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February 26,2004

New Bond Proposal

For the past year, and particularly since our last bond attempt in May, the Enumclaw Board of Directors has spent hours and hours engaged in conversations with one another and with our public around the undeniable needs of our aging school facilities and how to best address these needs. In addition to conversations, a phone survey was conducted with our patrons about their feelings about running another bond.

After careful consideration of all of this input, the Enumclaw Board of Directors took action at their Board Meeting Monday night. They have decided to submit a forty-five million dollar bond issue to the electorate on May 18. The biggest difference in this proposal versus the proposal from last May is that it calls for the replacement of JJ Smith Elementary on the current JJ Smith school site rather than the site by Thunder Mountain Middle School. There were many factors considered by the Board in this decision, but ultimately they moved this item forward with the question, "How can we not move to take care of business that is so essential to our children and staff for decades to come?" Board members are convinced that they cannot be good stewards of the educational program of this district by delaying action and they are clear about their commitment to appropriate and adequate facilities.

The Board is requesting approval of a bond issue to replace worn and obsolete science, music and general education classrooms at Enumclaw High School. They are scheduling replacement of Byron Kibler Elementary, and JJ Smith Elementary Schools, and modernization of the old classrooms at Westwood and Black Diamond Elementary schools. They are asking funding to fix a variety of ills, including roofs, asphalt, heating systems, alarm and intercom systems. If undertaken immediately, most of those facilities can be completed by 2007. Delays of the bond issue would postpone action until 2008 or later. Such delay would be costly in dollars. It would also be costly in consequences for the educational programs with funds being channeled away from the general fund to meet emergency needs.

The need is clear, as is the financing. Local school tax rates have dropped over 97 cents per thousand since 1999. To pay for the bonds, it would now cost an additional 79 cents per thousand beginning in 2005. This equates to approximately $12.37 per month for the average homeowner. Costs are contained because bond interest rates are at extraordinarily low levels.

For more detailed information regarding this bond proposal, please click here, or read the School Bond Voter Information Sheet. To review the maps of the proposed capital improvements for Enumclaw High School, JJ Smith Elementary and Bryon Kibler Elementary, please click here. For questions or additional information, please contact Art Jarvis or 360-802-7101.