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Bond Advisory Committee: Tax Rates, Improvements, More

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Members of the Bond Advisory Committee met last week to continue learning about districtwide initiatives such as Equity, Belonging and Family Partnerships, and began exploring tax impacts, what’s included in a construction budget, and the condition of our schools and facilities. This was the committee’s fifth meeting out of eight. 

The volunteer committee members are being asked to evaluate facility needs and cost data through active engagement to provide an informed proposal to the superintendent, who will then craft a recommendation to the School Board for consideration.  

Sharing about the Equity, Belonging and Family Partnerships Department, Executive Director Alaina Sivadasan gave a glimpse of the work that the Equity, Counseling, VOICE Mentor, and Family Partnerships teams do. Sivadasan talked about how the work connects to Executive Limitation 16 and the district’s Strategic Plan. Then, she offered ideas for consideration as the committee members continue their work to determine what recommendations to make about district facilities. Those included flexible spaces for counseling and community partnership work, and intentional design to help meet the needs of our students, families and community. 

Ryan Swanson from Piper Sandler Co. offered a history of school district tax rates, information about bond elections in the state this year (voters across the state approved seven of the 21 bond measures proposed) and showed the committee how the district’s tax rates compare to other districts in King County and across the state. Whether comparing the ISD to King County districts or districts statewide, our district falls about in the middle of the range of tax rates. Swanson also talked about how the total assessed value of a school district helps determine the tax rates and gave the committee members a look at what two possible bond amounts would look like, based on measures that recently passed in Edmonds and Tacoma – as a starting point for committee discussions. 

Integrus Principal Architect Rebecca Baibak, who is helping provide third party expertise to the committee members, shared about the elements that contribute to total construction costs, such as direct costs, design, contingency, general conditions, escalation, general contractor’s fees, bonds and insurance, soft costs and more. Baibak shared about year over year escalation, and how the potential timeline for the new high school will affect the total cost of the project. 

Then, committee members began to work in small groups to examine district schools and facilities data from an assessment completed by architects and engineers to identify: 

  • Immediate improvement needs. 
  • Improvements needed within six years. 
  • Improvements needed in six to 12 years. 
  • Improvements needed beyond 12 years. 

Also listed for committee members to consider are possible items for improving districtwide initiatives. 

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2 at the District Administration Building. All the committee meetings are open for the public to observe. Details about the committee, meeting materials and other information about the process are available on our website.   

  • Bond
  • Construction