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Schools superintendent to work with board in light of failing bond
With Lake Washington School District's two levy measures passing at around 65 percent and the $755 million bond measure falling just 2 percent short from passing, Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce has issued the following message to the community:
"Dear LWSD Community,
As you know, election night returns for both the EP&O Levy and Capital Tech Levy were strong, and they continue to climb. Both measures are currently passing at around 65 percent and we need just 50 percent approval to pass. We know that when the election is certified, these measures will both pass. This is awesome news and we will begin planning for the safety, facility and technology support and projects that these funds will allow us to accomplish!
Unfortunately, the bond measure is not passing. It is currently at 58 percent and we need 60 percent approval to pass. We believe that when the election is certified, this measure will not pass. So, what's next?
First, on behalf of the entire Lake Washington School District, we wish to convey gratitude to our entire community. Staff, teachers, parents and PTSA members, the Lake Washington Citizens Levy Committee, our District Leadership Team and our board, all worked hard on the informational and/or promotional campaigns. Our community came out, voted, and showed their support.
We are thankful for the support of our community. The levies passed overwhelmingly. The bond just barely missed. The irony is that the majority of our voters wanted the bond measure to pass! Frustratingly, the 60-percent rule means that even though the majority of voters voted YES, the minority of NO voters determine the outcome for the majority. We, along with other districts and together with the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) and the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) are actively working at the legislative level to try to get this changed so bonds can pass with 50-percent approval, just like levies. We will also work to identify why a minority of people did not support the bond, as it will help to inform our next steps.
Speaking of next steps, I believe it is important that we act quickly to determine options and take next steps. As a district, we know that our needs have not changed:
- Enrollment continues to grow. We are dealing with real overcrowding and we need classrooms and new schools to accommodate our growing enrollment; and
- Our aging schools still need to be modernized. Since 1998 we have modernized 22 of our schools and we need to continue on the path to ensure that ALL of our students attend school in safe, up-to-date, and modern facilities.
I will be working with the board to discuss options and to determine next steps and I anticipate that we will have a concrete plan of action to share by early March.
Thank you all for your ongoing support of our district, our staff, and our students.
Dr. Traci Pierce