Quilcene bond to be on February ballot

Measure would fund school replacement

QUILCENE — The Quilcene School Board has unanimously voted to place a $12.3 million bond on the Feb. 8 special election ballot.

If voters approve the bond the board agreed on Nov. 15 to place on the ballot, it would fund replacement of the district’s elementary school, build a career and technical education building, and any remaining money would be used to upgrade some of the district’s athletic facilities and fields.

The estimate is that the bond would be paid off over 20 to 25 years, depending on assessed property values in the coming years.

It will require 60 percent voter approval in an election with a 40 percent minimum voter turnout, said Superintendent Frank Redmon.

“I’m excited about the possibility about improving the Quilcene School District facilities to provide an amazing and up-to-date learning facility for our young people,” Redmon said Friday.

“Through partnership with our community to create the spaces that our students and community need, we can help our students be successful now and in future generations.”

District staff members analyzed the amount of taxes residents within the district already pay through the capital projects levy they approved in 2020, and the annual bond costs would be similar so that taxes won’t increase, Redmon said.

District taxpayers pay about $1.94 per $1,000 of assessed value for 2021 for the capital projects levy, according to the district’s website.

If approved, the bond tax would be implemented after the $1.6 million capital projects levy tax expires, Redmon said.

The district will conduct a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. today for the bus barn and maintenance shop constructed through the funding from the 2020 capital projects levy.

The current elementary school was built in 1946 and was updated in the 1980s. It has eight classrooms.

Redmon said in a 2019 community meeting about the potential bond the school needs better insulation and an improved electrical system. In addition, the building is not seismically sound.

It would cost more to repair the school building than to build a new one, Redmon has said.

The goal is to replace the outdated elementary school with a building that is a modern education facility, that would meet current education needs and have the building be flexible enough to adapt to education changes in the future, Redmon has said.

The philosophy for creating the careers and technical education building is similar, as district officials want to provide a modern building that can meet the need and types of technical education that are needed now, but to be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the future, Redmon said.

By approving the bond to be placed on the Feb. 8 ballot, the district will need to form pro and con committees from community members to analyze the project.

Those interested in serving on either of those committees are encouraged to contact Redmon at [email protected].

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]lynews.com

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