Have you ever wondered how school bonds work exactly? Sometimes when our school district asks us for a bond, we are unsure of the process. We have a lot of questions about where the money will go and what our kids will get if we choose to “Vote yes for schools.”
Like a mortgage, a bond is paid back over years. When we vote “yes” on a bond, our school district receives money from property owners based on a mathematical formula. This money pays for building-related costs such as updating buildings that are in disrepair, modernizing buildings for energy efficiency, and installing low-maintenance turf sports fields and tracks that won’t need replacement for more than a decade. Bonds can save a school district millions of dollars while keeping money in the classroom. Without bonds, many building-related costs will still be incurred. If a school’s heating system breaks, for instance, the repair cost has to be taken from somewhere, and that source is classroom funding—including teachers.
School districts put forth bonds but are not allowed to campaign for them. That’s why the grassroots, non-profit Volunteers for Issaquah Schools organization exists.
Our Issaquah School District is putting a bond before voters on April 17, 2012. This bond will rebuild three schools (Clark, Sunny Hills, and Issaquah Middle), provide critical maintenance and repairs throughout the district, update many buildings for energy efficiency, and more. It includes replacing portables and increasing safety for children through building design.
A little Q and A:
What does a bond mean for property owners? For the current bond in place, taxpayers pay more than they will on the proposed 8 year bond. The retiring bond costs a property owner $4.85 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The new bond will cost a property owner $4.05 per $1,000. The April 17th proposed bond for school construction and maintenance will lower property taxes for a $500,000 home by about $200.
What happens if the bond does not pass?
Bonds are expensive for organizations to present. Typically, the school district must pay King County Elections about $100,000 to put the bond on the ballot. If the bond fails, it will be run again. Bondsrequire a super-majority of voters which is 60%+1.
If you would like more information on the Issaquah School district bond, please go to www.visvote.org.
Based on an article from Essie Hicks, IVE Legislative Co-Chair & VIS Volunteer
For more information about the bond:
To register to vote: