match funds will be applied only to the three school renovation projects. Project costs will be carefully monitored by a citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee and any excess dollars remaining following the completion of the renovations will be used to pay down debt to reduce the rate for taxpayers.
The Community Facilities Task Force commissioned 15 independent reports, met 14 times, and spent more than 45 hours visiting sights and deliberating over the identified projects.
During the two-year planning process, members heard many themes as they listened to the community. These themes are incorporated in their recommendation, including:
• Use State Match funds only on voter-approved projects
• Renovate existing schools rather than building new
• Prioritize classroom and learning needs above other improvements
• Establish an independent citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee to ensure another layer of accountability
• Any excess funds will pay down debt
• Make sure safety and security measures across all campuses are part of the improvements
• Maximize the opportunity for local contractor and vendor involvement throughout the improvements to keep money local
Community Facilities Task Force Membership
Paul Schneidmiller (Chair) - Business
Tony Cabasco - Higher Education
Jim Dumont - City WW
Roger Esparza - Realtor
Darcey Fugman-Small - Business
Chris Garratt - Health Services
Randy Glaeser - County WW
Don Holbrook - Corrections
John Keifel - Classified Rep
Dean Lodmell - Local Engineer
Dick Moeller - Local Contractor
Linda Newcomb - Local Architect
Jim Peterson - Higher Education
Kara Schulke - Parent
Phil Shivell - Local Contractor
Craig Sievertsen - Finance
Keith Swanson - Certificated Rep
Peter Swant - Port Commissioner
Casey Waddell - Finance
Jerry Zahl – Agriculture