Sequim schools eye bond measure

SEQUIM –– School district officials are eyeing another proposal for a bond measure to build more schools, this one a third the size of a proposed bond that voters rejected earlier this year.

Sequim Superintendent Kelly Shea has presented the School Board with a $46 million list of construction projects he said are needed as students pack the limited facilities.

The new list includes construction of a new elementary school to replace Fir Street’s Helen Haller; the addition of four classrooms, a serving kitchen and a gymnasium at Greywolf Elementary in Carlsborg; the addition of six science classrooms, a band room and a choir room at Sequim High School; and demolition of the 1950-built portion of Sequim Community School.

“That’s where the need is today,” Shea told the School Board on Monday.

“We are out of room in our elementary schools, and we’ve only got more kids coming.”

A $154 million bond was put before voters in April. It was rejected by 58 percent.

Dropped from the April list is a renovation of Sequim High, a renovated roof on Sequim Middle School, a central base kitchen and improvements to the district’s athletic facilities.

“The consistent themes I heard through numerous coffee chats I had over the summer was that the original proposal was too much money and too many projects all at once,” Shea said.

This measure, if the school district consents to the project list, could go out for a vote as soon as February, Shea said.

Other options the board will consider when it meets Oct. 6 include renovating the four existing science rooms into general classrooms and renovating Helen Haller Elementary after a new elementary school is built and using it to house Olympic Peninsula Academy, now in the 1979 portion of the community school.

That building would be turned into a maintenance building and central warehouse, and the base kitchen already there would be modernized.

Shea was unsure what those options would cost but said he’d like to see an overall price tag in the range of $50 million to $55 million.

Property tax increase

District Business Manager Brian Lewis said a $50 million bond measure would add 64 cents per $1,000 assessed value to the taxes of property owners in the district.

For the owner of a $230,100 home, the median home value in the district, that bond would add $147.26 to the tax bill.

School district landowners are paying $2.15 per $1,000 this year.

That total includes a 44-cent levy to replace school buses and 10 cents to pay off bonds issued to remodel the high school in 1996.

Both those taxes expire at the end of this year, which would leave the $1.60 per $1,000 maintenance-and-operations levy as the district’s only tax obligation.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

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