Now is the time to pass a $59 million bond measure to build a new elementary school and upgrade two other campuses in the Ellensburg School District, according to Mike Nollan, assistant superintendent for the district.
Nollan and other school district officials addressed a lunch meeting of the Kittitas Valley League of Women on Tuesday to explain the bond issue on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election.
“All three elementary schools are over capacity. We really need a fourth school,” Nollan said. About 475 students are being taught in portable classrooms because of overcrowding.
Proceeds from the bond measure would cover construction of a new elementary school and renovation of Lincoln and Mount Stuart elementary schools.
Taxpayers would not see an increase in taxes because the local levy was lowered to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value by the McCleary decision and the fact that the Ellensburg High School bond will be paid off in 2021, said Brian Aikin, district director of business services.
Timing is crucial, Aikin said, because overcrowding won’t be relieved for another five or six years. Construction of a new school would take about three years, and students would have to moved out of Lincoln and Mount Stuart during the renovations.
Board member Dan Schissler said the board has had plenty of community input on the plans for the project. “We looked through 50 different plans. We’re very pleased with the community involvement.”
“Needs have piled up during the whole time we were trying to do something with Morgan (middle school),” said board member Meg Ludlum. “The timing is right because of the state assistance tied to this project.”
“We want all three schools to have state-of-the-art learning environments,” Aikin said.
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