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Lake Washington School District bond, King County transportation tax failing | Update
Tuesday night’s first returns from the King County special election indicate the Lake Washington School District $404 million bond is well below the 60 percent yes vote needed to pass. The bond also needs a minimum turnout of 18,503 votes, which it has received.
The proposition has 17,652 votes, or 50.88 percent of the overall votes cast.
The King County Transportation District sales tax and tab tax measure is also failing, receiving just 44.72 percent of the vote.
The school district bond would have gone toward the district’s current and future overcrowding issues by funding the construction of three new elementary schools, two in Redmond and one in Kirkland; a new middle school; the rebuild of Juanita High School; a new west side STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) focused school on the Juanita campus; and an addition to Lake Washington High School. The bond also would have left some funds for future capital projects.
The levy rate was estimated to increase by 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation costing the typical homeowner $500,000 home $10.42 per month or $125.00 per year in property taxes over the next 20 years.
Opponents believe it would cost more.
District officials said if the bond didn’t pass they would be forced to reduce or eliminate all-day kindergarten, double shift Kindergarten through 12th grade, which means the school would operate in two shifts so more students can be taught in less space. They would have to add portables “wherever possible,” which cost $300,000 each, they would have to change delivery models for district programs, re-boundary and/or change to a school year calendar.
In a district-wide survey of 400 residents done after the first bond failed, district officials learned that 23 percent of people who voted against the bond said it was because it was simply too expensive. Another 16 percent said the reason they voted against it was because it was a tax burden.
The election will be certified by May 6.