Sponsor spotlight: The need behind the ask — Edmonds School District explains the 2021 Capital Levy

Why is the Edmonds School District asking for a 2021 Capital Levy on the April 27 ballot?

It comes down to this: We need to preserve our school buildings, so they are safe and functional for our students and staff. This includes making sure we update our safety, security and accessibility systems. As our enrollment continues to grow, we also need to keep up with that demand. This levy will allow us to add additional classroom space for students. Some of our schools are beyond repair and just need to be replaced.

“We are asking our community to consider this levy, which takes care of our highest and most urgent capital needs,” said Dr. Gustavo Balderas, Edmonds School District Superintendent. “The state doesn’t provide the funding we need to maintain, repair or add on to our schools, so we depend on our voters to support our schools by passing measures for needed infrastructure repair.”

How is the 2021 Capital Levy a long-term investment for our students and community?

Our buildings represent a major investment by the taxpayers. If we don’t have the funds to maintain them, they deteriorate further and it becomes more expensive to fix major problems. Issues like leaky roofs and deteriorating floors directly impact learning. The money to fix and preserve these buildings comes from local tax dollars raised by bonds and levies.

How will the Capital Levy address school overcrowding?

Our elementary schools are at 107 percent capacity. The district currently has 44 portable classrooms spread throughout our schools as a temporary solution, but the overcrowding is expected to grow with future enrollment. Money from the 2021 Capital Levy will help fund solutions to these challenges, including:

  • Replacing two old school buildings; Spruce and Oak Heights, and freeing up portables that we can relocate to other crowded schools.
  • Adding new covered play areas at elementary schools that will allow PE and lunch to happen simultaneously in schools that share gym and cafeteria space.

How did the district decide on a 2021 Capital Levy? 

The road to the 2021 Capital Levy started in the summer of 2019. ESD created a Facilities Advisory Committee, composed of students, staff, parents/guardians, and community members who visited each district school building to assess the capital need. This committee determined the cost of all district projects to be $1.7 billion.

The next step was to go to you, the community. ESD ran a Bond in February 2020 that missed the required 60% approval to pass. Following that failure, the School Board held a study session to examine capital funding options and review priorities.

After careful review and consideration of our student needs, we concluded that the Capital levy’s focus is on our most urgent needs: improvements to maintain buildings; safety, security, and accessibility improvements; addressing capacity challenges; completing Phase 2 of Spruce Elementary, and replacing Oak Heights Elementary.

Focusing on these priorities will allow us to keep costs down for our community while still addressing some of the district’s most significant facility challenges.

How much will the 2021 Capital Levy cost? 

The district estimates the yearly rate for the 2021 Capital Levy to be between $0.68- $0.79 per $1,000 of assessed property value. This would provide $30 million a year for each of the next six years. The estimated combined rate for all the district’s tax measures for 2022 is $3.36 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

How can I get additional information on the levy?

Please visit our 2021 Capital Levy website or contact the Communications department at communications@edmonds.wednet.edu.

— Sponsored by the Edmonds School District