QUILCENE — The Quilcene School District will place two levies on the Feb. 11 special election ballot asking voters to approve funds for school services and begin to prepare a plan for a possible bond to replace the elementary school building.
Proposition 1 would replace the current Education Programs and Operations (EPO) levy at the same rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value, said Superintendent Frank Redmon.
“Even though the state said we could ask for more, we feel like we want to keep that rate down because we believe we can continue to operate our school at the same level and deliver the same service our community expects with the money they already agreed to,” Redmon said.
“So we just want to keep the EPO levy constant and just replace what we’re doing.”
Proposition 2 is a proposed capital levy of $1.97 per $1,000 assessed value, which would be in place for two years for a total of $1.63 million in preparation for a possible bond proposal, Redmon said.
Both measures would need only a simple majority to pass.
The school board approved placing the two on the ballot Nov. 18.
The capital levy would be used to fix facility issues, such as replacing the “aging and unfixable” bus barn, moving the barn to across Rose Street and moving the student bus pick-up and drop-off to the same side of the street as the school — so students no longer have to cross the street to get to and from the busses — and updating the parent drop-off area to make it more “efficient for the parents and safer for the students,” Redmon said.
In addition to the facility repairs, the capital levy would also help “engage our community in a more robust and deeper conversation about how to address our significant issues with the elementary school and the middle school,” Redmon said.
The tentative plan for the district is after the capital levy expires is to present a bond proposal to voters to raise funds to replace the two buildings, Redmon said.
As envisioned now, the bond, if passed, would cost the same as the capital levy at $1.97 per $1,000 assessed value, for a total of approximately $11 million, Redmon said.
During a public meeting on Sept. 16, Redmon estimated the bond would be be paid off in 30 years. However nothing is set in stone, he said, and the district would conduct more concrete planning and community outreach before the plan was finalized through the help of the capital levy, Redmon said.
The issues with the elementary school were revealed as part of a study and survey begun in 2018 and which is still underway. The study is conducted every six years.
It has revealed several deficiencies within the building. It isn’t seismically sound and has a poor electrical system and insulation, among other issues, Redmon said at the meeting.
The middle school building is not in immediate need of replacement, but it will be in the next 10 to 20 years, said Redmon at the meeting.
The current high school is older than both the elementary and middle school, being built in 1938. But it was built differently than the other buildings and is in good condition, needing only minor code updates, Redmon said.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at email@example.com.