School board thought about taxpayers when deciding on bond issue | Letter to the Editor

While many school districts ask for tax increases when attempting to pass bonds, our Enumclaw School Board members kept its constituents in mind when they were working on their bond proposal. They were adamant that the growing communities of Enumclaw and Black Diamond could fulfill their needs by simply renewing the expiring bond, therefore not increasing taxes over the current rate.

The 1998 voter-approved bond that built Thunder Mountain Middle School is currently assessed at $1.60/$1,000 home value. The new bond would replace the expiring bond and keep the same tax rate in place, not a penny more!

With the 60 percent supermajority requirement, it is often a difficult task for any school district to pass a bond but when comparing other districts to ours, this bond proposal is a well-thought out, conservative decision by board members.

With this bond, the opportunity has arrived to restore Enumclaw High School and to rebuild Black Diamond Elementary at the same voter approved tax rate from 17 years ago. Approval of the bond would provide a new HVAC system so staff and students don’t have to open windows in January because classrooms are too hot. It would build a new athletic facility that can safely accommodate the growing number of participants. It would update science labs, provide a new library, music facility and auditorium to enhance learning and keep students competitive in society. In addition to the upgrades at EHS, the time has come to house Black Diamond elementary students and staff under one roof instead of the current arrangement where 40 percent of the school’s population resides in portables. Saying “yes” to this bond will modernize campus safety to create secure buildings for all students, staff and guests.

Just like the importance of maintaining any home or place of business to preserve its value, a community depends on the quality of its schools to grow its future, compete economically and continue to thrive. Passing this bond, the first time, is a smart investment. Our school board went to great lengths to be sure voters would not be asked to spend a penny more than the current rate. If someone were to tell you that you could have a new home or an upgrade to your place of business for the exact same investment that you are making now, would you jump at the opportunity?

The time is now to vote “yes” this April to give our students and community the essential tools to prepare for the future. Resources for learning more about the bond – including the study survey, projected budget, construction designs, timelines and more – can be found at the Enumclaw School District website, under a tab labeled “bond information.”

Trina Cassell